I'm hoping for some assistance, as my indecisiveness is making this challenging. I am trying to plan a dinner for this Saturday evening to celebrate my fiance's new job. I'm torn between going somewhere new and going to places we've already been, and I'm torn between schlepping into the city, (we live in Ardmore and I work in the city, so I do the unglamorous schlep everyday), and sticking to the more limited suburbs. Here are some options I've come up with, in no particular order:
1. Alba (We've been here before and always enjoyed it.)
2. Sola (We've been here before and usually enjoyed it, though last time it wasn't as good. It is very convenient, though.)
3. Panorama (We've been here before and always enjoyed it. We used to live in Old City so I can handle the parking situation better there than in other areas of the city)
4. Osteria (We've been here before and always enjoyed it.)
5. Amis (We've never been here but the menu looks good. I'm a little nervous about parking, though, and wonder if the atmosphere will seem informal, meaning it won't feel like a special occasion.)
6. Sovana Bistro (We've never been but think it sounds great. It is quite a hike, though.)
7. Blackfish (I have heard nothing but positive things, but wonder if it is too "overdone" for our palates. The menu is also quite limited for a vegetarian.)
8. Alla Spina (I have never been and have heard mixed things, though we've have never had a bad experience with a Vetri restaurant. But, I'm worried it might be too casual, loud, inconsistent, etc.)
9. Majolica (I haven't been here for years. We were going to go here Valentine's day weekend and canceled due to sheer laziness and a nagging sensation--based on no real facts--that it might not be good.)
10. 333 Belrose (We have never been but I remember hearing a lot about it in the past. The menu is quite limited for a vegetarian, though.)
Worth noting, I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian, and with the seemingly new movement to put meat into everything this is sometimes challenging at restaurants with very small menus. Usually places can accomodate me with advanced notice, though I wonder whether some of the above options will be a waste of money for me, i.e. Blackfish. Also, I am a non-drinker so BYOB vs. liquor license doesn't really matter to us, though it is nice if the restaurant has a decent wine-by-the-glass selection, so that my fiance doesn't feel limited in his choices. Neither of us like super loud places, so if any of these places are known for their noise I'd probably rule them out on that alone. In general, I'd say that we both appreciate really good food of the Italian or New American persuasion, but tend to be somewhat turned off if food seems over done. For example, neither of us appreciated the molecular gastronomy present at Marigold Kitchen and left annoyed and unsatisfied. Finally, there is no magic to the list I've created, (you can tell that it is all over the place), other than that it includes places we've been and enjoyed or places I've heard good things about. If we decide to go into the city then in some ways the world is our oyster and many more options come into the mix. The only other thing I can say is that money is somewhat of an issue, so I'd like to keep this under $150 total (tax, tip, and alcohol included).
Thanks in advance for your guidance, or perhaps steering me in a completely different direction!
Also, it should be noted that as of yesterday all of these places had open tables, though I realize as Saturday gets closer and closer this might change. Thanks!