The best date of our life involved pizza on South Street, then a concert at Swarthmore College, followed by a dance party at Transit, but many years have passed since then, and we tend to seek out more grown-up date spots these days.
Center City has myriad great restaurants for whatever kind of mood you are trying to set, be it high romance or carefree fun, but it’s not the only game in town! Even If you didn’t make it during University City Dining Days, we recommend checking out Marigold Kitchen in West Philadelphia for a chic-but-not-fussy meal. Although off the beaten path, there is something immensely appealing about making a night of it in West Philly, probably because it is quieter and more laid back, and not in spite of it.
Marigold Kitchen serves Southern-inspired New American, and the last time we were there, we had an eminently palatable meal of perfectly done black cod, while the person we were with feasted on a tender cut of pork belly. The current menu is filled with delicious-sounding options like “Quick-Smoked Salmon with Fried Green Tomatoes and Yellow Squash” and “Apple Tart with Almond Praline and Sour Cream Ice Cream,” which is surely the way to anyone’s heart!
The food is already a huge draw, but the setting also recommends Marigold Kitchen as a date restaurant. West Philly is chock-full of gorgeous Victorian rowhouses, and guess what? Marigold Kitchen just happens to be on the ground floor of one. Diners walk up the pretty stoop to find themselves in a dining room with hardwood floors, soft lighting, and stylish blue resin-topped tables. Smart-casual is definitely the theme here.
If all is going well after dinner, make an appearance at neighborhood bar Fiume, at 45th and Locust. The bar is above local Ethiopian joint Abyssinia, and all you will see from the street is a big bay window. However, venture on upstairs, and a world of fun awaits you. It may not be the most romantic of bars, but you will earn cool points with your date for going somewhere so off the radar.