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Jun 7, 2012 11:49 AM

Romantic dinner for two out of towners

Sorry, this post is a bit of a cliche, but you folks are my best source for up to date info. We're coming into town June 29-31. Looking to do one dinner with my wife. I lived in Phila many years ago but the restaurant scene is dizzyingly different now. So, looking for romantic setting, a dressier setting, cost not a huge concern. Staying at the Ritz so would prefer somewhere downtown. Obviously somewhere we can get a reservation, so Vetri is out (too bad, would love to try it). We are pretty eclectic regarding cuisine, although Morimoto is one place I've been relatively recently so that's out. Also have done Fountain recently enough that I have some fading memory of that, so I'd take that off the list too. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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  1. The newly repoened Le Bec Fin should by up and running smoothly by then. They are prix fixe only, at $150pp. It looks to be a pretty special fine dining experience. Also, I wouldn't rule out Vetri w/o calling.

      1. re: barryg

        Thanks for the ideas. I'll try Vetri by phone, but since we only can go on a Friday or Saturday I'm not holding my breath. Lacroix fits my request, just need to decide what energy level I'm looking for.

        Le Bec Fin is an interesting idea. This is where being out of touch is a problem. The last I'd seen were some horrific reviews just before they closed. I don't know the saga of how they have reopened, but is the buzz that it's going to be a special place again? It was always one of my regrets that when I was in Phila (in my younger, poorer days) I never got to eat there.

        An Atlanta friend also suggested Tinto. I know that's a very different feel from say Lacroix, but romantic to me means not too bright, not so loud I have to lean over to hear my wife, a place we can dress up for and not feel out of place. Is it just another overhyped Top Chef tourist trap (a la Emeril's in NO) or is it fun? Is the atmosphere to loud and casual?

        What else am I missing? Thanks!

        1. re: cliresga

          An old place that I found to be pretty romantic was Ernesto's 1521 Cafe. Not necesarrily in the Le Bic Fin or Fountain sense, but it sounds like you are open to less conventional versions of romantic.

          That closed and re-opened as Russet, which looks to be quite good, but I can't speak for the space yet or the general dress of the patrons. I will be going Saturday, so if you aren't coming in this weekend I could report back.

          1. re: cliresga

            LBF hasn't actually reopened yet. Perrier sold it to Nicolas Fanucci, a French Laundry alum, and hired a bunch of other former French Laundry folks. It's an unknown at the moment, but certainly has potential to be very special:


            I like Tinto. It's not a tourist trap, and not really loud or casual. Are you open to BYOB? I think Bibou is terrific, the food is fantastic, and the service lovely. You wouldn't be out of place to be dressed up, but some people will be casual (almost everyplace in Philly tends toward the casual, though).

            1. re: cliresga

              There's a lot out there about the new Le Bec Fin if you Google but basically it is completely different restaurant; Perrier is out of the kitchen and management entirely and the place is being run by French Laundry alums. Here's a recent small blurb with a summary:

              Re: Tinto, some of the tables are intimate but they also have a whole section of barstool seating that sucks, and is loud. If you go that route I would make sure to request the better seating. You can dress up there, but if you want to wear an evening dress and jacket you wouldn't feel weird there though you might be the best dressed couple. It's not a tourist trap, the food is good, but it's also not one of the very best restaurants in the city. Compared to Amada though, it is for sure more low-key and intimate.

              1. re: barryg

                I haven't been there lately but Waterworks might also fit the bill. Beautiful setting and the food was great the time I went.