Review: Parc, Philly

Brunch. Parc. Amazing. Do it.

Seriously, this might have been one of the most perfect brunches, ever. Parc is situated across the street from picturesque Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia. Way back in 2012, I was working on a campaign and had supporter housing which had me walking most mornings through Rittenhouse Square. And well before I knew I was pregnant, I threw up in a flower bed in the Square on my way to work. But I digress…

You step into Parc and feel like you’ve just walked into what I imagine a traditional Parisian cafe must feel like. (My exposure to Paris, or even France for that matter, is all hearsay…but a girl has watched enough movies to kinda just know, ya know?) It is loud, bustling and the intoxicating smell of warm bread and coffee hits you right in the hangover stomach. We made 11am reservations and I’m happy we did – the place was packed.

We were nestled into a cozy table near the window with an amazing view of the Square. The people watching alone could have kept us there for hours. We had drinks – mostly in an attempt to quell the hangover. I enjoyed a Parisian Mule – gin, ginger, cherries. It was not-too-sweet, slightly bubbly and refreshing af.

They have a basket of French breads and pastries that was calling my name, but only being a two-top, felt that amount of sugar and carbs was excessive. I toyed with the idea of ordering it and then doggybagging leftovers. Regrets, I’ve made a few – skipping those pastries would be one of them if Parc wasn’t under two hours away.

With so many options, I made a game day decision, ordering a classic smoked salmon tartine. Our server described it as the French version of bagels and lox and that is the perfect comparison. Crunchy but not too hard French baguette, horseradish creme fraiche, capers, red onions, soft boiled eggs and some roe. When ever I have bagels and lox I’m disappointed in two things: 1) I always have to salt the hell out of it and 2) after the first bite all I can taste is the red onion. Not the case at Parc. The ingredients were balanced and worked well, bite for bite. It was paired with a simple spring mix blend dressed in a crisp, citrusy vinegrette. The salad was simple but with so much flavor packed into each bite of the tartine, it all really worked well together.

Our server kept the hot, dark coffee flowing. He even came back after we had paid our bill and offered to fill us up with one more cup to head home. Given how mobbed the place was, this type of service is unfortunately unusual. Our server – whose name escapes me now (thanks hangover!) – made sure we had a relaxing experience and wasn’t hustling to flip the table, which he totally could have done given the throng of people we had to squeeze past on our way out.

In summation: Brunch menu here. Make reservations. Pricey but worth it. Food was on point. Service felt natural. People watching was fantastic. Overall, amazing experience.

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