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West Chester / Brandywine Recommendation?

juanbatlle Feb 25, 2014 09:33 AM

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. sal_acid Feb 25, 2014 09:43 AM

    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
      juanbatlle Feb 25, 2014 09:52 AM

      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
        bluehensfan Feb 25, 2014 09:52 AM

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

        1. re: bluehensfan
          juanbatlle Feb 25, 2014 10:02 AM

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

      2. CindyJ Feb 25, 2014 02:41 PM

        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
          juanbatlle Feb 25, 2014 03:01 PM

          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
            Misha Feb 26, 2014 09:39 AM

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

            1. re: Misha
              arepo Feb 26, 2014 05:35 PM

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

              1. re: Misha
                JanR Feb 27, 2014 07:00 AM

                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. f
              FriedClamFanatic Feb 26, 2014 06:53 AM

              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
                CindyJ Feb 26, 2014 08:51 AM

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

                1. re: CindyJ
                  FriedClamFanatic Feb 26, 2014 11:09 AM

                  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: FriedClamFanatic
                    CindyJ Feb 26, 2014 03:32 PM

                    Is that place open for dinner?

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      FriedClamFanatic Feb 26, 2014 07:08 PM

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

              2. e
                elmdt1229 Feb 26, 2014 04:53 PM

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

                7 Replies
                1. re: elmdt1229
                  Red Oakley Feb 26, 2014 10:58 PM

                  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
                    Bacchus101 Feb 27, 2014 07:49 AM

                    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
                      CindyJ Feb 27, 2014 04:08 PM

                      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
                        Red Oakley Feb 27, 2014 09:14 PM

                        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
                          sal_acid Feb 28, 2014 07:17 AM

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

                          1. re: sal_acid
                            CindyJ Feb 28, 2014 10:10 AM

                            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
                      FrancisdeR Mar 23, 2014 06:25 AM

                      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. j
                      juanbatlle Feb 27, 2014 06:56 AM

                      Thanks for all the recs!

                      1. t
                        Tommytd78 Feb 27, 2014 07:00 AM

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

                        1. sal_acid Mar 17, 2014 07:54 PM

                          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
                            FriedClamFanatic Mar 17, 2014 08:10 PM

                            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
                              sal_acid Mar 17, 2014 08:35 PM

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

                            2. re: sal_acid
                              Red Oakley Mar 17, 2014 10:49 PM

                              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
                                sal_acid Mar 18, 2014 04:48 AM

                                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
                                CindyJ Mar 18, 2014 06:02 AM

                                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
                                  sal_acid Mar 18, 2014 06:59 AM

                                  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.

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