hi - I'm originally from philly, haven't lived there in years... so my knowledge on great restaurants is non-existent. i'm visiting philly for a bachelorette evening in mid-january during the week. not the cheesy, corny, male stripper bachelorette evening, but more of an amazing restaurant experience, great food & wine, followed by a comedy club & maybe some bar hopping. there's about 8-10 people going. i'm looking for mid level affordable type of restaurant. italian, french, american (no steakhouses) - cheaper is always nice, but if i have to splurge, i'll totally do it. i'm looking into manayunk, center city, old city, rittenhouse square areas.
i've gotten some recommendations so far that all sound amazing - Supper, Melograno, La Viola & Meritage. I want to hear what fellow chowhounders recommend, and if i'm on the right track w/ my list, and should just pick one of those.
thanks for your help!
Melograno is one of my favorites (and it's basically across the street from Helium Comedy Club so that hits two in one). It's mid-range in terms of price but it is BYOB, which will certainly help you out monetarily.
La Viola is fun and delicious but can feel small in my opinion.
Another option, though perhaps a bit more off the beaten path than you may want, is Bistro La Minnette at 6th and Bainbridge. It's charming and the food is fantastic.
If I were you I'd just pick Meritage, it's close enough to Rittenhouse for the after-dinner party, it's right across the street from a good bar (Pub and Kitchen), and the food is very good. I tried a bunch of the 'snack' plates at Meritage recently and I would happily eat any of them again.
I'll go back to this well time and time again: Amada. IMO the most consistently great restaurant in Philly. I just had another meal with 8 people there and it was spectacular. It is a bit of a splurge, but worth it. Just do the $45pp tasting menu, add wine pairings if you want, and let them bring out plate after delicious plate. Lots of fun and the food is great.
Reservations can be a bit tough so book ASAP.
I'll second Bistro La Minette esp because they have a side room that seats about 18 that they might be able to give you. Another splurge would be James on 8th st just above Christian, they also have a small side room thye might be able to make available for you. Also, I love Beau Monde right across from Bistro La Minette, inexpensive, liquor license, fire place and a menu for all. Meritage has gotten great reviews in it's new incarnation!
I always think Swanky Bubbles is a great choice for bachelorette dinners. I've been there for bachelorette dinners twice (and for dinner in general countless times). Admittedly, there are better, more "chow-worthy" restaurants in the city....but Swank Bubbles is a really fun place for bachelorette dinners. They specialize in champagne drinks, which gives a celebratory feel. The entire menu is served family style so sharing is encouraged which is fun. Don't be put off by the menu, which has a lot of Asian items...there are a lot of great options for everyone.
Also, it's on Front Street between Market and Chestnut so the Old City bars are just a block away.
thank you to everyone for your suggestions! i really appreciated it. we ended up going to Bistro La Minette for their $45/person french family style dinner. the people that worked there were wonderful and very attentive. each course was delicious. the only dish no one really liked was the chicken-liver mousse, but that's just our taste buds. everything else we ate was delicious. it almost seemed like they took american dishes and cooked them in a french style, with the hash brown potatoes, the potato salad & green beans. the only complaint, if u can even call it that was that they took a really long time to get our drink order when we first got there, but maybe that was b/c only half our party was there, and they wanted to give us more time? who knows. right now i'm craving their cheese puffs! so light and delicous! at the very end of our meal, they sent over a plate of dark chocolates congratulating the bride. everyone that went was happy w/ the place. next time i go back to philly, i wanna try all of your other recs. i had no idea the restaurant scene in philly has gotten this good!