Water Works Restaurant's food acceptable?
We want to visit Fairmount Park and thinking about Water Works Restaurant for lunch because of its view and location. However, is the food acceptable? By acceptable I mean tasty with fresh ingredients, doesn't have to be fancy but not "lame hotel restaurant" food either (if you know what I mean).
Any alternatives while we're in the part?
Thanks in advance.
I live in walking distance to the Water Works Restaurant and have been there a few times. The food smacks precisely of "lame hotel restaurant food" and is accompanied by unnecessarily snooty service. I would also recommend dining East of the river and then getting on to the Schuylkill River path where it meets Locust, Walnut, Chestnut or Market Street. Meme is a convenient option. If you go there, definitely order the mussels!
Water Works is fine. Very nice ambience - ask to sit with a view of the river.
That would be the place to walk north along the river, if that's how you plan to see the park. If you have a car, driving would let you see more.
There is a decent little cafe in the Perelman Annex to the Art Museum. You can sit outside there if the weather is suitable.
There is no amazing place in the Fairmount area for lunch. I recently had quite a nice lunch at Jack's Firehouse on Fairmount Avenue, but it's not worth a special trip.
If I were you, I'd probably hit Cafe Lutecia or Ants Pants Cafe for a casual lunch then walk to the Schuylkill Banks trail entrance near 25th & Spruce, then walk along the river up to the Water Works (the general area behind the art museum, not the restaurant specifically). This assumes you are comfortable with a 1.5mile walk or so. You can also continue beyond the Water Works along the Kelly Drive trail, which is very nice.
Even closer to the trail entrance, and a better restaurant, is Meme, which is open for lunch on Thursdays and brunch on Sundays. If that works with your plans, I'd go there.
The view at WW restaurant is nice, but I've never been there. Whenever I ride past it on the trail, it seems pretty sporadic whether they have the outdoor seating setup or not.