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Birthday dinner near Plymouth Meeting - TONIGHT!

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Hi all,
My fiance's birthday is today, and we're planning to go out to dinner tonight for a small celebratory dinner. We love Bluefin, Bocelli, Massa, and Radice....but are looking for something less expensive. Our usual "cheap eats" are Aman's, Everest Grill, and Thai Orchid, but we go to those often and want something different.

Willing to go to Ambler, Conshohocken, Blue Bell, or anyplace else within ~15 minutes of our place in Plymouth Meeting. Looking for yummy food, either BYO or bar is fine...and would love to be able to keep it under $75 for two, including tip (for 1 app, 2 entrees, and a couple of drinks if not byo).

Feasible?? Ideas welcome! With our wedding in 5 weeks, we really can't break the bank this year! Thanks :)

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  1. Saffron in Ambler (Indian), or Mina Cucina Rustica (Spring House) offer very good food and are relatively inexpensive. You should be able to find plenty of options within your price range. Also, both are BYOB.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kshell

      I have to disagree about Saffron, I just tried it after reading all the raves on CH and I have to wonder about people's taste buds. I usually get chicken tikka masala when trying a new Indian place because it's a pretty reliable dish but theirs was horrible: sickly sweet with no spice whatsoever. My wife's malai kofta were slightly better but still not something I'd eat again. The onion bhaji were made with way too much flour and way too little onion. I did like the naan though. Aman's is much better for Indian.

      Vic Sushi is good and isn't too far away in Spring House, though it may be over 15 minutes. The Persian Grille in Lafayette Hill is interesting. Tacqueria la Michoacana in Norristown is very good. If you like Thai Orchid, you'll probably also like Chiangmai in Conshohocken, the ownership is the same and the menus are very, very similar.

    2. Castello in the old Alison spot in Blue Bell is pretty good. BYO. I agree with BH regarding Saffron. It is definitely not a good as when it first opened.

      3 Replies
      1. re: crazyspice

        thanks all. may try mina cucina, though the online reviews are SO mixed. we were also thinking of arpeggio...

        we also don't love Saffron, we much prefer Aman's for Indian. Interested in Vic Sushi, but we had a horrible (not fresh) experience once at Vic in Center City, and I've been turned off ever since (despite great experiences prior). Maybe we'll try Michoacana, we've been talking about that for a while. We're not very familiar with Norristown...is it a safe area?

        I thought Castello had closed...?? But maybe I'm thinking of something else...I'll check that out.

        Keep the suggestions coming!

        1. re: jba1216

          I'm not that familiar with Norristown either but Tacqeria La Michoacana is pretty close to the eastern edge of Norristown so from Plymouth Meeting you don't have to get too deep into Norristown to get there. Also, it's on a corner with another restaurant and a few stores with on-street parking very close to their front door. It seemed like a nicer part of Norristown, I didn't feel unsafe.

          1. re: jba1216

            Castello moved from their previous location in the Redner's shopping center to the former Alison at Blue Bell location.

            Also, we really love Arpeggio. Another great choice!

        2. You might want to consider Isabella in Conshohocken. It's not hard to keep the cost down if you order carefully.

          1 Reply
          1. re: vicarious

            Thanks again for all the recos. We ended up going to Castello. Wow that place is hidden! Food was very tasty, nice portions, good fresh bread, and everything was cooked perfectly.

            We shared the grilled calamari fra diavolo app, which was very tender, and nice and spicy. Then for entrees we did the lobster ravioli (very good but the "extra lobster" add-on was NOT worth it) and the linguine al brooklyn (chopped clams and artichokes in a white wine sauce...very tasty, and perfectly al dente). And for dessert, we shared the mini cannoli. Good, but they didn't hold a candle to the ones at Radice!

            Ended up going slightly over my target $$...1 app, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert plus tip set us back about $85. Not bad for the quality and quantity of food though.

            My only complaint is that the service was very inattentive. We were there for a good 20-25 minutes before someone offered us bread or told us the specials....it did improve after a while, I think there was just some early confusion over who should be taking care of us, since they operate as a team. But the server who ended up waiting on us for most of the night had only been there two weeks, so she was not very helpful in explaining some of the dishes.

            Oh well...food was good, and we'd definitely go back! Thanks again!