Stephen Starr’s Parc, conveniently located across from Rittenhouse Square, stands out as a great appreciation of French food. That said, don’t expect the restaurant to be exactly French. The clientele will mostly be American, and you can forget about smoking at your table outside.

Once inside, the ambiance will bring you back to a classic brasserie, with wooden tables, leather seats, dim lighting and vague mood music. Rectangular and circular orange lights glow while small candles light up your table. One glance at the charming menus, filled with a heavy variety of French classics, will make you want to bring any visitors, especially parents, here (Ed. note: 10 points if you can spot the Street writer)

We recommend grabbing a table on the sidewalk to people watch (outside is open year round, thanks to heaters) during dinner or brunch on the weekends. These chefs have perfected the omelette, and you don’t want to miss out. For dinner, start with a carafe or glass of wine; we picked white and went with a Vouvray ($58 per bottle, $13 per glass). Non–drinkers can pick from an array of French specialités that include Citron Pressé (lemonade, $4) and Orangina ($4.5).

To begin with, save the escargots and liver parfait for France and pick the Ricotta Ravioli ($18) or the Mush- room Tart ($14.5). The tart, made of pate brisée and truffle onion fondue, will melt in your mouth. It makes for a consistently great appetizer and will share perfectly with another person (or date?)

Skip the simpler options on the menu such as the salads (your diet doesn’t matter) or cheeseburger (don’t you dare). Instead, opt for one of the main staples—both at Parc and in French culture. You can’t not enjoy the Steak Frites (medium rare, $27.5) and the 1⁄2 Roast Chicken ($24). Both come with large sides, but if you happen to bypass these, feel free to order a side of Pommes Frites (fries, $6.5) or Pommes Purées (mashed potatoes, $6.5) as well.

A great time to come with a date is after dinner for desserts and drinks. Chocolate fans will appreciate the Moelleux au Chocolate ($10) with its melted chocolate and fresh raspberries. Order that and the Apple Tarte Tatin ($9) or Crème Brûlée ($9) and share. Best of all, internationals who reminisce about le temps perdu get to order two of my favorite things: pastis ($9) and absinthe ($15)! If that doesn’t convince you, then I don’t know what will.

What's inside the famous Parc bread basketWhere to buy the next best option
French Baguette

Yann Patisserie & Cafe's Baguette: 122 S 18th Street

Rye WheatDibruno Bros' San Francisco Sourdough: 1730 Chestnut Street
Cranberry WalnutMetropolitan Bakery's Cranberry Walnut Bread: 4013 Walnut Street

Location: 227 S 18th Street, Rittenhouse Square 


Don't Miss: The bread basket, brunch, mushroom tart, steak frites, absinthe or moelleux au chocolate.

Skip: Salads and the cheeseburger.

When to Go: Weekend during brunch hours or during the week for dinner