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Breakfast Around Rittenhouse Square

Any suggested good bakery/cafe options for breakfast close to Rittenhouse Square, before heading off to the PMA or the Barnes? We have no appetite for large hotel breakfasts, much less for their pricetags.

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    1. Le Petite Dauphine and Metropolitan Bakery both get decent mentions on this board.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mookleknuck

        Parc is great for a sit down brunch while Metropolitan is good for quick bites. You could always walk to Reading Terminal Market for warm cinnamon bun or apple dumpling there.

        1. On the way to the Barnes, Nook at 20th & Ranstead (just below Market St) has great baked goods. It's a coffeeshop with a plenty of seating.

          Or you could eat a Philadelphian's idea of a light breakfast, a soft pretzel from a food cart and a cup of coffee.

          1 Reply
          1. re: barryg

            The one other place I would add is a.kitchen. While it does serve as the restaurant for a boutique hotel the prices do not reflect that. And they make their own english muffins in house. Prices range from 10-13 dollars. Not greasy spoon prices but not the 25 dollar breakfast either.

          2. +1 for Nook. They have the absolute BEST breakfast pastries in Center City, and I would know ;) They also have great coffe. Locally owned by a super-nice couple. They are in a perfect location, on your way to the Barnes.

            You called it, barryg.

            1. Rittenhouse Tavern for foie gras-topped buckwheat pancakes - if you're into that sort of thing. :)

              Edit: That's more of a brunch option. Sorry!

              1. +3 La Petite Dauphine....

                1. Many thanks to all who responded. We'll try 3 of the suggested spots, and report back next week.

                  1. We have returned from Philly. Here's the breakfast report:

                    Parc Brasserie: Good food -- eggs Norwegian (a/k/a eggs Benedict with smoked salmon in place of Canadian bacon) and scrambled eggs in a vol au vent pastry shell. Fresh-squeezed OJ, good coffee, and pleasant surroundings, But prices indistinguishable from hotel restaurant breakfast prices (including the individually priced croissants etc). So there's not only no free lunch, there's no free or even discounted breakfast either.

                    Metropolitan Bakery -- First-class baked goods, but in the Rittenhouse branch no seating of any kind, just a small stand-up counter (we were lucky and got to it just before a very big crowd came in). And good coffee. But no OJ at all.

                    La Petite Dauphine -- We'll never know. After checking their phone-answering message just before leaving our hotel, to confirm that they open at 8:00 a.m. even on Saturdays, we arrived at 8:10 to find the door open but two proprietors leisurely sipping coffee at the bar who greeted us as follows (quoted verbatim and in its entirety): "We're not open yet, not until 8:30 today. Sorry for the inconvenience." Good luck to them.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: chowtraveler

                      Wow, bizarre about LPD. Won't get much return business with that attitude.

                      I just heard that the Rittenhouse Metropolitan location is going to be opening a cafe, with seating, etc. Too late for you this time, but might be nice for future visits.

                      1. re: chowtraveler

                        I am very sorry you were disappointed with the Parc breakfast. I would suggest in the future that you use actual dollar figure for what you are looking to pay for breakfast rather than simply cheaper than a hotel breakfast. Having paid upwards of 25 dollars for breakfast at good hotels, I still believe it is possible to eat cheaper than a hotel breakfast at Parc. But again its all in expectations.

                        With regards to LPD.. there is no excuse for an attitude like that outside of Paris!

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Sorry I was unclear. We weren't disappointed with the Parc breakfast, just mildy disappointed that the prices were at hotel-level after all. Of course, one must compare apples and oranges (or in this case, eggs Norwegian with eggs Norwegian -- $17 at the Parc and $18 at the Rittenhouse Hotel (as posted in the hotel lobby)) -- no fair comparing eggs Norwegian at the Parc witth a croissant at the Rittenhouse. But we recognize that, as barryg notes in his comment below, everything is relative, and that location matters.

                        2. re: chowtraveler

                          The Rittenhouse area is not cheap in general and Parc is especially overpriced IMO in general, and particularly for breakfast. There are cheaper options but a big part of what you are paying for at Parc is the atmosphere and prime location on the park.

                          1. re: barryg

                            Agreed, and the atmosphere and prime location on the park helped make it the pleasant breakfast experience it was.

                          2. re: chowtraveler

                            Seems you have had some level of difficulty at each breakfast. As mentioned by others cheap is not a word associated with Rittenhouse Square. As Metropolitan is a bakery no orange juice should not be a surprise; glad you enjoyed the 1st class baked goods. I could not excuse or justify the attitude served to you at LPD. Sorry I +3 them. Regarding taxi service, or lack there of, in our fair city: I have found cabbies here to be frequently ignorant and more self absorbed in their personal issues(phone,music) than in their job. I have found the same in many cities but it seems here it is the rule rather than the exception, could just be my sensitivity to the negative effects they have on Philadelphia. Thanks for the comments.

                            1. re: Bacchus101

                              No, not "difficulty" (except for La Petite Dauphine), just trying to give an objective report. But yes, we were surprised at the absence of OJ at Met Bakery, not only because the place plainly caters to breakfast-eaters (8:00 a.m. opening; huge urns of brewed serve-yourself coffees; an eat-in space, albeit small), but also because one whole wall is taken up by a supermarket-type cooler with numerous varieties of soft drinks, bottled tea, other beverages, cream cheese and other spreads, as well as various other perishables.

                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                As to cabbies, I didn't mean to suggest that Philadelphia is unique in this regard. DC cabbies have their own special brand of incompetence, not to mention venality. I think our Philly cab experience was especially striking in light of the Old City and Rittenhouse areas' remarkable resemblance to London, where the cabbies are world-famous for their knowledge of the local geography (and much else).

                            2. Speaking of the Rittenhouse neighborhood, I feel compelled to mention an off-topic observation: Of the four taxicab trips we took to our hotel with a Rittenhouse Square address, all from not-so-distant locations in downtown Philly, three of the four drivers were unsure of where Rittenhouse Square was.

                              In fact, of the three taxicab trips we took from Rittenhouse Square to other locations, one driver couldn't find the Seaport Museum or the next-door Hyatt Regency (dumped us at a huge cul de sac parking lot within sight of but still two blocks away from Penn's Landing), and another driver had never heard of the Pa. Academy of Fine Arts on N. Broad Street ("Is that a building?" he replied when given the exact address).

                              Is this typical, or were we just lucky?

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: chowtraveler

                                Its typical. All cabs should have GPS's now and as a result drivers don't even bother to learn the city.

                                1. re: chowtraveler

                                  A lot of the cab drivers are terrible. I'm not surprised about the seaport museum, Hyatt, or Academy of Fine Arts; I am surprised about Rittenhouse Square, though. I just give intersections and that always works -- but of course a tourist shouldn't have to do that.

                                  I wonder -- how did you ask for your destination on Rittenhouse? I'm guessing you stayed at The Rittenhouse and if you asked for it by it's exact address -- 210 West Rittenhouse Square -- I can see the problem. That is basically meaningless for a local too. We may know where the square is but a 200-block address is very confusing and doesn't conform with the grid's addressing system. Locals would probably just ask for Locust & Rittenhouse. That's not to excuse the city's poor cab drivers though.

                                  1. re: barryg

                                    Actually, we gave our destination each time as "the Rittenhouse Hotel, on Rittenhouse Square, west side." This we could easily remember; keeping all those trees straight really is confusing for us unsophisticates from DC, where the downtown grid consists simply of north-south streets consecutively numbered and east-west streets consecutively lettered, progressing in the usual fashion as one moves away from the US Capitol. (We have to rely on the State-named diagonals to confuse visitors.)

                                    1. re: chowtraveler

                                      Got it, that's just sad, a cabbie not knowing where Rittenhouse Square is.

                                      1. re: barryg

                                        That's why, as bad as SEPTA (the public transportation company) is, at least they know what direction they are heading.

                                      2. re: chowtraveler

                                        High prices at Parc, no OJ at Met, attitude and no service at LPD. Ok well since this is your objective report perhaps I should not have characterized it with the word "difficulty". Beside operating the cab the main job of the cabbie is knowing the city in which they drive. As noted with some exceptions, London, that is frequently not the case. Please do not consider yourself unsophisticated just because you are from DC ;based on your posts here it certainly does not seem to be so.

                                        1. re: Bacchus101

                                          Actually, we're from Alexandria, VA, a real if small city almost as old (1749) as Philadelphia that directly adjoins DC, and originally was one of DC's two component communities. We often say "DC" because some people either have never heard of Alexandria or think it must be hopelessly suburban.

                                          I demurred to the word "difficulty" because, in fact, we had a terrific time in Philadelphia, and look forward to returning -- for the art, the music, and (as we now know) the food. it wasn't a perfect visit, but what visit is?

                                          1. re: chowtraveler

                                            Too bad you didn't make it to Reading Terminal Market. It's good and cheap. Think of it as Eastern Market on steroids.

                                            1. re: bluehensfan

                                              Next time. (And we hope/expect there will be a next time.)

                                            2. re: chowtraveler

                                              chowtraveler, I know it is off-topic but I like your reviews and am curious about the art and music you took in. Have you written that up anywhere else? Or maybe the mods will let you get away with some brief mentions if you put it around your restaurant reviews.

                                              1. re: barryg

                                                Thanks for those kind words. Between meals, we took in the 1850-1900+ European paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the entire Barnes marathon (and wished we could have spread it over two days at least); and the Pa. Academy of Fine Arts.

                                                Two dinners and two lunches culminated, respectively, in the Takacs Quartet at the Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center; the Philadelphia Orchestra's performance of Prokofiev's score to the simultaneously-screened Soviet pseudo-historical propaganda film "Alexander Nevsky" (the film is a hoot, but the score is awe-inspiring); the Curtis Institute's "student" production of Mozart's "Magic Flute" (some students!); and the play "Freud's Last Session" at the Arden Theatre. The food made the performances all the more enjoyable, and vice versa. (Maybe these food references will save this post from deletion.)

                                                1. re: chowtraveler

                                                  That all sounds wonderful, glad you had a good time!