story

The Most Romantic Restaurants in 10 Philly Neighborhoods

Where to sip French cinema–inspired cocktails and slurp soup dumplings
February 8, 2016
·
by Caroline Russock

Dim lighting and a strolling accordion might be the textbook example of Valentine’s Day, but those in market for something a little more inspired can use this neighborhood-by-neighborhood map of the best spots to share an intimate evening with your Valentine. Here’s a look at where to sip French cinema–inspired cocktails, indulge in uni and pair locally produced chocolate with a glass of something special.

Northern Liberties: Bardot Cafe
Named for one of France’s most alluring exports, this Northern Liberties corner lives up to its namesake with velvety flocked wallpaper, vintage upholstered seating and heavy curtains for a little extra privacy. An elegant, but affordable, menu — plus serious wine and cocktails — makes Bardot date-night perfect.

Valentine’s Day: The bar is going to be mixing up Truffaut-inspired cocktails like a bittersweet Jules & Jim with Bluecoat gin, Dolin vermouth and Fernet Branca.

447 Poplar St.; 267-639-4761

Kensington: Martha
A sit-down prix fixe is well and good, but sharing a few small plates while snuggled up to a crackling fire at Martha (pictured above) sounds much more intimate. With a serious selection of vinyl, there’s a chance you can spin romantic tracks on the turntable while splitting a plate of locally made cheeses and barrel-aged cocktails.

Valentine’s Day: The menu here changes frequently, but a recent special of blood-red beet borscht with house-fermented cabbage and crème fraîche​ sounds V-Day perfect.

2113 S. York St.; 215-867-8881

Fishtown: Kensington Quarters
This Frankford Avenue butcher shop and restaurant (pictured above) only serves steak one day a week and happily that day is Sunday. Steak is on the menu for Valentine’s Day plus a few shellfish additions from the kitchen. During brunch, for an out-of-the-box but entirely inspired Valentine’s Day idea, the kitchen is offering a prix fixe menu ($25) that begins with paw paw bread topped with shaved chocolate, a choice of entrees like pork shoulder Benedict or local mushroom scramble and finishes with a sharable cookie plate. During the afternoon KQ is hosting a chocolate and wine pairing session with ChocAmo and a selection of fortified wines at $60 a person.

Valentine’s Day: Regular menu at dinner, chocolate and wine tastings in the afternoon and a special prix fixe brunch.

1310 Frankford Ave.; 267-314-5086

West Philly: Marigold Kitchen
In honor of Valentine’s Day, this West Philly modernist spot is rolling out a 15-plus-course menu of aphrodisiacs. While the kitchen is keeping the full menu under wraps, there will be olive oil–poached oysters, a pomegranate fennel salad and rich Mexican chocolate involved. Don’t forget to bring a bottle or two to this BYO tasting experience.

Valentine’s Day: $100 per person prix fixe running from February 12 to 14.

501 S. 45th St.; 215-222-3699

Fairmount: A Mano
Townsend Wentz’s namesake restaurant on Passyunk Avenue is plenty romantic, but if you’re in the market for something a little more low-key head up to his newly opened Italian restaurant in Fairmount (pictured above). Perfectly portioned plates of pasta like lumachelle alla Amatriciana and braised pork shank with Taleggio polenta are perfect for enjoying with a bottle of BYO Prosecco.

Valentine’s Day: Regular menu with a few special additions.

2244 Fairmount Ave.; 215-236-1114

Midtown Village: Vedge
When it comes to high-end dining for the meat-free set it doesn’t get better than this Midtown Village vegetable-focused stunner (pictured at top). Combine a gorgeous dining room and polished service with fascinating plates like wood-roasted carrots that play off the flavors of a classic Reuben sandwich with bottles of natural wine from Vedge’s extensive list and you’re in for a ridiculously (and incidentally vegan) romantic meal. In addition to the regular menu there’s going to be a tasting on offer with pours from Vedge’s stellar selection of natural wines.

Valentine’s Day: Five-course tasting with optional wine pairing.

Rittenhouse: Vernick Food & Drink
Whether you’re nested in the warm back dining room with kitchen views or upstairs (pictured above) looking out onto 18th Street, a meal at this Rittenhouse stunner is sure to impress. Insiders know that if you’re looking to make it official the sea urchin with scrambled eggs is a must-order.

Valentine’s Day: Regular menu with a few special additions.

2031 Walnut St.; 267-639-6644

East Passyunk: Bing Bing Dim Sum
Interactive eating experiences are intimate to say the least. This East Passyunk dim sum spot is the only place in town to slurp soup dumplings in a repurposed opium den bed — how’s that for romantic? While most of the menu here is made up of dim sum–size plates (pictured below), Valentine’s Day is the ideal occasion to go for a sharable rack of glazed ribs with Chinese broccoli and bing bread and a pitcher of No Sleep Til Shanghai with five spice vodka, hibiscus tea and Thai basil.

Valentine’s Day: Regular menu.

1648 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-279-7702

Bella Vista: Dante & Luigi’s
Since opening its doors back in 1899, thousands of dates and more than a few proposals have taken place under the glittering chandeliers at this elegant South Philly restaurant. Seasoned waiters in pressed vests know how to keep the wine and cocktails flowing and — most importantly — when to give guests moments of privacy. The classics here are the only way to go. Shareables like an antipasto Italiano with a serious selection of meats and cheeses and double dips of creamy spumoni are portioned for couples.

Valentine’s Day: Regular menu.

762 S.10th St.; 215-922-9501

Chinatown: Vietnam Restaurant
There’s a certain retro romance to this Chinatown Vietnamese spot (pictured above): bamboo ceilings, waterfall walls and extensive menu of tiki cocktails. Go with an appetizer sampler of spring rolls, stuffed grape leaves and grilled meatballs or the flaming volcano bowl (“The Fantastic Drink for Passion Lovers” according to the menu). You probably won’t be heading home solo.

Valentine’s Day: Regular menu.

221 N. 11th St.; 215-592-1163

rittenhouse
valentine's day
south philly
valentine's dinner