Philly Dopers - Restaurant advice

A question for all you Philly Dopers and the ones who visit regurlarly…

I’ll be in Philly this Friday and Saturday night. Now I have eaten at Budakan before and I loved it. My partner wants to go back but I’m quite sure if I’m up for the expense (even though the food definitely justifies it).

What else would you advise? I’d like to find a place where I’ll have a chance of getting a table without a reservation. I like good food - as I mentioned I loved Budakan, and in DC my favs are Obelisk and Grapeseed (Bethesda). So what’s new?, what’s good?, what hasn’t received the media-hype that requires you to book in advance?

Any suggestion are greatly appreciated…

In center city, I like Serrano (on Second St.). Quirky-eclectic, reasonably priced. I’ve never had a reservation, and never had a problem getting a table, but don’t necessarily hit the place at prime time on a weekend night, either.

I went up to visit my friend last year and ate at a Belgian place, Monks. Good food, and good beer.

my favourite is white dog cafe.

White Dog is great…

Some others (all in Center City):

Melagrano - Italian-ish. BYOB. No reservations required, but generally crowded every day.

L2 - Jazz Restuartant and Bar. Good food selection. Not too pricey. Should be OK with seats, but last time I went I had a res (but I didn’t need it).

La Castagne - Pretty Good Italian

Cibucan - Latin Fusion - excellent

Porcini - Italian - BYOB. No reservations. Really Great. Can get crowded as well.

Rose Tattoo - All kinds of stuff but expensive

Warmdaddy’s - Southern Foods (Catfish, Steak, Ribs, etc) - Live Blues. Great place. I’d recommend reservation on a weekend though.

The Bards - Irish Food, good bar.

And we also have the standards: Captial Grille, Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris on the steak side.

I don’t eat seafood, so I can’t comment on that, but I hear Philly has great seafood. You can find more details at

Good luck!

I forgot to add:

Maggiano’s - Traditional Italian. Expensive, but good.

Twenty Manning - A bunch of everything.

I’ll stop now.

OK three more I promise:

Aden - I guess you’d call it Mediterranian. Good and not that expensive.

Rouge - All sorts of stuff. A bit pricey.

Alma de Cuba - Cuban (duh!), expensive and pricey though. Popular.

Ok, I am really done now. I also can’t think of anymore places I have eaten that I liked.

I have to differ with a couple of slu’s choices

Twenty Manning is expensive and not worth the money. The only real reason to go there is the stylish decor and trendy crowd. Of all the places in Philly this one feels the most like it belongs in NYC.

Melagrano is also expensive and trendy, but while Twenty Manning is merely good, this place is down right bad. I only went once but everything I ordered was either bland and tasteless or salted beyond recognition.

For truly excellent BYOB italian try Casa Diva or La Viola (cash only for both)

Alma de Cuba is also not worth the money, Cuba Libre in Old City is a better choice.

Rose Tattoo I do agree with, terrific place.

Now for my choices…

Copa Cabanna and its sister Copa Too have the best burger in town
Marathon Grill has the best brunch
Philadelphia Fish & Company is great for seafood
Monks is one of the best pubs (amazing beer selection) and is known for its mussels
Moriarty’s is a good for irish fare and wings
Next is a good inexpensive BYOB with a diverse menu
Sotto is an expensive but good Center City seafood place
Chickie and Pete’s is known for crab and Eagles game parties

Also excellent fries and excellent guacamole. Recommend stopping there and getting a table by a window for snacks and drinks if you’re doing South Street and need a break.

I’d agree on Alma de Cuba being overpriced and I went to Twenty Manning only once and I didn’t pay, so I thought it was pretty good.

Melagrano, OTOH, I still disagree with. I love most things there and find it to be OK price wise. The pork chops are great. But I may be biased as I live about a block and a half from there!

I wish I had put Moriarty’s down. Best wings in the city. Maybe the best “standard bar food” and a fun place to hang out.

If you like Budakan, I would try the other Steven Starr restaurants. Most of them are pretty good. I’m too lazy to look them up right now.