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Aug 17, 2014 04:45 PM

One weekend in Philly, Center City: Where to dine?

I'll be in Philadelphia at the beginning of October. Won't have a car. Staying in Center City.

My beau and I are lunching at Reading Terminal on Saturday. Need dinner recommendation for Saturday evening and a brunch option for Sunday morning. We love spicy, ethnic food, but something a bit luxurious and romantic would be nice on Saturday. Help! Friends have raved about Little Nonna's, but we're from Boston and have plenty of delicious Italian spots up here. Want something "only in Philly." Thanks!

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  1. l will get my vote in first as no brainer for me, Farm & Fisherman. Research other posts on this site about it.

    1. You are correct. If you're only here for one weekend, Little Nonna's is not where you should go. I suggest Townsend (, Le Cheri (, or one of the many terrific Philadelphia byob's. Will, Little Fish, Bibou are all very good.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JanR

        Curious, what did you find at Will that made you a fan ? There was nothing bad when l went but nothing that got me even a little excited.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          I've been a Kearse fan since he cooked at Pumpkin. I like the fresh ingredients, the atmosphere (it was particularly convivial the night of the Kearse/Ansill dinner), and of course the presentations. Here is what I like in a photo:

          1. re: JanR

            JanR have you been back to Pumpkin since Kearse left?

            1. re: cwdonald

              Once. It was okay. Not fair to judge by one night though.

      2. Brunch, hands down if you want a luxurious brunch, LaCroix is the way to go. It is the restaurant in the Rittenhouse hotel, and has the best brunch in the city. It is a combination buffet and cook to order, the choices are amazing and the setting is great as well.

        Parc is nice for brunch and you can dine outside as well. French bistro on Rittenhouse square.

        On the high end of luxurious and romantic I would throw both Vetri, and Avance. You are looking at prix fixe menus starting at around 150 a person plus wine pairings if you wish. Truly some of the most luxurious food and settings in the city. Vetri is Northern Italian, and Avance (in the former Le Bec Fin site) is new american/french.

        I second the recommendatoin for Farm and Fisherman. The chefs at Farm and Fisherman used to be at Blue Hill by Stone Barn in NY. Farm to table at its best. I sometimes shy away from recommending byos for people from out of town, unless they like to bring wine with them from home. Our wine stores in PA are nothing to write home about because of the antiquated PLCB system.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cwdonald

          Agree with LaCroix, if you want it, reserve early for prime time 11-1, as fills early.

        2. Kinda hard to narrow it down with those criteria, so I'll go ahead and list my usual recs for out-of-towners here for one dinner, in no particular order: Serpico, Zahav, Vedge, Fork (or High Street on Market), and Vernick. There are many more great options (F&F and Will among them) but those are my top tier right now.