I want to share our good fortune in having some delicious dinners recently - and reasonably priced, too.
Bistro Juliana - Cumberland and Salmon St., right near I95.
Our mission that night, since I was recuperating: simple, quick service, easy parking, no long-drawn out dining.
Juliana is the fairly new sister/brother restaurant of Radicchio, at 4th and Wood. The menu is similar, though there were no veal dishes here.
My husband had the pasta special, which was with lobster Fra Diablo. The pasta came with a whole chicken lobster, sweet and not at all watery, and he said the sauce was terrific. Best lobster in a long time! I had the filet special, cooked perfectly and in a lovely mushroom sauce. Appetizers and dessert were equally good. No entrees are over $20 (and many are mid-teens) and no appetizers over $10 (most are less.)
This isn't a dining "destination" but a real find for us, because it wasn't crowded, service was professional, food as good as Radicchio, and no parking problem. I don't think they take reservations, so just go.
August, 13th and Wharton - you can read my old posts on this BYOB favorite. They change their menu frequently, but keep some of the most popular dishes. I would feel sad if they ever stopped serving their excellent presentation of talapia with scallion risotto. As usual, everything was delicious. The homemade pie special was peach - aaaaah, wonderful!
They will be closed for vacation from August 9 until after Labor Day. Cash only.
L'Oca, 21st and Fairmount. We had put off going here because we heard there was an impossible noise level. Either they improved it or we were lucky, because the noise was no worse than many other places. We could talk.
We've been here twice - it's in our neighborhood - and have been delighted. I think it's on the level of Melograno and some others. My husband's pasta ragu was one of the best he's ever had - meaty, juicy, tasty. They have two chicken dishes on the menu; I had the half-roast chicken, and it was fabulous. I can't wait to order it again.
The best appetizer (IMHO) was an antipasto of grilled vegetables with some prosciutto and cheese. Those vegetables (some unusual ones) were seasoned beautifully; I hated to finish it. It's for two people (or more) to share.
No reservations, very casual, BYOB.
Water Lily, Haddon Ave in Collingswood. This isn't technically in Philly - I'll also post on the mid-Atlantic Board. But for all of us who cross the bridge frequently for a good dinner, don't miss this one. One of the best fusion places around, better than Siri's (IMHO). (I think the owners used to work at Siri's.)
On Sundays, there is a prix-fixe menu of four courses for $30. Some of the entree choices are rack of lamb, pork tenderloin, shrimp and scallops, chicken. Great service, serene, delicious food. BYOB. We've been here many times recently, and it doesn't disappoint.
Serene atmosphere - you can actually talk to your friends!
Nothing dressy. Nothing ultra-expensive. And all very, very good!