Recommended by: Paul O’Neill, adjunct faculty and front of house at Vetri
What you’ll find: A Greek Cypriot Restaurant located in Washington Square West, Kanella is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The chef, Konstantinos Pitsillides, is extremely talented and serves some of the best rustic and expressive food in the city without sacrificing an ounce of finesse. “He is able to execute such great, authentic food without any bells, whistles or fanfare,” O'Neill said. “He does so out of passion for the ingredients and the cuisine, and it transfers through the experience itself.” The restaurant is versatile, offering dinner, weekend brunch, and a Sunday-night family-style chef’s menu written that day.
Atmosphere: Rustic and authentic. It’s as if it’s been carved straight out of Cyprus. BYO bottle of wine to impress your date.
Favorite dish: The grilled duck hearts appetizer and the lamb with pistachio and apricot.
Price range: $$
1001 Spruce St., kanellarestaurant.com
Recommended by: Kaitlyn Hoefert, culinary arts junior and line cook at The Fat Ham
What you’ll find: This modern, authentic Israeli restaurant is sure to impress even the most selective sweethearts. The “Taste of Zahav” menu option makes it easy to create the perfect meal, beginning with salatim and hummus with laffa, a made-to-order flatbread (quite possibly the best you’ll ever have), your choice of two small plates, one large plate and one dessert per person. This is the place to take your date for a night he or she will never forget.
Atmosphere: Dimly lit and intimate, the décor reminiscent of restaurants in Jerusalem.
Favorite dish: The Salatim. It is a variety of fresh made salads that are all unique and mouthwatering. It will leave anyone feeling full and content. Pair this with fresh hummus and laffa and you’re good to go.
Price range: $$$
237 St. James Place, zahavrestaurant.com
Recommended by: Amanda Abene, hospitality management junior
What you’ll find: Bring the flowers but leave the chocolates behind, because you won’t need them where you’re going. From creamy chocolate fondue to hot chocolate served in a “Hug Mug,” this place has date night written all over it. While they do have a large variety of non-cocoa based foods, the dessert menu is where Max Brenner really shines. Chocolate pizza, sugar waffles, and sundaes stacked high with chocolate toppings are only the beginning of what you will find. While the dinner menu is delicious, feel free to skip to dessert because, really, what could be more romantic than chocolate for dinner?
Atmosphere: Deliciously indulgent, with an aroma of chocolate filling the restaurant.
Favorite dish: The velvety hot chocolate.
Price range: $$
1500 Walnut St., maxbrenner.com
Recommended by: Mike Traud, assistant teaching professor and hospitality program director
What you’ll find: If you are looking for a place that is elegant but not pretentious, you need look no further. Sbraga is the perfect blend of comfort and taste. The food, a new take on American cuisine, is beautifully presented and delicious. The menu includes dishes such as rigatoni with lamb sugo, ricotta and jalapeno, and octopus with harissa and escabeche. They have a wonderful four-course tasting menu that is reasonably priced, and Ben Fileccia, the general manger, works to make everyone feel like a VIP.
Atmosphere: Casual and elegant, perfect for a first date.
Favorite dish: The restaurant’s specialty, foie gras soup.
Price range: $$$
440 S. Broad St., www.sbragadining.com/sbraga/
Recommended by: Donna Maguire, assistant teaching professor
What you’ll find: Quietly situated in the heart of East Falls, Fiorino is sure to capture the heart of your date. The old fashioned décor and attentive, friendly service create a charming experience, making you feel right at home. The chef, Franco Faggi, is native to Romagna, Italy, so there is no doubting the authenticity of this Italian cuisine. From Franco’s Bolognese to the pasta e fagioli, you will enjoy every bite. Mangia!
Atmosphere: Warm and comfortable, perfect for easing those first-date nerves! Seating is limited, so be sure to make a reservation.
Favorite dish: Potato gnocchi gorgonzola: little clouds of pasta just like your grandmother would make if she were a wonderful Italian chef.
Price Range: $$
3572 Indian Queen Lane, http://www.fiorino.us/
"Hospitality Picks" is a monthly feature DrexelNow feature bringing you five dining suggestions from Drexel's hospitality, culinary and food science students, faculty and staff.