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looking for BYOB in center city

foodrun Aug 2, 2009 02:29 PM

Planning a get together with friends and would like to go to a BYOB. There will probably be about 6 people. We eat anything but would like a place with enough variety. Any suggestions?

  1. r
    rocknroll52 Aug 2, 2009 07:54 PM

    Cochon should have something to please everyone.

    9 Replies
    1. re: rocknroll52
      micreynolds Aug 3, 2009 10:05 AM

      wouldn't say cochon is really "center city" but it is great.

      others i would recommend:
      audrey claire
      meme (one day a week they do BYO, i think either wedenesday or thursday)
      la baia or la viola (if looking for italian)
      caffe casta diva (never tried this place, however have heard good things)

      maybe others could chime in - not sure if pumpkin is BYO?

      1. re: micreynolds
        Ali Aug 3, 2009 12:50 PM

        Pumpkin is both good and BYO, but the "place with enough variety" requirement wouldn't fit. It's usually just a handful of options for each course. The food is probably one of my fav in the city right now, but sometimes, it tends a little on the adventurous side (morcilla and sweetbreads both being options for apps, etc.), so it also might be worth it to double check the menu before heading out.

        Otherwise, La Viola [Ovest] and Matyson, maybe Caffe Casta Diva, are probably my standard recs for Center City BYO. Good, solid food but not terribly adventurous.

        1. re: Ali
          foodrun Aug 3, 2009 05:01 PM

          I love trying adventurous food. What would you recommend?

          1. re: foodrun
            Ali Aug 3, 2009 05:48 PM

            Pumpkin's menu changes as according to what's available, so I have no idea what will be on the menu when you might be there. If you want to glean what the menu might feature, I might check their Facebook page (weird, I know), but the morcilla and sweetbreads example was from my last visit (the sweetbreads were perfectly cooked and fantastic):

            Personally, I think a good deal of the menu is usually fairly tame (blue marlin, quail, etc.), but what's tame for me might not sounds so tame to other ears. (I find nothing wrong with morcilla, but I think it's definitely one of those things generally regarded as on the weirder side.)

        2. re: micreynolds
          foodrun Aug 3, 2009 04:59 PM

          What cuisine is caffe casta diva?

          1. re: foodrun
            Hungryin theBurbs Aug 3, 2009 05:07 PM

            Casta Diva is Italian. Another really great BYO is Kanella, which is Greek/Cypriot cuisine. I've taken many people there and they uniformly love it. The menu isn't huge, but there's a range, including stuff for vegetarians and adventurous eaters.

            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs
              urbanfabric Aug 4, 2009 06:04 AM

              Another vote for Kanella! We've had several impressive meals there.

          2. re: micreynolds
            rocknroll52 Aug 4, 2009 08:48 AM

            I guess Cochon is not "technically" Center City its near 6th and Catharine. I have been there several times with groups and the atmosphere is very relaxed, the food is country French.

            Another place I would recommend is Figs in the Fairmount section, 5th and Meridith. Their menu is Mediterranean/North African. Was also there with a group and had a great meal.

            1. re: rocknroll52
              Bigley9 Aug 4, 2009 09:47 AM

              25th and Meridith!

        3. c
          Chefpaulo Aug 3, 2009 10:19 AM

          Bistro La Viola remains my favorite BYO. I think its at 16th and Locust.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chefpaulo
            PhillyA Aug 3, 2009 11:48 AM

            I recently had a really nice, and very affordable, meal for 6 at La Viola. There was a huge variety of things ordered (I don't think any 2 people ordered the same thing), and everyone really enjoyed their choices.

            Just be warned, they'll probably take your reservation, then be full when you get there, send you to La Viola Oest (across the street & serving an identical menu in a much quieter/less cramped dining room) and be able to take you there. I actually prefer La Viola Oest because you can hear people talk...I've just never figured out why they don't just book reservations over to begin with.

          2. s
            sylviag Aug 3, 2009 04:40 PM

            La Viola West has good food and is a bargain - but noisy, and they get you out fast. If you're watching the budget, go there.
            The original La Viola (also good food) is so noisy and crowded that most of the people we know won't go there.

            If you want to sit around and talk, pick one of the other choices.
            One of our favorites is Branzino - Italian, but with many choices - attractive, excellent food, and you can hear each other. Matyson has a good variety, creative menu.
            The other recommendations are good, though I have heard that Caffe Casta Diva also has a very high noise level.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sylviag
              PhillyA Aug 4, 2009 07:13 AM

              Maybe we hit it on a good night (it was the only time I've been to West), but I had the opposite reaction - it was only about 1/2 full and not noisy at all (the original definitely was), and we lingered for about 2 1/2 hours (from 8:30 until 11), with no attempt to rush us at all.

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