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Amada, Zahav or Kanella?

HI Hounds,

We are coming in for a few days in Philadelphia in May. I am trying to choose between Amada, Zahav and Kanella for dinner one night. We are staying at the Penns View Hotel in Olde City.
Which one would you choose and why?
We will also be eating at Matyson one night and I think Osteria for the other.

Thanks!!

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  1. Zahav, because it's the best, my favorite restaurant in the city. It's also not a cuisine you see much of elsewhere. All three are great though. Amada and Kanella are also open for lunch (Kanella only does it Thursday through Saturday if I recall) but Zahav is not, so depending on what days of the week you are here you could hit all three. Kanella would be my second choice after Zahav.

    1. My vote is for Kanella. I found Amada overrated and overpriced. I've never been to Zahav. Kanella has a really beautiful little restaurant and some of the most interesting and delightful Greek food I've had yet.

      1. I was thinking Kanella might be nice for Lunch, the lamb sandwich looks amazing. Are they all in Olde City or a little farther away?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Louise4071

          Zahav and Amada are in Old City, easy walking distance from your hotel, Kanella is a bit further away (10th and Spruce) but still walkable.

          Lunch (or brunch) at Kanella is every bit as good as dinner in my experience.

          1. re: Buckethead

            Yea hit Kanella for brunch/lunch if you can. It's great and the lunch menu is very reasonably priced.

            1. re: barryg

              Throwing in my agreement - brunch/lunch at Kanella, dinner at Zahav. I've had both the Mesibah and the Ta'yim and I enjoyed both - usually get the Ta'yim because I like having more smaller plates. That lamb shoulder is FILLING.

        2. Zahav hands down!!! They make THE BEST cosmo in the city....and the hummous and bread are always wonderful. Lots of great dishes to try....good service...just a fun interesting,,,,not rushed evening!

          1. all three are excellent- kanella is the cheapest and most casual of the three.

            i vote zahav tho- itll be possible to have a 'lighter' lunch of hummus and salads. if youre going to amada- do it for dinner.

            4 Replies
            1. re: InSearchOfTacos

              I like Zahav BUT only if you get the Mesibah with the lamb because it makes the meal worth it. Amada is open for lunch and Kanella had brunch if that factors into your thinking. By the way hit Tartes bakery on Arch St. between second and third streets (really close to where you are staying) for sweet treats.

              1. re: bluehensfan

                kanella for brunch is pretty fantastic

                and do you want a more light lunch to save room for feasting at dinner, or would you rather go all-out? ive never done the mesibah with lamb at dinner and i still love zahav

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  I disagree completely about the mesibah. It's good, but their best dishes are the smaller plates and the skewers (shipudim), and you get more of those to taste if you order the Ta'Yim tasting menu (the less expensive one).

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    i havent had the mesibah but i think its def worth going to zahav for the small plates and skewers. the hummus is also fantastic

              2. I love Amada - probably one of my favorites in the city. I love the small plates so you can sample many things & it's fun to get the chef's tasting menu and wines if you don't want to think. The decor is relaxing and every time I have been the service has been excellent. It's not Barcelona, but it's yummy . I do like Zahav (only been once), the food was very good, but I like the atmosphere and menu variety of Amada much better. Never been to Kanella, but because it's grouped in this post, I want to try!

                1. Glad you're getting to Matyson. Be sure to order dessert!

                  1. Amada. Amada is one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia. Osteria and Matysan are also excellent choices. Zahav is good, but mostly because of the novelty. There are much better Greek restaurants in NYC than Kanella.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Buckethead

                        I meant Toronto, not NYC. Where the OP is from.

                        I shouldn't post when I am thinking of my next food trip to NYC or at least not until my 2nd cup of Stumptown.

                    1. If price is an issue, substitute Garces Trading Co. for Amada. Amada is great but over the last few years it has become a little over rated. If you visit Garces Trading Co.(Also done by Chef Garces) you will find the atmosphere to be fantastic. Although the wait will be long, you can spend time strolling around old city as well as tasting meets, cheeses, wine, and many other specialties at the market. Each day they also serve specials. My favorite would have to be on Saturdays when they do the hanger steak. You can definitely have a great meal for under $50 at Garces Trading Co.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: twlaz

                        Aside from the meals for two at Garces, I'm not sure it's really a better value than Amada. Also, now that they take reservations, there's really no reason to wait around.

                        I would also say it's definitely not in Old City, or were you referring to Amada?

                        1. re: urbanfabric

                          I have not been to Garces in the last six months since waiting was a bit of a pain but now that they take reservations, i'll surely be back soon. I would say that whether or not its a better value is based upon what you're looking for. I personally enjoy Garces for the shared meals. Amada is more of a group dinning experience. I have done the suckling pig at Amada and found it to be fantastic. But if you're not dinning in a group, Amada can become very expensive, very quickly.

                          1. re: twlaz

                            I agree about the prices at Amada, though if you do the $45 tasting menu you will have a nice meal and will not leave hungry. They take special requests for the tasting menu and also have $55 and $65 options for better ingredients. But I also agree that Amada is best experienced in a group rather than as a couple.

                      2. Hi Everyone,

                        Thanks for all the feedback. We ended up at Zahav for an amazing meal on Monday night. It was the highlight of our trip. Will review it more in our trip report but I highly recommend everyone visit this restaurant, the food and service was unbelievable.