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Jul 9, 2010 06:17 AM

Last minute HELP!!!!

We have friends in town from San Francisco and we were planning to have them over to our house and hang out in the backyard and barbecue. Due to likely thunderstorms we have decided to go out to a restaurant instead. We are 8 people and we would like to spend 60 per person or less at a place with comfortable atmosphere that we can have a leisurely paced meal, not be rushed, and eat great food. My husband wanted to call Meme but it is pretty cramped in there with very bright lights and the pace may be quicker than what we are looking for.
I made a reservation at Bar Ferdinand that fits this description pretty well, We will have to bring two cars to town to transport the whole crew to the restaurant . We are trying to think of somewhere else to go where we could walk from their Rittenhouse Square location to the restaurant.
Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  1. Perhaps there is room at Meritage? I haven't been but I keep hearing really good things. An easy walk from Rittenhouse. Or maybe one of the BYOBs in that 'hood: Branzino, La Viola?

    My other thought is much more casual, Percy Street BBQ is spacious, and would easily accommodate a party of 8.

    1 Reply
    1. re: urbanfabric

      Meritage is a good recommendation, it's a little small though so I'd call them ASAP to see if they have room. I wouldn't recommend Percy Street, the food just isn't that great. I'd recommend Brauhaus Schmitz over Percy Street any day of the week. Brauhaus takes reservations for groups of six or more. It's a beer hall, so the atmosphere may be noisier than you're looking for. Percy St. and Brauhaus are both pretty far away from Rittenhouse on foot though.

    2. Bar Ferdinand is great for a group, but it can get pretty noisy. I just looked on opentable, and Branzino has an early reservation (later tomorrow if that's what you are looking for). It is quiet, and reasonably paced, so if you are up for BYO, that would be a good choice.

      I've heard good things about Chichetteria 19, also in Rittenhouse. I haven't tried it, but based on the menu, it looks like the kind of place you could have a long, leisurely meal.

      1. Thanks everyone! I did look at the menu of 19, but I wasnt sure whether the food was good.
        I read some reviews of Chicetteria that the food was not so good.
        Has anyone been to Fogo de Chao? I'm a bit wary of chain restaurants.

        2 Replies
        1. re: thehungrything

          I was there last week and did not think the food was very good at Cichetteria. Some of it was bland (where the flavor was highlighted in the description), meat balls were overcooked or just lacking in any fat or flavor... service was good. But I wouldn't go back for the food.

          1. re: urbanfabric

            I also recently visited Cichetteria and wouldn't recommend it overall. We shared 8 of the small plates and only two (the pate and the arancini) were things I'd want to eat again. Also, it was 90 degrees out and they had the front of the restaurant totally open to the street, so it was uncomfortably hot inside. We would have gone elsewhere just because of that but it was prime dinner time on a Friday. They had a good wine list though.

            ETA: I just realized that you may be talking about two different restaurants: Nineteen (aka XIX), on the 19th floor of the Bellevue hotel, and Cichetteria 19. Nineteen *is* good.

            Fogo is pretty good for what it is, which is a meatery. Dinner is a flat $50 per person though, so unless nobody drinks anything you'll blow your $60pp price point.

        2. Another suggestion - Prime Rib, which is close by - 17th Street.
          They have their Stimulus menu; for $35 you get an excellent three-course dinner with entree choices that include prime rib, filet, salmon, crab, etc.
          Good choices of appetizer salads and desserts. You can see the menu online. The food is not trendy, but it is excellent.
          It is comfortable, pleasant, and you can sit and talk all night.
          There is no longer any dress code, so you can be comfortable. You can ask for a quiet area.
          I think you do need to ask for the Stimulus menu when you are seated.
          This is an old standby, and everyone always enjoys it. Good drinks, too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sylviag

            I know it's a bit of a hike and may be too fast paced, but we had the Mesibah at Zahav last Friday night and it was a lot of fun. I have eaten at Zahav before and enjoyed it but never had the pleasure digging in to a massive plate of lamb shoulder with family and friends. There was enough lamb for us and then some and it was cooked perfectly....tender and juicy.

            I think it was like $42 p/p and included hummus, salads, smaller plates, dessert, and the Flintstones-sized lamb shoulder. It was worth every cent of it IMO.

            Just an idea....

          2. Funny I was going to recommend Bar Ferdinand. It's worth the drive. Also near BF is Sonata which is BYO and not cramped at all.