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Sep 6, 2012 08:05 PM

Special occassion/dress up restaurant in Center City Philadelphia

It's been a while since I needed a restaurant that meets those standards, but the babysitter is coming for this weekend, and we're going OUT! Your favorite spots for a fussy foodie, please.

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  1. For dressy (and expensive), The Fountain or Lacroix.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray

      +1 for each. Just about the only places left with any sense of decorum.

      1. re: Chefpaulo

        I would suggest that Le Bec Fin has that same sense of decorum, as does Vetri.

        1. re: cwdonald

          I would recommend the new LBF for this, the food is excellent and so is the service. As far as the menu, you basically choose vegetarian or not, and it not, the non-veg menu has two choices for most of the courses. I wouldn't recommend Vetri after my last meal there. I haven't been to the Fountain ever and it's been a long time since I was at Lacroix.

          1. re: Buckethead

            I didn't recommend Vetri because the request was for this Saturday, and I doubt they would have availability this close. Additionally, I don't really consider Vetri a true "dress up" restaurant. Personally, I wouldn't wear a jacket or tie there. However, I do think it is one of the best, if not the best, Philly has to offer.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              I don't see where the OP mentioned it was Saturday exactly but assuming "this weekend" = Saturday, availability will be the main problem: Vetri, Fountain, and Lacroix all show no availability on Opentable within 2 hours of 7 pm on Saturday. LBF has a couple openings.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  I'm famous for it! I prefer calling it "attention to detail" though..

    2. LaCroix is the best bet, in my opinion, if you're looking for highly attentive service, creative but still fairly traditional French, and a fairly serene/romantic atmosphere. Fountain is too stuffy for me and I love pretentious, stuffy French places.

      Vetri is nice but hard to get a table and far less intimate.

      4 Replies
      1. re: QuakerInBoston

        We went to dinner at Fountain recently and it wasn't the least bit stuffy or pretentious. It was delightful! Lots of good menu choices. We love LaCroix, too.
        I would go to either one.

        Seems like the menu at Le Bec Fin is limited; that would be my problem with it.

        1. re: sylviag

          Here is the dinner menu as it is on philadelphia menu pages... doesnt seem too limited to me. I am not sure how many courses you get...

          Consomme De Volaille confit d' escargot with foraged herbs
          Marinated Root Vegetables And Creme Fraiche

          Quarry Hill Farm Hen Egg Garganelli ris de veau, raisins, coriander and sorrel emulsion
          Yolk Wrapped In Swiss Chard potato fondant, truffle gelee and sweet corn

          Husdon Valley Foie Gras Poele caramelized onion brioche, frog hollow peaches and sedum
          Grilled Artichokes baby gems and dijon mustard

          Poached Atlantic Halibut Wrapped In Holland Leeks crepe and caviar butter
          Whole Roasted Fennel quinoa, baby squash and armando manni olive oil

          32 Day Dry Aged Beef peas, morel mushrooms and sauce bordelaise
          Champignons De Paris lemon, young beets and tarte de rye

          Meadow Creek Farm Mountaineer two miles honey and plutos

          Buttermilk Sorbet new jersey blueberries, ginger genoise and candied citrus

          Mousse Au Chocolat De Michel Cluizel poached cherries and macadamia nut ice cream

          1. re: cwdonald

            Looks like you get a choice for each course.
            Many of the courses look very good, but the entree on this menu is either halibut or a vegetarian choice. Since I don't care for halibut, there would go my meal. I assume the other courses are small plates. If the entree is something you like, then it's great.
            My husband loves halibut - I could send him!

            1. re: sylviag

              Most of the courses are about the same size (small), there is no 'entree' course. I don't know if you read what I wrote above but there's a vegetarian menu and a non-vegetarian one, the non-veg one has two choices for most of the courses. So there are really three menus: Veg, Non-Veg 1 and Non-Veg 2, although the latter two share a few courses at the beginning and the end (cheese and dessert). So you would have a choice between the halibut and something else for that course. I suspect the Menupages menu is out of date anyway. LBF really needs to get its new website up and running.

      2. Fountain, Vetri -Yes
        Lacroix- Not for me anymore. Food is too fussily and sparingly presented. Couple dishes were just odd.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sal_acid

          I have to agree on the "spare" part. I like a perfectly prepared small portion, but the last time we went to Lacroix, the food was microscopic! We always order every course, and dessert was more food than everything else combined!

        2. Let's open up the discussion beyond the 3 safe choices. Think less "dress up" and more trendy. And yes, it's for Saturday night, and I'm know I'm late.

          1. Well, there's a world of difference between "very special dressup place" and "great foodie place" and "terrific 'nice' place to eat with great food!" I like all of the above, at different times.

            So you need the food to be great, and want to fuss a bit. There are plenty of nice places to go, where you may be able to get in even though its a Saturday.

            A little further down the scale would be Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties -- it's always been one of my favorite spots, upscale for the neighborhood, raffish by Center City standards. But news is that David Ansill has just taken over and revamped the whole menu. I expect it's worth a visit.

            My parents offered to take us out for my birthday in July, and I had them take me to Tinto, Jose Garces second restaurant. That was a lovely meal. I have not been to his Chifa yet, but have always been intrigued by the idea of Peruvian/Cantonese cuisine.

            Amada is bound to be booked -- my wife and I went there once without a reservation, and were happy to settle for seats at the the "bar" near the cooking station. If you are into that, you can sit and watch them assemble the dishes (we also so the expediter send a few things back for not being up to standard).

            A longtime favorite is Tequila's. It's an old standby but the food -- truly authentic Mexican cuisine -- has always been wonderful. (Killer margarita's, too).

            Matyson, a BYOB, is fantastic. Again, if you can get a Saturday table.