The dog days of summer have many urbanites heading for cooler locations and lake/beach houses, but sometimes we stay behind and get to enjoy our city unimpeded by others. I rounded up some restaurants in Philly to try when everyone is out of town. Check out the picks to alleviate the city steam heat. Bon appetit!
Acolytes attest “heaven on earth” can be found in an “unassuming” townhouse in Washington Square West, home of Marc Vetri’s flagship Italian, a “gastronomic tour de force” that’s “high-end” “without being ostentatious,” offering “sublime” cuisine and “professional” service; while you may have to “raid your 401(k)” given a prix fixe-only menu that starts at $155, it’s on just about “everyone’s bucket list.” 1312 Spruce St.; 215-732-3478
“You feel obligated to bring your best bottle” to this “intimate” BYO bistro housed in a former row house in Bella Vista, where Pierre Calmels creates “soulfully designed” French fare boasting flavors both “subtle and bold,” while his wife, Charlotte, will “treat you like mom” did; it’s almost “impossible to get a reservation,” especially on Sundays, when it offers an “amazing” $45 prix fixe, and remember it’s cash only. 1009 S. Eighth St.; 215-965-8290
“Over-the-top terrific” sums up surveyors’ sentiments about this high-end BYO on the East Passyunk strip, where “every bite” of Lee Styer’s New American cooking and Jessie Prawlucki’s “heavenly desserts” “takes your breath away,” while Tory Keomanivong’s “enthusiastic” servers are “genuinely caring”; it’s an overall “memorable” experience, and a move to a new location (with a bar) later in 2012 may resolve the “space issue.” 1537 S. 11th St.; 215-551-1500
“Farm to table without being silly” is how fans describe this “lovely”, upmarket New American BYO in Wash West where Joshua Lawler (ex-NY state’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns) creates “beautiful preparations” of “locally sourced” fare, while wife Colleen oversees the “friendly” staff; the space is “lovely”, and while it may be too “intimate” for some, admirers “never want to leave.” 1120 Pine St.; 267-687-1555
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