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Anniversary Dinner - Romantic, great food - not super fancy

Hi All,

I'm looking for a place for an anniversary dinner in January. I've recently moved to the city from New York, and would love to find a place that had really great food with a romantic atmosphere, but without the flourishes of "fine dining." In New York we had great anniversary dinners at Mas Farmhouse and Blue Hill, and would love to know if there's anything comparable.

I've read about Vetri's restaurants, but Vetri and Osteria are booked for the night I'm looking. Also, it looks like Fountain is closed that night (though I think it'd be the wrong atmosphere anyway). I also assumed LBF would be too stuffy too, but if not, please let me know.

As far as cuisine goes, I think anything except for Asian and Indian. Would love to know your thoughts!

Tentatively, I have reservations at Il Pittore and Fish, but think I could do better. Any help would be much appreciated.


**Edit: So I've also looked into Meme and Farm and Fisherman. Anyone care to weigh in on those options?

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  1. If you can get in Bibou, the food will shine, though I am not sure I would call it romantic. If you just trie open table at Osteria, call the restaurant. They do not release all the tables. Also it is quite easy to eat at the bar without reservations though again not exactly romantic. lacroix might be an option, though again a bit stuffy. il Pittore is not bad atmosphere wise, though the food needs some work. Which Fish location do you have reservations with, the new or the old. I thought the new location would be open by the end of the year.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      Ok, I'll give Osteria a call. Thanks for the idea.

      I have reservations at Fish at 1708 Lombard. Not sure if that's the new or old on though . . .

      1. re: cwdonald

        Even though Lacroix is one our best "fine dining" restaurants, I don't really find it to be all that stuffy. The service is great without being overly formal and the food is excellent. We recently celebrated our 10th anniversary there and it was one of the most memorable meals I have had.

        To the OP, I would rule out LBF. Lacroix is hands down the better of the two and very romantic, especially if you can snag a table that overlooks the park.

      2. I like Meme, but the space feels like you're in an old storefront, so it might be just a little too informal for what you're looking for.

        1. I think Bibou can be romantic, if you are willing to bring your own wine. It is very warm and cozy, and the food can't be beat. If you can get the two spots at the little bar overlooking the kitchen, it is really fun. It can be a tough reservation as well, but it is worth checking.

          1. I think Little Fish is more romantic than Fish. Bibou can be romantic. And Meme is very good but not romantic.

            1. Thanks everyone for the great advice!

              I think I'm going to try Bibou (though I think they only let you make reservations one month out), I'm also going to swap Fish for Little Fish, and drop out Il Pittore.

              Anyone have any ideas on Bistrot la Minette? Pictures on yelp make it look really nice and warm inside. Is the food top notch?

              4 Replies
              1. re: tjbern

                I've heard mixed reviews on the Bistrot la Minette service, but I'm going this week, so I'll report back! I think Little Fish and Bibou are great choices, though.

                1. re: tjbern

                  Bistrot La Minette is one of our favorites.
                  We have been there quite a few times and never had any problem with the service.
                  Recently we took our daughter there for her birthday, and she and her husband loved it. We all did! It has a very European feel, and the menu is great.

                  I know that Little Fish is very popular on this Board, but we went once and didn't return. The food was quite good, but the place was small and we felt cramped.

                  We very much like the food at Bibou, but again you are in close quarters - you're neighbors will be sharing the occasioin with you. Also, Blbou has a limited menu. We have friends whom we don't take there because there aren't many choices for them. (We eat everything!)

                  Fish is excellent, but there's not much atmosphere. I'm talking about the old location; I don't know when they're moving into the new one.

                  We have celebrated at LaCroix and felt comfortable. More upscale, of course.

                  How great to be making this kind of choice!

                  1. re: sylviag

                    sylviag, have you been to Little Fish since they moved in their new space? Not huge, but a big improvement over their previous space.

                    1. re: urbanfabric

                      We haven't, but we'll put it on our list. Thanks.

                2. Regarding Farm and Fisherman...very small restaurant, BYO and food is quite good. Small space and can be quite loud, and like other places your neighbors are quite close. I have only dined there once, and had a few hiccups in the service, but they were most gracious about it and fixed things forthwith. I also had a comical situation where the check was not computed correctly (they charged us too little) and it took about fifteen minutes to resolve. But it didn't detract from a very good meal.

                  1. Talula's Garden was my choice for my birthday dinner, and it worked. Top notch food and a very attractive decor. Bistro La Minette is a favorite of ours, and we've also enjoyed Meritage.

                    1. OK, so I was able to get reservations at Bibou and Osteria. So I guess the decision will be between Bibou, Osteria, and Bistrot la Minette.

                      I'm leaning towards Osteria, because I think Bibou's menu might be a bit small for my SO. Is the ambiance at Osteria romantic at all? Or is it just a good place to go for the food?


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tjbern

                        I wouldn't describe it as romantic. You can see pictures here: http://www.osteriaphilly.com/index.ph...

                        It's tough to compare food between Osteria and Bistrot la Minette. So different. Our recent trip to Bistrot la Minette was well timed with some crappy weather that made the warm, buttery french food a good choice. It's also in a neighborhood that would let you grab a cocktail at Southwark or go dancing at L'Etage after dinner.

                        1. re: tjbern

                          Of those three, I'd go to Bibou in a heartbeat. Osteria is not romantic, though it is great. I've never been a big fan of Bistrot La Minette.

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            I second that sentiment, but I'm probably pretty biased as we had our wedding there and will celebrate our anniversary there soon.

                            I guess certain tables wouldn't be that romantic, but Osteria seems much less romantic than Bibou.