Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you are in search of a sweet spot for your Valentine’s/Galentine’s day celebrations, or just a meal for you (because self-love), I have a few spots on my list that might be good for you.
If you are looking for an affordable, fun place for you and your friends to casually gather around a table wearing sweatpants, I would recommend Mino Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar (BYOB). Located in Malvern, this quaint establishment is often bustling with customers because of their all-you-can-eat sushi deal for around $30. Yes, I was scared of the idea at first too, but I was very impressed with the wide selection of high-quality rolls and fried ice cream. If you are a fan of raw fish like me, I recommend getting the tuna sashimi and Ocean Roll that is topped with raw tuna and salmon. They also have many cooked roll options, like the Vegas Roll, also a favorite of mine. Since the deal is all you can eat, I usually pick around two rolls, a miso soup, a salad, and I split a bowl of fried rice with someone; this is a great place if you are on a budget and looking to eat all three meals of a day in one sitting.
Tip: they do charge around fifty cents per piece of sushi you do NOT eat, so come hungry!
Looking for a good place for brunch? Cake in Germantown is a little hidden gem I love to go to. Cake is a beautifully renovated greenhouse, filled with greenery and a fountain. Cake is also a bakery and has a little shop for flowers and home items. Anything on this menu is good, but I always crave their baked brie with fig and baguette and the crab cakes and eggs. They also have a lunch menu with more sandwiches and my favorite salad: beets and citrus with baby arugula, fennel, goat cheese, orange & grapefruit segments, balsamic reduction. The best part about this place is that it is around the same price as a brunch at First Watch!
Tip: Make a reservation because this place always has a line out the door. Also, I would look at the menu before you go because they have different menus for breakfast, lunch and brunch.
If you are into fine dining, one of the best meals I have had while at Villanova was at Vernick Food and Drink. This place is a bit on the pricier side and located on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, but it is definitely worth the trek. It has a very modern and romantic ambiance, and the service is amazing. The menu changes quite frequently, but I suggest trying one of their “on toast.” They put everything on toast, and it is delicious: crab, black truffle butter, beef tartare and foie gras. You name it! Their raw bar is also top-notch, serving fresh scallops, sea urchin and my all-time favorite, oysters. They have a wide array of vegetables and small plates. I tried the pork belly porchetta, and it did not disappoint!
Tip: do not be afraid to ask questions; the menu is small, but overwhelming with some not-so-common ingredients. Do not be afraid to try something new; it is all fantastic!
I hope this helps with your search for some good eats and let me know if you have any recommendations!
Here are some addresses to keep handy:
Mino (321 Lancaster Ave, Malvern, PA 19355)
Cake (8501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118)
Vernick Food and Drink (2031 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103)