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recs for weekend in West Chester /Kennet Square

Will be in this area for the weekend visiting Longwood Gardens etc and am looking for restaurant suggestions for my husband and I. Prefer no Indian or Mexican. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Sovana Bistro in Kennett Square is by far the best (albeit a pricy) option in the area. Brandywine Prime is also close by and is pretty good too...

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluehensfan

      I agree with bluehensfan. I love Sovana Bistro! You will not be disappointed.

      Review this thread:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/375791

    2. Many people rave about the Dilworthtown Inn on Old Wilmington Road. I haven't been there myself but based on what I've heard and read, the food and service should be above average, the menu is diverse and the dining environment offers more ambience than most. I figure that a dinner a two-course dinner for two without drinks should cost about $35.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Enjoy Good Food

        I did not have a good experience at the Dilworthtown Inn, the food was definitely not worth the exorbitant prices they're charging (entrees range from $25 to $50). The service was friendly but not all that attentive. Their other restaurant next door, the Blue Pear, is better and cheaper, but I wouldn't heartily recommend either one.

        1. re: Buckethead

          Blue Pear is better than Dilworthtown, unless you like stodgy 1970-ish food. Sovana is usually great, though variable in my experience. Gilmores in WC is very good, Katherine's in Unionville is another one to think about.

          1. re: gfweb1

            Agree about Blue Pear. Did not like Dilowrthtown. Did like Blue Pear. Gilmore's would be my first choice.

      2. In case you're not convinced yet, here's another vote for Sovana Bistro.

        Another idea -- for lunch you might want to go to Talula's Table in Kennett Square. Take out a selection of whatever looks good (which is almost everything there) and bring it over to Longwood's picnic area, which is just outside the front entrance. You're able to leave Longwood and re-enter with your ticket. Also, there are two nice dining options right inside the Gardens.

        1. Thanks so much for your suggestions. I have reservations for Brandywine Prime. Avalon, and Sovano Bistro. Had tried to get into Gilmores but only late resies available

          1 Reply
          1. re: LIV286

            You aren't missing anything at Gilmore's in my opinion, though a lot of people disagree with me.

          2. Sovana came highly recommended and was disappointing...try the birchrunville store cafe or talulas[mentioned above]

            1 Reply
            1. re: wordbond

              Birchrunville reservations, especially for weekends, must be made very far in advance, although I've been lucky several times and secured last-minute reservations because of cancellations. However, Birchrunville isn't exactly in the neighborhood of Longwood Gardens.

              Talula's Table is a good choice for lunch; dinner reservations are a whole other matter, requiring a group of at least 8 and reservations booked well in advance. I made reservations last August for dinner this coming August.

              I'm at Sovana Bistro fairly often, sometimes for a light meal (shared salad and pizza), sometimes for a more substantial meal (appetizer, entree, etc.), and can't say I've ever been disappointed.

            2. Not food related but you may enjoy the Criterium bike race on Saturday evening. The main streets in Downtown West Chester are closed off and its tons of fun. A good way to burn off a great meal is watching other people exercise! http://www.ironhilltwilightcriterium....

              1. I would suggest you try Krazy Kats, just south of Route 1 on Route 100 in Montchanin, DE. EXCELLENT and creative food, great atmosphere and a very capable staff. Reasonable wine prices, and a great place to stay. Probably one of the BEST in the area, bar none!

                8 Replies
                1. re: Dave H

                  I'll second that. I'm not so crazy about Brandywine Prime. Very inconsistent.

                  1. re: Dave H

                    It's funny -- I never think of Krazy Kats, but when someone else mentions it here my reaction is YESSSSS!!!!!!!! Maybe it's because it's off the beaten path (but not by far), it just doesn't automatically come to mind. But it's a wonderful place in a lovely setting with unique ambiance. It's not more than a 12-minute drive from Longwood, and HIGHLY recommended.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      Yes, and a very nice drive if you take Route 1 north from Longwood to Route 100 south. Route 100 south is a pretty drive, and willl take you to Krazy Kats; very scenic.

                      1. re: Dave H

                        Agreed... that isn't the shortest route, but it is scenic.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          My wife and I do a lot of driving in SEPA and some in DE. That route 100 just has to be one of the prettiest in the whole region. At this time of year, you'll be going to dinner in daylight, so you can enjoy it.

                          Happy to read that other people consider Sovana and Brandywine Prime very inconsistent. I have had poor experiences at both (service more than food), and didn't want to say too much with so many other people raving about them. The comment I get most often from people in the business is that it's real hard to get good waitstaff in affluent suburbs.

                          1. re: FrancisdeR

                            In my case it was food and service at Sovana, and just service at BP.

                            1. re: FrancisdeR

                              I've been to BP a few times, with great variations in food and service. I'm not in a rush to go back.

                              1. re: CindyJ

                                I agree about BP; not on my hot list for any time soon!

