Where is the Best Outdoor Dining in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
I knew that Valley Green Inn was a charming historical building in a beautiful natural setting. But I had no idea the food was so good! Three friends and I went there, and we were all delighted with the food and the service. I started with an apple-pear salad–thin strips of apples and pears, chopped apricots, cranberries and lovely fresh greens tossed with a nice vinaigrette dressing. Then I had the blackened catfish which was delicious–creative both in taste and presentation. A bed of collard greens (yummy) was topped with two triangles of macaroni and cheese “fritters” (interesting and tasty) and then two huge spicy and delicious catfish filets (one would have been plenty!). Big hunks of delicious fresh bread were on the table. My friends also had salads to start, and between us, we had all four of the fish entrees. We were all were delighted with our meals. Portions were large, bigger than they needed to be. Price for 4 salads, 4 entrees, 3 desserts, 1 bottle of wine and 4 coffee
It might seem like a contradiction to say that a place has “space” as a pro and “no room to move” as a con, but it’s accurate. Plough and the Stars’ biggest problem is that it draws so much of a crowd. The staff at Plough are great. Most are very knowledgeable about beers on tap, as well as what each beer is and what food it might go well with. If you roll through there a lot, the bouncers will definitely remember you. The bartenders are no joke. You can give them a five drink order and it’s very rare you’ll find anything isn’t right. They also pour a pretty heavy drink; there are no watered down drinks at Plough.Before the crowd arrives, there’s ample room on two floors to enjoy yourself. You can find plenty of space to sit as well as stand or dance to the good range of music they play. Some may not like it, but I personally enjoy not feeling like I have American Top 40 on in the bar all the time. On the down side…well, it does get damn crowded. And when it gets crowd
We were seated promptly at about seven on a Saturday night. The waitress was extremely friendly, talking to us but not being overbearing. We ordered a sampler of all the beer, and we tried them each out. The waitress kept her eye on us but did not come over until we’d finished the sampler. I appreciated this as sometimes waitresses get a little uppity with the asking for orders. We were not extremely hungry but we both ordered soup. I also ordered a spinach and artichoke dip/hummus plate and my boyfriend a goat cheese and beet salad. Due to the prices we expected MUCH larger portions. His salad cost ten dollars and did not even fill the small dinner plate on which it was served. My soup I recognized — it looked just like Progresso. My dip plate came with about four pieces of pita bread, three carrots, and three pieces of celery. I mean really. These are not things that cost a lot of money! They can afford to add some extra lettuce to a salad, or put more pita on my plate.
I like Rouge, but this place honestly isn?t for everyone. It has all the things you?d think of with a Rittenhouse scene, both good and bad. It seems like the crowd there could get a little pretentious, but I didn?t find that to be the case with the patrons or the staff when I had dinner there with my mom recently. In fact, two women seated next to us struck up a great conversation with us when they overheard us discussing politics. And our waitress was exceptionally friendly. The prices are a little high on some items, like the $16 burger, but my mom said it was the best burger she?s ever had. I had salmon in an oxtail sauce that was perfectly cooked. Amazing, actually. The bottom line is, whether you?re the type to frequent this spot or make it a special occasion visit, the food is great and it?s a chic little place.Pros + great food, located on the square, it’s part of the rittenhouse scene (if that’s your thing)Cons – it’s part of the rittenhouse scene (if that’s not you