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Best restaurants near Rittenhouse Square

Coming from nyc for 3 nights in Philadelphia. Staying at either the Rittenhouse or Ritz Carlton (haven't made up my mind). Want at least 1 special night. Any kind of food is fine as long as it's great and is within walking distance of either hotel. Where we stay might have to do with what food is near.

Thanks from a real foodie
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  1. FYI .. The Ritz is on Broad Street, the Rittenhouse is on RIttenhouse Square. Depending on your appetite for walking, you really shouldn't worry about how far you are from restaurants. If you are limited to say four city blocks, I probably would stay at the Rittenhouse. (You might also check out the Palomar or the Four Seaons which are both in the same area as well.. ). What type of food are you looking for? If I were to do one night in Philadelphia, and I wanted something that was unique to Philly, I probably would go to Zahav which is a short cab ride from Rittenhouse. Modern Israeli food with a fabulous lamb dish (must be pre ordered). If you want high end italian, Vetri probably would be the choice, if you can get reservations. I hesitate to suggest the french options, as you have so many choices in NYC but both Le Bec Fin, as well as Bibou (BYO) are great, though again reservations may be difficult to get.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      I second the lamb at Zahav (you pre-order the Mesibah), and if you stay at the Rittenhouse (or even if you don't stay there) you would be very pleased by the Sunday brunch at Lacroix. And do visit Reading Terminal Market for breakfast, lunch, or grazing. Very uniquely Philly.

      1. re: bluehensfan

        Thanks. I certainly plan to go to the Reading Terminal Market.

      2. re: cwdonald

        Thanks. I'm not sure if I already replied to you or not. Zahav sounds great. Will definitely go there one night.

        Tried to reserve at Bibou. Too Early. I ate at Le Bec Fin some years ago. Loved it.

        I know this is a food web site but tell me..which hotel do you recommend???

        1. re: lenorel57

          If you call Bibou they will take your res before the tables open up online. Le Bec Fin has changed quite a bit over the past year -- new owners, new chef, new menu. You can read about it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/food/201...

          Bringing up Crag Laban, our local food critic of record, also worth looking at his recent rundown of four-bell (top rating) restaurants:
          http://www.philly.com/philly/restaura...

      3. I think the Ritz puts you in better walking distance to restaurants, because most of the Rittenhouse-area restaurants are still less than 5 blocks away, but you are also very close to the many restaurants clustered around 13th St & Walnut, and in walking distance of other good restaurants like Kanella, Farm & Fisherman, Amis, etc. Reading Terminal is also only a few blocks away.

        Either way, you are in walking distance or a short cab ride of so many of the city's good restaurants of all types. I think cwdonald is right on for your "special" dinner but otherwise the options are broad and plentiful so it would be helpful to narrow what you're looking for.

        FWIW the restaurant in The Rittenhouse (Lacroix) is excellent, and the Sunday brunch is spectacular. I wouldn't do Lacroix for dinner, since there are more unique places you should try as a visitor, but it is worth it for brunch. The restaurant in the Ritz (10 Arts) is going through some turmoil--they lost their chef-de-cuisine and partner Eric Ripert recently pulled out. So I would avoid it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: barryg

          Hard to narrow it down. I think Vitri , Bibou, and Zahav sound interesting. I guess a cab ride may be in order.

        2. I'm one of the minority who didn't think Zahav was special. We are Jewish and hummus, etc. is no novelty. We do need to try it again, but most of our friends feel the way we do.

          We ate at Le Bec Fin recently and loved it. Different from the old one, but in a class by itself.
          If you stay at the Rittenhouse, you will be near a new and terrific restaurant called Vernick Food and Drink. Creative.

          That Sunday brunch at LaCroix is amazing. And everyday breakfast there is very good.

          Yes, call Bibou. You would need a cab to go there from either location.

          Staying at the Rittenhouse puts you right on the square, which has charm. Parc, across the square, is an excellent French bistro good for breakfast, lunch or even a dinner when you want something casual.

          You probably can't get into Vetri, but you can try.

          Have a great weekend!

          5 Replies
          1. re: sylviag

            I am going to take a small difference of opion with sylviag... I really think there are several things that are unique about Zahav. First off is Solomonov's flavors.. he really is using a set of flavors from the middle east that you do not see that often in western cooking.. coffee and cardamom, pomegranate, fenugreek seeds, etc. The hummus is not just straight humus but they have different regional variations... the most luxurioius being the warm turkish version that is made with butter rather than tahini. The next highlight of the menu are the offal, duck heart, sweetbreads lamb tongue. There are less adventurous dishes in the mezze but for me these are some of the highlights. And then the main course... which may just sound like kebab, but the meats grilled over open flame (Al Haesh) really are great and if you get the lamb shoulder which is shared amongst the table you will be incredibly pleased.

            Here is a story from the times several years ago on Solomonov, the chef at Zahav. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/din...

            Regarding hotels.. I am not a fan of the Ritz in Philadelphia, its an old bank that has been converted. which while there are dramatic parts in the hotel I personally do not find it that comfortable. The palomar (part of the Kimpton group) is a new boutique hotel that is worth considering. The Four Seasons is always a good choice. And the Rittenhouse really is nice as well.

            With regards to getting in Vetri, again try calling the restaurant directly in addition to open table. Failing there you might even contact the hotel you choose to see if the concierge has and pull with the restaurant. Have a wonderful time and we look forward to hearing your experiences.

            1. re: cwdonald

              cw, you have convinced me. We haven't been to Zahav for several years, and probably ordered the wrong things.
              And of course, I trust your judgment! We will definitely get there soon.

              I also agree about hotels. Just keep posting, we need you!

              1. re: sylviag

                The menu at Zahav has changed significantly since it first opened. It's no longer just upscale versions of Israeli street food. Definitely worth a visit. The hummus is still worth it though... easily the best in the city.

              2. re: cwdonald

                Thanks to all of you for your input. I am not going until mar.8 , but will let you know where we ate. On my list are LaCroix for brunch, Zahav, Vitri, Le Bec Fin, and F ountain. the last recommended by Crag Laban and Zagat. I doubt if I'll eat in all of them, but I have good choices.

                1. re: lenorel57

                  If you do go to the Fountain, make sure to get their salmon. It's sushi grade and fabulous!

            2. If you are able to snag a reservation for Bibou (hard, it's one of our best, and only ~28 seats; BYOB), maybe try for an early res like 5:30PM. That way you could get down there a couple of hours early and wander around the Italian Market, visit DiBruno's, have cocktails at The Mildred, before heading over to dinner.