Philly’s Best First-Date Restaurants

Need some relationship advice? I'm here to help. Today: dating a friend's ex, plus four great places to try for that all-important first date

Hey Monica,
My friend had a few dates with a guy. It was nothing serious and they stopped dating. Can I ever accept a date with him?
— Kristen M.

A lot of the decision process about dating a guy who dated your girlfriend has to do with how close you are with your girlfriend, and truly how deep the relationship was with the man in question. First and foremost, all serious ex boyfriends/husbands of your inner-circle girlfriends are off-limits. Anything else is fair game. In this case, since they only had a few casual dates and it never progressed, you may move full speed ahead and accept the date without any guilt. [SIGNUP]

That said, if you’re nervous she would say he’s off limits, open communication will always be the way to go. Call your friend and take a temperature read. Let her know you value your friendship and you wanted to make sure you have her blessings. If she is a true blue friend she will be happy for you — a friend should be your cheerleader not your competitor.

And remember : if you ever have a date and think the man is a great guy, but not right for you — make sure you think of your single girlfriends and make a quality introduction. Hello good karma! Next will be her turn to fix you up with someone who could be your forever man. Enjoy the journey!

Help me out: What are your favorite first-date restaurants in Philadelphia? — Dave

When picking a restaurant for a first date, my initial thought would be to choose a spot where you can have good conversation mixed with good food. Pick a spot that is intimate enough that you can hear what your date is saying. (Some of the city’s hip and cool restaurants tend to be very loud.)

Two of my personal favorites are Chifa and Tinto. These are great because you can sample a lot of different foods in a quiet yet cutting-edge atmosphere. Since these two restaurants feature shared plates, it makes for more fun on your date. If you like sushi, I would suggest Raw. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is very cool. It can be a little loud, but well worth it for the amazing Japanese food.

On the other end of the spectrum, an old time Philly favorite of mine is The Victor Café in South Philadelphia. The wait staff are opera singers who periodically throughout the evening will serenade the restaurant with beautiful music. This is a real plus on a first date as it allows you a short moment’s pause while the singers perform, to come up with more clever conversation!

Monica Mandell, Ph.D is the head of the East Coast office of Selective Search Inc. For more dating and relationship advice please send your inquiries to: