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Your recs for Celebratory dinner Center City area

Will be traveling to Philly April 19-22. Want to take friend out for celebration of his graduating to his PhD. We are late 50s but act like we are in our 20s. and want very lively setting-great food a must. Prefer to have great bar for pre dinner cocktails. Staying locally at hotel so driving not involved. Prefer dress code to allow jeans.

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  1. Serpico http://serpicoonsouth.com

    Le Virtu http://levirtu.com

    Fond http://fondphilly.com

    6 Replies
    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

      i don't really think any of those are lively, and two of them wouldn't be considered in center city, even with the most expansive definition of center city possible.

      I'd say:
      Vernick, which has a phenomenal bar, or
      Zahav, which is really lively and also has great cocktails, but isn't *quite* center city.

      My hunch is that you guys want Vernick.

      1. re: alex1018

        Center City is river to river, Spring Garden to South. Zahav is in Center City.

        1. re: caganer

          It may be in the center city district, but a lot of people call it Old City/Society Hill.

          Regardless, depending where the OP is staying it may be further away than Serpico or Vernick.

          Zahav has a nice buzz about it. Vernick does too though I just find that space cramped. Among the three places listed though you really cannot miss.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Anywhere in Center City/Old City/Society Hill is like a $10 cab fare, max, from any of the hotels.

            1. re: barryg

              And you are offering to pay? ;-)

        2. re: alex1018

          I stand corrected, I didn't realize "lively" meant so loud your ears will ring for the next week (Vernick).

          If you go to Vernick, get the kitchen counter seats (much quieter in that room, and Vernick will serve you himself).

      2. If you're not driving, knowing which hotel you're staying in would help.

        1. I think Amada has the perfect mix of what you're looking for: great bar, food, atmosphere. And the small plate thing also makes for fun dining. Plus, while some may think it sounds cheesy, always fun to say you dined at an Iron Chef place.

          1. +1 for Zahav & Amada...can't miss with any of the suggestions so far. Check their web sites for your menu preferences.

            1. Sprago is a real adventure. There are also lots of places in that area where you can bar hop on the way.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PattiCakes

                Sbraga you mean, right? That's a good suggestion too.

                Whether it's CC or not, who cares? It's kinda silly to expect out-of-towners to know or care where the official borders are. And all these places are within a 10 or so min Uber ride of every hotel in CC.

                1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                  I live in Queen Village and I consider my neighborhood and other local hoods that surround (within a mile or so) to be center city.

              2. Estia is a toney and popular center city venue with delicious Greek seafood.
                Bar is a happening scene.
                http://www.estiarestaurant.com/