                    2. I live in the borough of West Chester and just recieved a message from the major stating that Sat. from 2pm to 10:30pm are blocked off from New to Matlack St and Chestnut to Miner. I'd avoid town. Good luck parking and getting around - sounds hectic. Kennett is lovely. Half Moon Saloon is great for beers, snacks and exotic meat - beautiful upstairs dining. Va La Vineyards does a great wine tasting and very pretty. I agree on all the restaurants suggested. Also Possibly the Whip Tavern for an English Pub Meal and beautiful drive and The Orchard for fancier BYO meal too

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: keby

                        I think you have dinner covered, but if you need a breakfast idea in W.C. - Market Street Grille at 6 W Market St - great food and service.

                        Another place to get sandwiches, take out, etc in W.C. - Carlino's on Market St. http://www.carlinosmarket.com

                      2. Just wanted to f/u--Had dinner at Brandywine Prime Thurs evening, and Sovana Fri--I would say both were O.K. Saturday evening we started with the bike race in West Chester and then had dinner at Avalon which we thoroughly enjoyed and would easily go back to. Our next visit will try Krazy Kats. Thanks again

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: LIV286

                          This thread stimulated us to go back to Sovana tonight to give it another chance. It was both great and not great depending on what was ordered. Pork was dry and under-seasoned, halibut was good, pasta dishes were fine. Service was fine. Shortcake dessert was not actually shortcake but tasted ok.

                          1. re: LIV286

                            Try High Street Caffe in West Chester, a few doors down from Avalon, for dinner next time. http://www.highstreetcaffe.com/

                          2. Limoncello was a pleaser for us. Great food---modest prices...
                            Avoid the Avalon Restaurant like the plague.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: foodcriticdude

                              Why avoid Avalon like the plague? Could you give more details? I have been there quite a few times and it has been very good, but I haven't been in a few months. I just saw Open table diners choice voted them #6 for best Italian Food right behind Vetri and Osteria. I have heard hit or miss about Limoncello.

                              1. re: wceat4fun

                                I've been avoiding Avalon for a couple of years because of too many unpleasant dining experiences there. When did it reinvent itself and become Italian?

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  It looks like Philadelphia Magazine did a peice about them changing last year. My understanding is the owner took over the kitchen sometime early this year after remodeling the restaurant and went in an Italian direction. My understanding also was the restaurant was suppose to change names, I think for this very confusing reason. If you go to open table.com and read the reviews you will be suprised. Although I haven't been in a few months, I have always enjoyed my meals.

                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    Cindy, I was like you, but it has reinvented itself somewhat. Some friends who live in WC talked us into going back and we're happy we did.

                                    The small plates menus are a decent value. Sitting outdoors in summer is always nice. Not the top of my list, but we're certainly starting to go back.

                                    1. re: FrancisdeR

                                      All this talk about Avalon prompted me to go back this Sunday. I tried their four course tour of the menu $27(smaller portions). Started off with a scallop and asparagus crudo, very tasty and refreshing antipasti. My pasta course was candele pasta with chicken livers and bacon jam, very tasty fresh homemade pasta. Entree was veal milanese. For dessert I had lemon curd, this was good but nothing special. They have a new cheese tables with hand carved meats and at least 9 different types of cheeses. We did not try this but I would like to go back just try the cheese selections. All in all I was pretty impressed for neighborhood restaurant.

                                      1. re: FrancisdeR

                                        I was at the "new-and-improved" Avalon for dinner this evening, and I must say, it was quite enjoyable. My friend and I both had the $27 prix fix dinner which was 4 courses (antipasto, pasta, entree and dessert) of any selections in those categories from the regular menu. I ordered the roasted vegetable platter, the braised beef short rib mezzaluna, the pan-seared duck, and for dessert, pumpkin bread pudding. I enjoyed it all. The portions were more than a "tasting menu" but less than full-size. And it's BYO ($2 corkage fee - very reasonable). There was a nice cheese selection, too, which was offered as a dessert option. I'd certainly go back, and I'm glad I read about the changes to Avalon on this board. By the way, if you're planning on going, just know it's cash or check only -- no credit cards.

                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                          Glad to see you enjoyed your dinner

                                    2. re: wceat4fun

                                      I also have visited Avalon a couple times since it changed to Italian and it was very good both times. The pasta is excellent, delicate. I'm not sure when they reinvented the place, I was never there before that.

                                      1. re: Buckethead

                                        Great Breakfast institution is Hanks, greasy spoon joint with lots of local flair. it is on rt 1 in Chadds Ford. Another good dinner location if your looking for local flair is Buckleys on rt 52 more casual food ok. Savona food is great. English pub type place is The Whip tavern, again local with great draft hard cidar. Talula's is a win for coffee/lunch. Hey longwood gardens has the best mushroom soup!