Gracing the East Passayunk neighborhood is Le Virtu, a restaurant inspired by all of the best qualities of Abruzzo, Italy. From farm-fresh ingredients obtained from nearby Lancaster, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the way they serve their dishes to their great culinary traditions, it is a true dining experience. Dishes range "from sea to mountain" and combine traditional favorites with dishes that present ingredients in entirely new and exciting ways. For Italian cuisine done with a fresh take, along with the option to enjoy that delicious meal outside in the fresh, warm-weather, don't miss the opportunity to dine at Le Virtu.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Locally-sourced ingredients and a seasonal menu contribute to the home-grown, yet sophisticated menu.
Sharon's expert tip: If an entire meal isn't in the cards, stop in for an appetizer or a glass of one of their wine varieties.
Urban Farmer is a restaurant complete with full bar to accommodate both those looking to eat as well as those looking to grab a drink or socialize with friends or coworkers while in town. The place is located in the new Logan Hotel and combines fresh, delicious ingredients from local farms and businesses into familiar dishes with an edge of modernness. The cocktails at the bar are also just as edgy, with familiar options spruced up to feel like they're relevant and up-and-coming. The food here features many local ingredients and oozes freshness and flavor. Sit down, get comfy and try a little something.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Upscale and trendy, yet down to earth and traditional, this venue is delicious as well as attractive and fun.
Sharon's expert tip: Don't be afraid to try food combinations you wouldn't normally indulge in, as they've got some great offerings here.
Upon ordering an entree at Barclay Prime, you'll be asked to select your own knife, and that's when you'll know: this restaurant is serious about steak. Set in a 1920s-era luxury hotel, this renowned steakhouse boasts eye-catching retro chic decor, superb service and, of course, some of Philadelphia's most phenomenal steaks. Start with the famous Kobe beef sliders before savoring a perfectly succulent New York strip or bone-in filet paired with decadent truffled whipped potatoes. Regular diners also swear by the delicious potato skins and tater tots, as well as the chilled oysters. No matter what you fancy, this place will serve it in style.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Fancy, while still offering food you understand. Portions are generous so you won't leave hungry.
Sharon's expert tip: Try the potato skins served at this stylish steakhouse for a dish you'll be dreaming about the next day.
Located on the 19th level of the Park Hyatt, this striking restaurant and lounge is just the place to savor a good meal, entertain a business client or raise a glass for a special occasion. Come here with the intention of spending a special night out, be it with coworkers or a special someone or two. A beautiful marble bar adorns the interior, and three cozy window seats give it romantic appeal. There are also places to step out and view the city, so don't miss them. Choosing among the 19 specialty cocktails may be tough, but nothing else at this lavish spot should be. Have a seat on one of the rich brown banquettes, and sip a martini over candlelight. The food, the drinks, the view all combine to make this venue a top-notch choice.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Many of the city's fine dining establishments have been around for awhile; it's nice to welcome new company to the table.
Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to enjoy the spectacular views of the city while dining here, as they compliment the delicious food nicely.
Feel free to break out your faux furs and finest cuff links when heading out for an elegant meal at Butcher & Singer. This restaurant, located in swanky Rittenhouse Square, features soaring ceilings and oodles of old Hollywood glamour. Service is known to be impeccable, and the dishes are out-of-this-world delicious. Begin your culinary experience with classic cocktails and scrumptious crab cakes followed by the dry aged porterhouse, perfectly charred on the outside and oh-so-juicy on the inside. Patrons visiting here also unanimously recommend the blissful baked Alaska with homemade banana ice cream to finish off your meal. It's hard to go wrong with a lineup like that!
Recommended for Fine Dining because: As steakhouses go, this one stands head and shoulders above competitors for service and scrumptious food choices.
Sharon's expert tip: Polish off your meal with the Baked Alaska for an amazing, shareable treat.
