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80th Birthday Dinner for Parents

My father will be celebrating his 80th birthday in the spring and my husband and I would like to treat my parents to dinner at a very nice restaurant in Phildelphia. We're looking for something that would be a truly memorable experience for them, that is definitely celebratory, with fine dining and excellent service. Le Bec Fin would have fit the bill perfectly, as they have lived in the Philadelphia area for many years and are very familiar with it as a one of "the" places for fine dining. I'm looking for suggestions that would be along similar lines...so nothing too trendy or loud. We understand that this won't be a "cheap date" :) and are happy to spend what we need. Thank you!

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  1. I would recommend the Fountain restaurant at the Four Seasons. We have been to several lovely dinners there for people of your parents age.
    The seating is comfortable, it is quiet enough to talk, and the menu has many good choices. It is "classy."
    Service is wonderful.

    LaCroix is beautiful and quiet, but check the menu - I think the Fountain might be more enjoyable for them.

    Vetri, always rated high, has a prix-fixe menu of small plates and much of the food is quite rich. I wouldn't opt for it for this occasion.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sylviag

      sylvia,

      why do you always say that Vetri has "small plates"? That implies tapas-style for sharing. It has tasting portions because it is a tasting menu, like every other tasting menu in the world.

      I agree the food is mostly rich, but i have no idea why you wouldn't "opt for it for this occasion". What in the question implies to you that Vetri wouldn't be a good choice?

      It seems to me the choices are Vetri or Fountain. If your parents like french, then go fountain, if they like real italian food go Vetri. You can't really go wrong.

      1. re: alex1018

        alex, I didn't realize that I "always say" that Vetri has small plates. We haven't been to Vetri since they started the prix-fixe tasting menu, so I am not really qualified to comment on it.

        My impression comes from the opinion of friends - seniors, and also middle-aged people - who felt that the prix-fixe dinner was too rich for them. We are one of the few couples we know who eat just about everything, but we tend to avoid very rich food. We are sorry there is no longer an a la carte option. And the prix-fixe menu makes the dinner quite pricey.

        I think that the atmosphere at the Fountain is also more celebratory. We were fortunate enough to have our last celebration at Le Bec Fin and it was wonderful, but alas, it is gone. Thanks, cw, for mentioning Avance - we'll be interested to hear about it.

      2. re: sylviag

        Small plates or not, too-rich or not, I wouldn't recommend Vetri just because it's not that great and costs a fortune.

      3. I echo everything Sylviag has to say... could not have said it better!

        The one place to keep an eye out for is the place that is replacing Le Bec Fin, Avance. It is scheduled to open late this year, and could potentially be another alternative. While the setting will be different, your parents might enjoy dining in the space they enjoyed previously.

        1. I agree with the choices of the Fountain and Vetri -- but for the occasion I slightly lean toward the Fountain -- and I'm 81! We're going there for our 57th anniversary this week.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Beulah

            Congratulations on your anniversary!

          2. We took my mother to Vetri for her 90th birthday. We were very excited because we thought we'd get a few extra bites of things that she wouldn't finish. Not a crumb!
            Vetri is, IMHO, not as formal as the Fountain, but the service is wonderful.

            1. + 3 The Fountain Room: it is a Contemporary American Restaurant with French influences (it is NOT a French Restaurant). Good choice for the following reasons:
              Rated the number one restaurant in Philadelphia’s Center City by Zagat, Fountain has also received the Forbes Travel Guide’s 2011 Five Star award, in addition to honours from AAA and Bon Appétit.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bacchus101

                And it is a la carte.. you are not buying into a big dining experience if you do not want it.

              2. Thank you all for your suggestions! It sounds like the Fountain restaurant is the way to go, but my husband and I will hit up Vetri on a separate trip to Philly for sure (we live in Boston now)! Thank you again~

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pazzasop

                  +4 for Sylvia's suggestion.
                  Fountain is the way to go.