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A belated Valentine's day celebration, outside of the city

Since Valentine's Day was on a Tuesday, and since we didn't wish to celebrate before the actual day, we're trying to find a table for 2 for this coming Saturday, February 18 to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day. We live in Ardmore and are interested in avoiding the city, as I deal with it every day for work. We're looking for somewhere that we can realistically get a reservation for with this little notice, even if it is a late reservation. I don't eat meat, but I think that every restaurant I'm considering should be able to accommodate my vegetarian diet. A decent by-the-glass selection would also be nice, as I also don't drink (I know, I know...I'm absolutely no fun), though almost every restaurant (unless a BYOB) has at least a few reasonably priced glasses. Most importantly, a fairly quiet atmosphere is preferred and very good food is key. I think we're veering towards either Italian or Continental/New American cuisine, as opposed to something with a stronger ethnic flair.

Here are some restaurants I'm considering. I'd love to hear of others that I've neglected to research!

Majolica (Phoenixville). Note, I've probably been here at least 5 times but I haven't been here for 5+ years. I know that the menu and concept of the restaurant has changed considerably in that time so I'm interested in knowing what people think.

Stone Rose (Conshohocken). I've never been here but it looks like a nice menu

Stella Blu (Conshohocken). Again, I've never been here but think it looks like a nice menu and nice atmosphere

La Collina (Bala Cynwyd). Never been, but have read good reviews online about the atmosphere. The reviews of the food are spotty

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. We had a nice romantic dinner 2 valentines ago at Terrace Street Bistro, which isn't far from La Collina. It is extremely out of the way, and they do a lot of catering so i'm not sure if they'll be open. but it has a pretty nice ambiance and the food was good. Street parking only, but that high up Shurs you can often find a spot within 1-2 blocks at most on side streets.

    1. I would not recommend the Stone Rose or Stella Blu (Stella Blu especially) for a special occasion. Actually I would not recommend Stella Blu ever, for anything. The Stone Rose is OK (though overpriced) for what it is but Isabella in Conshy is better and costs about the same, and much more of Isabella's menu is vegetarian-friendly that the Stone Rose.

      I've had a couple really good meals lately at the new Paramour in the Wayne Hotel, if you weren't a vegetarian I'd definitely recommend that over Isabella. Their menu has very few selections that don't feature some animal flesh as the main component. But I'd take a look at their menu online and see what you think. If your dining companion is a meat-eater I'd recommend they get the pork cheek dish and the fried chicken oysters.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Buckethead

        Thanks for the recommendations! I looked at Isabella's menu and definitely think there is a lot we'd both enjoy, but I'm a bit hesitant as I'm not honestly a big fan of tapas (sorry to be picky!). I'm glad to hear that Paramour has been good, though it doesn't appear as if they have any vegetarian entrees. However, many restaurants are willing to prepare vegetarian meals as long as they have notice, so I definitely will still consider it.

        1. re: Buckethead

          If you're looking for a quiet atmostphere, I wouldn't go near Stone Rose--another one of those places where you have to shout to talk. I second the Isabella recommendation; it has a nice atmosphere and good food. Have you considered Alba in Malvern?

          1. re: vicarious

            Thanks for the information! I hadn't really considered Alba because we've been there a few times and because I honestly didn't think we could get a reservation with this little notice. Perhaps I'll give them a call, though.

        2. Here is a vote for Majolica. The chef is absolutely dedicated to high quality food and the price point is probably a lot less than it was five years ago. Alba (suggested by someone else below) is also excellent, and is likely to cost you a lot more.

          1. So I know that no one responded about this restaurant, but I decided on La Collina as I've always seen this restaurant when driving on I-76 and wondered about it. It seems like if nothing else the atmosphere will be nice. I'm hopeful the food will be delicious too. Thanks for your suggestions!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Laura D.

              I just saw this and it may be too late to even get a reservation but I would also highly recommend Majolica. I have been a regular there since they first opened and have never tired the food, which is RARE for me. The chef is incredibly talented and will accommodate vegetarian requests, in fact, he had told me last month that he had been trying a pretty strict vegetarian diet himself for several months so he would know what to do...

              1. re: cluskin

                Thanks for chiming in. Though we didn't go to Majolica last weekend I will definitely plan to get there soon as it sounds like it continues to be a great restaurant. Thanks!

                  1. re: vicarious

                    It was very nice. We were seated in the Venetian/round room per our request (and the advice of some reviews I found online). This room was a bit quieter than the main dining room, and did have some wonderful views (with some tables obviously being better than others). We were immediately given bread, water, and peppers/cheese to eat while we read over the menu. This is great, as I think all restaurants should get the beverages and bread out ASAP so that people aren't getting agitated while they are waiting to order. The menu online is somewhat different than the menu at the restaurant, which seems to happen fairly frequently. Unfortunately, the entree I had hoped to order was listed online but wasn't on the paper menu. Since we like bruschetta, and since it was on the online menu but not the paper menu, we asked if they could make some. They agreed, and what came out was fantastic. I know that bruschetta is a very basic/pedestrian thing, but this one was delicious. My fiance got the mixed salad and I got the gorgonzola wedge, which was essentially like a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing that one would get at a steak restaurant. Again, simple, but really good. He got the pasta mista entree, which consisted of a spinach agnollotti, fettucine alfredo, and penne marinara. It seemed like a slightly boring mix of pastas, but all were good. I ordered off-menu and got gnocchi with marinara sauce. Both entrees were good...not amazing but solid. To drink I just had soda but he had two classes of Shiraz that he said were really good. I'm unsure how they were priced, or how extensive the by-the-glass wine selection was, but I think that both were reasonable. It appears as if there is at least one sommelier on staff though we didn't utilize his services. There were also several other manager type people just sort of wandering around checking on things. Dessert comes out on a cart and there were at least 10 options. I'll be honest in saying I was pretty full and that nothing looked amazing. But, I love dessert and bake all of the time, so I'm rarely wowed by restaurant offerings. I wound up getting a slice of what was supposed to be chocolate hazelnut cake, but actually turned out to be pecan cake with chocolate icing. I probably wouldn't have chosen it if I had known what it actually was, though it was good (not great). My fiance got the chocolate covered strawberry cheesecake. It truthfully sounded kind of gross but was really good, and I'm not a big fan of cheesecake. I have no idea how much the dessert cart varies but I could see getting something from it again if we go back as most places don't do dessert carts and they are kind of fun to order from. In total the bill was $106 for the two of us. For us this is an expensive meal, but it wasn't over the top and we did get a lot more food than we normally do. So, I can't say that it was overpriced. I think that if you like an old-school service environment with pretty good food and a nice view than this is a solid place to hit. It was pretty quiet too, something that we rarely find at restaurants, so this was also a good thing. We'll be back again, perhaps not immediately, but definitely in the reasonably near future.