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A Philadelphia Experience for a Girls Soccer Team Dinner?

We are looking for a great Philadelphia experience for our Saturday team dinner while we visit the area for a soccer tournament. This may be the only exposure to Philadelphia that we have during our visit so we want to choose wisely.

What would you recommend that is reasonably priced place with great atmosphere and good to great food in the area? They will need to fit 25-30 of us.

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  1. How soon is the tournament? Where will you be staying? How old are the ladies?

    What is your price range per diner?

    10 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      Also how "adventurous" are these team members? That is, would it be safer to stick with something "Red gravy Italian" or would they be interested in trying something in Chinatown (whether Chinese, Vietnamese or Burmese...just coming to mind as many of these places have great food at good prices, and can handle a large party, but not necessarily for picky/unadventurous eaters.)

        1. re: sockii

          Great question. We have to cater to the lowest common denominator. So we are likely looking more for "Red gravy Italian". Looking forward to your suggestions. Thanks.

          1. re: soccersteve

            If you want red gravy Italian in the $20pp range, I would suggest Criniti's in South Philly. But I would categorize the food as "good" but not "great". Definitely call ahead to plan this.


            1. re: Philly Ray

              Thanks for the recommendation. I will call Critini's.

              1. re: soccersteve

                I just thought of this with regard to Criniti's. Since you want to provide a "Philadelphia Experience" you can skip dessert at the restaurant and walk around the corner to Pop's Water Ice. I can't imagine a more Philly summer dining experience than finishing off with water ice.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  You read my mind! I was going to ask about something like that. We went to Boston last summer and experienced Mike's Pastries. Not to be missed. I was going to ask if there is something equivalent in Philly. Sounds like Pop's is the place! Thanks.

        2. re: cwdonald

          July 27-28 weekend. We are staying out in Mount Laurel. Ladies are 16&17 plus parents. Less than $20pp. Thanks for asking.

          1. re: soccersteve

            I don't think you're going to get a good food experience for less than $20pp, especially downtown. If you just want to make sure to see Philly maybe try somewhere like Fratelli's. It's right in the heart of Center City so you could walk down Walnut St to Rittenhouse Square afterwards or something. Their private menus start at $22 before tax and tip, maybe that would work? This used to be called Italian Bistro and was around the corner on Broad St. The food wasn't good then and probably isn't now, but it will be edible and cheap.


            I should that Chinatown is really affordable too though under $20pp still seems like a stretch, but not sure on prices there.

            1. re: barryg

              Thanks. By the look's of the photos, I don't know if Fratelli's will be able to fit us on a Saturday night. I'm getting the sense that South Philly is the area for us. Appreciate the details.

        3. What about Pod? Near U of P.
          All young people really dig this fun place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: arepo

            I've been to a great restaurant in that area years ago and love it. Not sure our group is old enough for the Pod. Thanks.

          2. Call Pub and Kitchen and see if you can book the upstairs room. Their food is great (and the drinks too!) and for a private room, it is very reasonable. They'll work with you on menu options in your budget. The only thing I am not sure of is whether they book the upstairs for private parties on Saturdays.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fava_bean

              Thanks for this. I am curious and will call them to learn more.

            2. Han Dynasty Old City (basement) could seat 30 and has wonderful Sichuan cuisine. A Philly fav right now. Right over the bridge from Jersey. Nice part of town.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chinon00

                Thanks. I don't think that this is the place for us. Appreciate the time you took.

              2. I'd highly recommend Nomad Pizza on 7th st b/w South and Bainbridge. Fantastic wood fired pizza, easily less than $20 pp when pizzas are shared, and they take reservations for large parties. You may be able to reserve the upstairs room.

                6 Replies
                1. re: soccerfan80

                  Nomad is a great suggestion. The pizza is neopolitan style and really is some of the best in the city right now.

                  If there is a goal of giving folks a view of Philadelphia in addition to a good meal you might go to South Philly, Poppi's,Ralph's or Marra's all could accommodate a group that size within your budget but call ahead

                  The other place that comes to mind that gives a historical experience is City Tavern. I am not sure if the budget would work but it would allow the girls to experience "colonial" style food. It is pretty ordinary food, so you wouldn't have to worry about adventurous eaters.

