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Jan 20, 2009 04:47 PM

Philadelphia BYOB suggestions?


I am looking to take a friend out for their birthday this Saturday to an Italian BYOB, preferably sticking to the Society Hill/Lombard/South Street vicinity. I have come across a few places such as Ava, Hosteria da Elio, and Core de Roma, but i've seen some mixed reviews about these places. I'd like a nice semi-quiet place that is in the $15-$25 price range. Any insight to those places, and any additional recommendations that I may be overlooking?

Thanks for your assistance!

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  1. There are great BYOs in that area, and great Italian BYOs elsewhere, but not both. Does it have to be Italian or would you be willing to go elsewhere?

    1 Reply
    1. re: saturninus

      I realized this once I did some more research on the area. I did some searching on here and saw Tre Scalini mentioned a few times as a good place to try, so I made reservations there. I hope i made a good choice!

      Thanks for everyones help!

    2. Of those three, Hosteria d'Elio is good (not great), I wouldn't bother with Ava. I haven't been to Core de Roma. I agree with Saturninus that you can do much better in that area if you aren't restricted to Italian. Namely, Cochon.

      1. Maybe a little bit further than you'd like, but walkable, is Mezza Luna on S. 8th st. I ate there over the summer and all of the dishes we had (branzino, gnocchi and rack of lamb) were excellent. Cucina Forte is right across the street with equally excellent gnocchi (and maybe more authentic because the chef whose gnocchi recipe is used at Mezza Luna is at Cucina Forte, if you care about that). But it's been a loooong time since I've eaten at Cucina- maybe someone who has been there more recently can comment?

        Would also like to add that I didn't particularly like the gnocchi at "Gnocchi", another Italian byo in the area.

        8 Replies
        1. re: jerseytomato

          i would say that mezza luna and cucina forte are both in that general area, just 2-3 blocks south of south and on 8th (an easy walk and a cheap taxi ride). i have been to both recently and have eaten my worst meal at mezza luna last month. it is one of my regular spots (being around the corner from my house) and the food was just a bit off. still good, but not awesome. they've had the same menu for far too long and i think that they need to mix it up. cucina forte was as good as always (a hair below whaty mezza luna is to me, but still very good). my only disappointment there was that maria's dream soup wasn't as good as it had been previously. the tastes were right but it wasn't as carefully presented (and chopped). you can't ever go wrong with the gnocci at either place, and since you've never been to mezza luna, you probably won't be disappointed. both are byo, but mezza luna also has a full bar.

          and gnocci = meh, hostario da elio is better than i thought it would be (but not great) and never been to ava or coeur de roma.

          1. re: jerseytomato

            I prefer Cucina Forte of the 2 (Mezza Luna being the other), but do admit that Mezz lost me on possibly the worst Osso Bucco I have ever been served and the comment that "that's how we prepare it here". I really enjoy Cucina, although I will be sad if the dream soup is slipping - hopefully it is just a bad night.

            1. re: Bigley9

              i know, the dream soup not being perfect really made me panic. i love that soup and was seriously shaken if it is slipping. need to return for a check-up stat!

              1. re: mazza3

                What is dream soup? I'm intrigued!

                1. re: Mawrter

                  Chicken, Mushrooms, sundried(?) tomatoes in a light broth with the most amazing crouton/dumpling things ever - maria Forte says the soup came to her in a dream....It occassionally shows up in mine!

          2. None of those options are really good. You would be much better off going to Branzino on 16th or hop in a cab and hit Radicchio.

            1 Reply
            1. re: joluvscards

              2nd. I personally prefer both to Tre Scalini, who's menu is rather heavy with lots of veal.