Restaurants in Center City Philadelphia for a Vegan + Picky Meat Eaters?
March 16, 2023 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Pretty much what it says on the tin! I love dining out in Philly but, as a long-time vegan and ex-Philadelphian, I have no idea what's good in the non-vegan restaurant scene anymore and now am tasked with making a dinner reservation for myself and some not-so-adventurous meat eaters.

Geography: anywhere between Rittenhouse and Olde City is fine but I've been told that Northern Liberties is too far afield, which I assume also knocks out Queens Village and Bella Vista.

Cuisine: I think I'm stuck with New American or something in that vein. Fancy is fine, it's not that they don't like fine dining, it's just that I've been directed to find a restaurant with a "nice salmon dish" and to stay away from anything "spicy." I think Talula's Garden would have been perfect but they don't have any availability on the date I need. I have the Red Owl Tavern booked, but I feel like I must be able to do better than that -- I just don't know what the right place is!

Vegan Options: I'd like there to be a clearly marked or otherwise obviously vegan entree that I can order without any special requests or drama. I'd very much like to be able to have choices/appetizers/etc, but one nice entree is all I really need as long as it's well balanced (has a protein source, ideally) and not like the proverbial portobello mushroom entree of the 90s. The next day is going to be a plain lettuce and chips day at a family event, so I don't want to deal with that at dinner the night before too.

Price: This is meant to be a nice dinner, so I'm looking for a proper sit-down restaurant, not a fast-casual place. No upper limit (there is one, in the sense that we probably wouldn't go to Jean-Georges, but expensive is ok).

BYOB: a place that serves wine is preferred, but I will absolutely take BYOB options.

Thank you!
posted by snaw to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had a great time at Vedge, which I would recommend to meat eaters (myself being one, also).
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:30 PM on March 16

Response by poster: Thanks! To clarify - vegan restaurants are off the table. I've been to Vedge with meat eaters who've enjoyed it, but it's not an option for these particular meat eaters, sadly for me.
posted by snaw at 6:34 PM on March 16

Did you look at Talula’s Daily? We’ve done more casual dinners there.
posted by rustcellar at 7:51 PM on March 16

Best answer: If you think you can get them as far as Head House Square, Bistro Romano has a vegan menu and a big nice-dinner vibe without anything too challenging. That said, there is a nice fish dish but it isn't salmon.
posted by babelfish at 6:37 AM on March 17

Sourcing this from friends of mine who're a mixed vegan-and-meat-eating couple. Some are more 'bar' than you may want but your options are limited

* Khyber Pass Pub
* Loco Pez
* Tomo Sushi
* Strangelove's (probably the closest of the options I know of to a 'nice dinner' atmosphere)
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:17 AM on March 17

Amma's is a South Indian BYO with a range of options, veg and non veg. The atmosphere doesn't feel fancy, but the food has been wonderful every time I've gone. On the other end of your geographic window, Han Dynasty is always a treat. (And depending on when you last loved here, it may be in a nicer location than you remember.)

When you say "nice dinner" do you just mean any sit-down, or a bit more luxury? In Rittenhouse, two nicer options that have worked well for special occasions in our family (which also spans veg to omnivore) are The Love and Spice Finch.
posted by knile at 8:00 PM on March 17

Response by poster: Thanks all! If nothing else, this is making me feel better about this being a hard task!

By "nice dinner" I mean special occasion dinner, obviously everyone differs in where they draw that line, but a bar or fast casual isn't right for this occasion. The Love and Spice Finch are both about right fanciness-wise but The Love's vegan options are pretty sad (at least on paper) and Spice Finch was rejected for being too "spicy," so, by that logic, most of the naturally vegan-friendly cuisines of the world are ruled out.

Babelfish got exactly the type of option I'm looking for.
posted by snaw at 3:12 AM on March 18

Pumpkin in Rittenhouse Square might fit the bill.
posted by bearette at 4:20 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven’t been, but a friend recommends Harper’s Garden, right near Rittenhouse Square.
posted by eyeball at 10:05 AM on March 18

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