After having had a bunch of lunches and dinners in the central city area of Philadelphia I can provide my report. Truly one of the most memorable meals in Philly, no better yet, the United States was dinner at Le Bec Fin. Before going, I thought that it would be one of those places which rests on its reputation but I could not be more incorrect. I ate probably the best mushroom ravioli I have ever been served. The flavors were outstanding. I dined at the bar with entertaining customers as well as the formidiable bartender who seemed to leave NO ONE unattended. Truly a remarkably delicious dinner. I took the advice of my fellow chowhound members and went to Tinto which was tons of fun. I wanted a hip, crowded, entertaining place with great food and Tinto was perfect. The Basque tapas were exceptional and the service, given the large crowd, was overwhelmingly good. Do they only hire attractive people to work there? Tinto should be called Bella Tinta. It seemed that not a soul was overweight or in bad shape. I like small places that are bustling with energy and that was the perfect place. We loved it. The wine list was surprisingly small and a tad bit disappointing for a place called "tinto" but nevertheless, I managed to drink down everything I ordered with alacrity. I cannot wait to try Amada.
I had lunch at Alma de Cuba which was perfectly nice. I hate having lunch at places that are dark and empty and both adjectives described the place. Seemed kind of sad and tired. My soup was good and spicy and the chicken curry pupusas were quite nice but nothing incredible. Absolutely palitable. I was not able to pull up online the last few suggestions for lunch so I was on my own one day and went to Barnes and Noble to peruse a Zagat guide for a place in the Rittenhouse sq. area. We were three people and we decided to go to Matyson for lunch. It was quite a cheery place with a nice crowd and lots of atmosphere. We all enjoyed our soups and salads but the lunch entree took so long to arrive at the table that my friend had to wolf down her food to make her appointment. The wait staff were very kind and told us next time to let them know if we needed to hurry. From the time in which we sat down, the lunch arrived about an hour and 15 minutes later. I thought that was a bit long but I was in no particular hurry so it did not bother me. Besides the slow kitchen, the servers were very nice.
I love diner food. Love the large menus, the counter service, and the large selection of fattening foods. I was thrilled to find one not very far (cannot remember the name) perhaps on 15th St? Loved my grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate milkshake. Nothing glamorous but fast, easy service and great hot lunch food. I would go back again today. Was so disappointed with Lacriox. I remember the first time I went there and I thought it was one of the greatest menus ever. This was two years ago. I found it overly stuffy, a bit contrived, and not very stunning in the taste department. Too bad. It was also overpoweringly expensive.
Now, I have to review all the other posts for next month when I return. How is Barclay Prime for lunch? Monks sounds good for a burger. Where do you all think I can eat the best cheeseburger in downtown Philly? Is there another place similar to Tinto in the downtown area as far as food and crowd is concerend? Should I try Amada?
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I can honestly say that Philadelphia is a food lovers city. Next month I will be sure to go to teminal that you mentioned with the great turkey sandwiches. I despise processed meats so I will be thrilled to bite into a real roasted turkey sandwich. Many thanks to all of you for responding to my post. What a great city. I apologize for our undiplomatic mayor who made disparaging remarks about your fabulous town. It is a gem.