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Looking for great spot for dinner this weekend, help!

astamm Jun 29, 2010 12:50 PM

I'm a chef in NYC going to Philly to meet up with my mom for dinner (she's there for a convention). I'm looking for a great spot for dinner Saturday night, nothing too pricey but not to down and dirty either, just really great food, market driven would be nice. I saw some good suggestions on other posts Fond, Osteria, Fish, but looking for something a tad more reasonable. Any suggestions?

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  1. f
    Fiona RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 12:56 PM

    Hi- I really enjoy Osteria and I think you can eat there pretty reasonably if you order carefully - the staff is very good about diners sharing plates. When we go we have three courses but share at least two of them. Good luck and enjoy your dinner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fiona
      astamm RE: Fiona Jun 29, 2010 01:04 PM

      Thanks, but I'm really so good at budgeting myself at restaurants! I always want to try as much as possible. You have any other suggestions?

      Also, I didn't mention what area we'd be in. . .we will be downtown near the convention center. Although we would be willing to travel if it were a fairly short public transport or cab away.

      1. re: astamm
        barryg RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 01:12 PM

        Fond's entrees are in the low to mid twenties and BYOB. If that is too much and you like to try a lot of different things, you will probably be best served by hitting a spot in Chinatown (walkable from Convention Center) or Little Saigon (South Philly, short cab/bus ride). A lot of these spots have poor ambiance and brusque service, however. Rangoon (Burmese) and Vietnam (take a guess) in Chinatown are nice compromises of price/atmosphere. In South Philly I like Nam Phuong (Vietnamese) where the food is a bit less watered down and the prices are lower.

        You could also hit a good gastropub for reasonable fair. You could eat two courses per person at Good Dog, Village Whiskey (both walkable), Standard Tap (cab), or Pub & Kitchen (long walk/short cab) for under $20pp (for food) I think if you stick to app + sandwich. Of those places I think ST has the cheapest good beer. These places get a bit crowded and service *usually* good, but have comfortable atmospheres.

        1. re: barryg
          astamm RE: barryg Jun 29, 2010 01:18 PM

          Ok, a little cheaper than I was meaning.

    2. b
      Buckethead RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 01:10 PM

      Can you define "too pricey"?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Buckethead
        astamm RE: Buckethead Jun 29, 2010 01:15 PM

        The restaurants I mentioned above were just a shade over what I'm looking for (just entering into the place where my midwestern mom would get that shocked uncomfortable look on her face when opening the menu, which is exactly what I want to avoid). I'm think $10 and under apps, $20 and under entrees, about.

        1. re: astamm
          barryg RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 01:20 PM

          If the only concern is the shock factor and not the actual dollars, you could hit a small plates spot like Amada, Tinto, Meritage, or Amis. Then at least you will delay the shock until the end of the meal, when hopefully everyone is happy and content.

          1. re: astamm
            Bigley9 RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 01:21 PM

            Consider Fork (only look at recent reviews - chef changed about 1 year ago) in Old City (walk), and Le Virtue in South Phila (short cab) - oh and maybe August, also in South Phila but off the "Avenue" (that would be Passyunk)

        2. caganer RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 01:20 PM

          Kanella is a very good, market-drive, byob, Greek Cypriot restaurant that is 4 blocks from the convention center. Starters go for under $10 and mains for, mostly, under $25. Lots of people, including reviewers, really like this place.

          2 Replies
          1. re: caganer
            Buckethead RE: caganer Jun 29, 2010 01:31 PM

            I agree, Kanella is the best place near there that (mostly) meets your price constraints. The entrees range from $18 - $25, the apps top out at $9.

            Also sort of near there is Aqua, a Malaysian/Thai place. They make great fresh tofu there.

            1. re: Buckethead
              astamm RE: Buckethead Jun 29, 2010 01:52 PM

              Anyone know anything about 20 Manning?

          2. s
            sylviag RE: astamm Jun 29, 2010 03:15 PM

            One of our favorites is a charming place called August. It's at 13th and Wharton and would be a short cab ride.
            Their current menu is $10 small plates, about twenty choices and all delicious. Two of these are what I order. They also have kept some old favorites on the menu, and some of these might be about $20. We do like to share a homemade pie for dessert.
            You can see their menu online. It is byob and cash only.
            Uh oh - just remembered - this might be their vacation time.

            We think LeVirtu is terrific. We share their Misto appetizer platter - different and excellent - and usually get a pasta. If it's a pleasant evening, outside in the garden is lovely.
            It would be a cab ride, farther than August.

            Valanni has small plates and the food is terrific. However, it is lively and gets very noisy. The back room is quieter. It's walking distance. Check out the menu.

            I know we are in the minority but we weren't crazy about Kanella - found it uneven, and crowded and too loud for us. I think Fork would be too expensive. If you decide on Chinatown, we like Vietnam Palace which is attractive and has good food.

            1. vicarious RE: astamm Jun 30, 2010 08:36 AM

              From your description, I think that Meritage would be perfect. If you don't mind a BYOB, Salento would also be a good choice. I like the food at Kanella, but the noise last Saturday was deafening.

              1. joluvscards RE: astamm Jun 30, 2010 01:12 PM

                Modo Mio has a great tourista menu. $35 for 5 courses. Good, not phenomenal. The only problem is that the dining room gets really noisy.

                How bout Radicchio. Wonderful Italian at 4th and wood. It's byo too. No reservations.

                Bar Ferdinand on 2nd near Girard has wonderful tapas much lower price point than Amada and I think the food is just as good it has a nice atmosphere.

                2 Replies
                1. re: joluvscards
                  astamm RE: joluvscards Aug 12, 2010 07:46 PM

                  BTW went with Kanella and it was fantastic, exactly what I wanted. . .delicious, fresh, interesting without being trending. . .as for the people that thought it too loud. . .I'm a New Yorker, anything much quieter than that and I get nervous!

                  1. re: astamm
                    Buckethead RE: astamm Aug 13, 2010 06:13 AM

                    Excellent! Thanks for reporting back.

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