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Dinner for four - BYO or otherwise: Considering Meme, Cochon, Kanelli, Audrey Claire

Hello Philly!

Foodies coming into town for a comedy show at Helium this saturday (Rittenhouse Sq/ Penn Center (according to yelp)). The show starts at 10.30. Looking for excellent eats, any cuisine type. Have read wonderful things about the byo scene -- considering Cochon, Kanelli (if I can get a ressie) and Audrey Claire (same). Also considering Meme (I know its not a byo).

Any other thoughts? We love food, served in a chic but laid back setting. Particularly locally sourced menus. Generally prefer smaller- to medium- sized restaurants, nice/hip (but nothing "exclusive") vibe and of the neighborhood-gem variety over larger, white tablecloth, fanciness.

Flexible re price but would like entree to stick within the mid to upper twenties (or lower, of course).

Any feedback or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Looked into the above, and also:
Alma de cuba
Bibou
Little Fish
Osteria

Ate at Matyson (and quite enjoyed it, but was not blown away) last time I visited.

Thanks!!

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  1. don't know where Helium is.
    if it's near Rittenhouse sq and you don't want to travel too far, you can rule out cochon, little fish, osteria, and bibou. none are too far, but most people wouldn't want to walk it.
    of the remainng, i liked audrey claire more than alma de cuba (which isn't byo, btw). i'll say this, though: it is LOUD.
    it does have a neighborhoody feel, esp. when it's nice out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Loblaw

      For stuff that's reasonably close-by, on the BYO scene, I like Melograno, Branzino and Audrey Claire the best.

      For very good food in a neighborhood setting, you also might want to check out Pub & Kitchen and Meritage. The first is definitely "pub food" but with an upscale twist; the second has a great front bar and excellent food.

      Cichetteria 19 is not far away either and I know they're big on local-sourced foods, and I loved it on my first visit recently. Can get pricey or can be less so depending on what you order, lots of choices from pastas to pizza to whole fish.

    2. I strongly recommend Meme--very solid french-american cooking that dances between rustic and refined, reasonable prices, and a great little wine list, also very reasonably priced. I can't promise you'll be blown away here, but I definitely prefer it to Matyson and at the end of the night it won't have broken the bank.

      Another restaurant to consider, given your interests and location, is Melograno, an Italian BYO in the Rittenhouse area. They don't take reservations on weekends, and the room may get rather loud, but it's still a favorite of mine. They've recently added a website, so you can browse their menu if you like.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nwinkler

        Helium is on Sansom, next to Noble, i think. Melograno is basically across the street and good, but I would have to say I prefer Audrey Claire.
        There are plenty of options in the area though.
        La Viola, Branzino, Meritage(20th and Lombard)........................

      2. Given how late the show is, seems like you could easily eat anywhere and town and still get over there in time. If you want to stay in the neighborhood, I'd go with Meme. If not, Cochon and Kanella are two of my top favorites in the City, I'd recommend either. Cochon is earthy, comfort food; Kanella is incredible flavors, but definitely has more potential to be "lighter" fare if that is important to you; they also both take reservations and I believe that Cochon is on Open Table these days.

        People on this board loooove Audrey Claire, but after a series of mediocre dishes there a few years ago, I took it out of the Meme/Cochon/Kanella category in my mind.

        4 Replies
        1. re: urbanfabric

          urbanfabric, you are not the only one who thinks that Audrey Claire is past its prime.

          1. re: barryg

            Barryg, curious, have you been there lately? Used to think the same thing, but was there twice about 9 months ago and was really good, good flatbreads

            1. re: bonappetite

              I have not been there recently. Maybe it is time to give it another try, thanks for the tip on the flatbreads.

              1. re: barryg

                The flatbreads are awesome, definitely a big reason to eat there.

        2. Kanella, Bibou, and Osteria are the best of the places you're looking at, but you won't get a table for four at Bibou this Saturday. Ditto Osteria (according to Opentable), and Osteria is more pricy/fancy than you're looking for. I'd call Kanella right now if I were you.

          Meme and Cochon are good, not as good as those places but I'd recommend them.

          Audrey Claire and Alma de Cuba are not in the same league.

          I'd also recommend Meritage, at 20th and Lombard.

          1. I would go to Meritage or Fish if you don't mind a bit of a walk. Fish is the new, larger venue of Little Fish and much more comfortable.
            Both excellent food, casual, nice atmosphere.
            I've never been a fan of Audrey Claire - uneven.
            You won't be able to get a reservation at Bibou.