                  Finally, you could consider Morgan's Pier and dine al fresco close to the river.

                  If you go the chinatown route, you could get away with Lee How Fook or Vietnam Palace. Both have enough americanized chinese/vietnamese food that you should be able to satisfy everyone.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    The last time I went to Marra's was a total disaster. Horrible, rude service and all we wanted was a couple of pizzas. I'm afraid to see how they would handle a group that large. I used to be a fan, but I just can't recommend it anymore, and I grew up around the corner from there.

                    I thought of Popi's too. The plus for them is that they have a parking lot (which is always good for large groups and out-of-towners),

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      But isn't the rude service part of the Philly "experience." (Just kidding.) Really sorry to hear that Marra's has drifted down so badly. I only suggest people go there for the pizza nothing else. If it cannot deliver that efficiently and with a smile its not a good place. Thanks for the update Ray.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        Thanks for this thread. Our goal is to also give everyone in our group a view of Philadelphia. Too bad about Marra's. It looked perfect. Ralph's looks ideal. This is #1 on our list.

                        1. re: soccersteve

                          It is a shame about Marra's, but we were there with suburban relatives and I was actually embarrassed that I brought them there.

                  2. re: soccerfan80

                    Nomad sounds great (other than the location comment). We may end up here if some other options in S. Philly can't accomodate us. I will let you know.

                  3. If the Philadelphia experience = history then being in the area of the major attractions would provide that experience. My guests always "love" the feel of The City Tavern and seem to have few negatives on the food. Other restaurants in the historic district which would provide for a walk thru history would be Amada, Zahav and the Red Owl directly behind Independence Hall with a great view of same. I am not sure of the 20$ or the willingness to provide a special space for your group. In any of these places one would need to be careful with ordering to meet your budget. Please do check menus on line and call ahead to verify space.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Bacchus101

                      No way to get out of Amada or Zahave at $20pp. It's pretty tough anywhere. Even Nomad would be stretch, though that is a good suggestion.

                      City Tavern is a fun experience, but the food is pretty ordinary. They do a lot of large groups, but it may be late to book them, and I'm not sure the budget would work.

                      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                        Nomad is amazingly good pizza, but the location is pretty meh and I agree that $20 is a stretch that might leave young athletes still hungry. Pietro's on Walnut St has a $25pp party menu. That would put you right in the middle of the city's shopping district and a couple blocks from Rittenhouse Square.

                        1. re: barryg

                          Pietro's is a great idea given nearby shopping an Rittenhouse Square. (Nomad and Pub and Kitchen are also good ideas.) In all cases, make a plan for parking; finding street parking can detract from the experience.

                      2. re: Bacchus101

                        Oh Contraire, Hungry. CATALAN EXPRESS • 14.50
                        Includes a Fountain Soda or Iced Tea.
                        *Does not include coffee or espresso.
                        SOUPS at Amada. At Zahav small plates range from 7 to 10 dollars. As previously noted one would need to be careful when ordering. The City Tavern has many items under $20 with small plates at 7-10.

                        1. re: Bacchus101

                          Catalan Express is lunch only. If you spend $20 at Amada or Zahav that means two (maybe) tiny plates that are probably vegetarian and no dessert, the girls would be starving. City Tavern also means no dessert, apps, etc. This assumes either place would book such a large group without a higher pp minimum which is a big assumption.

                          1. re: barryg

                            Great pizza seems like a belly filler as "the girls" probably would not want to be careful when on an adventure. As previously note, " In any of these places one would need to be careful with ordering to meet your budget. Please do check menus on line and call ahead to verify space." In reviewing the posted menus I believe it is do-able with restraint. We will agree to disagree.

                        2. re: Bacchus101

                          Love the look of The City Tavern. Will definitely check them out for accommodating a group,

                          1. re: Bacchus101

                            The City Tavern looks really neat. I will talk to them.

                          2. My suggestion is to just turn the whole group loose in the Reading Terminal Market for a true Philly experience

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Chefmonty

                              Agreed. But they are not open for dinner...

                              1. re: Chefmonty

                                Great idea Chef, One would think every appetite would be please and at a cost well within their budget and fun would be had by all. As noted time of day is the only downside.

                              2. Just reading this thread now. So where did you end up taking the group?