With Labor Day behind us and sweater weather approaching, there couldn’t be a better time for Center City Restaurant Week, which takes place from Sept. 10 through Sept. 19. Presented by Center City District, over 100 restaurants are participating this year, offering diners three-course dinners for $35 and some spots even offering three-course lunches for $20. Here are our top picks for restaurants you’ve got to check out for Center City Restaurant Week 2017.
1315 Sansom St.
This Center City gem will satiate all of your senses with delicious eats, drinks and live music. For Center City Restaurant Week, their dinner menu is made up of five courses with options like truffled duck liver mousse (sherry soaked cranberries, pickled red onion, frisée lettuce), melon and cucumber gazpacho (with poached shrimp), pumpkin casarecce (mushroom ragu, shaved parmesan) and pan-seared salmon (grilled summer vegetables, herbed potato purée, sauce bearnaise). For dessert, try their Mexican chocolate ice cream served on a crispy cinnamon sugar tortilla.
1234 Locust St.
In the mood for some Italian comfort food? Make your way over to Little Nonna’s for both lunch (not on Sunday) and dinner during restaurant week. The cozy trattoria with outdoor garden seating is serving up dishes like wild mushroom arancini (crispy risotto, buffalo mozzarella, truffle aioli), stracciatella (pulled fresh mozzarella, mixed italian olives,
olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, grilled country bread), grilled swordfish, pan-seared gnocchi and rigatoni (sunday pork gravy, broccoli rabe, horseradish, parmesan). Dessert is included and features a tiramisu and a pistachio cannoli. Yum!
124 S. 15th St.
In the mood for a steak but the rest of your party wants seafood? Ocean Prime does it all really well and given the immense size of the space, it’s a great option if you’re in a larger group. Their restaurant week menu features a selection of salads for the first course; filet mignon (haricot vert, creamy whipped potatoes, cabernet jus), teriyaki salmon (shiitake sticky rice, soy butter sauce) and Freebird Farm chicken (ratatouille, lemon pan jus) for the second course. You could go with ice cream or sorbet as dessert but we can’t stop thinking about that carrot cake (cream cheese icing, pineapple syrup).
325 Chestnut St.
If you’ve never been Buddakan, here’s your chance to experience it. The ambiance is a treat in itself and makes you feel like you’re in a movie, with impeccable mood lighting and of course, a giant golden Buddha at the center of it all. Don’t worry, though. The food is spot on, too. For restaurant week, they’re offering both lunch (except on Sunday) and dinner. Items of note at dinnertime include chilean sea bass (haricot verts, butternut squash, maitake mushrooms, truffle jus), short rib and scallion pancake (Asian pear, ginger) and for dessert, we’ve got our hearts set on the bubble tea sundae (oolong tea sorbet, milk ice cream, lemon-infused tapioca pearls).
300 S. Broad St.
Located inside of the Kimmel Center, Volver by Garces is an excellent restaurant week option whether you’re seeing a show or not. Their special menu includes eyebrow raising items like milk and cereal (rice flakes, bacon, thyme marshmallows, white asparagus, truffle), a salmon cannoli (crème fraiche, rye) and shrimp toast (sesame, scallion, karashi mayo) for the first course. Giannone chicken (smoked swiss chard, sherry & foie gras cream), market fish (wild mushrooms, watercress, celeriac, truffle jus) and gyu katsu (wagyu culotte, karashi mustard, Pete’s teriyaki, katsu sauce, kohlrabi) rounds out second course items. Be sure to save room for the orange and pistachio parfait for dessert.
Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
212 Walnut St.
Be swept away to the Amalfi coast right in the heart of Old City. Located on the second floor, try to get an outdoor table if you can for your restaurant week meal. This year, they’re serving up lunch everyday (except Sunday) as well as dinner. Their lunch menu features spicy calamari (pickled cherry peppers, goat cheese), Gnocchi Sorrento (Marinara, Melted Mozzarella, Basil, Eggplant Parmigiana, Sautéed Spinach, Potatoes) and mushroom risotto (shiitake, oyster and portobello mushrooms, truffle essence). For dinner, enjoy family-style antipasto, peas and beef arancini spicy chipotle aioli, veal Milanese (arugula, pecorino toscano, lemon) and more. Both lunch and dinner include a selection of desserts.