need help deciding between four choices
My husband and I are going to be in Philly on Friday, August 31st. I have looked through this board
and other sources and have come up with four possible restaurants for dinner. Please help me pick one.
If you could give reason(s) for your pick I would appreciate it!!!
Also, is Hop Sing Laundromat worth a visit?
Hop Sing Laundromat is worth the visit, if you like very well made cocktails with top shelf alcohol. Mr. Lee graced us with a lovely coffee cocktail he made on my last visit.
Perhaps you could be more specific about what you are looking for and preferences for your Friday meal? (ie, special occasion, budget, location, alcohol, timing) I'd also check Open Table and/or call the restaurants to see if they have availability.
Thanks for your response. It's not a special ocassion, we are visiting from Florida and staying near Rittenhouse Sq. but we will have a car. We are looking for good food & ambiance. For this particular visit, we're looking for something low key. Budget is not an issue. I've checked all of the four restaurants on Open Table and all are available.
A comment on Sbraga... I like the food there a lot.. the space for me is what detracts from the experience. I find it loud, The restaurant is all windows so you feel like you are in acquarium and people walking into the building can see you sitting and eating. It is an open kitchen so depending on where you are seated, you can see folks at work.
Osteria, from an ambience standpoint can be nicer. They have a glass enclosed garden you can sit in. The main restaurant is nice, though I find the tables to be a bit close together. When it is full, it again can be quite loud. The back room has a much lower decibel level and feels more low key, as does the garden room.
Based on recent reports here (and on my son's recent visit), I would strike Le Virtu from your list.
As between Osteria and Le Virtu, I would say Osteria is the better restaurant overall, but Le Virtu has some unique menu items that, if you are interested in them, make it worth going to. I haven't been to the others, but have heard slightly more positives about Vernick than Sbraga. They are all very good restaurants, so I would go by which menu appeals most.
Just a head's up, Hop Sing has a dress code, no shorts, flip flops or sneakers. I found out the hard way having just returned from the Caribbean. I was still in shorts-flops-polo shirt mode, but got turned away at the door cause of the shorts and flops. I can respect a dress code so I didn't cause a scene, but part of me sure wanted to. I'll give it another shot when I'm a little more smartly dressed, but I hope it's not one of those places where they treat you like it's a privilege that you're in their building. From what I hear it can go either way. I've had a few friends tell me that they absolutely love it there, however one has said it redefines pretentious. I'm excited to go back and form my own opinion.
I've seen men get hassled by Mr. Lee at the door for "sneakers" (they were leather and supposedly Cole Haan, but still), but plenty of women wear flip flops there. It's pretty nice inside with a couple of rules, speakeasy-style, so a dress code is understandable. Men's business casual would be appropriate whereas women tend to have some more leeway.
I also think the schtick is part of the fun; it's only pretentious if you take it seriously. I've never had anything but warm and friendly service accompanied by great drinks, of course. Good luck next time!
As far as food goes, they are all winners (haven't been to Sbraga, but I've tasted his food at another venue). So then you're left really with atmosphere. The most laid back and "easiest" place is Le Virtu. It's actually one of my favorite restaurants in town. They also have a really lovely oudoor patio if the weather cooperates. The other three are louder and the menus are a little fussier. If you want to dress it up, those three come to mind more than le virtu, though a nice outfit won't feel out of place. As far as neighborhood, Osteria is probably the worst situated, so any pre or post strolling is kind of out of the question. The other three are better suited for that, with Sbraga and Vernick being the best situated right in or near the rittenhouse vicitinity (a well received french cafe just opened next to Vernick as well for coffee, dessert?)