Caribou Cafe
Caribou Cafe

Caribou Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.cariboucafe.com/
  • Phone: 215-625-9535x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Sunday - Thursday: 11:30am - 10:30pm;
    Friday - Saturday: 11:30am - 11:30pm;
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Wine Bar, Comfort Food, French
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Entertainment: Friday and Saturday Night 8:30-11:30pm
    Original Jazz trio

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 12th Street
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Caribou Cafe
Step into the vibrant world of Paris. This 25 year old landmark has brought Philadelphia and its visitors a taste of France in a relaxed atmosphere.
The art deco bar, leather banquettes, warm orange walls, and antique mirrors make Caribou Café your destination for Lunch, Dinner and Brunch.
Live music Fri and Sat.
Best True French Bistro in town!
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Caribou Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
174 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating3.7
  • Food3.8
    Service3.7
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelModerate
80% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (74)great for lunch (59)great for outdoor dining (56)fit for foodies (50)great for brunch (36)vibrant bar scene (33)special occasion (31)romantic (28)hot spot (20)notable wine list (20)good for groups (19)late-night find (15)scenic view (10)kid-friendly (2)Show More
  • This is why bistros were invented
    CrustyCurmudgeonVIP
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    There's no better place for a casual lunch - great soups, innovative salads with that extra something only the French put into them, and several delightful main courses. With comfortable seating and an attentive staff, it's great for any meal......even a business lunch was enjoyable. I just wish they didn't list wines on the menus used at lunch, because it was very hard to say "no" (a necessary sacrifice when returning to the office afterward).
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious food. Reasonable prices.
    luv2dine
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    We had a bunch of classic french food, all of which was delicious. The escargot and steak au poivre were particularly good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bistro on Walnut St.
    sable
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Great location, ambiance, and food. You can make a theater presentation with time to spare. Attentive service, good food choices nice bar. You will think that you are in France.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love to eat here on sidewalk.
    SuzegalVIP
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    This was not our first time eating here. They. Have a lively bar. Up and down stairs eating. Extremely knowledgeable waitstaff and plenty of people delivering food and busing tables. I had Steak Tartare for dinner. Not for everyone, but I love it. Single malt scotch is also a favorite. They have a very generous pour. Fair. Weather dining means opening front of restaurant so patrons can eat on sidewalk. I love this. Menu is small plus specials. I love this. Everything is so fresh. This is within walking distance of theaters. Be sure to make reservations.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • C'est Bon!
    DrmissannVIP
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    Always a Go-To restaurant that never disappoints. The food is always good, and service is excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Restaurant Week Weakness
    Optimist
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Caribou Cafe was not kind to Restaurant Week. It should rise to the occasion or not participate. Tired ingredients were overcooked in a still energetic bistro setting.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Joyful
    arch
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    The long high narrow room, deep colored wood paneling and terracotta painted walls made for an intimate, cozy atmosphere. It had just the right amount of ware that gave it a nice petina. The service was excellent, friendly without being intrusive. The food was very good if not gourmet. It is also in a very lively neighborhood with lots of nice restaurants and bars.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    fabulous food, outstanding service and great atmosphere-- a totally wonderful experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food okay, service could be better
    MidtownVillagerVIP
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    I've eaten here several times because it's close to home and have always had a decent. My visit this week was definitely less than stellar..... I had a steak which was flavorful but extremely tough to the point I had trouble cutting it with the steak knife. The fries were good but since I'm trying to watch the calories I only ate a few. My biggest issue was the service. The waiter had an attitude like he really didn't want to be there and I doubt it's because it's a French restaurant but it was very off putting. I ususally tip 20%+ but I only gave this guy 15% and probably shouldn't have even given him that much. I'm sure I"ll be back to Caribou at some time but I won't be rushing to go anytime soon.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • After show dinner
    Seadog
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Reservations are certainly needed as the place got very crowded pre and post show. The crowd was lively and the service appropriate for such a busy evening. The meal was good, but not spectacular, and drinks were quite expensive $$$. We did enjoy the evening, however, because of the convenient location to the Forrest Theater and the friendly atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • average meal
    digilator
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    nothing to write home about. restaurant week menu featured multi course prix fixe at $35. tiny shrimp and small portions. braised short rib was ok but not great. we were on second floor in the back...it was really hot...must have been over the kitchen. convenient to the Forrest theatre but would not make a special trip. two people with wine bill was $145... the chocolate soufflé was tasty. stingy appetizers were better than entrees. maybe we should have ordered off the menu instead off the special menu for restaurant week... I got the feeling that they really weren't supporting restaurant week because I had to request the menu and if I didn't ask it probably would not have been offered. service was good but waiters don't cook.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • poor service=wrong order
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    after waiting I hour for our food, one of the 3 plates was not correct. the waiter offered to exchange it, but since we had theater tickets, my friend was concerned about the time element. What we had was good, but we were so rushed that we couldn't enjoy it. the location for the theater is good and since 2 of the 3 of us are limited walkers, we hoped that the Carabou would be perfect for us. too bad
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Very busy with the Pre-theater crowd which left us unattended most of the meal.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OK for pre theater
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We were going to see the hit show Book of Mormon and it was restaurant week. The Caribou did not have enough servers to handle the early dinner rush.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-theater delight
    BingDing
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner before hitting the Forrest Theater. Service was great, quick and pleasant. I had the daily pasta which was more than enough and very tasty. My friend had one of the crepes from the menu which she loved.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Near Theater but leave time
    BucksCodiner
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Having read this site before going I knew enough not to sit up in the loft. That is exactly where they would have placed us had I not insisted on someplace cooler. We ate on the sidewalk, a boxwood on my right shoulder. The pate' appe. was good, the mustard was excellent. Asked for bread.(nice, thinly sliced French baguette) My guest had pea and ginger soup which was reported" flavorful". My PEI mussels-tender and delicious. The white wine broth needed more butter/ less lemon. overall-enjoyable My guest's steak tartar featured a hit of hot pepper. We found the street hustle bustle exciting. Convenient to the Forrest theater. I'd call the table service "unrushed".
