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Restaurant for a group near City Center, Philadelphia

Dear Chowsers,
My very diverse dragon boat team, ages 3 to 69, will need a place to celebrate after the International Dragon Boat Festival in Fairmount Park, October 2. Preferably healthy, distinctively Philadelphia, possibly ethnic, definitely not out of the moderate range, with a liquor license, for group of 20+. Thanks for your suggestions.

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  1. What exactly is your "moderate range" ?

    1 Reply
    1. At that price point, sounds like Vietnamese or Chinese, but I can't come up with a place with a liquor license that would be both good and suitable. Maybe Vietnamese in South Philly?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Bashful3

        Bashful, you wouldn't recommend either Vietnam or Vietnam Palace in Chinatown? While I agree they are not as good as the Vietnamese options in South Philly, they meet the other requirements, and have banquet rooms, and liquor licenses.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Absoutely. No reason why not, but I am not up on who has a liquor license and who doesn't. Good suggestions.

        2. re: Bashful3

          I would recommend Square on Square near 19th and Chestnut. It is Chinese, and while their standard menu gets criticized for being a little "american-ized" on this board, I think that their specials are interesting, well crafted, and exceptionally tasty. They have a liquor license and an upstairs room that would easily accommodate your group. Service is very good.

          We've been going for probably 7 years now and enjoy it every time we go!

          1. re: urbanfabric

            I work in CC, very near Square on Square. Never would have thought of it, urban, but it's certainly a good suggestion -- as are the others mentioned below.

            I like the idea of an Asian restaurant for the Dragon Boat Festival -- wonder if you work that to your advantage when making a reservation.

        3. penang in chinatown serves beer and wine, and ive always enjoyed the food there. slightly nicer ambiance than some of other delicious hole-in-the-walls in chinatown. and they definitely accomodate large groups. i havent been recently though so i cant recommend any specific dishes

          1. Susanetta, I don't know much about the Philadelphia food scene but I had such a nice time at a restaurant on Benjamin Franklin Parkway recently and my bill was very low. I had a glass of white wine, a watercress salad and a noodle dish with peanut sauce. The food and service were excellent. I cannot remember the name but it was across from Strayer University. I sat outside and people-watched but it did have a large dining room inside. Perhaps some other Chowhound will know the place and the reputation. There were other restaurants around me with outside tables too. I walked to this place from the museum and I think that area is considered Center City.
            Your festival sounds fun. I have strolled down by those boathouses. That is a beautiful place!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Sensuous

              I did some googling and the place is called Asia on the Parkway and is not rated very highly, not at all. I may have been lucky that day. I tried to delete my post but was not successful. I hope you find a good place.

              1. re: Sensuous

                Surprised no one has suggested Rangoon. The food is consistently good and they do have a liquor license.

                Everyone I've taken there has enjoyed it. It's not every day one gets to partake of exotic Burmese cuisine.

                1. re: Seeker19104

                  Wow. Rangoon must be great! I have never even heard of some of the food mentioned in this thread.

                  1. re: Sensuous

                    Rangoon is great. I've never had a bad (or even just OK) meal there, and everyone I've ever taken has loved it as well...can't recommend it enough!

            2. How appropriate to have dinner in Chinatown after the Dragon Boat Races! I would recommend Lee How Fook, you could get two of their big round tables with the lazy susans in the middle. It is is your price range, and portions are huge. http://www.leehowfook.com/menu/

              I don't know about the liquor license, but in Philly you can BYOB which is cheaper anyway. Just call ahead to find out whether you need to bring beer/wine along or not.

              1. I suggest Vietnam Palace, on N. 11th Street just south of Vine.
                Pleasant atmosphere, excellent service, and a large menu of very good food.

                We think that Lee How Fook, a longtime favorite, has slipped recently. We didn't enjoy sitting at their large table in the other room, and some of their dishes just didn't seem to be as good.
                Didn't like the atmosphere.

                Vietnam Palace was renovated recently - maybe not that recent - and is light and attractive.
                And yes, they have a liquor license.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sylviag

                  There was chatter on this board recently mentioning the passing of one of the sous chefs at Lee How Fook, and correlating that with a slip in the food quality.

                2. i was thinking illuminare might be a good choice. italian restaurant in fairmount, very accessible from the river (2321 fairmount). pastas are in the $12-$17 range and pizzas are all around $15 (definitely split-able)....some of their entrees are a bit more expensive, but you can eat relatively cheaply here. and they do have a bar....not distinctively philadelphian though, unless you count the fact that we have so much excellent italian food here that good by anyone else's standards italian food is an afterthought. :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mazza3

                    And if it's a nice day, you can sit out on their back patio--very pleasant. In nice weather I always go there when visiting the Art Museum.

                    1. re: gaffk

                      Dear Chowsers!
                      Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions. I will get busy contacting them.