Moshulu is an old 1905 four-master ship, now docked on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Of course, part of the charm of this establishment is that fact that it is indeed, a ship that one can eat on. Walking aboard and taking a seat on a ship is certainly a unique experience, and one that deserves to be experienced at least once. The Moshulu pays off with gorgeous scenery inside as well as up on top of the boat where one can watch the lighted boats leaving and arriving. The romantic table settings, great wine selections and desserts also add to the evening, which is sure to be one that won't be forgotten.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: The standard for classic fine dining in Philadelphia, the Fountain offers its patrons the gold standard in classy dining.
Sharon's expert tip: If dinner is a little out of the budget, try lunch here. It's still a treat and a great experience.
Neon colored booths lit from within, wavy bamboo walls and ceilings, and funky little tables in the lounge give this restaurant a super stylish, modern atmosphere. You may recognize chef Morimoto from his Iron Chef days, or even from Nobu in NYC. The menu he has assembled includes a number of entrees, including several dishes from Nobu, but for a truly unique Morimoto experience, you must order the Omakase. Make weekend reservations well in advance, and expect to make an evening of it; this is a dining experience, after all! In a place like this, however, anticipation and savoring your meal makes it all the more enjoyable!
Recommended for Fine Dining because: You can see the sushi and fish being cut and prepped while you watch, and enjoy a taste of something outside the usual steakhouse fare.
Sharon's expert tip: Don't skip the appetizers, they're incredible!
Volver sets itself apart from the very beginning. Here, one buys a "ticket" rather than making a reservation, and "performances" are limited to 2 a night. Enter the stylish and relaxing upscale setting, and be prepared to escape from everything. Enjoy a multi-course meal complete with wine pairings like you've never tasted before. Begin with Siberian sturgeon caviar, deviled-egg duck liver mousse, or carnitas popcorn and move onto salads with live-lettuces from Jose Garces' garden. Then perhaps sample the Wagyu beef cooked on embers or the Monterrey Bay squid. Dessert finishes this exceptional experience off in style with carrot cake, blossoms and berries, or chocolate-in-textures. Dinner will not be cheap, but it will certainly be memorable.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: This is rumored to be the most expensive restaurant in the city, making it a fine dining all-star.
Sharon's expert tip: Don't forget about their wine selections here, as they are hand selected and top-notch.
With only 35 seats, this nationally acclaimed restaurant is booked one to two months in advance, so call way ahead for reservations. Chef-owner Marc Vetri prepares elegant "new" Italian cuisine, served only as a prix fixe menu for $135. Seasonally rotating entrees include unusual meats like chestnut fettucini with boar and cocoa, baby goat with freshly stone milled polenta and Texas antelope with squash and amarone sauce. The signature dessert, chocolate polenta souffl�, sounds wacky, but it's quite good. Business dress appropriate. Vetri closes for one week in January and two weeks in August, so call ahead if you're thinking about dining here during those months.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: The chef crafts a menu based on your tastes and preferences.
Sharon's expert tip: If you're not able to score a reservation for Vetri, visit Marc Vetri's more accessible restaurants, Osteria, Amis and Alla Spina.
At LaCroix you can build your own bloody Mary or allow yourself to be treated to a sparkling cocktail while dining on graceful Sunday buffet brunch entrees and salads like edamame hummus with naan bread; assorted caviar and house-cured charcuterie; and chestnut pot de creme. During the week, the buffet table at this four-star hotel-restaurant is laden with breakfast meats, smoked salmon and house-made granola, though smaller appetites will appreciate the a la carte options. Courses are served slowly with attention to detail and meant to be savored. They offer everything from small bites, to smoked fish and caviar, to hot stations which allow a tour of the kitchen and of course: the desserts and specialty chocolate.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: The brunch at Lacroix is legendary, and begs for true fine dining exerts to experience it.
Sharon's expert tip: The hotel restaurant doesn't abandon its kid-friendly approach at breakfast-time; three entrees designed specifically for little folks may make them actually want to leave behind the morning cartoons.