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BYOB on Saturday night

My husband and I are looking forward to trying somewhere new on Saturday night that is preferably byo. We were given some recommendations and I'd love some feedback from CH. Here's the list- L'Angolo, Butcher's Cafe, Cucina Forte, August, and Tre Scalini. Are there others that I'm missing that are better? Thanks!

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  1. I'd recommend L'Angolo from that list. Avoid the Butcher's Cafe like the plague! August is OK, I had a decent meal there but nothing spectacular, and the service wasn't that great. Never been to Cucina Forte or the new Tre Scalini.

    Ever been to Mr. Martino's?

    1. I love L'Anogolo, a perfect Roman-style trattoria. Expect simple but good dishes - go for the grilled calarmari to start and try their pastas.

      Cucina Forte has excellent homemade gnocchi - try the gorgonzola sauce.

      If you don't necessarily need South Philly but a very good BYO, my staple fave Italian is Caffe Casta Diva, which is what I think one of the BEST Italians in the city. A charming BYO, the owner Stephen Vassaluzzo is the most humble chef I ever met, perhaps b/c he is self-taught. The homemade pastas are terrific (try the gnochhi with seared tuna in a wasabi cream sauce if they are serving it), as is the veal chop (ask the chef to prepare it however he wants to off-menu) and the fish; the homemade gelatos and tiramisu are also terrific. It is located on 227 S. 20th St and Locust.

      1. I'd recommend L'angelo's but you might have a hard time getting a reservation. Cucina Forte is not bad. How about Pesto on Broad and Mifflin.

        1. August is very good but perhaps not on a Saturday. The last time we were there on a Saturday, we had reservations and waited at least 1/2 hour for a table. There is no place to wait and we were squeezed, along with other waiting people, against tables of diners. Very uncomfortable.

          5 Replies
          1. re: JanR

            I second the recommendation of Caffe Casta Diva. Honestly, all of the restaurants in your list are pleasant establishments, but their dishes don't have that certain "je ne sais quoi" that Chef Stephen does have in his cuisine.

            1. re: JanR

              Thanks for all of the helpful input! We've been to Pesto before and really liked it. I tried Casta Diva, but they are on vacation until Saturday. Next I called L'Angolo and, lucky me, they had a cancellation for Saturday night at the exact time I needed! I'm looking forward to it and will be sure to report back.

                1. re: arizonagirl

                  What is the dress? Are jeans ok? Thanks!

                  1. re: cjc519

                    it's very casual. Jeans are perfect. Enjoy. I have reservations for next Sunday and I can't wait.

                    www.foodhuntersguide.blogspot.com

              1. Matyson, Melograno, La Viola, Lolita, Pumpkin. L'Angola over-rated in my opinion.
                www.littlecomptonmornings.blogspot.com

                2 Replies
                1. re: janeer

                  Pumpkin has a 5 course meal on Sunday's for $30. You can not beat it!

                  1. re: BRI328

                    I agree it's very hard to beat Pumpkins' Sunday night deal, however, I think they have ended it for the season. Although it is an exceptional place to go for a great
                    meal.

                2. Just a quick note from a Central NJ hound... Based on suggestions from this board, I went to L'Angolo last night before the Genesis concert at the Wachovia Center. Boy, am I impressed! I felt like we were eating in Italy... simple and wonderful food, cozy and friendly atmosphere. This place is a gem - can't wait to go back.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cranrob

                    Sorry for the delay in saying thank you for the all of the suggestions. I'm especially looking forward to trying Caffe Casta Diva and Radicchio. We wound up going to L'Angolo and loved it! We had the grilled calamari to start... it was perfect. I usually don't get this dish b/c it is usually so rubbery. Theirs was perfectly grilled without having that rubbery texture or that burned kind of taste. It also tasted so fresh. We ordered two entrees. I had the gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce. It was rich and delicious. My husband had the orrechiete (sp?) with shredded duck in a light white wine sauce. I don't normally like duck, but this was really good. They had a special that night that gave me plate envy once I actually saw it... lamb shank over gnocchi in a tomato sauce. It looked delicious. I can't wait to go back. The service was friendly and the food really great. It also was quick which is good for anyone who wants a quick dinner before an event.

                    1. re: cjc519

                      Glad to hear you enjoyed L'Angolo. I think I'm going to have to try it now based on your wonderful description! I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Caffe Casta Diva.

                  2. I know it's not your typical "cute" place, but Aso Sushi on Walnut and 7th is great for sushi and sashimi; and it's BYOB. I went back there again and the sushi chef recognized us (we had a little chat the other time) and talked to us, gave some stuff to taste. Their specials like Otoro and Horse Mackerel are as high quality as Morimoto. Their rolls are very creative and excellent. If you like Japanese food, give it a try!