Just imagine: You are sipping on the Black Orchid, their wildly popular fruity cocktail with delicate flavors of elderflower and white raspberry that mingle beautifully inside your mouth. The stunning orchid petals, that were frozen in the ice block floating in the center of your glass, slowly thaw out as you stare into the eyes of your date. The lights are dim, the music plays softly in the background, and the happy chatter of other couples surround you—the mood at Ocean Prime is set for a perfect romantic Valentines evening. You don’t have a date? No problem, you don’t have to be on a date to enjoy this place! This restaurant is also a great place to treat yourself on a night out with friends, a family dinner, a birthday party, or any celebration you want to feel like royalty.
Ocean Prime, located in the heart of Center City, offers an exquisite dining experience you must have at least once while in Philadelphia. You are immediately greeted with friendly faces from the hostess, to the waiter, to the general manager. Often times, steakhouses can feel quite intimidating but Ocean Prime makes sure that you feel very welcome and comfortable, yet still indulgently spoilt.
We started off our night with the Black Orchid and some warm, crusty sourdough bread with whipped butter while we looked over the menu. Featuring fresh seafood and prime steak cuts, the menu had so many options to pick from!
For my appetizer, I got the sweet and spicy calamari. This asian inspired fried calamari was bursting with flavor. It was sticky and crispy with crunchy cashews and nutty sesame seeds. The flavors all balanced so well. My friend and photographer, Noel, got the Surf ‘n’ Turf appetizer, which consisted of perfectly cooked scallops paired with a melt-in-your-mouth beef short rib, all on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. It was juicy and tender, and the beef flavor really came through, seasoning the whole dish. As Noel described it:
“It’s got that creamy, silky, luscious vibe to it”
Next, came our main dishes. I went for the Chilean Sea Bass with mashed potatoes served with champagne and truffle cream sauce, recommended by Ryan, our waiter. The fish was definitely the star of the night. It was flaky, buttery, tender, and super moist. The Chilean Sea Bass was broiled on the outside, giving it a caramel crust, and juicy on the inside. The truffle flavor didn’t come through as much as I was expecting, but the creaminess of the champagnes sauce complimented the fish incredibly well. Noel opted for the bone in Filet for his main dish, another recommendation by Ryan. The bone gave the steak a lot of flavor that you wouldn’t get in a normal steak; the marrow from the bone gave the steak depth and umami. The filet was served simply without any sauce or condiments. If you want, you can order accessories to add a little more excitement. Noel decided to keep it simple, and ate the meat with the rest of the sourdough bread to sop up the juices of his steak.
We were very full and satisfied, but our night didn’t end there; we couldn’t resist the indulgent desserts they had to offer. One of their most famous desserts, the 10-layered carrot cake (yes, it really is 10 layers), looked enticing but I decided to go for something lighter: the sorbet special, two very large scoops of apricot-mango sorbet with a delicate, sweet almond cookie. Their ice creams and sorbets are all made by the world famous Bassetts Ice Cream, a Philadelphia tradition and fifth-generation family business since 1861. The sorbet tasted of summer and tropical sunshine, and absolutely perfect finisher. To contrast my dessert, Noel went for the silky and thick creme brûlée. We cracked through the crispy, bitter caramel crust and scooped up the luscious custard, which was not overly sweet and extremely rich. The flecks of vanilla beans bursted with flavor and the berries added a level of freshness to the dessert. They were the perfect sweet ending.
Ocean Prime was truly a great experience. I say experience because it was not just about the food, although the food was wonderful. It was about the atmosphere, the impeccable service, and the presentation. It is definitely somewhere you take your date to impress. Make a reservation because they book up fast!
Note: They also have an upstairs for private parties, which would be great for a birthday bash!
Location: 124 South 15th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone number: (215) 563-0163
Written by Jennifer Higa
Photography by Noel Zheng