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Best Philly Italian BYO

zelbee Nov 14, 2007 12:58 PM

My birthday is coming up and I'm planning to go out to dinner with three of my favorite people. We are thinking perhaps of Tre Scalini. Must be a place that takes reservations (eliminating many of the great places such as Melograno).

Any suggestions?

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  1. b
    Buckethead RE: zelbee Nov 14, 2007 01:09 PM

    I like Mr. Martino's Trattoria. They're only open Friday through Sunday, though.

    1. s
      sylviag RE: zelbee Nov 14, 2007 04:48 PM

      Tre Scalini used to be our favorite, but since they moved to larger quarters, they seem to be having major problems. Service has been slow and disorganized. I thought it was just when we went, but if you read through this Board, it wasn't just us. I'd wait and give them more time.

      If you don't mind coming to the middle of downtown, Branzino is consistently good - lovely ambience, delicious food and very good service. We prefer the upstairs room, though the whole place is attractive. Pastas, veal, salads, etc. - we've never been disappointed.

      Friends of ours have become regulars at Fitzwater Cafe, which has the advantage of a parking lot. Might be cash only.

      We are also fond of August, which calls itself "Italian with a twist." Small, attractive, very good food. It's at 13th and Wharton; easy street parking.

      As much as we love Radicchio, they don't take reservations. Melograno takes reservations during the week, but I'm not sure of their schedule.

      Upscale Italian that we have enjoyed lately is at Sovalo in Northern Liberties. Wonderful pasta. They have a bar.

      1. p
        Philly Ray RE: zelbee Nov 14, 2007 05:43 PM

        Paradiso does BYOB on Monday nights only. but they do take reservations...


        1. w
          waynefoodie RE: zelbee Nov 14, 2007 06:36 PM

          La Viola on 16th street.

          5 Replies
          1. re: waynefoodie
            Carole RE: waynefoodie Nov 15, 2007 05:53 AM

            I would avoid La Viola if you'd like to have a conversation with your friends there. The tables are much too crowded and loud.

            But I'd absolutely second the recommendation for Branzino. And, as suggested earlier, request the upstairs room if you can.

            If you're going during the week you could also try Mercato on 12th and Spruce. They take reservations during the week only.

            1. re: Carole
              Cruz RE: Carole Nov 16, 2007 02:59 AM

              La Viola has expanded across the street. While the place on the east side of 16th street is still cramped and noisy, the restaurant on the west side of the block is more spacious and quieter.

              1. re: Cruz
                gsElsbeth RE: Cruz Nov 16, 2007 06:20 AM

                Does it have the same name? I was all set to make a reservation for Monday night (hard to find places on Monday, I know), but do want to be able to talk. Should I look elsewhere? We're coming in from the airport, having picked up our son who we haven't seen in 6 months.

                1. re: gsElsbeth
                  Cruz RE: gsElsbeth Nov 16, 2007 09:18 AM

                  Both places are called La Viola. When you make your reservation, I suggest asking for a seat in the restaurant on the west side of the block. I don't think noise should be a problem, especially on a Monday night. Plus, food is always very good. I usually go with the fresh pasta special.

                  1. re: Cruz
                    gsElsbeth RE: Cruz Nov 16, 2007 09:30 AM

                    Thanks, will do.

          2. k
            koan RE: zelbee Nov 15, 2007 06:10 AM

            L'Angolo in South Philly is my personal favorite. I haven't been since the owners opened their second place though...

            3 Replies
            1. re: koan
              Schpsychman RE: koan Nov 15, 2007 08:36 AM

              I would second L'Angolo but don't know about another place they opened, where? I also think that La Locanda del Ghiottone is a great BYOB place that rarely gets mentioned. If you live in the suburbs, I would also recommend Costello's in North Wales, though I don't know how much longer they will be BYOB as they've just gotten a liquor license and he put in a (lovely) bar.

              1. re: Schpsychman
                idia RE: Schpsychman Nov 15, 2007 01:42 PM

                Caffe Casta Diva.
                I also agree on Branzino.
                And Paradiso as well.

                1. re: Schpsychman
                  Chimpo RE: Schpsychman Nov 15, 2007 01:54 PM

                  The second place is called Salento and is at 23rd and Walnut. Been twice and found it to be very good especially for the price point.

              2. linguafood RE: zelbee Nov 15, 2007 01:57 PM

                Porcini on Sansom (or Walnut?) is BYOB. It's very small, and I don't know if they take reservations, but we loved our meal there!

                1. Chinon00 RE: zelbee Nov 15, 2007 06:39 PM

                  Quick question: If we had to categorize these places as old school or new school Italian which would each be? For instance the wife and I love Mr. Martino's (old school).


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chinon00
                    Philly Ray RE: Chinon00 Nov 15, 2007 06:59 PM

                    Paradiso is definitely "new school".

                    Last time we were there, we had duck ravioli with a balsamic sauce. No red gravy there. And not that that's a bad thing. I love Marra's as much as the next guy when I'm craving a heaping pile of lasagna (and theirs is the best I've had, IMHO).

                    And speaking of Marra's, they are currently undergoing a major renovation of the exterior of their building (but they are still open).

                  2. g
                    gardens4me RE: zelbee Nov 18, 2007 06:37 AM

                    Bacio in Mt Airy...relatively new BYOB. Ate there on last Tuesday night ...quiet night, I hear they are mobbed on the weekends and rightly so, judging this food! Although they were depleted of the lasagna I had been hoping for, I was not disappointed with the ravioli, made on the spot...these are not your tough, out-of-the-bag ravioli but the real deal...silken pasta that melts in your mouth and a sauce that is not, thankfully, sweet. My dining partner had the eggplant parmesan and was equally pleased. We started the meal with a very ample antipasto, and ended it with the crisp cannoli. This is a BYOB...total bill with tip was $46 for two...a very, very reasonable price for a fabulous (and filling) meal!

                    1. joluvscards RE: zelbee Nov 19, 2007 03:30 AM

                      Modo Mio is byo and takes reservations. I was very impressed with the food. They have a four course menu for $30. Basically you select an app, pasta, entree and dessert. The prix fix amounts to a free salad. An unbelievalble deal for such inspired cuisine. The service was only fair. The noise level was pretty high. The food was good enough to outweigh those flaws. We will return.


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