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a good byob to try?

Usually around this time of year, my husband and I go out for a nice "holiday meal", just to celebrate the year, and spend a bit of the xmas bonus. I'm struggling to choose where to go this year. I would like some suggestions of a center city area byob which will be predictably good. I have been to Matyson, Melograno, Raddichio, Lolita, Django. All were very good, but I'd like to try something I haven't been to before, and I'm blanking.

I know there are many italian byo's - but I'd rather not have Italian, unless it is new-world and modern like Melograno.

On the same BYO topic, I was at Nan last weekend, and was disappointed. Does anyone know if the chef job has changed hands? I heard a few years ago that their chef was having some health problems, and wondered if he hung it up.

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  1. Pumpkin

    Modo Mio if you dont confine yourself to Center City

    1 Reply
    1. re: JT007

      yeah, modo mio is awesome in the new-world sense you mention. everything is so carefully prepared, fresh breads and pastas. and they would put hardly a dent in the christmas bonus... the more-than-filling four course dinner is $30. i could have easily dropped one of the courses and still been satisfied with the tab... not to mention all the complimentary morsels the kitchen sends out. people here have commented about the service, but i've never noticed what they have. i feel special every time i go there.

      my other recent BYO venture was to raddichio in old city, but wasn't nearly as impressed... too cramped, service didn't feel as genuine, and frankly the 'regular' patrons sitting next to me annoyed me. spun a chair around from my table and sat right down in it to face another table and talk loudly, their back right up against our small table the whole time! too awkward for me, and their sauces, while fine, are about on par with what i make at home when i'm strapped for ingredients. i might give their sister fishtown joint a try... but that place was not for me.

      i've heard great things about pumpkin... JT, was was your experience there? what kinda grub? suitable for a group of vegetarians? i have a group coming up to visit soon and would like to give them a BYOB tour of philly, too.

    2. Audrey Claire's cute and reliable. Their "small" dishes are better than big dishes, I think. When my wife and I go we order a bunch of small dishes. Limited seating probably in the winter, when you can't sit down outside.

      Twenty Manning's okay and some people love it. Personally I'm an Asian food snob so I tend to like authentic places better than fusion Asian (unless it's really interesting).

      Both are owned by Audrey Claire? or something like that?

      (I'm not Audrey Claire and I am not related to her in anyway). :)

      1. Apamate was good. Marigold Kitchen always get great reviews.

        1. Modo Mio and Marigold Kitchen. Both are great for different reasons.

          1. Second on the Pumpkin rec. Also, Salento on 23rd and Walnut is Italian, but not your typical red gravy Italian menu. My wife had a gnocchi dish there that was insanely good, and I'm usually not a gnocchi fan.

            1. definitely marigold kitchen. no question whatsoever!! you will not be sorry.

              1. I also recommend Apamate and Pumpkin. Also consider Bistro 7 or Chloe.

                Twenty Manning isn't BYOB

                17 Replies
                1. re: bumble

                  bumble - where is apamate? Chloe did pop into my head - have you been there recently? It always got raves, but i haven't heard anything recently.

                  1. re: DanielleM

                    We eat at Chloe at least six times a year, and we don't live in the neighborhood. Most recently there about a month ago. As always, excellent food (generous portions, too); reasonable prices; friendly service; nice atmosphere. We love trying new places, but Chloe continues to be a favorite.

                    Another vote for Pumpkin, too, although we haven't been there in a while. Finally got to Little Fish and loved it. And we really enjoy Southwark.

                    1. re: kagoo

                      Definitely Marigold Kitchen. 3 courses for $45 or 5 courses for $60 (on weekends), one of the best bargains in the city for high end food. My other suggestion would be Little Fish.

                      1. re: kagoo

                        I love Southwark also, but it's not a BYO.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Duh. You are so right, Buckethead. Double-duh, as we really like eating at the bar at Southwark.....

                          1. re: kagoo

                            Tell me about it, they have one of the most comfortable bars in the city. I think maybe I'll head over there tonight! It's been a while since I had a Resurrection on draft..

                        2. re: kagoo

                          Second Little Fish - always enjoy, and I think has got better since new ownership. Il Cantucio is reasonable in NoLibs - can be a little hit and miss. Also recommend Black Fish out in Conshy - have not had a bad meal there yet.

                          1. re: FriskLamb

                            I feel like a jaded chowhound. Been to Southwark (really liked it, great beer list - a bit pricey though), Been to little fish (very good but so small!)

                            Either Chloe is it (but I hate that I can't make a reservation) or I am going to have to forgo my BYO desires and try tinto, amada, or osteria.

                            1. re: DanielleM

                              You should really keep Marigold on your list. It's worth the trek to West Philly. And, they take reservations.

                              1. re: urbanfabric

                                Yes, I agree. Getting to Maigold is not that tough, you can make reservations, and the good is excellent.

                                1. re: Carole

                                  I was at Marigold a few months ago and was really disappointed. I used to love it but I believe it changed hands and while the food is still good, I think it's gone downhill a bit. But, I'm a big fan of Chloe. And, Pumkin is also a great choice. As for the others, I'd go with Amada or Osteria over Tinto. All of three of those are hard to get into so you should try to book soon.

                                  1. re: curiousgirl964

                                    I didn't enjoy my visit there...well, not that I didn't enjoy it, it's just that it wasn't one of a kind experience. Pretty good food, decent decor, but nothing that exciting.

                                    1. re: curiousgirl964

                                      could you be a bit more specific about why you were disappointed? I know that Jonathon Makar left for Craftbar, but I always felt he tended to stretch the restaurant too thin when he was running the FOH (over-booking). Personally I was a little concerned when I read that the two owners (chef & former chef) were focussing on opening their new rest in Society Hill...even when you try to avoid it, something has to be sacrificed.

                                        1. re: Boognish

                                          I'm not sure about the timing of the changing of hands. I was last at Marigold in March (longer ago than I thought). I found the service to be not so great. We were seated upstairs on a relatively busy Sat. night and it would have been helpful if the waiter had been able to check in with us more often--we ran out of water several times, it took forever to get the check. But my real disappointment was the food, which I remembered from previous visits as outstanding--interesting options, beautifully presented and truly yummy. On my last visit, I thought the portions had gotten a little small for the price and the flavor just wasn't as exceptional as it had been. Don't get me wrong it wasn't terrible, but is was mediocre not great as in the past. With so many other otions, I don't think I'd make the trip again.

                                  2. re: DanielleM

                                    Really enjoy Southwark, except for the Manhattans that always seem to slip down far too easily. Net result of last visit - 1 tatooed shoulder with 50's style girlie..beware!!!

                              2. re: DanielleM

                                Apamate is on South & 16th (maybe 17th?). I haven't been to Chloe in over a year (since the kid came along!).

                                I would also suggest Sovalo - it has a liquor license, but it's BYO on either Monday or Tuesday. Call to check. The pastas are always excellent and their menu is very seasonal california-italian.

                            2. Just thought of Bistro7. BYO new american in Old City. We have been many times and it was always excellent.