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Aug 24, 2012 09:37 PM

Longwood Gardens ---Recomendations?

Going with a group of 10 to Longwood Gardens in Sept. looking for a nice mid price range restaurant Any good ideas? Thanks.

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  1. The 1906 Restaurant at Longwood is a lovely venue. One can dine on a wonderful forested deck, weather permitting. The food choices made would allow a mid price range dinner. Interesting and nicely executed drinks and a modest but balanced wine list is also available. Reservations would be required as they most often turn away walkups. For me the 1906 is always a great choice.

    There are some CHs here who have an excellent knowledge of the restaurants in the Longwood Gardens area who may offer other good choices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bacchus101

      Just had a wonderful meal at Sovana Bistro, just 5 minutes drive from Longwood Gardens. Not to be missed.
      And the evening light show at LG -- not to be missed either!

    2. 1906 is really a wonderful restaurant, with heavy emphasis on locally-sourced and grown-at-Longwood ingredients. The food there is beautifully presented and service is very good. You will definitely need reservations for a group of 10. You didn't say what you'd consider "mid-priced," but I'd place it more in the higher priced category. Check out the online menus and decide for yourself. I also love Sovana Bistro, and it's really convenient to Longwood. If you're planning on a weekend visit, you'll need reservations for dinner.

      There are a couple of places in nearby Kennett Square worth mentioning. Portabello's serves nicely-prepared Italian food at reasonable prices. It's BYO with no corkage fees and the service is very friendly. http://www.portabellosofkennettsquare... La Verona is another Italian restaurant in Kennett. They have a liquor license now, but I believe they still permit customers to BYO with a corkage fee of around $7-8. Also on State Street in Kennett is the Half Moon Saloon It's got a pub-style atmosphere. Their prices are a little lower than the other restaurants I've mentioned and they have an outdoor roof-deck seating area.

      Those are the restaurants closest to Longwood that I'd recommend. Among those that are a short drive away, the Whip Tavern has a large local following. The Whip is an English-style pub with a great selection of British brews. If you want wine, you can bring your own. They have an outdoor patio which is nice. From Longwood, it's a beautiful 10-15 minute drive through Chester County "horsey country." Also in horse country, just outside Kennett, is Foxfire at the Stone Barn. There, too, the emphasis is on farm-to-table cuisine, and many of the ingredients they use are locally sourced or grown right in their own huge, on-premises gardens.

      1. Cindy is the undisputed expert in the area, and I would second Sovana Bistro. The food at Longwood itself is surprisingly good. They have a sit down one, a bit pricey, and a cafeteria style that is very reasonable and good with a wide selection. The only issue might be getting table for 10 of you in there at peak periods

        One other that I have not tried under the new(2+ years) owners, but have heard good things about, and, in the past, frequented it often under the old mngmt is the Longwood Family Rest about 1/2 mile south of the Longwood exit on Rte. 1. If you are travelling south on route 1, there is a U=turn jughandle about another 1/2 mile beyond. their website is a little clunky to use, but you can see the menu


        7 Replies
        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

          I'd be the first to say that being dubbed the "undisputed expert in the area" is something of an exaggeration, FCF, but thanks for your vote of confidence.

          FWIW, here's my take on the Longwood Family Restaurant -- and I should mention that I've only been there twice for non-breakfast meals. It's really okay for breakfast, not unlike what you'd expect to get at Hank's Place or at the former Country Kettle in Chadds Ford (now the Gables). And it's not bad for lunch; if you're ordering salads and sandwiches, they probably won't disappoint. But where they fall short, based on my admittedly limited experience, is their entrees. The food just doesn't seem to be freshly prepared, and, given the relatively large menu, I have to wonder how much has been previously cooked and frozen. The one time I was there for dinner, my daughter ordered chicken parm, which was a breaded and fried chicken patty covered with melted cheese, served with a nondescript red sauce over overcooked pasta. Personally, I wouldn't order their steaks, seafood, stir fry or Italian menu items, and, if those were the things I was in the mood for, I'd head somewhere else.

          All that said, it's definitely family-friendly and well-priced.

          1. re: CindyJ

            LOL.I stand corrected. Hugos of old had lots of good fresh stuff and tried using local mushrooms in an imaginative way. When it became the LW Family rest, the menu moved to middle of the road. Certainly priced right with lots of lunch things for a large party of 10. That said, the Sovano Bistro, while not on the "cheap" side, offers some of the best stuff around. a bit trickier to find since it's down on the intersection of 926 and 82, but really not that hard from Longwood Gardens (Yes, there is a shortcut,.but the easiest is route 1 south to the expanded 4 lane highway, take the first exit (82), turn right and go about 3 miles to the light..........Sovano Bistro is in the funny looking shopping area to the right, across from Landhope Farm. Back way.......come out of the Longwood gates, turn right immediately, follow past the picnic area and continue to the right, following a 1/4 mile to the light at the back of Longwoods. Turn left and follow it (926) for about 4 the next light, right before it, is said shopping area... Landhope will be on the right. Prettier drive and faster

              1. re: bluehensfan

                I agree! Sovana Bistro NEVER lets me down.

              2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                Hugo's had a long-standing following in the area. When I first moved here, it was just about the ONLY restaurant in the vicinity. Their mushroom soup had a reputation that crossed state borders and folks would travel great distances for it. Longwood FR would have done much better back in the days before the area was built up.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Plus Andrew Wyeth sometimes ate there -- always fun to see him! He & Helga were also fond of Hank's.

                  1. re: thymeoz

                    I knew he was a regular at Hank's Place and the Chadds Ford Inn. I didn't know about Hugo's.

          2. I can't thank you enough for all the recs. It looks like we have quite a range to choose from. I'll let my crew know and I am sure we will have a fine dinner. We are looking forward to dinner and the light show. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!