HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >


West Chester / Brandywine Recommendation?

Hello, we moved away from Philly about 10 years ago and are going back in a few months -- we loved Gilmore's and Simon Pearce in the West Chester / Brandywine area but both are now closed. Any recommendations on similarly unique/delicious restaurant on the high end in the area? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Avalon in West Chester is a good place. BYOBs

    Dilworthtown Inn is better than when you were here and also has a sister restaurant next door, Blue Pear, which does small plates. Tasty.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sal_acid

      Thanks for the quick response! I remember visiting the Dilworthtown Inn and eventually going to Gilmore's. Thanks for the advice!

      1. re: sal_acid

        Sovana Bistro in Kennett is very good as is Byrsa Bistro which is in downtown Kennett Square.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Thanks! I think the sous chef of Gilmores went to Sovana (Jason Curtis), so I was considering that one!

      2. The Birchrunville Store Cafe is a favorite of ours. There really aren't too many "high end" places around, but there are some pretty good casual spots to try, including the ones already mentioned. And to those I'd add Portobello's in Kennett Square.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CindyJ

          Thanks! Great choices. Avalon, Birchrunville, and Sovana all seem up our alley, so I'll take advice from all three of you and try to hit all of those!

          1. re: CindyJ

            I'm heading to Birchrunville Store Cafe beginning of April. Any recommendations?

            1. re: Misha

              Just get that butterscotch cake for dessert and think of me!

              1. re: Misha

                Everything! Enjoy! If you are going for the 6pm seating, you will also enjoy the scenery en route. Make sure to pet Lulu, the fat neighborhood cat, who is always hanging out on the porch.

            2. Pricey but very high end steaks and seafood in a nice atmosphere at the Mile High Steakhouse in Glens Mills, just off rte 1.

              Blue Pear is also good

              4 Replies
              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                Hey FCF! Just wondering if you've been to Antica (in the former Bistro on the B'wine location) yet.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Not yet.......my wife tried the new Italian place across the street for lunch and was pleased. It's BYOB or a "complimentary" glass of wine

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I assume so! she brought home a menu somewhere and I think I remember that that the selection was much broader

              2. Try Antica, Harvest in Glen Eagle Shopping Center, Limoncello in West Chester.

                7 Replies
                1. re: elmdt1229

                  Only go to Antica if you are willing to shout yourselves hoarse to have a conversation. We went before Christmas on a Thursday night, and though the food was fine -- not at all spectacular -- the ambience was just miserable. We may try it for lunch sometime, but it's off our radar for dinner. Just waaaaay too noisy to be enjoyable.

                  1. re: Red Oakley

                    Wow, we must have lucked out as we really enjoyed our lunch. I like the simple but attractive decor. I am sensitive to noise levels and yes even at lunch it was a bit loud. But we were seated next to a large group of "ladies who lunch" and with every effort to ignore them it was way "over-the-top loud, even before drinks were served, ugh. I would suppose that each lady was polite and lovely as an individual however in this group(mod mentality?) they were intrusive and had they seem themselves may have thought, OMG.

                    1. re: Red Oakley

                      I have to agree with you about the noise level. I've been there three times -- twice on a weekend and once mid-week -- and it was loud all three times. Interestingly enough, so is the owners' other restaurant (Il Granaio in Delaware County). But other area restaurants are loud, too. Have you ever been to Sovana Bistro when the place is full?

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        CindyJ, Funny you should ask. We had dinner at Sovana about three weeks ago, on a weeknight. Asked specifically for the back room because we always think of that as the "quiet area."

                        The place was jammed. We waited 15 minutes for our table even with a reservation. And once in the "quiet area," we could barely hear the waiter or one another. We have loved Sovana for years, but that night did it for us. It's just too noisy.

                        In addition, the food wasn't at all up to past standards. We decided the total cost was way more than the experience was worth!

                        1. re: Red Oakley

                          We tend to avoid Sovana when we cannot sit outside because of the noise. Food has generally been OK.

                          1. re: sal_acid

                            Sovana Bistro is my favorite "neighborhood" restaurant. It tends to get packed every night, and it's quite noisy. But somehow I don't mind the noise as much there as I do in some other places. At Sovana Bistro, it feels more like "energy" than noise -- a distinction I've created myself. Am I imagining things if I tell you that at Antica, the noise is, literally, ear-piercing, whereas at Sovana Bistro it's merely loud? At times, I can actually feel my eardrums vibrate at Antica; not so at SB. Go figure!

                    2. re: elmdt1229

                      I second Antica. Sorry, but I'll stop short of seconding the others. True that it is loud, but it and its sister restaurant Il Granaio are just plain competent Italian food. Antica has easier parking that Il Granaio (where parking can be a serious problem).

                    3. Thanks for all the recs!

                      1. Savana Bistro has been our favorite since moving back..Its in Unionville/Kennett.

                        1. Just ate in Dilworthtown Inn. New chef this week. New menu. Old standbys like the calamari app have been changed or are gone.

                          It was competent but not great. Less than it was.

                          New calamari app was too salty and was a shadow of the last one. Breading squid in cornmeal is not an advance.

                          Soups were OK.

                          Scallops were very good, but filet was drab and underseasoned.

                          Risotto was contaminated with gorgonzola. Why must chefs put effing blue cheese in everything?

                          I'm going to wait quite a while before I go back.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: sal_acid

                            Sorry to hear that! I ate at the Blue Pear on Sat and had an "OK" meal of swordfish with a sauce(small portion, even for me!), with dark lentils and mushrooms

                            The Orange Cream dessert however was a delight.

                            starters were Tuna tartare ( very nice and plentiful) and the chicken nuggets(5) with a nice mustard sauce

                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                              Blue Pear may come back into the rota. sounds good exc for the swordfish

                            2. re: sal_acid

                              Disappointed to hear this. We were about to sign up for an April wine dinner at the InnKeepers Kitchen. It would be our first experience there. Is the new chef also responsible for those tasting dinners, do you know?

                              1. re: Red Oakley

                                I don't know about the Innkeepers Kitchen chef.

                                I guess, to be fair, that the new chef might not even have been working on a Monday night.

                                Maybe my criticism was premature.

                                But I'm not going back anytime soon.

                              2. re: sal_acid

                                Back in the day, Dilworthtown Inn was our go-to spot for fine dining and special occasions -- our favorite entree was the chateaubriand for two. But we haven't been there in years. It started feeling too stuffy, too pretentious, and lost in time. Blue Pear seemed like its younger, hipper cousin.

                                Maybe this is their way of trying to reinvent the Dilworthtown Inn, but it sounds like they still have a long way to go.

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  They did do a reinvention a couple years ago..at least of the menu. I thought that it was pretty successful. The new menu is in the same vein as the reinvented one. There's still a distinct seasonal component.