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Recommend a Philly restaurant for out of towners


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A bunch of my family is coming in town next weekend, and I'm going to book dinner for 10 on Sunday. I'd like to try a good restaurant, but not extremely expensive like Morimoto's or the like.

Any recommendations?

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A bunch of my family is coming in town next weekend, and I'm going to book dinner for 10 on Sunday.  I'd like to try a good restaurant, but not extremely expensive like Morimoto's or the like.

Any recommendations?

Dear MikeyTree,

Can you be more specific about type of cuisine, price range, ambience, neighborhood?

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Dear MikeyTree,

Can you be more specific about type of cuisine, price range, ambience, neighborhood?

It's to celebrate a university graduation, so nice ambiance would be a plus, though nothing so intimate that it can't comfortably accomodate 10 diners.

I don't have a set type of cuisine, but several of the people coming are foodies, so something interesting would be helpful.

Unfortunately, apparently every university in the city is having graduations that weekend, so large reservations are hard to come by. I've tried at Amada, Raw, and Audrey Claire so far, but they all are full for large parties for dinner.

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I'm not sure if these places could handle a party of 10 and may likely already be booked up but some good suggestions would be: Marigold Kitchen; Southwark; Cochon; Matyson; Little Fish (tiny but great); Overtures. These are all over the city but all serve very good food, are moderately priced, and nearly all are BYOB (not Southwark).

"Nutrirsi di cibi prelibati e trasformare una necessita in estasi."

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Sorry to say, if you waited this long to get reservations for a party of ten on graduation weekend, you'll be lucky to get a cheesesteak.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Not to be too discouraging, but I'll agree with the others that a table for 10 at any of the usual suspects at this date is going to be pretty unlikely.

I'm definitely in a rut, suggesting the same things over and over, but many places in Chinatown would have no trouble fitting you in, either at a table for ten or in a private room. That size group isn't going to throw most places off if you just showed up, but if you wanted, you could arrange a special room, even a special menu, if you wanted to make it more of an event.

There are several places that would satisfy foodie friends: Ken's Seafood for super-fresh Cantonese fish and more; Sang Kee for Peking Duck, barbecued meats, etc; Four Rivers can do a pretty awesome banquet with about 3 days notice, we had one for CHinese New Year's but I got the impression you could do it any time, and customize what was on the menu (ours was for ten, and was WAY too much food!)

But outside of Chinatown, I'm having a hard time imagining where you'll find a table for 10 serving interesting food at this point... good luck!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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With Philly busy, you might try Al Dar Bistro in Bala Cynwyd.

I was the piano man at a party in the back room a couple of Saturdays ago. The butlered apps during the cocktail hour (lamb chops, crab cakes, chix or shrimps on skewers, more) were first rate.

The host insisted that the photographer and I order entrees - what a guy! My rare filet was as good as any I've had outside a fancy steak house. And the staff were most accommodating. Two friendly servers had a break and chatted with the photog and me as we dined outside.

I've no idea about the cost, but I was pleasantly surprised by the product.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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I've managed or worked at plenty of restaurants in this town. Any of the larger universities (Penn, Temple, Drexel) have anywhere from 3,000-8,000 folks graduating on any given weekend between the senior class of undergrads and all of the various graduate students. Even if every graduate only invites one guest, and only half of them decide to celebrate by having a meal, every table in town is already booked.

How far ahead would you normally book for a party of ten?? Seriously. I would set my sights on either suburbia or a belated celebration.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Le Virtu on Passyunk near Broad in South Philly was hosting two 10-person parties when we went last night for dinner. They still had room to spare, and the food and service were excellent. A good value for high-quality Italian food, as good as I've had in Philly (with the exception of Vetri, but that's a different stratosphere). Dinner for two was $104 including a drink apiece and tip.

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You could try calling Savona in Gulph Mills. The food is excellent and they have rooms for private parties including the wine cellar. It might be booked because it is close to Villanova, but it is worth a try.

I am wondering if the restaurants in the Fairmount section are on the graduation dinner radar?

I think the Chinatown idea is an excellent one. My favorite place is Tai Lake for Cantonese style fresh seafood.

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If Le Virtu can host, jump on it!

Le Virtu on Passyunk near Broad in South Philly was hosting two 10-person parties when we went last night for dinner.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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I've managed or worked at plenty of restaurants in this town.  Any of the larger universities (Penn, Temple, Drexel) have anywhere from 3,000-8,000 folks graduating on any given weekend between the senior class of undergrads and all of the various graduate students.  Even if every graduate only invites one guest, and only half of them decide to celebrate by having a meal, every table in town is already booked.

How far ahead would you normally book for a party of ten??  Seriously.  I would set my sights on either suburbia or a belated celebration.

I realize that now. This was for an out of town university, we didn't realize that Penn was having its graduations that weekend too. :huh:

I booked at Bindi, though I've never been there. The cash-only policy will be annoying with a party that size though.

I am wondering if the restaurants in the Fairmount section are on the graduation dinner radar?

Illuminare also available. I'm tempted to go there, for the atmosphere.

Edited by MikeyTree (log)
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Le Virtu was available, so we've changed our plans and are going to try it out.

Thanks for the suggestion! It sounds great, judging by the reviews and the menu.

not for the service -- i've been there plenty of times with big-ish groups, and it is usually brutally slow.

That's good to know. I've only ever been there in couples or small groups, and the service was decent.

Edited by MikeyTree (log)
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Any of the mid-May through early-June weekends are a rough reservation around these parts, if only because of the arithmetic stated earlier. There are a lot of students graduating at the same time. You have to figure on those numbers regardless of whether you're part of them or not.

Let us know how Le Virtu works out. The ownership there are very professional folks so I hope it satifies your needs that weekend.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Any of the mid-May through early-June weekends are a rough reservation around these parts, if only because of the arithmetic stated earlier.  There are a lot of students graduating at the same time.  You have to figure on those numbers regardless of whether you're part of them or not.

Let us know how Le Virtu works out.  The ownership there are very professional folks so I hope it satifies your needs that weekend.

Echoing Katie we are coming to town for the Phillies game Friday and we usually like to stay over and also eat some nice food. This year due to the Penn graduations there is not a room to be found in town and everybody is booked at the places we wanted to eat. Looks like a night of Schmitters and a late night drive home this time

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Echoing Katie we are coming to town for the Phillies game Friday and we usually like to stay over and also eat some nice food. This year due to the Penn graduations there is not a room to be found in town and everybody is booked at the places we wanted to eat.  Looks like a night of Schmitters and a late night drive home this time

Should've given me a shout-out, Mike!

You know I'm always up for wings, and Moriarty's has three floors open on weekends now.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Echoing Katie we are coming to town for the Phillies game Friday and we usually like to stay over and also eat some nice food. This year due to the Penn graduations there is not a room to be found in town and everybody is booked at the places we wanted to eat.  Looks like a night of Schmitters and a late night drive home this time

Should've given me a shout-out, Mike!

You know I'm always up for wings, and Moriarty's has three floors open on weekends now.

we ended up at Moriarty's after the game to dry out and warm up. Soup and desert and coffee. I was driving so I had nothing stronger

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