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Looking for a quiet, not too expensive restaurant close to Walnut Street Theater

I'm hosting a dinner for one of the actors at the theater which is located at 825 Walnut Street. He needs to be close so he can run over and get ready before the performance. We could have 10-12 guests with a variety of tastes. I'm more interested in a quiet, private atmosphere with good service than gourmet food, although good, reasonable food would be a plus. A friend who lives in the area has suggested the following. Your comments would be appreciated!

Portofino Italian @13th and Walnut

Marathon Grill 8th and Walnut

Midtown Diner 11th and Sansom

Joe Pesce Italian between 11th and 12th on Walnut

Jones 7th and Chestnut

La Scala Italian @ 7trh and Chestnut

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  1. If the food just has to be decent I'd say just go to Moriarity's Pub and reserve a table upstairs. I don't know how quiet it is, that would depend on what time you go. Food is what you would expect for an Irish pub, something for everyone, atmosphere is comfortable, price is reasonable. If you don't want a pub atmosphere, go to Marathon, similarly moderately priced menu with decent food and something for everyone.

    I think at the other places you will either pay too much for mediocre food/service, or the atmosphere might be unappealing. Jones might be ok, but it's intentionally noisy and drinks are expensive.

    You aren't going to find private dining with good service at a moderate price, at least not right by the theater.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      I thank everyone for their suggestions so far. So far, barryg's suggestion of Marathon seems to fit the bill. It's less than a block from the theater, there is a variety of food to appeal to different tastes, is not too expensive and they seem to be able to accomodate our group (I called and talked to them today). I don't know how quiet it is. I don't have to make a decision right away so I will continue to check out all the places mentioned. I will reiterate that distance from the theater is key.

    2. Delicatessen on the 700 block of Chestnut does dinner until 7 or 8 and has an upstairs room that can be reserved. Food is reasonably priced and really good (I've only had brunch and lunch, but the dinner menu looks tasty). They are a modern jewish deli.

      I agree w/barryg that it's tough to find something really close that fits your criteria. I think that Marathon is not a terrible choice either, it's at 10th and Walnut, but still close to the theater.

      1. The best inexpensive place I know of near there is Aqua, a Malaysian/Thai place on the 700 block of Chestnut. It's pretty quiet, I think they may actually have a private room but I don't know for sure. The food is pretty good, I don't think we have any great Thai in Philly but I really like Aqua's fresh tofu dishes, and their roti canai.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Buckethead

          Seconding (thirding?) the Aqua recommendation. Was my first thought for this location for good, reasonable, and quiet.

        2. I've been to Portofino which is a fine choice given your criteria.

          After going to Marathon a few times a year since 1990 I've had it. Back in the day they were terrific but now charge very high prices for fairly small portions of mediocre food and and inconsistent service.

          -----
          Portofino Cafe
          114 Durham Ave, South Plainfield, NJ 07080

          1. I, too, vote for Aqua, if your group can handle Thai/Malaysian food. I often go there, pre-theater, with friends who go to the Walnut Street Theater. Food is good, prices reasonable, quiet atmosphere, can handle a group easily (there is also a dining room upstairs.) Yes, their homemade tofu is great!

            I also like Jones, which has food for everyone, but unfortunately, it is noisy!