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Nov 30, 2009 06:33 PM

Recs for a nonthreatening Christmas Eve dinner?

Courtesy posting: my aunt is taking her aged mother out to dinner on Christmas Eve. Said aunt is from New York City and has no idea where to take Aged Mother.

--Nothing too adventurous, cuisine-wise; Aged Mother is leery of things as exotic as sushi.
--Located in Center City, the closer to Rittenhouse Sq., the better. (A short cab ride is also doable.)
--Not too beef/meat centered. Fish is the preferred protein, but again, sushi is over the line.
--Nice decor--Aged Mother appreciates a sleek look. Modern is preferable to frou-frou, but no place where the lack of ambience is outweighed by the quality of the food. (I will never understand this, but yes, Virginia, decor is just as important as the food.) Aunt said: "like the lobby of a W hotel, or something."
--QUIET--we were at Parc and both Aunt and Aged Mother found the noise level bothersome and unwanted.
--Needs to be open on Christmas Eve.
--Both Aunt and Aged Mother are sort of birdlike eaters. Heartier, more rustic fare is not what they're after.

I suggested Tinto, Estia, and 10 Arts, though I haven't been to any of those, and haven't lived in Philadelphia for a few years now. Where else might fit the bill?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I have to say my first thought was Estia

    1. Before I got to the end of your post, I was also thinking of Estia. It seems perfect. I haven't been to 10 Arts, but a friend recently went and loved it. Branzino is a lovely, quiet BYOB near Rittenhouse. It isn't sleek, but the upstairs room is very pretty.

      1. All good recs, and I agree with the choice of Estia, but I don't think they are open for Christmas eve. XIX (restaurant on the nineteenth floor of the Bellevue) also came to mind but I think they are closed, too. Take a look at Open Table to see who is accepting reservations. After a quick scan of the list:

        Lacroix in the RIttenhouse Hotel might fit the bill atmosphere and food wise (definitely location) but their menu can be somewhat intimidating; I would call first and see what they have planned for Christmas Eve.

        The atmosphere and decor at Barclay Prime is probably exactly on point, but it is a steakhouse. They do have some fish on the menu, though.

        Alma De Cuba has a nice modern atmosphere. They can ignore the ceviche and order non-intimadating dishes. It can get loud, though, and may be more "hip" than "modern."

        10 Arts is open, but I have never been there.

        The Charthouse, McCormick & Schmick's, and Roy's are also open and may be suitable (I know they all have a lot of seafood, at least) but I don't know too much about them.

        1. I wouldn't rec Tinto based on your specifications. Too cramped and noisy on my one experience there, and while the tapas-style might work for light appetites I'm not sure it wouldn't be too adventurous.

          What about Devon on Rittenhouse Square? Maybe not the most exciting place around, but more than serviceable seafood in my experience, and the room is big and kind of has a classic vibe.

          1. I've done Lacroix for Christmas Eve in the past and found it lovely. It's modern, comfortable, and not noisy. They had their usual menu that evening.