From NYC to Philli
Visiting from NYC to philli. Where should I eat? Enjoy fine dining French, southern italian Japanese, and Chinese places. Open to notable creative restaurants. NYC favorites are Jean Georges, Sushi Yasuda, Kuruma Zushi, Babbo, regional Chinese from queens. What represents the best of Philli? let the suggestions begin.
I'll second Cochon. I just had a look at their summer menu and it looks fabulous.
Also I really love some of our easier, more casual BYOBs: Little Fish, Marigold, Audrey Claire, even Farmicia. If you're from NYC I feel like they're more different than what you're used to. They're all in little neighborhoods, quieter, and a little more casual than some of the other suggestions.
Second on the BYOB's. We have some of the very best, and most are smaller, fun places that allow you to truly enjoy the food, not the crowd. I agree that Matyson's is outstanding (19th off of Chestnut), but some of the older stand-by's remain worthy of our adulation, Audrey Claire's in the Rittenhouse area, Chloe in Old City and Dimitri's on 3rd are still going strong. But for a fantastic Mexican meal (not Tex-Mex), and a BYO - Las Cazeulas at 4th and Girard fits the bill without breaking your wallet.
If you like Babbo, you'll like the Vetri restaurants. Vetri is fine dining, and very difficult to get a reservation. Depending on when you are coming, it may be too late. Osteria is more casual, with a younger, hipper feel. Both have fantastic food.
You aren't going to best NY for Japanese here, but we definitely do better with Mexican. The hot new places is Distrito, owned by chef Jose Garces, who also owns Amada and Tinto, which are both terrific for tapas and highly recommended.
You might also want to check out Philly's BYO scene. Because of our unique liquor laws, many of our most exciting, interesting restaurants are BYO. You bring your favorite bottle(s) and they provide the stemware and serve it, no corkage. IMO, the two best right now are Cochon and Matyson, but if you browse through the board you'll get other ideas.
I like Django for rustic french and have had great experiences at Pod (Overhyped & trendy? Definitely. But very tasty nonetheless.) If you're up for something a little less formal but very Philly, I'd definitely reccommend spending an afternoon grazing from the lunch trucks around University City, especially down 38th St, and Spruce near 37th.