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Oct 29, 2012 02:37 PM

Elegant Saturday Lunch Near the Barnes and Amtrak

We're coming from DC to viisit the Barnes on a Saturday morning in November, joined by a foodie couple from NYC. Any suggestions for a fine leisurely lunch before we head off to Amtrak for our respective trains? We're considering the Fountain and La Croix. Any other suggestions?

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  1. The Waterworks next to the Art Museum.
    Perhaps you can also peruse this magnificent and memorable museum.

    1. If you are going for elegant, I think Lacroix and The Fountain are your two best options.

      1 Reply
      1. re: barryg

        +1 for both. Waterworks is historic and has a gorgeous view but variable cuisine.

      2. Those are two excellent suggestions. The Fountain would be walking distance.

        1. Many thanks to all responders. I've read at least some of the relatively recent threads about both Fountain and LaCroix. Would anyone care to share a preference as between the two (with reasons)?

          To arepo: We'll be in town for 3 days and definitely plan on a morning at the PMA. Would Waterworks be the best convenient choice for lunch that day (2 people only, without the foodie NY'ers)? Do I correctly recall some favorable comments about the museum restaurant? Or was that about the Barnes restaurant?

          6 Replies
          1. re: chowtraveler

            I haven't been to Waterworks but the full-service restaurant in the PMA, Granite Hill, is more than decent. You could walk a little to Lemon Hill for brunch/lunch if it's a Saturday or Sunday and you like the menu (they aren't open for lunch during the week) but it's not nearly as convenient as staying in the museum or going to Waterworks.

            1. re: chowtraveler

              My biggest question would be the timing of your meal. having just taken relatives to the Barnes, it took us two days to go through the exhibit. While not everyone may be so fastidious, I would allow at least 2.5 hours for the exhibit. Comparing the menus at Lacroix and the Fountain leaves me with the impression that the Fountain is a bigger and more leisurely meal. I would only do that if you have at least 90 minutes for the meal so you can enjoy it. Proximity makes the Fountain preferable, especially if people in your party are willing to walk across the parkway. And I would not consider the Waterworks. I would sooner go to the sit down restaurant at the PMA which is run by Starr.

              1. re: cwdonald

                I spent about 2.5 hours in the Barnes and really needed more time to fully appreciate it. 3-4 hours with a break in between would have been ideal I think.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  I haven't been to the Fountain but I have been to Lacroix a handful of times. The seating is very spacious and comfortable, and the pacing leisurely. Excellent service as well.

                  1. re: barryg

                    The expression, 'foodie couple' says a lot. Waterworks has charm in terms of location for those for whom location is key, but for 'foodies', Waterworks is not
                    a choice one would think of.

                    And, yes, the Barnes probably merits a visit as long as you can, rather than
                    rushing off to have lunch. Lunch at the PMA has been quite satisfactory, and
                    that does permit going back to see exhibits after lunch.

                    So, maybe The Fountain after the Barnes?

                2. re: chowtraveler

                  No question to me that the Waterworks would suffice perfectly for you. No, it is not the Fountain or LaCroix but it more than fills the bill, particularly if it happens to be a beautiful day. Make sure to request a table on the veranda (weather permitting).
                  There is little more gorgeous than that scene when the sun is shining.

                3. Thanks again to all responders. Perhaps regrettably, about 2 or 2.5 hours in a museum is about all we can absorb before glazing over. Based on all available information and opinions expressed, our plan is to hit the Barnes at the 10:00 a.m. opening (yes, we already have our tickets), followed by a leisurely 1:00 or 1:30 lunch at the Fountain, followed by late afternoon trains to our respective home cities.

                  And after our morning at the PMA, as an alternative to Granite Hill, we're attracted by the possibility of the Belgian Cafe. Having to decide between mussels and burgers is an appealing prospect. Are we on the right track?.

                  I'm embarrasssed to say that we haven't been to your city in 25 years, and that was strictly for business, but after inquiring what we might do to supplement our Barnes visit, we've wound up booking a 4-day stay. Between the two great art museums (three counting the Rodin), the Arden Theatre, all the great music at Kimmel and the Curtis Institute, and a slew of appealing restaurants, we wish we'd thought of coming up there long ago.. The restaurants we're thinking of are:

                  Amada, for a tapas lunch before the Arden;
                  Sbraga, for dinner before a Kimmel performance';
                  As noted above, the Belgian Cafe for lunch following the PMA;
                  Estia, for dinner before a Curtis opera production;
                  Osteria, for a leisurely dinner after another Kimmel;
                  And finally, as noted, the Fountain for lunch following the Barnes.

                  We haven't been able to get through to Le Bec Fin by phone this week, but definitely would revise things to accommodate their $55 lunch if we can get in.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: chowtraveler

                    Sounds like a good plan chowtraveleer.
                    As you already know, Philly is a charming city and you seem to be touching most all bases.

                    1. re: chowtraveler

                      Excellent plan. As you will most likely, should be taking a cab to Osteria another short cab ride would offer the alternative of Zahav a James Beard national award winner with great drinks, good service and a quite interesting menu. Certainly a matter of personal choice, both are very good. Zahav is especially unique in its food choices.

                      1. re: Bacchus101

                        Isn't Zahav BYOB? Not sure it would help the wine to be transported via Amtrak shortly before pouring.

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            +1 for Zahav. Not to be missed. Especially if you like lamb (if so, pre-order the Mesibah).

                      2. re: chowtraveler

                        If you want beer and mussels, Belgian Cafe is a good choice if you're ok with the walk to get there.

                        1. re: barryg

                          Our idea is to go to the Belgian Cafe directly from the PMA. Isn't it pretty close?

                          1. re: chowtraveler

                            It's a solid 15 minute walk. Not a big deal, just good to know if you plan on going back to the museum after.

                            1. re: chowtraveler

                              For me, the Belgian Cafe would be too far.
                              If you don't stay in the PMA for lunch, take the free shuttle bus that runs every ten minutes outside the back entrance and takes you across the Parkway to the Perelman Annex. At least, that way you will save the long walk down the hill and be at 25th Street.
                              One advantage of eating at the museum is that you can then go back and browse the gift shop, etc.

                              Another note: Spraga is a full course dinner. I would make your reservation for 5:30 if you are going to an 8pm performance.
                              Estia is very fast - sometimes too fast - so you don't have to worry about that one.
                              Also right across from Curtis is Parc, which we love. It's a French bistro with the best bread in town, wonderful onion soup, etc.

                              Your trip sounds well planned and delightful. Enjoy!

                              1. re: sylviag

                                Right, it looks a little closer on the map than it is in reality because of the size of the museum (time to actually enter/exit galleries) and the walk either down the hill from the rear entrance or the huge staircase in the front. I wouldn't hesitate to go before or after the museum, but I also wouldn't go as a break during a visit. And the museum is big enough that a break is probably in order if you want to see more than a small fraction of what is on display. Not even taking the Perelman annex into account, or a special exhibition which itself is usually worth 1-1.5 hours of time. On that note, worth mentioning that PMA admission--which also includes the Perelman and the Rodin Museum--is good for two days.