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Favorite restaurant near the Four Seasons?

Hi everyone,
We are new to the area, moved to the Main Line from Illinois in August.
My husband and I will be staying at the Four Seasons Saturday night and would love your suggestions on where to have a great dinner to celebrate my husband's birthday. We have a young son, so we don't get out as much as we used to, so Saturday will be a real treat for us. What are your favorite restaurants?

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  1. Will you be dining with your son or is this a "date"?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cwdonald

      Hi, this is a date night, thanks for asking.

    2. The Fountain restaurant in the FS is very very good and esp for special occasions. Why schlep?

      1. In terms of proximity to the Four Seasons, I would probably choose Vernick (new american small plates reservations necessary), Avance (the Le Bec Fin replacement), Serpico, or Fork. Each of these restaurants is a bit different, but is offering some of the most creative food in Philadelphia.

        I would then follow up with Sunday brunch at LaCroix.

        If you tell us more about the type of food you enjoy, and whether you would consider BYO I am sure folks can provide a more detailed response. Do you have a price range?

        5 Replies
        1. re: cwdonald

          If this is for this coming Saturday, most of those places will be booked already but it's worth checking. Vernick would be my pick, for it's proximity to the hotel, but they're all excellent.

          Avance also has the bar downstairs, it's not the same experience as upstairs but the food comes out of the same kitchen, and seats there are relatively easy to book (it's listed on Opentable under the "B"s). The dry-aged duck dish there is fantastic.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Great suggestions, thank you!
            We like all kinds of food, like to try new things, like having cocktails at the bar, first. We never done BYO.
            My husband loves oysters before a main course. We don't mind spending a lot on a birthday dinner. We'd rather go to great places a few times than go out a lot to middle-of-the-road places.

            1. re: OFDBoston

              Thinking about the Oysters, I would choose either Vernick or Fork. They both have a nice preparation of oysters, and prepared in a thoughtful way. The bar at Avance almost always has oysters as well.

              Fork and Avance have prix fixe options, if you enjoy a tasting menu.

            2. re: cwdonald

              Isn't Fork quite far from the Four Seasons?

              1. re: JanR

                10 dollar cab ride... but you are right it is not walking distance!

            3. My pick would be Vedge for a date night in that vicinity. Who cares if it's vegetarian, you're not going to miss the meat. It's a beautiful space. Start your night in the cocktail lounge and go from there.

              If I was alone, I'd go to Barbuzzo, get the Uovo and finish the night with the Budino.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                thank you!
                One of my neighbors also recommended Vedge recently. I might try that next week.

                1. re: OFDBoston

                  You may even want to consider the Oyster House. Not as fancy as the rest but a wonderful oyster selection and very good seafood.

              2. If it is for this Saturday, March 1, you are already too late for some popular places. Vernick has nothing, and Fork has only very early or very late. You can always try calling; sometimes you get lucky.

                I don't think you would go wrong if you go over to the Oyster House for drinks and oysters, and then dine at the Fountain Room in the Four Seasons.
                According to Open Table, they have nothing until 9pm, but since you are staying there, you could probably get a dinner reservation earlier. I wouldn't wait to call.
                We have gone there for celebratory dinners and enjoyed it very much. I didn't check LaCroix; that is another place to celebrate.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sylviag

                  Not as modern or creative as the other places mentioned, but the prime rib and Barclay prime are both good steakhouses to celebrate at. Both have good oysters and cocktails in my experience as well.

                  1. re: barryg

                    +1 on The Prime Rib....old school, great beef ...some think it the cities best beef as do I.

                    1. re: Bacchus101

                      Yeah and the bar is awesomely galmerous and old school. One of the few places you won't feel out of place at all In a suit.

                2. Le Cheri, French on Rittenhouse Square.

                  1 Reply
                  1. If I were in your situation, I would just go to The Fountain in the hotel. Not that the other suggestions aren't worthwhile, but instead of heading out I would prefer to stay put and if I had a few too many, just wobble back to my room upstairs.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      Fountain has a fine bar and a great restaurant.

                      a drink before in the bar...a fine meal...a nightcap or two after in the bar.

                      1. re: Philly Ray

                        HUGE THANKS to everyone for your very thoughtful suggestions. It really is very tempting to stay at the hotel and have dinner at The Fountain, but we also want to be out and about in the city. As some of you have mentioned several restaurants are booked, next time we'll definitely plan ahead.
                        My husband made a reservation at Parc, we'll have cocktails somewhere prior to that and maybe go someplace else after dinner. Stay tuned, and thanks again!

