If you’re not into the party-all-night New Year’s Eve but want to dress up and go out, you’ll find plenty of wonderful dining options around the Main Line. And the best part is that you still have time to book a table with a group of friends or that special someone. Here’s a sampling.
Susanna Foo knows how to throw a bash, and her Gourmet Kitchen in Radnor is no exception. If you have plans for when the ball drops and the thought of take-out pizza doesn’t thrill you, dine 4-7 p.m. and order from the à la carte menu. The real celebration kicks off at 8 p.m. with a five-course dinner, dancing and a champagne toast. There will be a DJ and lots of party favors to help you ring in 2011 until 1 a.m. $75. Call (610) 688-8808 for reservations. Visit susannafoo.com.
Two West Conshohocken eateries are going all out for the New Year. Both the Gypsy Saloon and Stella Blu are offering their à la carte menus, plus special dishes (small and large plates at Stella Blu) from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Open seating and live music will be available at both restaurants, so snag a good table early and stay the night. Call (610) 828-8494, or visit gypsysaloon.com and stellablurestaurant.com.
Chef Nick Farina will offer his Latin-inspired tapas menu from 5 to 11 p.m. at Verdad in Bryn Mawr. Open seating is available, and $5 margaritas will be served from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Work off dinner with salsa and merengue dancing until the ball drops. Call (610) 520-9100, or visit verdadrestaurant.com.
The brand-new Malvern restaurant Twenty9 is celebrating its first New Year’s Eve with a four-hour open bar, live entertainment, a champagne toast at midnight, and a decadent buffet of filet mignon, lobster tail, pasta and much more. $80 in advance, $95 at the door. Call (610) 251-9229, or visit twenty9restaurant.com.
It’s finally happening. The Italian Market is about to get a lot closer to home. No more premeditated trips to Chestnut or Ninth streets for sharp provolone or charcuterie. Come March—if everything goes according to plan—the Ardmore Farmers Market will get an outpost of Di Bruno Bros., the famous South Philly mecca for all things Italian. Occupying five stalls across two aisles of the market, the Main Line site will offer everything that has made the original Di Bruno Bros. so legendary: 200-pound wheels of cheese, hanging provolone and all. Both DiBruno’s chefs and visiting chefs will even have an area to hold cooking demonstrations. Is it March yet? Visit dibruno.com.
A number of recent restaurant openings are worth getting excited about. Here are two.
If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern food, the Main Line isn’t exactly a falafel mecca. In fact, it’s hard to find quality places that serve an authentic lamb kebab or falafel and hummus pita. But now, the owners of Hummus, the Mediterranean grill located in University City, have opened a second outpost in the Ardmore Plaza Shopping Center. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner, with a hefty selection of salads, sandwiches and platters. The best part? You won’t pay more than $12 for anything on the menu. 18 Greenfield Ave., Ardmore; (610) 645-9500, hummusrestaurant.com.
A few doors down from Agiato Bread Company on Manayunk’s Main Street, you’ll find Agiato. Entering the small, refreshingly minimal eatery is like stepping into one of the many paninotecas (sandwich bars) and enotecas (wine shops) found throughout Italy, where soups, salads, cheese, coffee, wine and, of course, panini are the highlights. A long communal table at the center of Agiato is the focal point, and it offers a sense of community. Only a handful of other tables surround the larger one, and a few seats are available at the coffee/wine counter.
The menu isn’t necessarily long, but that’s the beauty of a paninoteca. You’re not barraged by too many choices, and something will certainly catch your eye. Try a bowl of roasted tomato soup and a salad of white beans, pancetta, shrimp and Meyer lemon, or go for one of the 15 kinds of panini like the one with prosciutto, truffled leeks and walnut pesto or sweet peppers and mozzarella. Pair with a glass (or carafe) of wine from the 50-plus choices listed, and we’ll call that a good day. 4359 Main St., Philadelphia; (215) 482-9700, agiatophila.com.