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Jun 10, 2012 11:04 AM

New Yorkers in Philly for one day. Where to eat?

Hubby and I will be in Philly for one day, a Monday. We will be traveling by foot and pretty much staying in the downtown area. We are looking for a dinner place that has really awesome food but isn't over the top expensive ($60-80 per person - pre-tax and tip - is what we are looking for). This may or may not be possible but I figured if anyone could find it the Chowhound crowd could find it.

Trends we love:
Farm to table
Tasting menus

If it helps, the best meal I ever had was at WD-50. We aren't big seafood eaters as we are from Seattle originally and the fish there is so much better than anything we have had on the east coast. I would love to try Vetri but it looks to be out of our price range for the night.

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  1. Vetri is about the only place that's out of your price range, and IMHO you're better off at Osteria anyway. For $80pp you can eat basically anywhere. The only limiting factor will be the day, a lot of places are closed on Monday.

    We have various places around town that employ some of the techniques you'd find at WD50 but none that make it their sole focus. We have a few places around town that focus on farm to table but none of them that I've been to has been a place I'd recommend. One newer place like that that I haven't been to yet is Russet.

    My highest recommendation would be Vedge. Vedge and Bibou are my two favorite restaurants in the city right now, and Bibou is closed on Mondays. Vedge is all vegetables, I'm not a vegetarian or vegan but their menu is the most interesting in the city right now as far as I'm concerned. And you don't have anything like it in NYC.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      I recently saw Vedge on Unique Eats. It sounds like such a cool place but I don't know that I will be able to convince my DH not to eat some meat in his meal.

      Osteria looks awesome. Thanks

      1. re: hcrowds

        If he orders the maiatake mushroom and celery root fritter dish at Vedge I don't think he'll miss having meat for this one meal. Osteria is great too, definitely in the top tier of Philly restaurants but you have great Italian in NYC (though it'll cost you more there than at Osteria). Vedge is totally unique to Philly.

    2. Lacroix (in The Rittenhouse Hotel) does a tasting menu for $75/pp. Drinks would put you over your price limit, but it is one of our best restaurants. If I'm not going to Vetri, Lacroix is one of the next choices on my list. If you go to their website, you can look at sample menus to see if you might like it.

      1. If BYOB is ok, Matyson is open Mondays and does a weekly-changing tasting menu Mon-Thurs focused around a particular theme or ingredient. It's usually $45 but is sometimes $55 if the week's focus involves a premium ingredient. Not farm to table per se but they use many local ingredients and the tasting menu is often based on a local, seasonal ingredient; for example this week is corn. You can check the week's menu on their website.

        13 Replies
        1. re: barryg

          I'd suggest Zahav and the roasted lamb shoulder tasting menu (order 48 hours in advance).

          1. re: barryg

            I kind of wish I was heading to Philly tomorrow. The corn menu looks great. Matyson is definitely in contention.

            1. re: hcrowds

              FYI, the tasting menu at Zahav isn't what I think you have in mind when you asked for tasting menus, you just pick a set number of dishes off the regular menu. It's not a dinner of dishes that don't appear on the regular menu, which is what I think you were after (and which not many places in Philly do). It's still a great place though. I'm not as keen on Matyson but I'm in the minority. It's good but not a place I'd recommend to people who are just visiting and want to sample our best.

              1. re: Buckethead

                I concur with the Zahav recommendation. While not farm to table, the lamb and other treats are something that you cannot find in NYC.

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  agreed 100%. zahav is very special to philly and while all the other options above are very good, this one is unlike anything avail in nyc

                  1. re: kasiav

                    Is there anywhere I can find more information about the lamb tasting at Zahav? I looked on the website (which my computer seems to be having problems with) and I couldn't get the tasting link to work.

                    What is the price? Do you call to order in advance?


                    1. re: hcrowds

                      You want to order the Mesibah, and it's $48 p/p. You generally need to reserve it a week in advance...


                      1. re: hcrowds


                        It's the "Mesibah" on the right. You should reserve it in advance if you want it, but if you go to Zahav I'd recommend against the lamb. It's very good but it's huge and you don't get to taste nearly the variety of dishes that you do if you do the other, less expensive tasting menu (the "Ta'Yim"). You get to try a wider selection of dishes that way.

                        Vedge is still my rec though.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          I also prefer the Ta'Yim, not only do you get to taste a lot more, you can also taste some of the more interesting dishes that they wouldn't usually bring out before the lamb.

                        2. re: hcrowds

                          On the website it is called the Mesiban Tasting menu. Price is 48 per person. You must reserve ahead of time as they have limited lamb available each night. Menu in general is

                          salatim & hummus
                          with laffa
                          selection of mezze
                          whole-roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate & chickpeas
                          choose one dessert
                          $48 per person

                          Download the menu for a description of the mezze and salatim

                          1. re: hcrowds

                            Geez, c'mon guys, it's almost been 10 whole minutes since she asked the question and only three of us responded?

                            1. re: Buckethead

                              Do we need designated posters? LOL At least the responses are consistent...

                              1. re: cwdonald

                                You Philly folk are fantastic. I love how quickly everyone responded to help me out.

                2. Sbraga sounds perfect for you.

                  1. We love Osteria - great food without the ultra-high prices. The pastas are incredible, as are the pizzas. (the Lombardy - wow!) We also enjoy some of the italian places in South Philly, but they would not be convenient - and not open, either.

                    We have had some delightful meals at Matyson.

                    We are in the minority who weren't crazy about Zahav. We keep saying we must try it again.
                    Maybe it's because our Jewish background has given us enough hummus for a lifetime. But it certainly is very popular with some Chowhounds.

                    Do check out Matyson's tasting menu for the Monday that you will be here. It could be just what you want.