                        1. re: OFDBoston

                          a.Bar is close to Parc, and although I've not been there, friends seem to love it (particularly if you are into obscure natural wines).

                          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                            a.Bar is good, I've only been there once but tried two cocktails, they were both good and the space is really nice.

                          2. re: OFDBoston

                            A few good spots for the cocktails on the way to Parc from the Four Seasons: One Tippling Place, Ranstead Room, Franklin Mortgage & Investment. It gets the most love on this board, but I like the Franklin least out of the three and the atmosphere is the least intimate by far (not that it's a bad cocktail bar at all).

                            Just to get my two cents in, I think Parc is several notches below the other places recommended on this thread as far as food quality and atmosphere. Not somewhere I would personally consider for a special occasion, especially since you said price is not an issue.

                            1. re: barryg

                              There are some steak houses around there, Barclay Prime and The Prime Rib (like the latter, never been to the former).

                              What's more romantic than a big hunk of meat? [innuendo intended]

                              Or I've heard good things about a.Kitchen (next to a.Bar).

                            2. re: OFDBoston

                              Parc is a fun place. We love the onion soup, the good bread, and many other things. Recently, a friend told me that the apple pie a la mode is fabulous. Enjoy!

                              1. re: sylviag

                                My favorite thing is the oatmeal brulee.

                          3. For me in that area it's Estia for Greek Seafood.
                            (Ask to be seated on the mezzanine for more privacy)

                            1. Are you really doing Parc for dinner? It won't be nearly as good as some other suggestions, such as Barclay Prime or even Le Cheri, but if you're set on it Parc does have a cool people-watching scene. Avance is the fanciest if you want to wow your husband. If he's not that fussy, Parc is fine. Le Cheri is more of the foodie destination. Barclay Prime will make him smile the most.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: dndicicco

                                Hi, we do have reservations at Parc, it's my husband's choice since it's his birthday, I'm not surprising him.
                                We're still considering The Fountain, will see when we get to the hotel. it will be nice just to be together and have family take care of our son while we're away for the night.
                                We have written all these great suggestions and tips down for future use. We will go to all of them!
                                Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to share your suggestions. We really appreciate all of them.

                                1. re: OFDBoston

                                  One more plug for Fountain. Really good restaurant. Right where you are staying. Nice bar.

                                  1. re: OFDBoston

                                    While the food at Fountain is better, Parc is perfectly good, and a much more fun atmosphere. Also, since it is right on Rittenhouse Square, you can walk around before/after, pop into one of the aforementioned bars, etc. You'll have a great time.

                                    1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                                      With the Polar Vortex in full force, the winds in the city, and the snow, walking around in Center City these days has not been very fun.

                                      Parc is a nice restaurant but nothing special. The oysters will be fine, but personally if I were going to this caliber of restaurant for oysters, I would go to the Oyster House on Sansom. Watching the shuckers shuck, the array of oysters from both coasts, as well as the rest of the food there makes it a very nice experience.

                                    2. re: OFDBoston

                                      If it's super cold and you don't want to leave the hotel be reassured that Fountain has my favorite oysters in the city.

                                      Parc has a cool shellfish platter too.

                                  2. Hi everyone, thanks again for all the recommendations. My husband and I had a great getaway in the city. We had a cocktail at the bar at The Fountain restaurant soon after we checked into the Four Seasons. Lots of great people watching, including some Washington Wizards basketball players who were staying there, and former '76ers who were in town for Allen Iverson's jersey retirement ceremony. We were in the elevator with two players, they are BIG when you're up close.
                                    We enjoyed walking all around the area, then had a drink at the bar at Devon Seafood Grill, met another couple and stayed for about 45 minutes. Tempted to stay there for dinner because it was fun, but we did go to Parc as planned, and had a really good meal and good people watching. My husband had oysters (terrific) and the steak special (good, not great), I had a simple but delicious salad of butter lettuce, haricots vert and radish, and a cheese plate of three cheeses, jams, hazelnuts and honey. I'm not a big red meat eater, so I had a the 1/2 chicken dish, which was nice and juicy. Finished the meal with profiteroles. We will try Vernick and the others this spring.

                                    3 Replies
                                      1. re: sal_acid

                                        I'll have to ask my husband, I'm from Boston, have only been here for 6 months.

                                        1. re: OFDBoston

                                          There were some stars...Dr J, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones