Philadelphia restaurant with ambiance?
November 20, 2009 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend me a an excellent restaurant in Philadelphia.

It is my sir's birthday. I would like to take him out to dinner. I want something with a romantic and lovely ambiance. I know Philly is all about BYOB, but I'd prefer to not BMOB if possible (unless the restaurant is otherwise so amazing that I must overlook this). Exact cuisine is not as important, as we like all food, but Italian or French would probably be best. I just want a place that has truly excellent food and the aforementioned ambiance. Dark, cozy, smallish, but not too loud.

We live in West Philly and love to take transit. We do not, however, drive, so please don't recommend anything out in the suburbs. Anything accessible by trolley, Market-Frankford El, the Broad Street line, or bus is great. I'd prefer to pay by credit card, but cash-only is not a dealbreaker.
posted by millipede to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Beau Monde is fun for French crepes, and it's pretty dark and quiet. Can't remember if it's BYOB or not though.
posted by amro at 9:28 AM on November 20, 2009

Ah, they do serve alcohol.
posted by amro at 9:30 AM on November 20, 2009


Delicious food and the waitstaff have seemed nice the 2 times I've been there. Also: clean bathrooms - major plus for me!

You should be able to take the El and then walk up the couple of blocks to the restaurant.
posted by tozturk at 9:34 AM on November 20, 2009

Also: If Konak isn't your thing..amro selected Beau monde. They're pretty delicious too, and they're not BYOB. They also have clean bathrooms!
posted by tozturk at 9:35 AM on November 20, 2009

Ah, Konak is great too, I have been there many times! My parents are friends with the owners, actually (although only because they have been there so many times!).

Although I do think Beau Monde is much more romantic...
posted by amro at 9:39 AM on November 20, 2009

Beau Monde looks perfect, except--and I probably should have mentioned--we have recently OD'ed on crepes and thus I don't want to go to a creperie.
posted by millipede at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2009

Mercato is fantastic and I cand recommend it enough. It's byob, but so damn good.

Also consider Osteria.
posted by The Michael The at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2009

When I lived in Philly, I was a big fan of Amada, for tapas (and a fun date atmosphere, although not the typical dark & quiet type). If you enjoy Mexican, you'll love the tableside guacamole at Xochitl in Headhouse Square. Both are pretty easy to reach via Septa, although it's true Xochitl is a slightly longer walk from the 2nd & Market station. (Worth it, in my opinion--and worst-case scenario, there are usually plenty of cabs in Headhouse Square to take you home, or just to the subway.)
posted by Superplin at 9:52 AM on November 20, 2009

I recommend Tinto quite highly, though the food is spanish.
posted by 256 at 9:54 AM on November 20, 2009

I liked Pasion very much when I lived in Philly. Nuevo Latino, downtown on Walnut (I think).
posted by gnutron at 10:01 AM on November 20, 2009

Lebec Fin. I drove from NY to eat there one Saturday night.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:04 AM on November 20, 2009

Fork. Casual dress, but really cozy posh ambiance. I recall that it has cocktails and I know it's got an acclaimed wine list. I haven't been in a few years but the Yelp reviews indicate it has maintained its quality.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:17 AM on November 20, 2009

For French, Bibou, Fond, and Cochon are outstanding, but all are BYOs. Of those three, Fond is the easiest for you to get to, as it's just a couple of blocks off of the Broad Street line. Bonus, that stretch of East Passyunk is adorable for strolling. On that same stretch of East Passyunk are two excellent Italian restaurants, both of which have liquor licenses: Le Virtu and Paradiso.

Vetri is ne plus ultra for Italian and romance; it is certainly not cheap and it may be hard to score a reservation.

The owner of Vetri (Marc Vetri) is one of the owners of Osteria. I like going to Osteria, but it's really not in Vetri's league (arguably not in Le Virtu's league), and it's much too large and bustling to give you the atmosphere you seek.

Amada and Tinto are wonderful. Jose Garces rocks.
posted by desuetude at 10:19 AM on November 20, 2009


It is the most phenomenal restaurant in Philly. I have taken loads of people a number of times and they are unanimous in their opinion. The ambiance is amazing, the small dining room makes it very intimate and personal, the service is brilliant, and most of all, the food is to die for, just unbelievable.

Oh, and it is vegan. But my carnivorous friends summed it up perfectly, "This is not be best vegan restaurant I have been to, this is the best restaurant I have been to, and I didn't even miss the meat."
posted by eldvno at 10:23 AM on November 20, 2009

Le Bec Fin's downstairs bar seems exactly what Im looking for... reservations made, and I will come back to this question and try all the other restaurants next time there is an occasion. Thank you, everyone!
posted by millipede at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2009

Next time try Pod. Pan Asian.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:09 AM on November 20, 2009

Possibly the easiest "where should I eat in X city" question ever.

Seconding Le Bec Fin.
posted by Zambrano at 11:28 AM on November 20, 2009

Not sure if it's too late, but me and the wife loved Tequila. Don't be fooled by the website, BTW. It's a fine dining establishment. Now that it's colder, they may be serving a drink I had last time I was there (February) called Winter's Warmer or something close? That was an amazing drink; I know it had bourbon and rhurbarb bitters (!) but other than that it tasted like awesomeness in a glass.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:06 AM on November 22, 2009

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