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May 14, 2007 09:42 AM

Melograno, Philadelphia

I need to have good Italian when visiting Philly in June. I keep reading about Melograno and it's not too far from King Tut. Is there any way to find out a sampling of their menu? How do people dress to go there - is casual okay? Do they take reservations?

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  1. The food is good, it is located at 22nd and Spruce, no reservations, very small/outdoor seating. You can put your name on the list and walk a block and have a drink at Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Casual

    1. It is also, BYOB. We like La Fontana della Citta - 1701 Spruce Street. 215-790-2533, they take reservations.

      4 Replies
      1. re: BRI328

        Thanks, I think I would prefer a place that takes reservations. I've been doing more research and came up with Ernesto's also on Spruce. Is La Fontana better?

        1. re: LMRose

          Ernesto's food is nothing special, except for his mother's zuppa inglese (a.k.a. Italian rum cake), which is superb. I do like La Fontana's food better.

        2. re: BRI328

          I used to love La Fontana but just had a very disappointing experience. They made us wait a long time -- even with a reservation; service was rude and food had delclined. Melograno's always wonderful -- both food and service -- and worth the wait. Also recently loved Branzino!

          1. re: efeats

            Finally had the chance to try La Fontana last night. It was reasonably good, I thought, but IMHO definitely inferior to Melograno and Bronzino...I'd say I even like Roberto's, Bistro La Baia, and Casta Diva better in the (fairly) immediate neighborhood when it comes to Italian BYOBs. The menu at La Fontana is nothing especially unique or interesting, more your (Southern) Italian classics, fairly reasonably prepared for Center City, but not as unique as Melograno nor as expertly done as Bronzino. I will say the seafood risotto I had was pretty good. It's just...nothing I'd really go out of my way for. Bread was pretty "meh" as well...

        3. Melograno takes resevations during the week and if you are going during the week I would go to Melograno's over the other two listed. I would call and ask, but I think it's Tuesday thru Thursday (maybe Mondays too if they're open). Casual is okay, menu-wise you may be able to see a sampling on

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tonyjlive

            Thanks, unfortunately it will be a Saturday and it would be better if we had reservations. I checked and I'll have to come back next time during the week, to Melograno. Is there something else in that area?

          2. We prefer Branzino to either Ernesto's or la Fontana.
            It is on 17th Street, just north of Spruce. Delicious food, lovely ambience, no more expensive than the other places. BYOB. The pasta, fish and meat are all excellent. They take reservations. Try to get the back/upstairs room.

            2 Replies
              1. re: idia

                Thirded. I live directly across the street from La Fontana and next door to Branzino. Every night we hear these huge crowds at La Fontana and marvel - why, why, WHY eat there when you are so close to exquisite Branzino?

            1. alot of people like illuminaire, though i think they are hit or way miss. but to each their own. i am surprised people aren't liking ernesto's. my family is italian-american and many off the boat italians (in the restaurant and food business) love ernesto's. i have never been, so can't be helpful. :) under no circumstances go to bistro la baia.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mazza3

                What's wrong with Bistro La Baia? It's certainly got a different atmosphere than the other places you mentioned, and isn't nearly as upscale, but I've always enjoyed the food there. It's comfort food - yummy, but nothing fancy.

                1. re: nns

                  eh. I think La Baia's better than Fontana, but I think Melograno is vastly better than both - even if they have gotten more crowded lately.

                  1. re: nns

                    i don't like the way they prepare their food and while i like being crammed in tight with people, i don't think that it would be a pleasant visit after a museum. maybe i'm just nit-picking and broadcasting my own preferences too much, but i real do think their food stinks too. :) and i tend to prefer cheap and nasty, not quite to the extreme, but fancy places give me the woolies.