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great restaurant pre-theatre
    Rudy3
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Perfect location to adjacent theaters. Decor of a French bistro, pleasant atmosphere and busy clientele even at 5pm. There are a few outside tables which is ideal for great weather days. The food portions are moderate which I preferred. Pre-theatre includes soup or salad, entree with side vegetable and a dessert. The cream brûlée was exceptional. Give yourself at least 1 1/2 hrs since, it does take time to get check. Waiter was very pleasant but super busy with manta tables to accommodate.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious!
    1Viv
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Everything was entirely perfect. The upstairs seating area is perfect for when you're not into the whole constant bustle thing around you downstairs.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Horrible Experience
    DanaVIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    When we arrived for our 6pm reservation, we communicated that we had tickets to a 7:30 show at the Forest and asked for ordering advice. We finally received a RAW steak at 7:10. This, after twice rejecting a "dirty" martini with no dirty. I'm fine with rare beef, but this was actually raw. Service was terrible; we were completely ignored all night. One in our party ordered onion soup, which was marginal at best. Trout dish was fine, but I'll never return, and will dissuade others from going.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nothing spectacular
    DfreedVIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Was tree before a show at the Forrest Theater. Server was attentive that we did not have much time. However, found the food just average with no real flair. Restaurant was crowded and noise level was energetic . Sat upstairs and had no problem hearing each other.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Noisy and hot!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    While the food was very good, we were seated in a tiny spot on the balcony where all the heat and extreme noise from the room rose. It was uncomfortable on both counts. Could not even engage in reasonable conversation and the heat made it hard to enjoy anything. We had made a reservation and when finding where our table was asked to be re-seated but there was no other place. Service was spotty -- had to ask several times for two things, a drink was spilled on my food, the bill was wrong. Will not be going there again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pre-theatre Dinner
    GMan
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We've dined at the Caribou many times, usually having a pre-theatre dinner. The food has been consistently good over the years, and it remains so. The home made pasta special was outstanding; the wine and beer drinks were a decent size for their prices; the service this time was a bit slow, and our opening drink order seemed to take forever to arrive. We did get to the theatre well on time for curtain. We will no doubt return again for dinner.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    good food, friendly staff, crowded at first when we got there around 1pm on a Saturday but eventually the crowd left. Came for a birthday with a small group. Staff were accommodating.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Sat Lunch Be4 Matinee At Forest
    DowningtownD
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We spotted the restaurant's website in anticipation of our plan to go to the Forest Theater for a Matinee production. It was an especially hot day. The restaurant had air conditioning trouble. Fortunately, we were given a table near a fan which created a perfect breeze. We were seated at a tiny table for two in a center aisle with people constantly moving past our table. The din in the restaurant is a staple. Our seating arrangement was hectic. My shrimp crepe was tasty. It was good, The salad that came with it was even more special. My partner wasn't wowed by her lunch. Both of us were thrilled to find a good restaurant so close to the theater on a hot day. The place is special enough I hope to have an excuse to give it a 2nd try.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Too Hot
    igel
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Friday was a hot and humid day in Philadelphia and in the Caribou Café. It was so uncomfortable and sticky in there that my hair was wet. We asked for the air conditioning to be turned up and it was good until the restaurant got more crowded with pre theater patrons.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • outtoeat
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Went there before a play. Warm Friday night sat upstairs. Once the place filled up the heat became unbearable. The waiters could not answer if the air was broken. One finally said it was. One couple moved to an outside table. I wish we had but we were in the middle of our entree. The entire section was complaining. You would think a manager would apologize for the broken air. Our service was fair. Food was good... not great which made the heat even more aggravating. There are so many places in Philly I will try before coming back to Caribou.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • BERNIEVIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    near the Forest theater dinner was slow but acceptable everyone was going to the theater so we could not order anything we wanted
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Overwhelmed
    PrincessLenox
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Great food, great location, but the wait staff and the kitchen can't keep up with the crowd, particularly pre-theater. Everything arrived slowly, even though we were seated in the middle of the room and very visible. Our waiter seemed to be in the kitchen most of the time and didn't respond to our hand signals or, eventually, frantic requests to complete the meal.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A little slice of Paris
