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Feb 16, 2011 04:54 AM

mother and daughter visit to Philly

Hi all,
I have scoured the board and though I have gleaned some great suggestions, I hope you'll indulge me as I write my specific request. My 60-something mother and I are visiting Philly this weekend and are looking for a great place for Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch. For those of you who know DC and NY, I am going to throw out some restaurants we love in these two places, as my mother has wonderful and very specific taste! For dinner she usually prefers white tablecloths, great atmosphere, wonderful service, but not too expensive or shishi. In DC, we love Nora, the Blue Duck Tavern and Bistrot Le Pic. In NY we love Balthazar, Sfoglia, and the little places in the West Village. She is not a big fan of spicy food, or haute cuisine (no foam please!)- just great New American or Italian, local produce, etc. What can you recommend in Philadelphia?? For lunch, we love French, clean and modern. Yes, I mentioned that we're picky.

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  1. "I have scoured the board and though I have gleaned some great suggestions"

    Such as?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      You'd probably like Bibou but it seems that you may be a bit late in the game to get a reservation. It's French but it's dinner only. There is Parc on Rittenhouse Square but it may be too hip for what you are looking for. I guess for dinner other possibilities are Vetri, Osteria, and places like that, but as I said before tables in these places are usually booked up well in advance.

    2. In general, I think it's harder to get find this kind of restaurant in Philly right now, where tastes are skewing causal and thrifty; more and more restaurants are losing the table clothes. There are great meals to be had in the city, though, so here are a few picks for places you and your mother might enjoy.

      For dinner, consider Osteria (carefully rendered Italian food that's often very rich; it won't, however, leave you in a neighborhood for a stroll after dinner), Fork (handsome space, talented chef, new-american menu), James (same rough description as Fork), Meritage (French-Asian, pleasant space), M Restaurant (located in a lovely old hotel, reasonably priced upscale food), Parc (Philadelphia's Balthazar), and to a lesser extent Nineteen (top floor of the Bellevue Hotel, perhaps known more for the space and views than for the food).

      Lunch the next day could be Parc, the Sunday brunch at Fork, or maybe Nan, a french-thai stalwart in West Philly.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nwinkler

        Thanks for the great suggestions. I should have been more specific when saying what I had found that already looked good to me. Parc for sure (probably for Sunday lunch), Osteria (though there were some mixed reviews on the board), and Melegrano. I'll look into Fork and M Restaurant. What do you think of Audrey Claire? That's another one that I thought looked interesting.

        1. re: franniefrou

          I would also recommend FORK for dinner or lunch. Nice tablecloths as well.

          1. re: franniefrou

            Audrey Claire: no tablecloths, close together tables, bad service. Food is ok but not standout.

            1. re: barryg

              Think LaCroix for brunch would be good?

              1. re: barryg

                Audrey Claire is the most overrated restaurant I've been to in Philadelphia. Service was a mess. Food was mediocre.

                The dishwasher was smoking in the bathroom. The salmon I ordered rare was served well done. The highly-touted cheesecake isn't as good as what I make at home. Oh, yes, and they ran out of one of the other desserts that had been ordered when we did appetizers and entrees. Server didn't seem to think this was a problem.

                1. re: Seeker19104

                  At least the dishwasher took his smoke break in the bathroom. My wife and I were at Le Bec Fin last October and I saw Perrier smoking in the kitchen. In fact, our table was close enough that we smelled the smoke wafting into the dining room.

          2. I hope one of your "must-do" stops is Reading Terminal Market...

            1 Reply
            1. re: RedTop

              It should be but I was wary of recommending it because it may seem too pedestrian without tablecloths, etc...

            2. Try Girasole on Pine Street just off Broad for dinner - it satisfies the requirements of white tablecloths & has Versace chargers - very Italian - homemade pasta dishes, crudo, usually several nice fish specials.

              1 Reply
              1. re: operalover 1229

                Girasole is OK for a pre-theater dinner but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who's just visiting Philly.