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May 19, 2010 05:21 AM

Special Night Out in Philly


I'm trying to come up with a restaurant to give a gift certificate to my parents as a gift. Looking for something fancier than they would typically go to themselves, so that it would be something special. While they've loved the Four Seasons, I'd like it if it was a place a little bit more modern and with a more adventurous menu. Any suggestions?

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  1. My first thought was a Vetri place, Vetri being the fanciest. What about Amada, Tinto, or Zahav? Are they fancier than what they'd do themselves?

      1. A French meal at Meme might be a nice adventure. There's also Cafe Spice which is a trendy Indian restaurant, and the food is very good.


        1. What kind of food do they like? What kind of place do they "typically" go to?

          For modern cuisine in an upscale atmosphere, LaCroix is a great choice.

          For a more modern atmosphere with excellent food, I'd suggest either Osteria (a Vetri place) or a gift certificate for the Garces Restaurant Group, giving them the choice of Amada, Tinto, Chifa, or Distrito (probably also Village Whiskey, but that's more of a bar). Of those, I'd choose Amada or Tinto for a more special experience, though I personally love the food at Distrito.

          There are also several excellent BYOBs which have terrific food and a somewhat more casual atmosphere. You could get them a nice bottle of wine and send them to Bibou.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

            Thanks for the suggestions. I'm thinking maybe Verti or LaCroix. I want something fancy enough that it feels like a special night, but don't really want the formality of anywhere where a jacket is required. As far as food, they often tend to go to more traditional restaurants, but when they come up to visit me in NY they always love when I bring them somewhere that's a little bit more modern, in terms of mixing up different types of cuisines. Indian might not be the best, because my mom dislikes spicy food, and while I've taken her out for it before I have to be very careful what I order for her.

            Random question, do any of these places give out gift certificates? I guess I've done it before in NY, and it seems easier, but there's nowhere online to order them. I've tried e-mailing so we'll see if I get any responses.

            1. re: frohotch

              I would go with LaCroix. Vetri has excellent food, but it is a very subdued atmosphere - I think LaCroix would feel more special. You could mention that brunch at LaCroix is really wonderful. We use that as a special occasion time. Although LaCroix is in the Rittenhouse Hotel - which is elegant - very few men were wearing jackets for brunch. I'm not sure about dinner, although I know they are not required.

              If they like fish and seafood, Fish is terrific. We just gave someone a gift certificate to Fish. However, it is strictly fish and seafood there. Meritage has an unusual and creative menu, and is also casual. You can look at these menus online.

              Great gift, by the way!

              1. re: sylviag

                Fish isn't strictly fish and seafood, it is very much seafood but not strictly. they're currently running a dish that is clams and pork (shoulder?) with only about 3 clams in it and a pile of slow cooked pork. and the menu does mention at the bottom that if you're interested in a non-seafood dish they will accomodate you with advance notice. fish is great... if i could only eat one thing every day for the rest of my life... that truffled spaetzle with parmesan broth makes the short list.

                i do find the setting and service (while very good) a bit too casual though for a special night out.

              2. re: frohotch

                Vetri is a fantastic restaurant, very small and intimate with impeccable food. That said, it is quite traditional both in terms of amosphere and food. I don't know if they give out gift certificates, but I do know that you can call and have them put the meal on your credit card so all your parents have to do is show up. Osteria is Vetri's somewhat more casual place. It has a livelier, slightly more hip vibe and the food mixes it up a bit, though it is still fairly traditional Italian. It's a great place for a special occasion, I think.

                It sounds like they would like Amada or Tinto, and you can definitely get a gift certificate online:


                You might also look into Zahav, which is upscale, Israeli inspired small plates.

                LaCroix is the most "modern" in the sense that they engage in molecular gastronomy. It is definitely a more formal restaurant, which isn't my thing, but could be nice for a special occasion.

                1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                  I thought La Croix was meh, but I go big in Paris most of the time, not Philly.

                  I've never been to Vetri, but Mark's an old friend, so I opt for giving him your money.