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Romantic/Unique Spot - Philly for 1st Anni

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I am traveling to Philly for one day this weekend to surprise my husband. Philly is his home town but we've sadly never spent time there together -- native new yorkers.

I'd like to take him to a unique and interesting setting that is not an obvious choice. We prefer small restaurants with interesting menus, excellent food. Also prefer places that emphasize locally grown foods/free-range meats. But none of these factors are requirements. I'm really just looking for suggestions of diamond in the rough/non-obivous spots where two people can have a unique and delicious first anniversary meal (that will impress a Philly native who has already heard of the le bec fin's in the city). I also do not necessarily need it to be the fanciest digs (e.g., Babbo is not surprisingly my favorite spot in NYC and its not exactly "fancy").

Thanks so much for suggestions. Any cuisine and price point is acceptable. Also any area is fine but we are likely staying in Rittenhouse Square.

Is Friday Saturday Sunday good/great?
A friend also mentioned Southwark but I dont know any restaurants in Philly, period.

Thanks for input!

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  1. Matyson is walking distance and it is excellent. We had dinner there about a week ago and I'm still thinking about it. Be sure to have dessert! BYOB. Casual, not fancy atmosphere, but one of the best.

    1. Well. If you're from NY and looking for something uniquely Philly, do a BYOB for sure. They're typically more casual, often more cozy/ romantic, and more....well, neighborhoody.
      Matyson is a fabulous choice. I also love Cochon, Little Fish, and Marigold, but they're all a bit of a drive from Rittenhouse.

      I'd hit Southwark for cocktails if you head to Cochon or LIttle FIsh (same neighborhood, fabulous cocktails).

      1. my gf and i went to Marrakesh for our first anniversary (of dating, not marriage).
        it's a pretty unique place, we enjoyed it quite a bit.
        you say you're a new yorker... i definitely liked the food at Nomad more, but the experience at Marrakesh is fun.

        1. I agree that Matyson sounds right up your alley, but it's going to be tough getting a reservation for this weekend. Another good Rittenhouse area BYOB is Branzino. The food isn't quite as exciting as Matyson, but the upstairs room is very romantic and the food is delicious. Staying in Rittenhouse, you could try Tinto, part of the Garces restaurant group and fast becoming a Philly institution. Or, head west to Distrito for Mexican small plates and killer margaritas in a fun atmosphere. I'm not aware of food like it anywhere in NYC.

          1. Agreed that Matyson would be a good choice. If you can't get in or prefer Italian give Caffe Casta Diva a try. They have an adorable table for two in the corner. Very romantic. The food is wonderful. My only complaint is that is can be very noisy on Fri and Sat nights.

            Another choice is Tinto. This might be a good option for you since it is probably different from what you would find in NYC.

            1. The suggestions you've gotten sound great so far. I've never been to Matyson, but definitely want to try it soon. Little Fish is probably my favorite restaurant in Philly, but it is also now lots of folks' favorite, so it's tough to get a reservation. Southwark is an awesome place to get drinks before a nice dinner. I'd also recommend Ansill highly, which is a block away from Southwark. Also just wanted to mention that Fri/Sat/Sun is not that great.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sophilly

                I didn't have any trouble getting reservations for tonight at Little Fish (birthday dinner)!

              2. Thanks to all! It was difficult to choose with so many of the options looking fabulous (and right on in terms of what I am looking for) but Matyson has a 9pm and I think majority rules. We'll probably hit Southwark for a cocktail.
                Going to try and mix in a visit to the Mutter Museum and the Cezanne show (if its still ongoing).

                1 Reply
                1. re: bobjunior

                  Matyson was delicious. Great service and the paco fish ribs special app was excellent. cheesecake was fine. Service was pleasant and unobstrusive.

                  Value was good. Bought a bottle around the corner at the state store (which was very convenient).

                  Thanks again for all the posts.