quick trip to Philly- thoughts on itinerary?
My husband and I will be in town from NY for a wedding soon. We will be arriving early evening (barring traffic jams) on a Friday and we have until about 3 PM the next day to eat and drink as much as possible near Center City before heading to Northeast Philly for the wedding. So we're looking at one dinner, multiple drink stops Friday night, a stop for dessert (Capogiro is mandatory), a breakfast, and a lunch near Center City. I've gotten some great ideas from perusing this board already.
We love beer, cheese, low key & laid back, farm to table, eclectic menus. Since this is a little mini-vacation for us, I'm looking for a festive dinner place, nothing sedate, and some fun bars for Friday night.
Zahav (my first choice, but only reservations available are at 5 and 10:30. 5 is too early and I'm not necessarily averse to that 10:30 reservation, but do they do bar dining?)
Any other ideas? No Italian and nothing too formal, max $125-$150 total with a drink each.
Nodding Head Brewery
Good Dog (I think we've been here before)
Is there a good place for grazing? We probably won't need a huge lunch.
Thanks in advance.
I just wanted to post back with an update. Our plans changed and we were not able to stay over an extra night before. I was really disappointed to miss Zahav and the bars, but we will be making a return trip soon with the list of places you all recommended in hand.
We did make it to brunch at Dandelion, which we both loved. My husband enjoyed his Yards beer and I had a Pimm's cup. We shared a salad with butter lettuce, pomegranate, apple slices, blue cheese, and a honey vinaigrette, which they graciously split onto two plates for us (I love when restaurants take it upon themselves to split things like this!). I had the eggs royale-- poached eggs with hollandaise atop a mountain of thinly sliced, melt in your mouth smoked salmon and a fluffy English muffin. My husband had the shepherd's pie, which he devoured. We shared a side of what we both are certain was the best bacon we've ever had. I love the funky decor and the interesting building the restaurant is in; the service was great, too.
We checked out Joseph Fox bookshop and the Corner Foodery afterwards, where my husband drooled over the fridges of beer for almost a half hour. We walked away with a couple of bottles of Deschutes and Bells (they didn't have the Russian River we wanted). This place is awesome (if expensive, but the selection is ridiculous!). Dessert was at Capogiro, chocolate scuro and Thai coconut for me and Turkish coffee and pumpkin for my husband.
We wanted to hit Monk's afterwards but we were headed to a family function requiring sobriety. We had such a great time walking around the area and I am really looking forward to getting our Philly night on the town sometime in the next couple months (probably over Christmas). Thanks again for all the recommendation and rest assured they will not go unused!
This was a great thread. Hope I am not too late with my reply. Please post after. Would love to read your impressions. I have almost nothing to add. I think the best have been hit upon, except for maybe Garces Trading Company, which might make for an interesting grazing lunch, although, it is a shame they seem to have recently removed their small plate charcuterie offerings from the menu.
Speaking just to the beer part, a Friday night at Monk's will be extraordinarily crowded. The front bar is the most fun spot, but even that will be a challenge to snag a seat. However, it is still one of the best Belgian beer bars in the city, and might be worth it to try. Also, I haven't been, but Alla Spina is supposed to be a great beer-centric Italian pub. This would fit the bill for a lot of what you list above I think. You can skip Triumph - decent, but nothing super special. If you can get to Devil's Den in South Philly for their happy hour on Friday, you'll find a beautifully curated list of draft beers for half price. I also just had a terrific cheese plate at Wedge & Fig in old city. It's a BYO,
An alternative to Monks is Belgian Cafe in fairmount, owned by the same folks as Monks. I have never been wowed by the food there, but the beer is about as good as Monks. Usually much less crowded. I prefer it to the other large Belgian place, Eulogy which is in Old City.
The one other beer bar that deserves a mention is Khyber Pass. Great selection, especially on tap along with some Cajun themed food.
For bottles, you would enjoy visiting one of the Foodery Locations, 10th and Pine, 2nd and Poplar or the Corner Foodery at 17th and Sansom.
That looks pretty good to me. For dinner, since you like cheese so much, you might want to check out the Talula's Garden menu.. (I love Zahav, and they do serve dinner at the bar, but Talula's Garden hits a number of the things you like..as does Fork, I think.)
For beer, I'd consider Strangelove's.. they have a wide-ranging, eclectic, ever-changing draft list. (And they are super nice people, while monks.....)
Brunch, Dandelion is great. Cheu Noodle Bar is great. Kanella is great. You can't go wrong.
To graze........ Reading Terminal, Talula's Daily.
Dinner at Vedge would be my choice, it's one of the city's best restaurants, you have nothing like it in NYC, and it's within a few blocks of a bunch of good beer bars. Also great in case you can't get a res at Vedge are:
Bibou (though if Zahav is booked I can almost guarantee Bibou is too)
Fork (this may push your price point)
Sbraga (though the chef is opening another spot right now, his attention may be divided)
Amada is very good but not great enough to recommend if you are just visiting.
Ranstead Room and Franklin Mortgage are cocktail-only places, you won't find beer at either. Hop Sing Laundromat would be my pick for cocktails, I like the Franklin too but it's a bit more expensive and not quite as good. If you'd rather drink some beers, you have many more choices. My favorite two in the city are the Khyber and South Philly Tap Room (SPTR), but you won't be very close to either of them. If you do go to Vedge, there's a pretty good beer bar near there, Time at 13th and Sansom. Monk's is always way too crowded for me on the weekends, ditto Good Dog. If you are going down to where Triumph is I'd go to Khyber instead, it's around the corner.
If you go to Noord for dinner, SPTR is a short walk from there.
Brunch at Kanella, I'd recommend it for dinner too but Kanella is just as good for brunch/lunch as it is for dinner and none of the places above are open for brunch on Saturday (except Amada).
Thank you. I read on Eater that Bibou is closing? Zahav appeals a bit more to me either way. Sbraga looks really good too. That 4 course menu seems like a pretty good deal. What do you recommend there?
Crowded or not, my husband is set on Monk's Cafe, so we will brave the crowds at least for a drink. I bookmarked Khyber Pass too.
Bibou isn't closing, they are opening a new restaurant in a different neighborhood though, and Bibou's current husband and wife team (chef and front of house, respectively) will be mainly running the new place. Bibou will remain open under its current sous chef. That isn't happening till next month at the earliest though.
Sbraga is very good but I wouldn't skip Zahav in favor of it. If you do go, get the foie gras soup, other than that just order whatever looks best to you.
FYI, Zahav, Amada, Fork, and the Khyber are all just a couple blocks from each other.
Your dinner choice look great to me. Yes Zahav does have small top two's next to the bar. Not sure if they serve dinner at the bar. Those small tops go early. We always enjoy Amada, love the small plate choices. The Franklin Mortgage and Ranstead Room are great for cocktails. Others here will offer better information great beer places. If you want to push the envelope a bit Hop Sing Laundromat is in Chinatown where you could dine at one of the many Chinese spots and hit the Hop Sing speakeasy if you can find it. Brunch or dinner at Dandelion a fun British Pub. Any Tria for light far and good wine & beer. Barbazzo for a lively lunch, very busy take a look and reserve. You may also enjoy the Parc on Rittenhouse Square for French Bistro and people watching.
Thank you so much. I made the 10:30 res for Zahav. Honestly, judging from all the great places you guys are recommending, we may have to add a 4th meal to the day anyway, so the 10:30 dinner may work well to energize us to keep drinking :). The cocktail places look really fun, like Death and Co in NY, but there is so much good beer in Philly that we probably will not make it to cocktails.