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Feb 26, 2010 06:53 AM

Traditional menu, good service, quiet atmosphere, moderate price - Looking for ideas

Hi all, I'm going to the flower show with my 85 year old grandmother next week. I'm trying to think of a good spot to take her. My criteria are something like this:

Good, sophisticated but not overly adventurous food (Lacroix, eg, is a bit too modern)
Traditional menu - no small plates or family style
Good service
DInner plates in the $20-25 region, give or take

It sounds like a tall order but she enjoyed Bistrot La Minette when we took her there, which pretty much nailed this combo even though its on the higher side price wise. She'd love Parc if it wasn't insanely loud. Places like Capitol Grill, Estia, Fountian, etc would be perfect except for the high price tags.

Cuisine type is flexible, including ethnic, as long as there is variety on the menu. Location is not especially important as we will be cabbing it; can go a little bit out of Center City. This will be a weekday. BYOB is ok. Chains are fine for this one.


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    1. re: Bigley9

      Are you aware that Estia has a 3 course prix fixe for $30? That's what I would do.

      1. re: rocknroll52

        Your $30 Estia idea was like reading my mind...just so they know that it is only offered at lunchtime. IMO it's an absolute getting better than RW all the time.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          WE also like Farmacia -- and we're pretty old, as well.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            Estia offers a $30 prix-fixe pre-theater dinner. Choices are limited, of course

            1. re: k_marie

              Is the pre-theater dinner only offered at a particular time?

              1. re: barryg

                I'm not seeing the info on the Estia website, but I believe the pre-theater prix-fixe is offered 5 - 7 pm. Be sure to give them a call to verify.

      2. What about Meritage? Are they all small plates these days?
        BYOBs: Matyson, Pumpkin? I would say Kanella, but it might be a smidge too loud.

        If she would enjoy Indian, maybe Palace at the Ben. It is a little more serene there, well appointed, good service.

        I haven't been yet, but what about Fish? Paul?

        Trip to West Philly for the White Dog?

        1 Reply
        1. re: urbanfabric

          Meritage has small and large plates, but it might still be a bit expensive and/or funky.

          I'd say a classy Italian BYOB might be the way to go. Entrees typically in the $20s (less for pasta), starters from standard salads to more unusual, etc. I know my grandmother enjoyed Caffe Casta Diva, and Branzino is a favorite of mine. If you go for an early dinner seating at either it's not loud at all, and the menus are largely Italian classics (but not red gravy).

        2. If she's okay with stairs, Bistro Romano seems to fit your criteria. They have a bar,

          Enjoyed a meal there tonight with people who'd lived in Philadelphia for over ten years, and were amazed they'd never heard of this place. Those long time restaurants seem to fly under the radar of our busy restaurant scene.

          This is for dinner, right?

          1. We go out frequently with people in this age range.

            The number one favorite is Prime Rib. Lovely ambience, soft piano playing, comfortable, not noisy and delicious food and fine service. There is always a Stimulus Menu (you ask for it) for $35.00. It is three courses, and the entree choices include filet, prime rib, salmon, and others.

            Branzino would be a good choice for a BYOB - also excellent food and nice atmosphere.
            Ask to be seated upstairs - just a few steps, and prettier.

            Nan, at 40th and Chestnut, is another excellent BYOB. Although it is French/Thai, there are many entree selections that would be suitable - great fish, lamb chops, etc.

            Noise level is an important factor. A constant din can spoil the evening.

            Estia is too noisy. Caffe Casta Diva has an impossible noise level.

            1. Thanks for the excellent recs everyone. As it turns out, Grandma is not feeling up for walking the Flower Show this year. But this thread is still really valuable and I will certainly be trying out these options next time we eat in the city with her.