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Nov 14, 2007 12:58 PM

Best Philly Italian BYO

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

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

          1. re: waynefoodie

            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

              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

                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

                  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.

          2. 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

              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

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

                1. re: Schpsychman

                  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.