Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >
May 5, 2014 12:41 PM

Seeking suggestions for one night in Philly

Visiting a friend this Saturday in the Center City area. Looking for a good, affordable place for dinner that won't be too crazy on a Saturday night. Would prefer not to make reservations.

Would also love some brunch recs in the same general vicinity! Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In CC, affordable, not too crazy on a Saturday night, not making reservations. Any thing else like perhaps a preference in cuisine, reported quality of the service and food and a price range? I will be interested in seeing the responses from the Philly hounds on this one.

    1. Pretty adventurous and open to any type of cuisine, and by "affordable" I'd say $20-30 entrees. I live in Brooklyn, so I'm sure it's similar in that every decent place is crazy on Saturdays, but would prefer not to wait an hour for a table. Anything unique to Philly is a plus (ie: no Han Dynasty).

      Also, I don't know the city at all, so can be outside CC but not too far. Hope that helps?

      2 Replies
      1. re: mlb51677

        There will be much better suggestions from the Philly hounds than I can offer, giving the restrictions. But because I insert my foot I will throw out a few. The Oyster House does not take reservations but is always busy. Some of the bars have good bar food and do not require reservations i.e., Good Dog, Khyber Pass.

        1. re: Bacchus101

          I'd second the suggestion. Sometimes the crowds at Oyster House, outside the bar area, aren't bad on a weekend. It's one of my go-to places if I don't have a reservation.

          If a gastropub interest you, then Strangeloves is a possibility. Nearby, too, is Cheu noodle bar. Sometimes there's a good wait, but you can put your name on the wait list and have drinks next door.

      2. CC on a Sat can be rough - I generally stay away LOL

        Here is a thought

        I have not eaten here but have heard good things and have passed by - it is very appealing from the street anwyay.

        Audrey Claire

        In a very charming part of town with many other restaurants so if the wait is too long or you don't like what you see- (cash only, byob, no reservations on Fri or Saturday ) you can easily find a plan B - Twenty Manning is across the street and further south is Pub and Kitchen and Meritage - among others so maybe just take a stroll in the Rittenhouse/ Fitler Square area and pick a place- it is one of the nicer parts of town for a walk and a bit more low key than old city or 13th street

        4 Replies
        1. re: JTPhilly

          Thanks so much for letting me know to avoid CC - i really don't know anything about philly! I like your suggestion and will look into it.

          I just got a rec for Mercato. any thoughts on that?

          1. re: mlb51677

            I think Audrey Claire and Mercato are probably what you don't want, they dont take reservations and expect waits of over an hour unless you arrive very early or possibly very late. I havent eaten at either in a long time because I don't think they are worth the wait.

            I dont think you need to avoid CC... it gets busy on the weekends but it's still a nice place to be. It's true that the good restaurants get busy.

            I think Rangoon is a good bet for something unique that likely won't have a wait. Venturing just a little outside of Center City, Royal Tavern is always good. There may be a short wait but if it's just two of you it should be fine. Very affordable, good gastropub food.

            1. re: barryg

              Mercato has been taking reservations for some time now. That's why I returned. I think the OP would enjoy it.

              1. re: barryg

                i guess my thought is really without reservations pick a neighborhood not a restaurant and be open minded- i did not realize AC wait would be THAT long (but i probably should have)- i wont wait an hour to eat anywhere but there are many choices west of Rittenhouse

                to the OP i don't mean to steer you away from CC - you will be fine but reservations are ideal on Sat night if you have your heart set on something specific otherwise be flexible or expect to wait

                ^Rangoon and Chinatown is a good be for walk-in

          2. I'm going to recommend Rangoon in Chinatown. It's unique in that there are very few Burmese restaurants on the East Coast, and the owner was just telling me that the only NYC restaurant she knows of doesn't make Burmese tofu (made out of lentils), because it is so tricky. It is really delicious!

            It is fairly quiet there, and should be pretty easy to walk into without a reservation. The food is sort of a hybrid between Chinese, Thai and Indian.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              I'd second that rec. Good, interesting food and Chinatown is going to be easier to get a walk-in seat at a restaurant than other places in the city on a Saturday night.

              1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                Third Rangoon! Or elsewhere in Chinatown, there'll be plenty of "no wait" places. I'd suspect waits longer outside of Center City, just because of the lack of places to eat.

              2. I don't understand why you wouldn't make a few reservations versus possibly having to wait? Just grab a cocktail nearby and enjoy the wait!

                As for brunch, the industry does a great brunch as does a ton of places in the Italian market ( Sabrina's, monsu, ninas(byo)). Cafe lift has an amazing cannoli French toast and they're also byo!

                3 Replies
                1. re: jl0328

                  Thanks all- these are great options. I should've mentioned that the reason I'm trying to avoid a reservation is because we don't know if we'll be 3 or 4 people. Appreciate the help!

                  1. re: mlb51677

                    Make the reservation for four. If your fourth doesn't come it won't be a huge problem.

                    Also, a comment about making multiple reservations. Don't. It is very discourteous to restaurants to do this, and opentable wont permit you to do this under one account.

                    Frankly if you are willing to dine early, (6 pm or earlier) I do not think you will have a wait for a table.

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      Yeah, given a table for 3 is typically going to be the same size as a table for 4, changing that aspect at the last minute should not be an issue with most restaurants.