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zaksgrandma Sep 12th, 2003 08:54 AM

restaurants in Phila
My son is getting married in a downtown hotel this June. I am looking for a place for the rehearsal dinner although I know nothing about philly. I would love an informal place which could accomodate about 40-50 people. BYOB would be wonderful. Any suggestions.

luvthebeach Sep 12th, 2003 11:16 AM

Going through this right now! I am getting married in November. Where exactly is he getting married? I can give you ideas if I knew what areas you are close to.

KeyGal Sep 12th, 2003 03:01 PM

One of the restaurants in Chinatown might be fun & many of them have upstairs rooms just for private parties. Charles Plaza on 10th & Vine is one suggestion. Italian is another idea -- Trattoria Prima Donna on 15th & Spruce has a great casual atmosphere, great food, and it's pretty. Other fun suggestions: Astral Plane (Lombard Street), Knave of Hearts (South Street).

Dalles Sep 13th, 2003 08:32 PM

Spasso an Front and Chestnut is a great Italian place. If you like Chinese food, Joseph Poon at 10th and Arch is a BYOB that gets great ratings.

Khy Sep 14th, 2003 04:53 AM

How about these ideas?

Astral Plane - Whimsical and romantic, 17th and Lombard (

La Vigna - consistently great Italian food. Nice atmosphere. Lots of on-street, free parking available.
1100 S. Front Street (I can't remember the web-site address, but they do have one. Possibly Look for them, and their menu, on Google.)

D'Angelo's Ristorante - Italian, 20th and Rittenhouse area. Several different rooms so you could probably occupy a private area.

L2 - Rittenhouse/Fitler Square Area (I think that they have a second floor for private parties.)

Portafino - Italian, informal. 12th and Walnut. (

Sansom Street Oyster House - Fresh seafood. 15th and Sansom.

Joseph Poon - Chinese. 10th and Arch. Great chef. Informal. Mr. Poon is a real character who presents his guests with an always interesting menu.

Best of luck to the engaged couple. (On a final note, I would stay away from the South Street area in June. Too many roving gangs of kids around 3rd (to around 10th) and South Street in the warm weather months. This situation has been cause for a rather large police presence, and I certainly would not want my guests dealing with this OR with having to find parking.)
Have fun restaurant shopping! Philadelphia is a terrific place!

dbenya Sep 14th, 2003 06:30 AM

We were married at the Art Alliance on Rittenhouse Square, which has an enclosed patio for parties. The indoor galleries can be rented as well. The in-house restaurant is Opus 251. We also had friends who threw a successful graduation reception last year at Novelty in Old City. I'd suggest contacting the food writers at Philadelphia Magazine (Maria Gallagher), the Philadelphia Inquirer (Craig LeBan & Rick Nichols) and the Philadelphia Daily News (Soyo Motoyama) for their suggestions. I did that when I was looking for a 50th birthday party site and they were able to steer me to some interesting places.

zaksgrandma Sep 15th, 2003 09:21 AM

thanks to all for the suggestions. TO luvthebeach: the wedding is at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. I think this is a very expensive place but would like something much more reasonable for the rehearsal dinner. Also, my idea is that this should be an opportunity for people to actually visit. I do not want it to be another wedding! Thanks in advance for your suggestions. Where is your wedding and rehearsal dinner?

luvthebeach Sep 15th, 2003 10:49 AM

Hi Zaksgrandma-

Our ceremony is on 20th and Locust (on Rittenhouse Square) and the reception is on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
We are running into the same problem. All of these restaurants mentioned above are wonderful but the prices are like a small wedding. They are all (tax tip entree and wine and beer only) in the $55 and up per person + providing parking.

Spasso's and Spizzo's are much lower-we are debating on those or we might consider going into South Philadelphia to a little place called Popi's (free parking, lower prices and great food).

If you want to go higher I would definitely look into D'Angelo's Ristorante.

Amy Sep 15th, 2003 12:03 PM

For much less expensive fare, nice waitstaff and lotsa room for fun, try the Imperial Inn in Chinatown. Their food is quite tasty and you can do the "imperial feast" with sharing all around.

Ralph's in South Philly might also suit you, if you could get the space for that many. Good traditional Italian.

Another really fun place is Marrakesh at 5th and Leithgow where you'd have to take over the whole building for 40-50, but you might be able to arrange that. They give you a full Moroccan feast (eat with your fingers, clean the hands with rosewater...)

Have a great time! I hope you get some extra time to explore Philadelphia.

zaksgrandma Sep 22nd, 2003 10:35 AM

I'm still looking for a site for a rehearsal dinner. Luvthebeach suggested Popi's which I cannot find. Can you send me a website and/or phonenumber? same for Spizzo's.

Does anyone know of a nice room which I could rent and bring in catered food?

luvthebeach Sep 22nd, 2003 11:48 AM

Hi Zaksgrandma,

Here is a little something about Popi's:

I spelt the name of the restuarant wrong!!! It is Sfizzio's

Good luck! Let me know if you have anymore questions. I would love to help

luvthebeach Sep 22nd, 2003 11:54 AM

Almost forgot, when clicking onto Popi's website go onto the side where it says menu. This will give you a banquet menu!

zaksgrandma Sep 24th, 2003 07:58 AM

I spoke to someone at Michael's Restaurant- I think it's on 8th St.- yesterday and they sounded reasonable. Does anyone know anything about them? Thanks to all of you

dbenya Sep 27th, 2003 02:00 PM

We were at Michael's for a New Year's Eve party a couple of years ago. I'd rate the food higher than the atmosphere. If you're thinking of catering, renting a landmark house in the historical area is another option:

dbenya Sep 28th, 2003 05:24 AM

One more suggestion and then I'll stop myself. I promise. It's just that I went through the finding a space thing for a birthday party two years ago and I know it's not easy. There is a 2nd floor space at Ralph's. The food and the atmosphere are true Philadelphia. There's also Dante & Luigi (10th and Catherine), which would also be great and a little more subdued. The wait staff is wonderful. But on the other side of town I'd suggest the White Dog Cafe ( It's in an old house on the Penn campus and naturally broken up into party-sized rooms. We have so many wonderful restaurants here I know that you'll find something.

saglassman Oct 3rd, 2003 05:59 AM

I suggest you post your question on the Chowhound Board -, then go to Message Boards and then to the Pennsylvania Board.
This is an active message board about restaurants, dining, food, etc. and the people who go on it are usually helpful and knowledgable.
Good luck!


robsmom Oct 3rd, 2003 08:53 AM

You can rent one of the boathouses along the river. I don't know if the catereers go with the boathouse or if you do the two separately. I have been to very casual events at one (hotdogs, magician for the kids, type thing) and next weekend am going to the same one for a black tie optional event, so I think they run the gambit of options. Unfortunately, I don't have a name or website but my sister is helping with the charity event next weekend so I could find out if you are interested.

dbenya Oct 3rd, 2003 12:15 PM

This might be the boathouse robsmom is talking about. It's magical at night on the river with the boathouses lit up.
Also, catering by Frog Commissary is a nice plus.

BTilke Oct 3rd, 2003 01:13 PM

Thanks for the info about Frog Commissary. We have many fond memories of special meals at Frog, extended week-end gossip brunches at the Commissary, and romantic evenings at the Piano Bar next door. Glad to see Steve Poses is still keeping the original Frog spirit alive!

Birdie Oct 3rd, 2003 03:34 PM

My husband and I had our first date at the "new" Frog. I remember wonderful brunches at the "old" Frog. I treasure my Frog/Commissary cookbook and still make the oatmeal cookies.

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