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Feb 11, 2013 10:25 PM

Just looking for recommendation...Marben, Drake Hotel or Scarpetta

I am looking for a recommendation. This year, I dont want to go out on Feb14 to celebrate Valentines with the wife. Rather we plan to go out on Saturday (Feb16). We haven't been to either Marben, Scarpetta or Drake Hotel.

I kind of want to go to Marben because of the burger and vibe. Also, its where we got engaged (although, the place was called Nectar at the time...David Adjey even sat with us and it was uncomfortable...yikes).

Scarpetta has a winter prix fixe menu ($45) which sounds good, but I am not sure if we will enjoy it as much as the others. Maybe a little too glossy for a married couple with kids enjoying a night out alone?

And Drake Hotel because we have never been (I must be the only person in the city!!!). We can grab a solid meal and then drinks/music after.

Any advice?

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  1. Marben's kind of in a re-building phase. They're not quite back to their former glory as yet. But it's *pretty-good*?

    You've kind of picked a few significantly different vibes, though - Drake is a good place for what you've mentioned, Scarpetta is a "dress-up-and-go-out" kind of place, and you know Marben - but it's very different from when it was Nectar, even in it's current iteration.

    If I were to pick one of the three, I'd probably go with The Drake. Good food, good drinks, and a nice casual vibe.

    1. Saturday night, Marben has more of a bar atmosphere (not a bad thing if you like loud) especially since it's Valentine's Day weekend. The Drake is also doing a special bar-menu for VDay weekend.
      I'd do Scarpetta unless you enjoy being surrounded by drunk hipsters.

      1. Saturday night, Marben has more of a bar atmosphere (not a bad thing if you like loud) especially since it's Valentine's Day weekend. The Drake is also doing a special bar-menu for VDay weekend.
        I'd do Scarpetta unless you want to be surrounded by drunk hipsters.

        1. I'm really not a fan of the Drake for anything and Scarpette is ok but it is very see and been seen kinda feel to me. My pref would be Marben. I don't find it too barish on a Sat but I like the relaxed feel and that fact that it doesn't try as hard as some of the other places in the hood to be "cool" the way some of them do on King street. Westlodge I'm looking at you!

          1. Thanks for the advice! I am leaning toward Marben as well but the wife told me she would like The Drake.

            How about a fourth option: The County General

            LOL at the drunk hipster comment. I warned my wife there would be a lot of plaid shirts and thick rimmed glasses.

            16 Replies
              1. re: dmartins123

                Does County General take reservations? Ursa? Beast instead?

                1. re: dmartins123

                  Scarpetta is the nicest. Marben there will be short skirts. Drake I find the service in the resto proper quite poor. County General much less formal and very different food.

                  1. re: LemonLauren

                    More plaid than short skirts at Marben IMO. I find it very hipster - maybe that's more the staff but that's who I interact with. Not the other patrons.

                  2. re: dmartins123

                    The County General over the Drake for sure. If you want that hood and want somewhere with reservations but not as what I would call as douchey as the Drake I fully recommend The Saint.

                    1. re: JennaBean

                      You have a lot of hate on for the Drake, Jenna! I don't find it nearly as hipster-laden as you. They're mostly relegated to the basement, if there at all. They have some talented bartenders, pretty good food, and arguably the nicest patio in the city.

                        1. re: justxpete

                          Not hipster douchy, I'm talking about the suit types trying to be too cool for school. I'll take a poor badly dressed bearded hipster any day over a suit trying too hard!! And yes, I don't like the Drake. I also blame them for wrecking Queen west and making it unaffortable for actual artists! :-)

                          1. re: JennaBean

                            ohhhhhhhhhh.. yes, they do have a few of those... haha. Makes sense now!

                            1. re: justxpete

                              There is a group like this I've run into at Splendido a few times. They speak too loud, where expensive but terrible clothing with big logos and such and like to show off the gold Rolex. I actually turned around and left once because they were being just too loud and annoying for me.

                              I'm fully judgemental and I know it. :-)

                            2. re: JennaBean

                              @ JB That happened long before the Drake came along. Like 1985.

                              1. re: MissBingBing

                                I live in that hood in a one bedroom in '95 and it was still affordable. I paid $600 all inclusive! My car got broken into three times in less than a year but it was a great hood back then!

                              2. re: JennaBean

                                Gentrification in that area was inevitable. I MUCH prefer that it went in the direction it did via The Drake, than anything else I can think up. If you accept it as a reality, is The Drake and the galleries and cool restaurants and shops really that bad? I have had so many great meals and pastries over the years, not to mention awesome rooftop times : ) The Drake was a huge risk at the time and personally I am thankful for it.

                                1. re: justsayn

                                  I may clean up well and make too much money these days to really fit in, but I'm a dive bar kinda gal at the core and I like it that way. We agree to disagree!

                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                    Not my point. Sorry. My point is that it was inevitable for that strip to be "cleaned up". The remaining dive strips are now elsewhere and there is NO shortage of them. Slowly but surely they too will be cleaned up.
                                    : (

                                    Given what The Drake brought to Queen W, and the slow but steady growth around it, I am very pleased. Instead of the funky shops, galleries and good eats, it could have been rows of condos, or The Gap. I love that The Drake brought arts and entertainment to that area. When you clean up, you should be pleased too. No?

                            3. re: JennaBean

                              Thanks JennaBean,

                              We were recently at The Saint and had a really memorable experience. I want to return for the brunch some weekend.