Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and if you haven’t solidified dinner plans with your sweetie yet, it would be wise to make a reservation soon. With Philly’s flourishing culinary landscape, it’s understandable that you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the choices. That’s why we asked a few of the city’s top foodies for their favorite places to dine for a romantic night on the town.
Justin Petruce, culinary director at Marquis & Co.
“Friday, Saturday, Sunday (261 S. 21st St.). It’s hard to get a night out without my son. But if we get that opportunity this place is phenomenal. Try the cocktails and yogurt panna cotta.”
Chris Mann, general manager at The Olde Bar
“Townsend (1623 E. Passyunk Ave.). Impeccably executed French food is perfect for a nice sit-down dinner. Or you can go to just have drinks at the bar — the cocktails there are amongst the best in Philly. I love the petite omelette dish there.”
Brad Spence, culinary director at Vetri Family Restaurants
“For date night it’s always Ralph’s (760 S. Ninth St.). The servers are fun, the vibe is relaxed yet energetic and they treat us like family every time we talk through the door. But mostly because my wife goes crazy for the mussels in red.”
Reuben “Big Rube” Harley, chef at Big Rube’s Chicken & Waffles
“That would be Rouge in Rittenhouse Square (205 S. 18th St.). It’s right across from the park and they have the windows opened up in the summertime. They’ve got the best calamari with aioli. On point.”
Jezabel Careaga, owner of Jezabel’s Cafe
“Wm. Mulherin’s Sons (1355 N. Front St.) is the best date place by far. The building is beautiful, the architecture and design of the space is romantic with the blend of materials old and new — it all just works together. The drinks and wine selection are strong and their food is delicious, hearty and fresh.”
Esther McManus, consulting chef at Le Bus
“I thought very hard about a date night, but of all I know the most honest one and a real landmark as of late is Zahav (237 St. James Place). Michael Solomonov is the most engaged restaurateur in the city. He also wrote a lovely book.”
Kristol Bryant, executive chef at Sonesta
“Buddakan (325 Chestnut St.) has a great ambiance — the service is impeccable and the food speaks for itself. I cannot say enough good things about the tempura king crab with the sweet and sour sauce and the bento box of desserts.”
Marlo Dilks, owner of SLiCE and P’unk Burger
“For date night, my husband and I love Dmitri’s (795 S. Third St.; 944 N. Second St.). It’s a cute and cozy BYOB. Start with the grilled octopus and then get the Greek-style bluefish.”
Adriana Piper, pastry chef at Barclay Prime
“Barbuzzo (110 S. 13th St.). The seating is so close together that you can’t help but get cozy with your date when you come here for dinner. The vibe is casual yet classy, there’s an open kitchen if you need a diversion from possible awkward conversation, and the menu is approachable. My favorite dish is the sheep’s milk ricotta appetizer. It’s great for a date because it’s a hands-on dish: Grab a piece of the crusty, slightly charred bread and dig in.”
Jeremy Nolen, executive chef at Brauhaus Schmitz
“Ela (627 S. Third St.) is a great spot for a date. It’s in my neighborhood and has a great atmosphere. My wife and I even took our 8-year-old daughter with us one time and she loved it!”
Where are your favorite spots for a romantic dinner in Philly? Tell us in the comments below.