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Small, Low-lit, Cozy, Romantic Restaurant Needed!

Here's what I need hounds (and I know Philly very well so anywhere is fine): heading into the city on Jan. 2nd with someone I am trying to rekindle a relationship with. We are going to walk around, see some (post) holiday sites, hopefully stroll arm-and-arm through Rittenhouse Square (or similar venue) and then I want to go to a small, low-lit, cozy, warm and romantic restaurant for dinner where I can sit close to her, look into her eyes, and.....well you get the picture.

BYOB would be really nice but not a necessity. Not uppity or expensive (which will make her uncomfotable) but definitely cozy and romantic. If I have to take a cab to get there (we'll be in center city) then fine. Am thinking of places like: August; Pumpkin; Caffe Casta Diva; Sat/Sun/Mon; etc. Cusine should be straight ahead and comfort food. Thanks for any and all suggestions. If all goes well I'll be a happy man come the new year........

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  1. I can't help, but I am very happy for you!

    1. Mr Martino's Trattoria on East Passyunk is a great date place; it is very cozy and romantic. BYOB Italian. A bonus is that it is really cheap, too. Not sure how close you will be able to sit to her as there are no booths, but it is a really cute place. You can stroll the avenue before or after. Reservations recommended.

      1. It's only semi-cozy, but you might try Salento. If you like Mexican, Tequilas has several rooms and they fit your description of low-lit and cozy; I like the food, too.

        1. Another thought - Tinto. Can't get much more romantic than sharing each other's food. A table downstairs might be just what you're looking for - dim, cozy, more intimate than the ground floor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elaine

            Not really "comfort" food, though...

          2. How about Littlefish or Bibou?

            1 Reply
            1. re: JanR

              With the open kitchen, Little Fish gets a little chaotic, but Bibou would be nice. BYOB, takes reservations, and the owners are charming. It is a little tight in there, but I suspect if you specified that you wanted a table along the wall or the one in the corner, it would be lovely.

            2. I'd say no on Pumpkin - good food but very cramped and not much of any atmosphere to speak of. I'd probably vote for Friday Saturday Sunday - points all around on atmosphere, comfort food, and price point.

              1. I haven't been there for a while, but from what I remember, Friday Saturday and Sunday would be your best choice.
                I seem to remember sitting on comfortable cushions - or something soft and cushiony - and the lights weren't too bright. You could ask them in advance for a nice, private spot.
                The food has always been very good, and the noise level is not bad.

                We stopped going to Casta Diva because it is horribly noisy. It is also pretty bright.
                We are fond of August, but I think F, S and S would be even better for this occasion.

                1. Matyson has just what you are looking for: cozy, small, low lit and it's a BYOB and more importantly the food is delicious. It's right near Rittenhouse Square so you won't have to cab it.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: christie21

                    Thank you for MANY great suggestions. Fri/Sat?sun does sound good and Matyson is a good idea too. Mr. Martino's sounds good as does Tequila. ILemme throw one more out there and get some opinions on it please. What do people think of Chick's Wine Bar? Sounds low-lit and romantic, of course not BYOB but good choice of wine-by-the-glass and the food sounds good. Opinions? Thanks!

                    1. re: Schpsychman

                      Although Matyson is one our favorites, it can be a little too noisy to be romantic. Fri/Sat/Sun is a better atmosphere - but we haven't been there in a loooong time. If you try Chick's or Bibou let us know what you think - they're both on my "need to try" list!

                      1. re: SailorEd

                        Bibou is wonderful and suits one's needs perfectly, but I highly doubt you would be able to make reservations there at this point unless it's at 5pm or 9pm.

                        FWIW, Alan Rickman just named Bibou one of the top 10 new restaurants in America. So book early.

                        1. re: Boognish

                          Alan Richman - Food Journalist
                          Alan Rickman - Evil Dude from Die Hard and Robin Hood

                          ;))

                          1. re: Philly Ray

                            Damn, I was hoping you could tell me Professor Snape's top 10 new restaurants!

                            1. re: urbanfabric

                              hahaha...nice catch. Sorry about that!

                              Although very often, you could combine those two into Alan Richman - Evil Food Journalist, particularly after his NoLa piece.

                              But I'm very happy for Charlotte and Pierre.

                      2. re: Schpsychman

                        I love the food at Matyson but would never consider it a highly romantic spot. Too tightly cramped, a sparsely decorated room...it's all about the food there, definitely not a place I'd go for with heavy romantic intent.

                        1. re: Schpsychman

                          I like Chick's a lot, my husband and I go there regularly. If you can sit in the front room, it's very nice, dimly-lit, good food, good wine list. I think it didn't come to mind because last time we were there, we sat in the back room and were right in the path between the front room, kitchen, and bussing/server station behind us. It was less cozy than previous visits.

                          They take reservations, but you don't usually need one, however, it would be worth it to make one and request the front room.

                            1. re: urbanfabric

                              A bussing station is exactly what the OP is looking for!

                        2. check out the recent post on Meritage - maybe that would be an option!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Bigley9

                            It is a good date place, but there are no booths or anything so you won't be able to slide up next to your partner.

                            I did recently find out that Snackbar has a "secret" booth by the fireplace that is out of sight of the rest of the room. Not a cheap spot, but you can get cozy--or even a bit freaky--if you nab that table.

                          2. Zahav is very open but I went there last Wednesday and it was quiet and cozy and nicely lit.

                            1. My wife and I go to Philly at least two times a year for a little romantic get-away. We have eaten at several of the places mentioned. I would say Friday Saturday Sunday is a great choice especially the Tank Bar upstairs. If you decide not to eat at F/S/S I would still recommend the Tank Bar for drinks before or after dinner.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: dfishhead

                                I hope I don't get flamed for this recommendation, but what about Bistro Romano? I think it's touted as one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. We had a good meal there a couple years back and I keep meaning to return. They have this awesome Caesar salad prepared table side. It wasn't expensive either.

                                1. re: Hellolaura

                                  Yes, the old standby restaurants do not get much play here. Bistro Romano is surely one for the OP to consider. Dining in an old granary at reasonable prices has a lot going for it. Did you know they did a three-course special on Saturday for $19.95 on account of the blizzard?

                                  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food when I went to a Mystery Theatre performance at Bistro Romano in November.

                              2. Definitely Chloe in Old City! It's on Arch between 2nd and 3rd. My boyfriend took me there on our second date and it was amazing! It's exactly what you're asking for: cozy, small, romantic, BYOB, and not pretentious at all! You will not be disappointed; it's an amazing spot!

                                The website is www.chloebyob.com

                                Keep in mind that they don't take reservations and it's cash only.

                                1. So where did you go?