    Deborah1VIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    You feel like you are eating at a French Bistro in Paris! Great outdoor dining and people watching. Salads are light with alittle tang. Croque monsier was alittle soggy and could have been more crisp. A go to place in the Midtown Village neighborhood.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food; too slow for pre theater
    TheaterRushVIP
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    We arrived 1 hr and 15 mins before having to go the theater 1/2 block away. By the time the main course arrived, we had only 5 mins to eat it. Martinis seemed watered down. I recommend you leave at least 1 and 3/4 hours for dinner before the theater.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • BAD EXPERIENCE
    Critic
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    We made 5:30pm reservations since we had a 7:30pm show. Our waiter was horrible and very unservice oriented. We sat at the table for 1/2 hr before we were served bread. I asked for bread three times. I asked for ketchup three times for my french fries. When it was finally brought to the table, I was almost finished eating my fries. At 7PM, I told our waiter that we had 7:30 show tickets, and needed dessert quickly. His response was that the whole restaurant had 7:30pm reservations. We were 5 people, and they automatically added the tip to our bill. The whoe experience was terrible! I will never go back!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pped
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Food was delicious and our waiter was friendly and attentive. The indoor temperature was way too hot. If the waiter had not been so personable we would have left - it was really that uncomfortable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great restaurant for pre-theater
    tomklin
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We four booked dinner at 6 PM before an 8 o'clock curtain at a nearby theater. We were seated immediately even though others without reservations were waiting. Our table was booth-style, but comfortable, and adequate for the four of us. Our server was attentive and knowledgeable of the menu and the wine list. The wine list is not huge but is impressive for this bistro atmosphere. Some of us chose the featured entree, a swordfish filet with white bead ratatouille, olive tapenade and fennel frisee that was an excellent blend of flavors. This was our first visit to Caribou Cafe; it is now on our list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pre theater on a Friday
    cgull
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Was a bit worried about service after reading some reviews but we had a great dinner and good service. Appetizer, salad, main course all came at a relaxed pace and we enjoyed it all. No complaints, only kudos!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Think Paris
    Dino
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    My husband and I shared the excellent pizza. green salad with beets and cheese and a bowl of mussels pre theater. Best fries in the City. Loved the table near the open window. Waiter was extremely helpful and pleasant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Excellent pre-theater location
    foodfan
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    They have a special menu designed for an express lunch and for pre - theater patrons. We love French cusine and Caribou Cafe has lived up to expections on every visit.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great for a business lunch
    CrustyCurmudgeonVIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    With roomy, comfortable seating & a reasonable noise level even when busy, Caribou's as fine a place for a business lunch as it is for a casual dinner. The food's been consistently good for many years, with well chosen daily specials, fresh ingredients, & careful avoidance of fads & glitz. The salad du jour - a healthy (pun intended) pile of arugula with prosciutto, beets & goat cheese - was most enjoyable. My colleague had a cheeseburger that was reportedly good but not exciting. As it was a business lunch with business as usual for the afternoon, we drank only water & iced tea this time around. But the wine list is well chosen & reasonably priced compared to many center city restaurants. Caribou's a staple that makes French food fun.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love the Ambiance!
    Loverestaurants
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    This was my third experience at Caribou cafe for dinner. The food has been excellent each time! Unfortunately for me, our meal always seems to have a time constraint on the back end; either a meeting or theater show- I'm looking forward to the time where it can be a more relaxing visit.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    the only good thing about our experience at this restaurant was the appetizer -- which was a delicious cold asparagus soup which also arrived at our table very quickly -- after that it was a disaster, it took forever to get our food and we had a waitress with an attitude who didn't see why this was a problem. When the food finally did arrive it was mediocre - we both ordered fish -- salmon for one, skate for the other -- and they were both overcooked, seasoned poorly and i could have cooked them better and i don't cook -- i don't think i will ever return to this restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • NOt so good on Tuesday, 8/26
    luvnycVIP
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Not enough waiters at 5:30 - 7:00. They tried very hard but were much harried. I asked for the salmon to be cooked to a medium doneness and it was very rare. String beans were drowned in butter. Wasn't the best experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic