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Jan 12, 2013 07:16 AM

Quiet, good-to-great restaurants in the city & near surburbs

I am a hearing aid wearer. For those of you who are not familiar with anyone who uses hearing aids, they are amplifiers! Everything interferes with conversation. I'd like to find those good-to-great places, in the the city and near (Pa) suburbs, that would make conversation much easier for me and those I'm dining with and just make the whole experience more pleasurable. I'm sure there are restaurants that fit this description, I'm just having a difficult time finding them.

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  1. Stella Sera in Chestnut Hill comes to mind if you like good Italian food, but remember, the earlier you go, the more likely you are to avoid loud noise almost anywhere.

    1 Reply
    1. re: arepo

      I have a friend who wears a hearing aid. He has no problem with Stella Sera (gets there around 6pm on Saturdays).

    2. This is one of the reasons we enjoy Moonstruck, in Northeast Philly. It is a beautiful place and is divided into small rooms; no room seems to have more than four tables. The food is high quality - if you like calves liver, this is the place to get it - and there is even a parking lot.

      We often eat at the William Penn Inn with our friends who live in that area. It's a large place, kind of old-fashioned traditional, with comfortable seats and quiet enough for talking.

      In town, it's more of a problem. You can ask for a quiet spot. We have learned places to stay away from - Modo Mio, Russet, etc. - good, but too high a noise level. At Meritage, you can ask for the back room. The same with Bronzino - there you want the upstairs room. The steak houses are all pretty good with noise level (but a higher price level!)
      We definitely consider this when choosing our dining spot.

      Oh yes - the best are the Asian restaurants. Our Japanese favorites have a serene atmosphere, never noisy.
      And they serve cooked food if you don't eat sushi.

      1. Savona in Gulph Mills. Ask for a table in the next to the windows in the narrow section off of the main dining room. Creeds in King or Prussia has multiple dining rooms, so it may be possible to find a quieter one.

        1. Plus 1 on the Wm Penn Inn. Room selection here could also be a factor in the loudness/quiet issue. I find, what was, The Commonwealth Club upstairs to usually be good for conversation. The Fountain Room at the Four Seasons is most often found to be relatively quiet. Also agree with Sara's in Walnut Hill.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bacchus101

            Did want to also suggest Georges on Main Line. Stay out of the bar/lounge and you should find relative quiet.

            1. re: Bacchus101

              Also on the Main Line is Susannah Foo's for delicious Asian in a serene atmosphere.

          2. As a fellow hearing aid user and lover of good-to-great byob's, which are notoriously loud, my first thought is maybe you need a better HA. The best digital HA's are expensive, but their software lowers the loud ambient sound and boosts nearby individual voices. To a pretty high degree you're hearing what everyone else is. One problem is HA fatigue because you are hearing electronic sound.

            Re: your question, the fine dining places mentioned -add Lacroix- are quiet. I'm not a huge fan of Moonstruck but it's good. Some places such as Branzino have separate quieter rooms.

            2 Replies
            1. re: george2

              george2 - thanks for the reply. I do have the most expensive, best digital aids. I'm also in the process of exploring a cochlear implant, which I will probably have done sometime this summer.
              I've had this issue with restaurant noise (and crowd noise in general) from the first aids I used, over 15 years ago.

              I appreciate the Lacroix suggestion. It's a place that we've been considering for a while, but have been reluctant to go to. We, too, are always fooking at byob's, having recently gone to Melograno, which was really noisy at 7, but had quieted considerably by 8 on a Sunday night. I like Matyson, which can be pretty loud at times. People suggest that I make early reservations at most restaurants, but that isn't what we prefer. We generally are looking at 7-8pm, which I know is the most popular time.

              1. re: bucksguy14

                I also happen to be a bucks guy and the noise to enjoyment ratio of places in bucks is not very good, especially for byob's. Tavalo on Huntingdon Pike is quiet but I'm hard pressed to think of other places right now. Newtown has some good restaurants but they're all very loud. Same with Doylestown.

                We go to bibou as often as possible and the food is worth the noise, at least to me.

                Re: HA's, I've relied on my audiologist, who is a technology geek, to recommend the best for me. I then try them out for a week or two.

                The technology and software algorithms change significantly every few years so by the time I'm ready for a new HA the best one brand has usually changed. Moreover, every brand has their own characteristics, making them more or less appealing to certain users. E.g., the Widex I used 10 years ago tended to boost low midrange, producing a more "mellow" sound but at the expense of higher midrange clarity, which is more important to me currently. But that clarity is often fatiguing, especially at the end of a long day.

                At this point I'm convinced I'm hearing what everyone else is and HA fatigue is a major culprit.