6 Best Bets for Center City Restaurant WeekBy Danya Henninger
August 25, 2014
Prix fixe fans, get ready. Center City District Restaurant Week is back. For two weeks starting Sunday, September 7 (with the exception of Saturday, September 13, in some cases), more than 125 restaurants in central Philadelphia will offer three-course dinners for $35. Some will also bring daylight to the deals and serve $20 three-course lunches.
Does the promotion actually offer a good value? It does if you know where to look. Whether it’s because a drink is included, extra courses are offered or the meal itself is just too good to miss, here are six reservations to make for this year’s Restaurant Week.
(Note: If you’re more interested in novelty than value, our list of this year's RW newcomers is here.)
1) a.bar (Lunch)
With two seafood starters plus a main and dessert, dinner at the new, Eli Kulp-led incarnation of this Rittenhouse wine and cocktail lounge isn’t a bad option, but lunch is an even better deal. Just pick one starter instead of two, and the daytime menu is nearly the same as in the evening, except it’s $15 less. Considering the menu's burger usually runs $18, it’s a steal.
135 S. 18th St.; 215-825-7035
2) Zahav (Dinner)
So what if the Tayim tasting menu is always available at Michael Solomonov’s Israeli dining room? It’s usually $42, and to get it for $35 is still a good savings, especially if you’re with a group (good luck with tables for big parties, though). Start with salatim salads and hummus, pick two mezze small plates, follow it with an entree like lamb sausage or duck kebabs, and finish with dessert.
237 St. James Pl.; 215-625-8800
3) Pub & Kitchen (Dinner)
Eli Collins’ mussels are reason enough to hit up this tavern on the edge of Rittenhouse, but during this promotion you could think of them as free. Usually $16, they are just one of four courses you’ll get for $35, including your choice of three mains that are all standout (this is not your cafeteria roasted chicken). At dessert, either the olive oil cake or panna cotta will leave you similarly giddy.
1946 Lombard St.; 215-545-0350
4) Garces Trading Company (Brunch)
On September 7, 13 and 14, you can get the $20 lunchtime deal in the form of brunch at this Jose Garces global dining room in Wash West. That means you can get your regular egg fix (Spanish frittata, baked eggs with guanciale, Manchego, egg and bacon sandwich) plus two other courses, including charcuterie or housemade mozzarella to start and killer house macarons to finish. Sweet and savory, all in one morning meal.
1111 Locust St.; 215-574-1099
5) Brauhaus Schmitz (Dinner)
German meals are not known for being dainty, and while chef Jeremy Nolen’s spicing and technique offer plenty of nuance, he’ll also give you plenty to dig into at this South Street beer hall. Goulash or beer cheese soup is just the hearty, satisfying start to four courses that can include a plate of housemade charcuterie and a platter of sausages. Finish with a dessert by pastry chef Jessica Nolen and you’ll be more than ready to say “auf wiedersehen.”
718 South St.; 267-909-8814
6) The Twisted Tail (Dinner)
Save your spot at this Headhouse Square BBQ and juke joint for a great chance to sample four courses from one of the most undersung chefs in the city. Whether it’s the crawfish mac ‘n’ cheese, the fried chicken in a bag or the ricotta beignets with bourbon-butterscotch dipping sauce, Lou Forneas brings the heat.
509 S. 2nd St.; 215-558-2471