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BYO in Philadelphia

IPcook Aug 4, 2011 06:26 PM

Need a recommendation on Philadelphia's best BYO- Preferably French or Italian or New American cuisine-most important is that the food be of high quality.
We are staying in Rittenhouse Square area but have a car.

  1. b
    Buckethead Aug 4, 2011 06:51 PM


    4 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead
      barryg Aug 4, 2011 08:08 PM

      Bibou is probably the best but is closed until Sept 7 for vacation. If that's a problem I'd suggest Modo Mio, Kanella, Fond or Little Fish. None are in Rittenhouse; there are plenty of BYOBs in walking distance of there but I think these are better/more consistent. BTW don't drive to Kanella or Fish, parking is pain. Take a cab.

      1. re: barryg
        JanR Aug 5, 2011 03:54 AM

        Agree with barryg (especially on the Modo Mio and Little Fish recommendation). For Rittenhouse Square though, I would recommend Meme. Wonderful food and (although they have a license) they allow byob and don't charge a corkage fee.

        1. re: barryg
          Buckethead Aug 5, 2011 07:25 AM

          Oopsie! I didn't realize Bibou was on vacation. If your trip will be during that time, I'd recommend Kanella instead, it's easily walkable from Rittenhouse and is one of the city's best BYOs. Meme is good but not quite on the same level as Kanella, Fond (which I love, but not as much as Kanella), or Koo Zee Doo (which is also kind of far from Rittenhouse).

          1. re: Buckethead
            Bigley9 Aug 8, 2011 09:54 AM

            +1 for Kanella

      2. b
        b1979 Aug 5, 2011 04:51 AM

        Little Fish and Fond are both excellent choices and BYO, although not in Rittenhouse. Fond's sweetbreads are amazingly delicious.
        If you would rather stay in the Rittenhouse area Melograno is a great Italian BYO that we always enjoy.

        1. Delucacheesemonger Aug 5, 2011 05:08 AM

          Modo Mio, Bibou, Monsu, Koozeedoo.

          1. s
            sylviag Aug 5, 2011 07:14 AM

            You didn't say when you would be here. Bibou is wonderful, but because of vacation might not be possible.

            My recommendation would be Matyson, on 19th Street - walking distance from Rittenhouse Square. You can see their menu online - consistently excellent. I would rank Matyson higher than most of the others mentioned.
            Fish, which is also excellent, is not byob.

            8 Replies
            1. re: sylviag
              InSearchOfTacos Aug 5, 2011 07:19 AM

              +1 on matyson if you need a rittenhouse byo

              1. re: InSearchOfTacos
                cwdonald Aug 5, 2011 07:28 AM

                +2 on Matyson. They are really doing great food, and they usually have a theme tasting menu each week that features some of the fresh ingredients. For example this past week they did a local tomato tasting for $45 dollars. Tastings are only available Mondays through Thursdays.

                Monday, August 1- Thursday, August 4 Featuring
                "Local Tomatoes"

                Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
                Gruyere, smoked eggplant

                Heirloom Tomatoes & Ahi Tuna
                Cucumber, fennel seed, bottarga

                Fried Green Tomatoes
                Dungeness crab, avocado, bacon

                Braised Lamb Ravioli
                Tomato butter, ratatouille, aged goat cheese

                Tomato-Basil Sorbet

                1. re: cwdonald
                  doxiemom Aug 9, 2011 02:13 PM

                  +3 on Matyson. Never disappoints!

                  1. re: doxiemom
                    IPcook Aug 19, 2011 01:19 PM

                    thanks for all the helpful suggestions, matyson's was wonderful!

                    1. re: IPcook
                      sylviag Aug 19, 2011 01:50 PM

                      Thanks for letting us know. Glad it was wonderful!

                2. re: InSearchOfTacos
                  Hungryin theBurbs Aug 5, 2011 08:10 AM

                  For New American, Matyson is definitely a good bet--consistently delicious and easily walkable from Rittenhouse.

                  For Italian, Modo Mio is terrific, but very small and loud if that is an issue.

                  If you really want French, and it is during the time Bibou is closed, Cochon is a very nice BYO bistro. It isn't quite at the level of some of the others, but sometimes they hit it out of the park, and it is never bad.

                3. re: sylviag
                  barryg Aug 5, 2011 08:08 AM

                  Little Fish, Fish's sister restaurant in Queen Village, is a BYOB.

                  1. re: sylviag
                    joluvscards Aug 8, 2011 05:43 AM

                    I agree with my good friend, Sylvia. Matyson and Bibou are the two restaurants we recommend to our out of town visitors for non Italian byos. We dined at Matyson a few weeks ago and it was better than ever. Excellent innovative new american cuisine. Save room for their wonderful desserts.

                  2. n
                    Nancy S. Aug 5, 2011 07:33 AM

                    I had an excellent dinner at The Farm and the Fisherman. Chef/owner was chef de cuisine at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and his training is evident in the sourcing of ingredients and preparation of food.

                    1. c
                      Chefpaulo Aug 5, 2011 07:44 AM

                      I'll certainly chime in for Matyson or my old stand-by, Bistro la Viola.

                      1. caganer Aug 5, 2011 09:38 AM

                        I think Cochon also deserves consideration. It's especially good if you're in the mood for something porky.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: caganer
                          sockii Aug 7, 2011 04:08 PM

                          Agreed! For great country-style French and if you love pork, Cochon is great.

                          For Italian around Rittenhouse I say Salento or Melograno.

                          1. re: sockii
                            InSearchOfTacos Aug 7, 2011 05:19 PM

                            +1 on both salento and melograno- melograno is nicer/bit more expensive but doesnt take reservations

                            matyson is still my fave in the rittenhouse area

                        2. f
                          ftarazu Aug 5, 2011 02:30 PM

                          Hands down, Blackfish in Conshohocken. Better than Bibou, and much much easier to get reservations.

                          It will be a 20-25 minute drive from Rittenhouse, but parking is easy.

                          FWIW, Blackfish is the currently reigning #1 restaurant in the Philly area according to Philly Magazine (Bibou is #3).


                          If I had to pick a place close to Rittenhouse, I'd go with Matyson (short walk). Their Mon-Thur 6 course tasking menu is always a fantastic bargain.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ftarazu
                            cwdonald Aug 8, 2011 12:34 PM

                            The other thing that is great about Blackfish are their tasting menus. Tuesday's only. 45.00 This week its duck, next week its foie gras. $45 dollars for four courses.

                            1. re: ftarazu
                              Buckethead Aug 8, 2011 12:48 PM

                              Blackfish is excellent... for the burbs. No way is it better than Bibou. Especially no way is it worth driving from Rittenhouse to Conshy to go there when there are numerous better options in walking distance.

                              1. re: Buckethead
                                cwdonald Aug 8, 2011 12:56 PM

                                Regardless of whether its better than Bibou or not, you are right. There is no reason to drive to Conshy for Blackfish given the wonderful list of choices within walking distance. And I also want to know how you get from CC to Conshy in rush hour on the Schuykill in twenty minutes.. Helicopter?

                            2. m
                              middleagedfoodie Aug 8, 2011 12:42 AM

                              No one mentioned Bistro 7 in Old City. Maybe not as good as Matyson, Kanella or Blackfish, but a pretty good option if reservations are difficult.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: middleagedfoodie
                                Buckethead Aug 8, 2011 08:47 AM

                                I like Bistro 7 a lot, but usually recommend Fond over it because Fond is slightly cheaper and also a little better in my opinion. But Bistro 7 is very good too, especially if you're in Old City where there aren't a lot of great options (though it's gotten a lot better in the last few years).

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