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Mercato ?

I have heard good things about the food at Mercato but have never been there. What is service like? General ambiance? I am looking for a byob for either a proposal site or pre-proposal site. My girlfriend and I are both foodies and I am new to the Philly area I have tried Couchon and was impressed with the food but less than impressed with the close quarters. Any ideas?

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  1. Mercato is also a little cramped, like Cochon, and noisy, like Cochon, but not quite as bad as Cochon on either score. The food is very good in my experience but I haven't been there in quite a while. Probably not what you're looking for for this occasion.

    Does it have to be a BYO?

    1. We thought the food at Mercato was very good but the place is crowded and noisy. I wouldn't choose it for a proposal or pre-proposal site.
      Suggestion: Branzino (17th st, just north of Spruce) is very lovely, delicious food.
      We also like August (13th and Wharton) very much - small, pretty, delicious food.

      Quite a few of the other byob's we like have become so very noisy that we find ourselves staying away. No fun getting a headache and shouting.

      1. My suggestion would be Chloe on Arch between 2nd and 3rd. Low candle lit room, great food, makes you want to propose :))

        1 Reply
        1. re: tom246

          talk about close quarters... at Chloe you could reach over and pluck something off of the plate of the person sitting at the table next to you without even moving your chair. I would not recommend them as a proposal restaurant. By the way, last time I was there I had a big piece of tin foil and a long hair in my food. Upon telling the server, i did not even get an "I'm sorry". I was'nt expecting anything like a free dessert, but an apology would've been nice.

        2. A little cramped is an understatement. The food is very good. Amada has great atmosphere, but can be crowded. Upstairs at Varalli and Waterworks are supposed to be super romantic, but I haven't heard much about the food being stellar. Chloe is supposed to be very good, and I would recommend the Rose Tattoo Cafe. Good luck.

          1. i would again stress "NOISY!"
            but i like their cioppino, if you get the capers and olives on the side, otherwise its too salty.
            their pastas are overpriced.

            1. Maybe Matyson? Not as such tight quarters but it isn't really very romantic either ....

              Or you could give Marigold a call and see if they'd give you a table in one of the smaller rooms. Explain why you need it. They're in University city so maybe that's too far to go.

              Also, second the Branzino recommendation.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Carole

                am i having deja vu/going crazy? i don't think it was the same post as this, cause i don't see my reply here, but i definitely just suggested matyson as a proposal spot recently too. so, i'll second this!! :)

              2. How about the White Dog cafe? There are small rooms there and I always thought it was cozy and romantic.

                1. i went to matyson last night for the 4th time. the food is great, ambience kind of lacking, but service is good and knowledgable.

                  mercato, cochon, and little fish too small.
                  i like the ambience at ansill which is byob on sundays if you do pif. probably my other favorite restaurantin philly next to matyson.