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Seeking Proposal Dinner Recommendations (Philadelphia)

I am aiming to create a memorable evening at the end of which I will propose to my beautiful girlfriend and am searching for a superior Center City restaurant to set the stage. (not proposing at restaurant)

My girlfriend and I enjoy all cuisine types and generally gravitate toward the city's many unique, often quaint/rustic/byo ethnic restaurants. That said, for this occasion I am in search of an impressive space (small or large), stellar food and superior service - be it ethnic or contemporary American. Brilliant view or people watching a plus though not requisite. Cost is not a concern.

I am hoping to capture some magic this special evening and can use a bit of direction. Any recommendations that don’t fit the above bill are quite welcome. Your advice is greatly appreciated!

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  1. I would recommend R2L for a great space with a fantastic view. Food is very good as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JZuck

      Agreed about the view and space, but the food is far from stellar.

    2. I don't know about food or service but waterworks has beautiful surroundings and overlooks boathouse row. And you could probably find quiet space outside to pop the question. Have not heard good things about r2l in the liberty place, maybe you could go to one of your favorite byo's and go there for a after dinner drink for the view and all-important question. Good luck, you'll let us know how it all turns out.

      1. Talula's Garden is getting good initial reviews and seems like a lovely atmosphere.

        I've always loved Lacroix. And, it has the added benefit of being on Rittenhouse Square.

        1. While the space at Vetri is not necessarily remarkable, I think the food and service will match the occasion. You could also go to The Fountain Room at The Four Seasons for great food and service, with a space that is a bit more refined.

          For the space alone, I think Union Trust is quite impressive. It is a steakhouse, so if you feel that kind of cuisine is appropriate, it might work for you also.

          But here's a radical suggestion - Marrakesh. It is a 6 or 7 course Morroccan feast, but you only use your hands to eat (except for the spoons for the couscous course). When we first started dating, my wife took me there. For dessert, you get a fruit bowl and she fed me orange wedges. I have been eating out of her hand ever since.

          Good Luck!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Philly Ray

            I'll second Vetri for the service and food. No matter how beautiful the view if the service or food gets messed up it can really ruin an evening. There is a small table in the back of Vetri that while near the kitchen entrance is situated so you look out at the room and you sit next to one another vs across. I love that table for special occassions.
            and Philly Ray all I can say is "aaaawwwww" who knew you were such a softy!

            1. re: Bigley9

              I agree with the Vetri recommendation -- only if you can get that two-top that Bigley9 mentioned.

          2. A big thank you to the recommendations thus far! Any additional ideas?

            5 Replies
            1. re: michael

              I think the Four Season would be lovely. It is so beautiful and there are always gorgeous floral arrangements.

              1. re: DaisyM

                I agree - the Fountain Room at the Four Seasons is perfect especially if price is not a concern.

                1. re: FayeD

                  The Fountain Room with a table by the windows lookout on Logan Circle has it all.

                  1. re: Bacchus101

                    Another restaurant with a great view of the Philadelphia Skyline is XIX atop the Bellevue. I have only had drinks there so cannot speak about the food. But for a great setting, it is hard to beat.

              2. re: michael

                In addition to the Vetri reccomendation I'm putting a vote behind Bibou. It doesn't have the people watching or skyline but its got a homey romantic (French) feel and the food is exquisite which makes it a lot like Vetri. The head chef and his wife are wonderful people. The Chefs wife actually runs the front of house and I'm sure they would do anything they could to make the situation as perfect as possible for you.

                It is a BYOB which could be better or worse for your sitation. I know that in my relationship there are a bottle of wine or two out there that have sentimental meaning.

              3. My husband proposed at Panorama. The section of the restaurant near the bar (the former smoking section) is extremely romantic with lots of exposed stone and skylights. I remember the stars through the skylight! Its a nice small intimate space. Feed is quite good, lots of homemadea pasta.

                Good luck!

                1 Reply
                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  @Ambler Girl - your idea sounds great. I sure wish that was the setting for my engagement.

                2. @Michael - Please let us know how it goes and where you choose. Good luck and congratulations. She's a lucky girl. Not many men would post on chowhound for help in making a life-changing event so memorable for the woman they love.

                  1. I will be making a reservation soon. Some great recommendations so far. Again, much appreciated. Any additional suggestions are quite welcome. Thank you!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: michael

                      My husband proposed outside of an In-and-Out Burger in San Francisco. Sounds corny, but it was so authentic to us. I think as long as it's meaningful to the two of you it will be a great location!

                      1. re: potroastcat

                        Reminds me of a guy I used to work for, he proposed to his wife at Zabar's in UWS Manhattan.

                    2. We dined at Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel and the evening was wonderful. We each enjoyed the six course tasting; one with wine flight. Amazing service - never experienced that level of attention and menu/drink knowledge. Wonderful atmosphere. Prearranged for flowers at the table - this was executed perfectly. A pleasure to deal with all involved.

                      Happy to report, at the end of the evening my proposal was accepted :) From what I understand, planning a wedding will be a bit more difficult. Hopefully equally magical results!

                      Sincere thanks to all who offered suggestions!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: michael

                        That's just wonderful! Congratulations and Best Wishes.

                        1. re: michael

                          Congratulations and we all expect to be invited to the wedding. ;))

                          1. re: michael

                            Congrats to both of you!! You can always head back to chowhound for catering/location suggestions. :)