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Some Fine Dining Options in Philadelphia

You’ll need to make reservations at these restaurants long before arriving at the 2005 ASA Annual Meeting

The following mini-guide to restaurants in Philadelphia highlights five very fancy restaurant selections— the first four of which are very expensive—that are said to border on the sublime. Maybe you can justify sampling one or two, if you have substantial funding or an eager publisher, but be forewarned that even in August these establishments are busy so you will need to make reservations well in advance. There will also be the usual extensive restaurant guide in the 2005 Annual Meeting registration packet; the current mini-guide is published here just to give you a heads-up about these establishments that require advance planning on your part. To make reservations, call the restaurants directly, or learn more at

Le Bec Fin
1523 Walnut St., (215) 567-1000
[about 6 blocks from the ASA hotels] The ultimate French restaurant, one of the premiere dining establishments in the city and in the country. It looks extraordinarily elegant, and the service is flawless. Its fare strikes a perfect balance between rich and light, making decadent dining seem like an everyday occurrence. Lunch Monday through Friday. $45 per person prix fixe. Dinner Monday through Saturday. $135 per person prix fixe.

1312 Spruce St., (215) 732-3478

[about 4 blocks from the ASA hotels] Considered one of the finest Italian restaurants in the nation, Vetri’s fare is more than just upscale; it is virtuoso cooking at a grand and elegant level. Well worth the 3- or 4-minute walk, but carry your wallet and an open mind about great Italian food.

Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel
1 Logan Square, (215) 963-1500

[about 5 long blocks from the ASA hotels, on the Parkway] Voted number one for food, décor, and service in the last Zagat Survey, the Fountain is Philadelphia’s favorite venue for “heavenly” New French-Continental cuisine that emphasizes local ingredients. Chef Martin Hamann prepares edgy, elegant dishes that match the equally elegant dining room. Jacket required.

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel
210 Rittenhouse Square, (215) 790-2533

[about 7 blocks from hotels, overlooking Rittenhouse Square]. Until recently, restaurants in American hotels were usually terrible, but that has changed dramatically in the last dozen years. This gem of a restaurant is additional proof of that trend. Overlooking the delightful 1.5-square-block park, the restaurant serves wonderful food—modern but not so trendy that you worry it’s more show than substance. Try to go when you can see the sunset reflected in the buildings opposite the hotel.

526 S 4th St., (215) 922-7151

Finally, this delightful and “hot” BYOB just off South Street is well worth the long walk or the price of a cab. It is not expensive, and that’s why you need to reserve a month or so in advance, especially on weekends. The small, simple but remarkably pleasant interior helps make dinner at Django a cheery experience. The restaurant is inventive and trendy without being pretentious. Smoky eggplant bisque, goat cheese gnocchi appetizer, roasted tilefish with couscous and dried tomato ragout are just some examples.