Thanksgiving in Philadelphia

If it's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner this year and you can't muster enough energy to do more than defrost a Stouffer's frozen dinner, maybe it's time to think about switching up the old at-home family tradition. At dozens of places around the city, you can pay chefs to cook up the turkey better than you ever could and you can even pay people to set up, serve it and clean up your mess. We almost promise that once the idea catches on among your relatives, you'll never have to fight traffic to schlep to Uncle Harvey's in King of Prussia again. But despite all of the gracious accommodations provided at these establishments we call "restaurants", there's one disadvantage you wouldn't encounter in the privacy of your home: there's probably no one on staff who will do much to keep your Grandma Lee from whispering loudly about the fat people dining at the next table.

Updated: October 08, 2009

Fine Dining

La Croix At The Rittenhouse

210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103

If you've always wanted an excuse to hit up LaCroix for its famous brunch, Thanksgiving is the time to do it, considering on holidays, the staff of this luxurious hotel restaurant takes the normal buffet, adds more stuff to the already overabundant offerings, then extends the hours to A-L-L D-A-Y (no, they won't bring in a TV for you to watch the game). With seatings from 11am to 7pm, $75 buys you an unlimited passport to almost a dozen buffet stations serving everything from raw oysters to omelets, turkey to a cold salad bar, pastries to a chocolate fountain and a liquid nitrogen station where your dessert will be flash flamed. And the wall-to-wall windows will let you and your family gaze down upon Rittenhouse Square to laugh at the mortals who are getting in their cars to make the drive to their own Uncle Harvey's.


111 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

At this white-linen second-floor Italian steakhouse, turkey supersedes beef on just one day a year. Sure, you can still order exquisite cuts of cow off the regular menu but wouldn't it be more fun to gather a group of six or more friends whose families live too far to visit and pre-order a whole turkey for your table? For $55 per person, the chef will carve your turkey tableside and serve it with the usual sides and three courses of soup, salad and a selection of desserts. And don't worry about wasting the uneaten portions, your server will wrap up the leftovers so that your dog doesn't feel left out of the feast.

City Tavern

138 S Second St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Celebrate Thanksgiving like the forefathers did by dining at Colonial-era City Tavern, where $82. 95 will buy each adult in your party a plate of appetizer samplers, a Boston Bibb salad and a family-style serving of roasted free-range turkey and a large smattering of veggies, potatoes, stuffing and cranberries. If you're not keen on turkey, there are other offerings like salmon and prime rib. Three seatings allow your party to choose lunch, dinner or supper, with enough time to go home and veg out in front of the TV. Just like those forefathers did.

Relaxed and Casual Meals


926 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

You don't have to eat Thanksgiving supper at Supper; with a 2pm seating in addition to a 5pm seating, you can eat lunch there instead. For what will likely be approximately $60 per person, three courses of soup or salad, turkey plus sides and dessert will arrive to your table, surely in the sustainable fashion preferred by the owners. Although Supper offers a more contemporary take on fine dining, none of the warmth of those traditional dining enclaves are excluded in this rustic setting that boasts a lounge called "The Family Room".

London Grill

2301 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130

It might provoke a giggle that a restaurant named for England's capital city would help Americans celebrate the holiday that commemorates an event that eventually led to the upstart colonies waging a war against the Motherland to secure its independence. But celebrate it does, with a $35 dinner buffet from 2pm to 7pm that features a traditional holiday roasted heirloom turkey, sausage cornbread stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes. But the queen might chuckle--forgive us, Your Highness, for suggesting that you might ever do something so base as emit a chuckle--at some of the other options, like shepherd's pie and country ham, that have a slightly more, say, United Kingdom bent.

Bridget Foy's

200 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

On Thanksgiving, this graceful and charming South Street restaurant will open its normal hours and will serve a normal fall menu (how does coconut curry soup sound?) but will add a nod to the holiday with its not-so-normal turkey entree. The $26 roast turkey plate comes with sausage and fennel stuffing, green and yellow wax beans, cranberry compote and sweet potato. Desserts and appetizers are sold on the side, as are the drinks, which are known to be spectacular and will surely assist you in ignoring--or contributing to--Grandma Lee's fat jokes