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Jun 29, 2010 12:50 PM

Looking for great spot for dinner this weekend, help!

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. 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

      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

        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

          Ok, a little cheaper than I was meaning.

      1. re: Buckethead

        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

          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

            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. 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

            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

              Anyone know anything about 20 Manning?

          2. 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. 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.