1523 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA | Directions 1910239.949920 -75.166996
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 5:30-10:30pm; Sat 5:30-10:30pm. Bar Mon-Fri 11:30am-midnight; Sat 6pm-1am
Neighborhoods: Center City, Center City West
They really work the 'voila!' feeling of experiencing your food here — you get the presentation, the aroma, the taste, my god , the taste.
Disappointing food and highly marked up wine list – The description on the menu did not relate to the actual courses themselves. The octopus was extremely well cooked and seasoned. The stuffed quail was well cooked but loaded with excessive amounts of garlic. The "cheese course" included one piece of dried up 3 year gouda as if it had been sliced many hours prior to our arrival. They replaced it for us with a Tomme which was decent. The dessert course was just ok. The descriptions were again much more exciting than the actual dessert. The wine list was marked up on average 5 times the actual cost of the wine. Another disappointment is that the first thing that shows up when you search on google for Le Bec Fin is "Monday BYOB" next to the name. This is no longer accepted, they did not allow it, nor did they even allow it with a corkage fee.
Well Deserved Stars for Chef Perrier! – I have had to opportunity and the privilege to dine at Georges Perrier's Le Bec Fin since I was young. My family has been going to Le Bec for as long as I can remember. It started with my father's daily lunches there and it evolved into a family tradition. When I was little, I was always astounded by the physical appearance of Le Bec Fin. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary building with a posh looking door. However, when one steps inside, they are immediately overwhelmed by the elegant gold (it was originally red) of the main dining hall. The turbo is my favorite dish and I have to request it before I arrive because it is now off the dish, but the staff is very flexible and is able to arrange enough turbo for me and my friends to enjoy. The escargot is also marvelously prepared in an incredible butter-garlic sauce. Finally, each meal is never complete without the infamous desert cart! Chef Perrier has worked hard for his well deserved stars!
My only complaints? The cliental has changed quite a bit over the years. I used to be a weekly costumer and now I regrettably have not been to Le Bec in almost a year (although I am going in a few weeks). The last time I was there, the regulars had now been replaced with special occasion guests. The waitressing staff had completely turned over too (the old staff is now primarily working at Philadelphia's Water Works near Boat House Row). I miss the familiarity of the old Le Bec Fin; however, this place is still incredible. It would be a mistake to not visit!
A good experience, HOWEVER... – I had a great experience at Le Bec-Fin. I've always heard about it and the luxury it brings to those who could afford it. Aha - Restaurant week! A chance for us young working class! So my boyfriend & I decided to give it a try & got all dolled up. We had to push back our reservation an hour due to work, but they were very cordial & obliging on the phone.
SO, great experience, lovely & really nice place, BUT I wouldn't go there again, even if I could afford the $800 bottles of wine. Too stuffy in there & the place reaked of people who want "status." The food was good but not the best. The atmosphere was really elegant but not the most romantic place i've ever been to.
It was a nice break from the norm though, & I'm glad I got to try it out.
Shocked-Was the "B" team on duty that night? – Having moved to Philadelphia recently we heard nothing but good things about Le Bec-Fin and how it was one of the top fine dining restaurant in the city. My husband and I decided to check it out on a Tuesday night in May 2009 for our 2 year wedding anniversary. I've dined at some of the best restaurants in the world such as The French Laundry, Benoit in Paris, and Grammercy Tavern (to name a few). I was severely disappointed with our experience at Le Bec-Fin across the board from the service to the presentation to the taste of the food itself.
I don't even know where to begin. From the moment we arrived, we decided to order a drink before we picked a wine from the wine list. The server mentioned they had wide selection of cocktails and some beers available. When we asked what type of beer they offered, he could not remember was completely thrown off by our question. We also felt pressured to make our wine list selection quickly. There was a lack of seasoning in all our entrees. My husband had the scallop dish as an appetizer. The shellfish was not cleaned properly since there was still sand in the broth. We opted for the cheese course and the server could not give us a clear explanation of the cheese's origins. The restaurant's only saving grace that evening was the selection of wines from the wine list and the dessert cart.
What happened here? Did I just go on an off night?
The ultimate French restaurant serves upscale cuisine in an elegant, stately atmosphere. – In Short
Philadelphia's best-known French bistro resembles a Parisian salon with gold-silk wall coverings, mirrors, elegant chandeliers, plush claret chairs and silver place settings. The food strikes a balance between rich and light. Escargots swim in hazelnut champagne butter. Perrier's airy signature crab cake is atop swirls of country mustard. Dover sole is atop herb gnocchi. The earthy slivers from the cheese cart rival the dozen-plus sweet selections that include tropical tortes and brownie cakes. Plus, this slightly stuffy award-winner is now loosening its tie, taking it in a new and more relaxed direction.
