Recs needed for getaway weekend
Please help these two new parents who used to be foodies but haven't been out to dinner in ages! We've never been to Philly, and are taking a "getaway" weekend there in Nov. We love all kinds of cuisine, and will be staying in the downtown Marriott on 12th and Market. We'll ahve our car, but prefer to stay central unless we're going somewhere amazing.
We're looking for something special, but not too pretentious or fancy, with entrees that tend to fall below $30.
$30 entrees are pretty rare in our city, thankfully. How many days/dinners/lunches do you need? There are quite a few fantastic places very close to your hotel. Some of them are BYO, so you may need to go to the nearest state liquor store, which is on Chestnut between 12th and 13th. You should also pop in to Capogiro at 13th and Sansom for some gelato at some point, the quality there has been a little unreliable lately but it's still worth checking out if you've never been here.
Kanella, 10th and Spruce, is one of the best BYOs in the city (best restaurants, really), it's Cypriot cuisine. They also do a fantastic lunch/brunch menu on the weekends. You should not miss Kanella.
Barbuzzo, 13th and Sansom, is the newest (and best, though I've only been there once) place by a couple who have a few other highly-regarded places in this neighborhood. It's Italian. Get the budino dessert and the pig popcorn. I'd recommend it any day of the week over Amis, Marc Vetri's newest place a few blocks south. Lolita, their Mexican place, is pretty good too and is BYO.
Rangoon, 9th and Arch, is a Burmese restaurant, you don't see many of those around. Get the firecracker lentil fritters and the thousand-layer bread.
If you don't mind walking a little further, some other great places include Zahav (my favorite restaurant in the city, they have a $36 prix fixe that is all the food you'll want), Amada or Tinto (Iron Chef Jose Garces' places), and Bibou (French BYO, may already be booked up though). Jose has a place closer to your hotel, Chifa, I'd skip that one though.
All great recs, I would add a burger at Garces' other place, Village Whisky, Tria for yummy snacks, Reading Termial Market.
A couple of good BYO's in Rittenhouse Square area are Branzino, La Viola, and Matyson, which i still have to get to but gets a lot of love on this board.
Have a great time!
To add to Buckethead's Zahav comments above, if you get the prix fixe at Zahav, if you splurge for an extra $6 per person (ordering the "Mesibah" at $42 a person) you also get a fabulous coal grilled lamb shoulder which was truly the highlight of my last meal there. Granted it is a bit pricier than what the OP requested but it's a great meal.
I'd also recommend Amis and have heard good things about Barbuzzo.
And do hit Reading Terminal and Capogiro, of course!
While it's a bit above your price range, I would not miss doing the brunch at LaCroix at the Rittenhouse for a serious foodie getaway. You won't need to eat again the entire day, so that makes it a bit more affordable if you consider that :)
Lovely setting and amazing food, so many different things to choose from and sample.
All good suggestions from posters. Love Zahav...and you can easily be below $30 per depending on how many small plates you order and how much you drink. To my taste they serve the best Cosmo in the city. Amada, also a small plates stop, would allow you to taste many interesting dishes and stay under $30, again depending on you bar bill. I enoy the Oyster House on Samson St.. for the fried oysters and stews. The Reading Farmers market, very near you, is a real trip; very busy with some interesting food choices for a casual snack. My guests always enjoy a drink at the City Tavern either on the back porch and patio or in the front room with the peddal harpsicord. The food there ranges for fair to good but it does have good beers and is a recreation of the Tavern used by the founding fathers when they did their work here a few years ago!
Many great choices available to you, many of which are noted here. Enjoy eating Philly!