Need a restaurant that won't turn our table (Philly 'burbs)
We have reunion of Penn State girls who haven't seen each other in 30 years, so an hour won't do. We need a more European attitude, where we can stay at a table for a few hours (and we're willing to tip well). Also, we want to be able to hear each other (no loud music), but not disturb other patrons with our chatter (maybe a small separate room?)
Although we're from all over the country, two girls are staying in Lancaster and driving in, 3 staying in Fort Washington, one in Lansdale. We want to a restaurant reasonably near turnpike exits to minimize chances of getting lost, since I'm the only one who lives in the area.
Any food type is okay - in this case ambiance trumps Chowiness. BYOB is good. But the ability to sit at the table for a long time is key.
Where ever you decide to go, just be honest and ask some questions when making the reservation. For instance, if you're going to a small restaurant on a weekend, chances are if they are at all popular they are going to turn the table. It usually helps if you take a later reservation like 8:00 or 8:30. Most likely they will not have another reservation coming in on your table after that. Also, if you are going during the week, most restaurants are a little slower and maybe will only have one seating for the evening no matter what time you come in. Just ask what the policy is when you make the res. In my experience, most good restaurants will give at least 2.5 hours for a larger party.
A couple of suggestions...
Plaza Azteca a Mexican place right at the Plymouth Meeting exit of the turnpike which would be a casual alternative.
Ristorante San Marco in Springhouse on Bethlehem Pike close to the Fort Washington exit of the turnpike would be a nicer alternative.
re: Displaced California Foodie
My family reserved a room at Blue Horse in Blue Bell this past spring and we had a great meal in a nicely decorated private room with very good service. We were also given a prix fixe $17.99 meal which included appetizer, entree, dessert. Creative and tasty food. We were all very positive about the experience and this is not always an easy crowd :)