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Weekend dinner between Manayunk and Chestnut Hill for 9, including 2 children

Hey fellow Philly area hounds! I hope you can help me.

My chunk of the family's in Manayunk, another chunk's in Wyndmoor/Glenside, and a third is coming in from out of town so we can all have dinner together.

The youngest members of our party of nine are 5 and 8 years old, and prefer your basic kids' menu type stuff. Various other members of our merry band have assorted pickynesses, but nothing paralyzing.

I'd love to find a place where we could actually hear each other talk, since even those of us who are local don't get to spend much time together. The restaurant also has to take reservations, since this will most likely be happening on a Friday or Saturday night. And last but not least, we can't break the bank. Max for an entree $18ish, say?

Le Bus has a menu (especially salads) that pleases everyone, but service there can be pretty slow and spotty; I'll fall back on it if I have to, I guess.

Thank you in advance!

Shannon

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  1. It's a shame the two new additions to the Manayunk dining scene aren't open yet. Agiato (An Italian cafe/wine bar from Chef Joseph Scarpone of Sovalo) and Rubb BBQ (Matt Levin from Lecroix) are both scheduled to open in late October.

    Until then, there aren't a ton of options. Have you tried Chabaa Thai or Mango Moon? Both of these are nice restaurants, and you could probably find something simple on the menu for the kids.

    1. If Andorra isn't too far out of the way (Ridge Ave. all the way down to the border w/ Plymouth Meeting), then you could check out either Maria's or Cassielli's. Both are old-school Italian places. Great food and atmosphere at both. I'm pretty sure they take reservations at both places -- I went to Maria's once for a work Christmas party that had over 20 people in attendance.

      I'm not sure about a kid's menu, but these places are completely family friendly, so I'm sure they can make something nice for the young ones.

      I'm not sure about the entree prices, but your $18 limit sounds just about right for each place.

      1. I think the Manayunk Brewing company would fit your bill with respect to price point and a large crowd pleasing menu. I have eaten there at catered parties and their food was good. I am unsure of the noise level on a Friday or Saturday night, but you are always much better off going for an early dinner on weekend nights for less noise and crowds. You could ask them if they have a quieter area that they could seat you in.

        1. You could always go to Fatty's in Wyndmoor or Roberto's in Erdenheim

          2 Replies
          1. re: Den

            I love Chabaa Thai, but it might not be the best option if you have kids who want more standard food, as well as other picky eaters...

            The atmosphere of anything in Manayunk on a Friday/Saturday night is not particularly family friendly, so I might avoid the area all together - Main Street is like a giant frat party.

            Franco's Trattoria on Ridge Ave in East Falls is nice, basic Italian food in a quiet dining room - it'd be great for conversation and easy to find something for everyone, but it's at the upper edge of your price bracket - $15ish for pasta dishes, $19ish for meat entrees.

            http://www.francostrattoria.net/index...

            Earth Bread and Brewery in Mt. Airy could be another option that's not too far. It's mostly inexpensive flatbread pizzas, but there are some interesting topping options and a couple of nice salads and specials each night. It's a brewery, but it's been very family friendly when I've been there.

            http://www.earthbreadbrewery.com/brea...

            1. re: PhillyA

              Paul Roller in Chestnut Hill might be able to meet your needs.

          2. Thank you! You guys are awesome.

            PhillyA, I agree with you about Manayunk on weekend nights - that was another thing counting against Le Bus. Mt. Airy is such a beautiful neighborhood and I've never heard of Earth Bread Brewery. Flatbread pizzas and salads could be perfect, and I'm going to check it out whether we have this dinner there or not. I've eaten at Franco's a couple times, but always as a very "datey" dinner with my boyfriend, so I didn't even consider it as an option. And somehow in my mind it had become more expensive than the prices you mentioned, so it's definitely in the running, especially since everybody can find something they like at an Italian restaurant.

            ------------------non food-related sidebar-----------------------------------------------------------------------
            My sister's husband is in the Army, and they've had several postings in Europe. In her experience, not all European cultures are particularly tolerant of young children, and for a few years over there, she had two girls under the age of six. When she and the girls were hungry and having a long day and she saw an Italian restaurant, she always made a beeline for it because she knew that her little girls would be welcomed and fussed over and she could relax. To this day (the girls are now teenagers), she has very warm fuzzy feelings about Italian restaurants.
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            MrMarcellus (Wallace, perhaps?) I'm so happy to hear that there will be two of my favorite kinds of places coming to the neighborhood! As far as BBQ, we were fairly pleased with Tommy Gunn's, and then when Phoebe's opened walking distance away our heads almost exploded. We still haven't tried Smoke up on Ridge, and now there's a fourth? The bf's birthday is just before Thanksgiving - maybe we'll put some candles in a pulled pork sandwich...

            Greggulator, Andorra is not too far and do you know I have driven past Maria's and Casselli's a million times now and have yet to go to either one? It's very promising that you have personal experience of being part of a large party at Maria's. I will check into the prices and, as per the non-food sidebar above, you can't go wrong with Italian, especially since my sister and her daughters are coming up from semi-rural Virginia. Not much Italian there.

            the hungrything, I love love love the Manayunk Brewing Company when the weather is warm enough to sit outside (best outdoor seating by far in Manayunk/Roxborough) and I'm knocking back a few with my friends, but I think you're right about the noise level on a weekend night. I may have to save this place for when my raucous girlfriends and I need a scenic place to enjoy a brew!

            Den, Fatty's is already a standby for the part of the family that lives near Chestnut Hill, so I want to take them someplace different. I don't know anything about Roberto's, though, so I'll have to look into it.

            kb612, I have heard about Roller's forever and still haven't managed to drag my sorry self up there! Pathetic. I think the Chestnut Hill family may have been there a couple times - I will check with them.

            Again, thank you all so much! The Hounds always come through for me.

            Shannon