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May 9, 2013 03:53 PM

Center City Lunch Option for Mid-Size Group

Greetings from Minnesota! I've been tasked with finding a location for a luncheon in June with the following guidelines:

- Within walking distance of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
- Can accommodate a group from ~8 to 20 without a room charge
- Erring on the side of affordable vs. fancy or foodie.
- Quiet enough for conversation is essential (ideally private room).

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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  1. I suggest R2L. It's on 16th Street, about 4 blocks walk.
    It's high, with a beautiful view of the city. I have found it to be always quiet enough to talk. You can see the menu online.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sylviag

      R2l is quite expensive. OP, how much do you want to spend?

      1. re: barryg

        Thanks. We are a group of public employees, each will be paying our own way. My boss said to keep it "affordable" so under $20? Not sure how prices compare to here.

        1. re: jaycooke

          Under $20 *with* tax/tip?

          Wow. I'd be curious about the suggestions.... that sounds impossible, unless you're considering Subway.

          Chinatown might be your best bet, it's not that far of a walk.

          1. re: linguafood

            Any particular recommendations in Chinatown then?

            If my expectations are off base, I'm not set in stone. I honestly don't know how prices compare. Our nicest restaurants have lunch options in the $12-$16 range, so I was making a guess.

            1. re: jaycooke

              Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House:


              Dirt cheap and delicious. Massive portions, too.

    2. It's the combination of quiet and affordable that is tricky. There are many excellent inexpensive lunches to be had within a few blocks of that area, but they tend to be fairly noisy, even the nicer restaurants. It is a very busy part of the city. A private room is unlikely, especially without knowing the size of the group ahead of time.

      Some places you might check out are: El Vez, Caribou Cafe, and Opa. You'd need reservations at any of them, and really only El Vez has larger size tables, but the others might be able to make it work and none are super-loud at lunch.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

        I was wondering if El Vez was noisy at lunch time. They have a two-course lunch for $15 I think.

        At the upper end of the price range, Giorgio on Pine does a $20 (before tax/tip) 3 course lunch and should not be too loud at that time (BYOB).

        Also looks like Estia (upscale Greek) does an "Express Lunch" for $17pp. Not sure if that means would they wouldn't appreciate you lingering chatting.

        In Chinatown, Sang Kee is always a good bet and is a little nicer and roomier (two floors) than most places. If people do the soups or rice platters (the best items they offer IMO) it would be under $10 before beverage.

        jaycooke... for comparison, nicer casual/trendy places should clock in a little under $20 but the nicest places are closer to $30. Estia looks like a nice exception to that rule (though they also do a "business lunch" for $30).

        1. re: barryg

          Two other suggestions in Chinatown both of which have private rooms (do not know if they have room charges) are Lee How Fook, and Vietnam Palace. You are going to be able to easily stay within your budget at either place. The former is standard chinese american food fare, the latter is decent Vietnamese, though I am not a fan of the Pho there.

      2. Here is the link to the lunch menu from R2L:

        When I have been there, we usually get the burger or another sandwich - $11 to $14. The salads are another option.
        It's on the 37th floor, and really stunning.

        If you think it's too expensive and want to go to Chinatown,
        I suggest Vietnam Palace. It's attractive and quiet, and I have often seen large groups there.