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Out of towners with teens: what about these choices?

Coming in from Atlanta with our two teens, both reasonably sophisticated eaters. Looking for fun, not ultra-formal, great food, fun atmosphere. Based on a quick survey of the usual sources, and taking into account what's available on OpenTable at a reasonable hour, these four seem possible:

Bistrot La Minette

Barbuzzo, Farm & Fisherman, and Vernick were booked. Staying at the Four Seasons (I think Fountain just too formal). Are we missing something great?

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  1. When is your trip? Osteria is the only one of those four I'd recommend for a visitor but if this is for this weekend your options are obviously limited.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      Friday Aug 2nd is the target. We're out of towners but I'm originally from Philly and know some of the "back in the day" restaurants. What about the other three make you think they are not great ideas?

      1. re: cliresga

        I just don't like them enough to recommend them to someone who is just visiting. Is this just for one dinner, on the 2nd? If so, I'd either stick with Osteria or go to Zahav as bluehensfan suggests. Fork is excellent too.

        1. re: cliresga

          But the lamb shoulder at Zahav is a killer. And even though it's Israeli it's more Mediterranean and not strange tasting.

          That said, Amada is always good enough. And you can get small plates so if something is not so hot there would be a lot of other choices.

          And don't limit yourself to Open Table. Sometimes you can call the restaurant directly and get a reservation.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Still availability. Main issue is the Israeli cuisine: would work fine for wife and me, but kids, esp my son, might find that outside the comfort zone.

          1. re: cliresga

            Do your kids eat shish kabob and hummus? That would basic things they would have there......

            1. re: cwdonald

              Yeah, you're right, son loves lamb, and we all like hummus...OK, time for a family conference. Great ideas from all, thanks!

        2. Our teenage granddaughters loved eating with us at Parc, the French bistro on Rittenhouse Square. Terrific menu choices and great people watching. Fun place! If it's not too hot, you can eat outdoors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sylviag

            Another nice idea, and my wife and I have fond memories of Rittenhouse Square from when we were dating many years ago. And maybe by then Philly will have cooled off!

          2. I like all you have mentioned in your OP in varying degrees. Actually the order in which you listed them would be my order of choice with a possible tie between 3&4. As noted Parc is a busy fun bistro which teens seem to enjoy for the venue and the French feel. Your comfort zone comment on Zahav is right on. Dandelion for British fare is fun and interesting. If a day for al fresco the courtyard at the Rittenhouse Tavern is quite nice with good food options and friendly service.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bacchus101

              I would check the menu at La Minette as it may be a bit too French and be a comfort zone violation for your teens.

              1. re: Bacchus101

                I think that's in bounds--maybe not the frogs legs, but duck or scallops fine, and there's always the chicken. Hey, my daughter even likes snails.

            2. I'd recommend Noord, for something a little unusual but not so much so that two teenagers would be scared to eat. It was the first thing I thought of when I read "great food, fun atmosphere". The food is terrific, from the phenomenal bread to start, to the dessert-you-really-didn't-want-but-are-so-glad-you-ate to finish. The chef will come out and talk to you, everyone who works there is happy and will make you happy, and the whole neighborhood is so lively and energetic that that spirit gets swept right into the restaurant. Good food, good fun. In fact, now I'm thinking about heading there myself, right now! (One word of caution if you do go -- for my taste, the portions are huge. I'd plan on splitting some things unless you are really hungry.)

              4 Replies
              1. re: fava_bean

                wow, that's off the beaten path and sounds very cool, and I have never eaten at any of the Passyunk neighborhood places (when I lived there, it was a wasteland). I may have to squeeze in a second dinner somehow. Tell the rest of the family "sorry, have other obligations"

                1. re: cliresga

                  East Passyunk is a great place these days, if you choose to eat in CC you should consider taking a drive through the area, lots of new places with food from all over the map and lots of people traffic too!

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    Yeah, with all these cool suggestions, and the whole East Passyunk thing to explore, I think I'm just going to have to schedule a food trip. I'd definitely love to see EP: sounds a lot like what's happened here in ATL with areas like the Westside, and now the Edgewood areas, where many of my local favs are.

                  2. re: cliresga

                    Noord is very good, everything fava_bean said is spot on. If you go there I'd stick to the appetizers as much as possible, I love the bitterballen, liver, smorrebrod, and don't skip dessert.

                2. Gosh, I love your list!
                  I also like some of the recommendations like Zahav.
                  I would also add one of my favorites for Greek seafood, Estia.
                  You're on a roll!

                  1. Great list. I would favor Bistro La Minette (or Amis). Be sure to beat the summer heat with a water ice in the afternoon.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Afryan

                      I love it. I grew up badgering my parents to take me to Maroni's water ice in Overbrook. Great stuff, esp with the 100° heat you all are having. Cooler here in Georgia!

                    2. Well, an update for all of you who were kind enough to reply. In retrospect, I played it safe and regret it a bit. We went to Osteria. Seemed like a no-brainer choice, with a broad menu that would appeal to all. While it was a fine meal, there were aspects that kept it from being a memorable meal.

                      We were seated not in the main room, which I thought was very fun with the open kitchen--noisier, but lots of energy. Instead we sat in the back room, with about 6 tables and nothing else. The service was fine but not outstanding. Enjoyed 3/4 apps--squash blossoms, pork belly, grilled peaches, but the porchetta tonnata was unremarkable. Entrees included rabbit (tasty but butchered in a way that made it almost impossible to separate meat from the numerous small bones),a pizza (good), the tagliolini (really rather uninteresting, basically mushrooms on pasta, nothing really popped), and the halibut (overcooked and WAY underseasoned, a cardinal sin to me). For me, maybe 2.5/5 stars. Should have done Zahav! Next time. Again, thanks all for the help.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cliresga

                        Sorry for your disappointment at osteria. I guess my one comment is that Osteria will vary depending on what you order. I never order the entrees there, and your experience reinforces that. I tend to order a couple of appetizers (usually always the vegetable anti pasti) and either one or two pastas (which you can get in half portions.) The pasta is very simple.. so it is not often going to wow you. For me Osteria is a neighborhood italian restaurant with slightly better ingredients and a very good wine list. You will not feel like you got value but if you are judicious in what you order, you will have a very good meal.

                        1. re: cliresga

                          IMO Osteria is one of the most over-hyped and underwhelming Italian restaurants in Philly.

                          1. re: cliresga

                            We look forward to your "next time". Interestingly the opinions on Osteria vary wildly. I hate those little back rooms, no atmosphere at all and we will not be stuck in them. Many here have the same opinions you have shared including this responder. Zahav is great, and is not playing it safe in that many menu items are unknown to many diners and not enjoyed by others. Many love it, we do. Maybe next time!
                            Thanks for the post.