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Two nights in Philly

We'll be up in a few weeks for a Fri and Sat night and want to dine it up! We've previously had some fabulous Philly eating weekends (We did a fairly comprehensive Philly sandwich non-cheesesteak round up a few years back (google "heroes just for two days") and had another lovely eating weekend with Barbuzzo and other great places)

We kind of want to try some new places this time. There's a birthday in the mix, so one nice dinner would be great, but we're big lunch people too. What's hot right now? Places we've loved have included Barbuzzo, Sampan, Paesano's, Chickie's, Campo's, Kanella, and lots more. We're staying right in center city. Thanks!

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  1. When exactly are you coming? Restaurant Week happens for 2 weeks in September (September 15-20 & 22-27), so your Friday might be impacted by that if you want to dine in Center City.

    As for "hot", I don't think you can get much hotter than East Passyunk Avenue right now. Options there include Fond (Contemporary American), Noord (Norwegian), Le Virtu and Paradiso (Italian), among others. Another benefit of dining in this area is no Restaurant Week menu limitations. It's only a short cab ride from Center City.

    Also, Fond might be good for your birthday dinner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray

      We'll be there Sep 6-8 so no restaurant week for us (which is fine by me) and those suggestions look like a great start. Particularly curious about Noord since Norwegian is intriguing. We were in Iceland last year and fell in love that country, plus the whole new Nordic cuisine thing is very interesting. I'll check those out. Thanks!

      1. re: kukubura

        Noord just got a great review by our local food critic, so if you decide on that, make reservations soon. We were just there a few weeks ago and it was really good.

      2. re: Philly Ray

        Noord Eetcafe is Dutch, not Norwegian.

      3. Here's another thought...

        If you want to stay in Center City for dining, I would recommend Sbraga. If you are familiar with Top Chef, he was the winner a few seasons back. And it doesn't look like they are participating in RW, so you will have access to their full menu.

        http://sbraga.com/

        1. Hey Mr Prague Degustastion,

          My two picks would be Farm & Fisherman in the city and Zeppoli across the bridge, assuming you have a car. Zeppoli is Vetri when Vetri started.
          For sandwiches, Nick's at 20th & Jackson for long cooked roast beef in lots of pan juice is my bomb.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Once we park the car we'll leave it put since we live in a city where you can't walk anywhere and want to revel in Philly's walkability. But I'll check out your city suggestion! Anything on the level of La Boheme Bourgeois? ;-)

          2. I'd do the dinners at Vedge and Vernick, those are the two best places that you haven't been (that I know of). I love Noord too but it's not on the same level as those two places and unfortunately none of them is open for lunch. Sbraga is also excellent. I did read that Kevin Sbraga has a new TV show coming out so it's possible he won't be in the kitchen as much as he has been since he opened his restaurant.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Buckethead

              Thanks! Will definitely check those out!

              1. re: kukubura

                Vedge and Vernick are great suggestions. Reservations are definitely required, so act fast. Friday and Saturday tables at these restaurants are hard to come by.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  Neither of those are really speaking to us. We have plenty of opportunities to eat roast chicken and stuff like that elsewhere (and at home) and we aren't looking for vegan. One thing we've loved in Philly are the bold flavors and points of view in the places we've been. We want food we're not going to get at home. Any other thoughts spring to mind, especially for a nicer place?

                  1. re: kukubura

                    Cochon is good, especially for a pork fix - there's usually at least one extra porky special in addition to the regular menu. Definitely tends toward boldness.

                    1. re: kukubura

                      Check out Fork and Serpico.

                      I havent been to Vernick yet but I dont think the food is what you think it is.

                      I also really like Cochon. BYOB. It's a nice place but overall on the more casual side.

                      1. re: barryg

                        Second Barry's comment on Serpico. You might throw in Cheu Noodle bar for a lighter meal as well. They are doing a good range of asian inspired flavors both as noodles and soups as well as mains.

                        If you have not done Zahav, I would go there.

                        If you like spicy szechuan style you have the han dynasty locations in old city university city and manyunk as well as E Mei in Chinatown.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Which are the go to spots for hand pulled noodles? That could really hit the spot...

                          1. re: kukubura

                            I would suggest NanZhou Hand Drawn Noodle House in chinatown. The other unique restaurant in chinatown is Rangoon, which is Burmese. If you are not familiar with burmese it is somewhat a cross between indian and thai types of foods and flavors.

                            http://nanzhounoodlehouse.com/
                            http://rangoonrestaurant.com/?nr=0
                            http://untappedcities.com/2012/03/25/...

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Hey, I'm not knocking anything! Sheesh! I didn't think Philly folks were sensitive like that. ;)

                          Thanks for the other recs, everyone! Will check them out!

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            As we bang heads on these places, l feel not his loss, but would be a waste of precious time and money to go to Vedge.
                            Was at Fork a while ago and their Peking Duck feast, must be pre-ordered, was wonderful.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              I was in a similar predicament, and that duck feast really made my decision on where to dine much easier.

                              Trying to work in an East Passyunk grub crawl for the other night - Le Virtu and a few other places (Fond, Noord, or Will)

                          2. re: kukubura

                            For your "nicer" place, take a look at Fork (in Old City). It doesn't get a whole lot of talk on here, but I have heard nothing but good things about it, including a rave review in the Phila. Inquirer.

                    2. Vernick. Reserve now, if there is anything available.

                      Serpico would not be walking distance unless you are staying in the eastern part of center city. But it is amazing!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sylviag

                        OP has already rejected Vernick on the basis of "We have plenty of opportunities to eat roast chicken and stuff like that elsewhere"

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Sorry, I missed that.
                          If OP gets food like Vernick's at home, I'd be very surprised.
                          And I never had roast chicken there.
                          Did he look at the menu?

                          As to Noord - loved the people, the service, and the ambience. We wouldn't go back for the food.

                          1. re: sylviag

                            Vernick's menu is somewhat ordinary on the surface (tartines, roast chicken, etc.). I'm sure it's excellent, though. The raw section of the menu is really appealing, as well as the small plates.

                            1. re: cocobinga

                              Alright, I was tired when I wrote that. Didn't mean to diss anyone, I swear!