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Festive birthday dinner w/bf and two college-age children - La Calaca Feliz? Jamonera? Modo Mio?

k
kleary2 Jun 19, 2013 09:40 AM

Trying to decide where to go on a Tuesday evening for a festive birthday dinner for my boyfriend and his two college-age children. Not looking to break the bank on this, and would like to be somewhere with a fun atmosphere, but definitely good food. He and I will have a more intimate celebration, involving Bibou, on another night, but Tuesday is his actual birthday and his children will be with us, and I'd like that to have some sort of specialness to it, too, and preferably someplace we've not yet been.

On basis of a little research on the boards, am considering La Calaca Feliz, Jamonera, and Modo Mio. Considered Barbuzzo but can't get a reservation for this Tuesday. Thoughts on these options? Other suggestions?

Thanks everyone!

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  1. Bacchus101 Jun 19, 2013 09:50 AM

    Jamonera has interesting small plates. Its quite small and often very crowded. Sister Barbuzzo like wise is also very crowded with small plates. We have recently taken it off our list because of what we consider over crowding making it very uncomfortable and because of recent so-so food and drink choices. Should you be interest in a small plates option I would suggest Amada with a bigger, nicer venue and what we think are better small plates.

    1. s
      sadiefox Jun 19, 2013 09:55 AM

      All good choices! And all quite different from each other, especially Modo Mio which is BYO. I have been to Jamonera most recently and I was surprised at how reasonably priced it was, considering how well we ate and with several cocktails. La Calaca Feliz reminded me of restaurants we dined in in Mexico City -- authentic but elevated food. Modo Mio is great but probably has the least interesting atmosphere, not that it is bad.

      1. m
        Misha Jun 19, 2013 10:27 AM

        I love La Calaca Feliz. Went there for a friend's bday and we all enjoyed the food and the energy. Think it would make for a great choice and parking wouldn't be a huge hassle.

        1. p
          PhillyA Jun 19, 2013 10:44 AM

          I've really wanted to like La Calaca Feliz, but both times I've been there, I've felt the food was only OK, and way too expensive for OK.

          Of those options, I would think Jamonera would be fun. Modo Mio is a very nice meal, but a very different feel.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PhillyA
            c
            cwdonald Jun 19, 2013 11:26 AM

            Jamonera is nice, but I agree with folks that it is small and a bit cramped. However you can dine al fresco (weather permitting) and might not feel as cramped. I was there on a Monday night a couple of weeks ago and got in with no reservation at 630. The place was empty. It did fill up later.
            And you are right down the block from Capogiro which makes a nice dessert option.

            Modo Mio is byo which might tip the scale one way or the other for you. Great food, a bit cramped but I do not think that it is too loud especially on a weekday evening. Obviously not in Center City so you cannot stroll afterwards.

            Calaca Feliz is nice. I put it in the same realm as El Vez, and some of the other haute mexican in the city. Good not great. Nice atmosphere and the college aged children might enjoy it.

          2. b
            Bigley9 Jun 20, 2013 10:21 AM

            I am one of the rare folks on this board that doesn't care for Modo Mio - just too salty and that's generally not an issue for me. I enjoyed La Calaca Feliz the one time I was there, but it was after work and we only had snack type foods. (and drinks, which were quite good). I'd add Bar Ferdinand to the list - David Ansell is there now and if you are in the room away from the bar it is less noisy (Tuesday might not be noisy at all), plus if the weather cooperates and it suits you you could eat outside

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bigley9
              p
              PhillyA Jun 20, 2013 01:07 PM

              I haven't been there in a long time, but I LOVED Bar Ferdinand at that age. On weeknights it was always low-key, but it seemed so classy.

              1. re: PhillyA
                b
                Bigley9 Jun 21, 2013 10:37 AM

                I never went pre-David Ansil but I have really enjoyed the few meals I have had there since he has been in the kitchen.

            2. k
              kleary2 Jun 25, 2013 11:34 AM

              Thank you everyone! I was all set for La Calaca Feliz, but at the last minute have changed to Alla Spina, as I learned that b.f. was interested in checking it out, and we have been to Vetri, Amis, and Osteria, so it will be sort of fun to complete the group, and I think his kids will enjoy. Will let you know how it goes - going tonight!

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