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First time to Philly.....help!

t
tito Feb 3, 2012 04:56 PM

I am in town for 2 nights. Shoul I try and snag a ressie at Vetri?? If that is my "upscale night" where should I go for great food in a more relaxed atmosphere?

I read about a place called Matyson.........any comments?

  1. g
    george2 Feb 4, 2012 04:51 AM

    Of course, try Vetri!
    Lacroix and Fountain are also excellent and is a similar fine dining experiences.

    For less formal, Matyson is a very good BYOB. If you can get a reservation at bibou, that's even better. Blackfish also offers top tier food. Other worthy BYOB's are Cochon, Modo Mio, Branzino. This is only a brief list.

    10 Replies
    1. re: george2
      t
      tito Feb 4, 2012 10:55 AM

      Thanks George......BYOB is not an issue, I am just looking for an easy going fun atmosphere with great food, an eclectic fun wine list and under $200 all in for 2 people.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      1. re: tito
        h
        Hungryin theBurbs Feb 4, 2012 11:04 AM

        Check out Barbuzzo. Meets those criteria to a T.

        1. re: Hungryin theBurbs
          t
          tfalbo Feb 7, 2012 12:15 PM

          +1 for Barbuzzo. Or Zavino right next door.

          If you want to try something other than Italian, Lolita is a sister restaurant to Barbuzzo and people really enjoy it (though I have never been).

          And I just had an extremely good Mexican at El Rey. Not over-wrought, but tastes just like my good old days in L.A. In that neck of the woods, Village Whiskey and Melograno are also favorites of mine. El Rey and VW are both pretty casual, but VW is prone to very long waits on weekends.

          For Vetri, I would also recommend the onion crepe and, if it is still on the menu, the scallop appetizer was the best bite of scallop I have ever had in my life. But it's really best to just let them bring you whatever they feel like. I've neer been disappointed by a single course.

          1. re: tfalbo
            d
            deprofundis Feb 8, 2012 01:09 PM

            I've only been disappointed with one course - the alaskan spot prawn with zolfini beans. Not a *bad* course, but boring. Literally just a single shrimp with a couple spoonfulls of white beans and a sprig of rosemary. I would try to avoid that one. Also, for dessert, I would highly recommend the chocolate polenta souffle. Even though it's a chef's tasting, they are good about honoring requests.

        2. re: tito
          d
          deprofundis Feb 4, 2012 11:08 AM

          You'll drop closer to $500 for 2 people at Vetri. But it's worth it. :)

          1. re: deprofundis
            t
            tito Feb 6, 2012 06:40 PM

            is it true that Vetri is a smoke friendly restaurant?? Is smoking still alloed in Philly restaurants?

            1. re: tito
              c
              cwdonald Feb 6, 2012 07:01 PM

              No smoking in most establishments in philadelphia. Only if your total food is less than 20 percent of your total receipts.

              1. re: tito
                f
                FayeD Feb 7, 2012 05:18 PM

                Tito - I hope you enjoy Vetri - it is non-smoking and I also wanted to make sure you are aware that the bill for two people pre-tax (8% in the city of Philadelphia) and tip is going to run you close to $300 excluding wine and drinks.. This is a $400 or more evening. I hope your $200 reference referred to the more casual restaurant. Bibou is great if you have transportation and can get a reservation.

                1. re: FayeD
                  t
                  tito Feb 8, 2012 01:50 PM

                  Thanks Faye, I know I am going to drop big coin at Vetri, that is why I was looking for something a little less for the second night. We booked at Barbuzzo for the next night.

                  Any other "foodie" things ( stores, wine stores) we should do while we are in town??

                  1. re: tito
                    c
                    cwdonald Feb 8, 2012 01:57 PM

                    Reading Terminal Market and Italian Market are the obvious suggestions. Jose Garces Garces Trading Company would be another stop, as would DiBruono's either in the italian market or on Rittenhouse Square. If you let us know what other things you are looking for, I am sure folks can point you in the the right direction. Wine in Pennsylvania is not worth shopping for. Consider going across the river to Moore Brothers or down to Total Wine in Delaware. PA Liquor laws are still medieval.

        3. p
          Philly Ray Feb 3, 2012 07:44 PM

          Other worthwhile "upscale" restaurants would be Lacroix (in the Rittenhouse Hotel) or The Fountain (in The Four Seasons Hotel).

          1. c
            cwdonald Feb 3, 2012 07:42 PM

            Vetri reservations are difficult to come by. Meal is only prix fixe and starts at 130 dollars before beverages. If you are coming in this week, it is unlikely you are going to be able to get a reservation, further out, definitely try if you like high end dining.

            Matyson is one of our many BYOs, and they feature a tasting menu each week that has a different theme. This coming week its pork, including home made choucroute, and also a seperate course of pigs tails. For forty five dollars, it is pretty good value.

            Where are you coming from. That would help people suggest places for you to go, and to avoid places where you will have better restaurants in your home town.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cwdonald
              t
              tito Feb 4, 2012 04:42 AM

              CW....thanks for the info. We are coming in via train from Stamford CT. (about 45 mi north of Manhattan) The wife and I are doing the Van Gough exhibit and I wanted to do a big night of dining and a more casual night but with great food.

              I am in the restaurant business and my wife eats a bit on the healthy side so any place with a few fish options would be great!

              Is Vetri "stuffy"?? Do I need a jacket? I did happen do get a resssie and I have heard great things about the food...does it deliver the goods?

              1. re: tito
                p
                Philly Ray Feb 4, 2012 06:11 AM

                Vetri is not stuffy and you would not feel out of place without a jacket or a tie. However, I would wear a shirt with a collar.

                The food is awesome.Be sure to try the spinach gnocchi. It is one of their signature dishes.

                1. re: tito
                  d
                  deprofundis Feb 4, 2012 09:11 AM

                  Definitely go to Vetri. It is the best of the best in Philly, and it does deliver the goods.

                  It is not stuffy at all. I personally would wear a jacket, but you don't have to.

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