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Oct 11, 2009 01:46 PM

Best Restaurants in Philly for a gift

Hello again Philly 'hounds.
I came up with something different than originally planned for my brother-in-law's wedding gift. My husband and I are now thinking that we'll get them gift certificates to 3 different top philly restaurants. We'd like to spend a total of $300 on the gift certificates. We are thinking we could do one high end, one medium price, and one lower end price. The gift certificates amount wouldn't necessarily be for $100/each. Though 3 high end places might be what we end up with; we are not exactly sure how we are going to do this. I guess ideally I would like at least one of the restaurants to be one that is pretty pricey (and good).
I'm not from the area and I know nothing about it, so I'll really need some help here! I don't really know the price ranges, so if you have any suggestions on how to split up the certificates, I am open to opinions.

The only restriction is that his fiancee is moving toward becoming a vegetarian (though I believe she still eats fish), so there would have to be vegetarian options. Otherwise, they are adventurous eaters and not very picky. They live in the Washington Square area, though I believe they have a car, so they can travel.


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  1. Not from Philly, but have eaten there a lot. Vetri, near Rittenhouse Square, a high end Italian, perhaps the best in the country, is one of my favorite restaurants--anywhere. I've been three times and been wowed every time. Planning another trip there in the spring. Check out the menu on-line. I think even a vegetarian could find happiness eating at Vetri. (And most places are quite willing to accommodate vegetarians with a little notice.)

    4 Replies
      1. re: nomadchowwoman

        If you do Vetri, I would just put the whole $300 towards it and let them do the tasting menu and get a nice bottle of wine or do a wine pairing. Even that may not cover the whole bill if they go all out. However, I am not sure it will be worth the money if one of the diners does not eat meat, although they will surely accommodate.

        Other high end options (where you could do $150-200 and they would have a great meal with wine):

        1. re: barryg

          If your soon-to-be SIL eats fish, Vetri does that beautifully too. I've had it. And the gnocchi are other-worldly.
          My husband and I spent about $200 there the last time. You could spend more if you really splurge on wine, of course--as anywhere--but we were very, very happy on our $200.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            Definitely include HOrizons in your gift package. While vegatarian, it is superb, for meat eaters as well as vegetarians. Fiancee will be charmed at your thoughtfulnes, but BIL will love it also.

      2. The only food gift certificate I've ever received was a card good towards any Steven Starr restaurant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mrslloyddobler

          You can also get certificates for the Garces Restaurant Group so they could go to Amada, Tinto, or wherever they choose.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            This would be my preferred option :) LOVE LOVE LOVE Amada!!!

        2. These are all great. Maybe we will just split it into two certificates.

          One that I was considering is Morimoto. Any thoughts on that?

          3 Replies
          1. re: DanielleW

            morimoto is covered by the starr card and is delicious, easily one of my favie restaurants in philly even though i am not a fan of the concept restaurant so to speak.

            if you buy a starr card, i recommend making your other gc payable to a nice intimate byo. this will make a nice contrast and is a very appropriate thing to do in byo-laden philadelphia. orrrr.....maybe one to beau monde if they've never been. great brittany-style creperie for vegetarians and meat-eaters.

            1. re: mazza3

              IF you're not sure what the recipients like, there's a lot of advantages to a Starr card and a Garces card. We've received both, and enjoyed both. and they're less likely to go under in the next few months.
              Where do they live?
              I'd be into getting a certificate to one of the out-of-the-way fancy places, like the birchrunville place, because I know I'd *never* wind up there otherwise.

            2. re: DanielleW

              I used my gc at Morimoto's and got their omakase. It was a splurge that I wouldn't have given myself had it not been for the gc. Do a quick search and you'll find some great reviews.

            3. Just a word of caution about restaurant gift certificates in general. Tell the recipients to use them right away. If the restaurant happens to close before they do, you will most likely be out the money you spent.

              As for Vetri, I understand that you can make a reservation there for someone else and have the bill charged to your credit card if you want to go that way.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Philly Ray

                If you opt for a Steven Starr card (which I suggest you do!) they have loads of options, and they can be used anywhere - I can't imagine all of his places would go out of business in the same year - he has what, 8, 10? in the area (including 2 in AC as well!) We have used a SS GC for a wedding gift a few times, and have always been praised for it :) good luck!

              2. If I were you I'd give them $100 at each these:

                1. Horizons for the budding vegetarian. They will probably spend a little more than $100 depending on what they have to drink but in my view that's preferable to them having $10 left over on a GC and feeling like they need to go back.

                2. Zahav. Again, the price may go over $100 but it's kind of up to them as far as what they have to drink. I usually get the $36 Ta'yim prix fixe and that's plenty of food and you taste a wide variety of dishes: the 8 salads, laffa and hummus, 2 small plates, 1 large plate, and dessert.

                3. Bibou, but only if the fiancee still eats fish, because there are no vegetarian entrees. There are usually one or two seafood-based entrees though, and everything is excellent. It's BYOB, price would probably be right around $100 for two apps, entrees, and desserts.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Buckethead

                  I was just at Bibou this weekend, and 2 apps, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, and 2 coffees came to $120 with tax and tip.

                  And while there are no vegetarian entrees, we saw a woman at a nearby table be served a vegetarian plate made specially for her (I do not know if they had called ahead or simply mentioned it when they arrived). It appeared to be an assortment of many of the sides/accompaniments to the other dishes, with maybe something else thrown in. She seemed to LOVE it.