Go for the experience – You are in Philadelphia - the best thing the city offers is dining experience. And of the restaurants, Le Bec Fin is the one most talked of. So go.
The service is what differentiates this place from all others. Sensible, sweet, suave - Impeccable. It's not in-your-face service, but the staff is very considerate. They know they're upscale and they are leisurely about it. It feels nice.
Food is great. The presentation beats the taste in my opinion, but that's not to say the taste is bad either - the presentation is just done really well.
The famed all you can eat dessert cart - truthfully, they are all very decadent but so rich that you can't and shouldn't eat too much. Again, go for the experience.
I have been to LBF once in a group of five and once with just one friend. The first time was with the group and we did the mini 4-course with wine pairing. The bill was $880 for the group, but for a dinner that lasted 2 1/2 hrs and is still fondly remembered, it was well worth it. The second time was great too, and even better because it was shorter but still sweet (much cheaper because it was during restaurant week )- for that review, see Le Bar Lyonnais.
Ambiance: A+, Food: A, Service: Burritoville – After a long respite (10 years), we finally returned to Le Bec Fin for a special occasion. I have to say that the place still has a romantic ambiance with its beautiful decor and decadent menu, but the service is lacking even more than before. A place of such caliber needs a more professional staff, and service that is more skillful and polished. For example, one waiter kept referring to my husband as ?madame? the entire evening. At first we thought it was a simple mistake, but he was quite serious, not knowing the French word for sir.
On the other hand, the food was quite delicious, and of course the best thing on the menu was the crab cake. I read the criticisms from other reviewers that stated that this dish was sub-par, but keep in mind that this is not the ?Crab Shack?, and of course its dish would be prepared in a more refined way. As a result, there is not even a hint of breadcrumbs in this crab cake- it is succulent, moist and absolutely divine.
The clientele has changed a bit, and now consists of the ?special occasion? diners rather than the regulars. We counted six birthday candles in one hour of dining, and sat next to a table of vociferous mouth-breathers inappropriately dressed for the occasion. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful evening and I am glad that Philadelphia still has a restaurant like this. Dinner for two with a great bottle of wine was $800, a bit steep considering you would get better service at La Croix, but still a beautiful evening.
Disappointing – I'd heard such raves about Le Bec-Fin that I was really looking forward to dinner. What a letdown! The service was perfunctory - as though someone had told the servers what elements were important without explaining why. For instance, they were rigorous about making sure that all of the plate covers were removed simultaneously - even though they didn't have enough servers to do so for our table of ten, meaning that one server would lean over two people, practically resting on their shoulders. It was incredibly awkward. Also, bread was hard and cold, served with cold butter; water glasses weren't filled; just little things that should be basics for a five-star restaurant. Even the food was not terrific. In deciding between appetizers, I asked the waiter for a recommendation, and he talked up the crab cake as a specialty. Was he kidding? It tasted like every crab cake I've eaten everywhere - at least I think it did, but it was hard to tell since it was SWIMMING in sauce (and surrounded by overcooked green beans). Roasted chicken with hazelnut mashed potatoes was fine but nothing special. On the plus side, the wine list was outstanding and the dessert cart was very good. Overall, though, I can't imagine how this got a five-star rating.
THE French Restaurant – Le Bec-Fin was another five stars restaurant that I had the pleasure of trying. I ate there for a total of thee times. One of those times was for lunch since it is way less expensive than dinner. Just so you know they have pre-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner. If you are lucky, Le Bec-Fin sometimes take part in Restaurant Week, but since their name is never on the list, you have to call them to find out. The food there is amazing. A simple salmon appertizer would somehow come out as the best salmon you have ever tasted. This place lives up to its reputation, and the service is impeccable.
Could have been better – I went for lunch with a couple of my friends. While the food was truly superb (I had the duck and my girlfriend has the lamb), I can't say the same for the service. Not that is was bad per se, but seemed a bit lackluster and unpolished. The waiters were more concerned with taking the silver tops off our plate then with making sure we had silverware to eat with. Waited for about 20 minutes for coffee. We were done with our desserts and still hadn't received our coffee. Maybe it was an off day. I will come back again though.
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