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This Saturday in Philly, BYOB Italian or ....

linguafood Jun 19, 2013 04:18 PM

This is a really short notice trip, so many places are booked (at least according to opentable). Staying in Center City but would be willing to travel if necessary.

I'm usually looking for good Italian when in Philly -- liked Osteria in the past, Porcini was mostly a disappointment last time.

As for Italian BYOBs, I'm looking at Branzino and Caffe Casta Diva, but other contenders that are non-Italian are

- The Dandelion
- Estia
- Farmer's Cabinet

We stopped in at the latter for pre-Koo Zee Doo cocktails and were almost disappointed we weren't going to eat there, as the menu looked interesting. Koo Zee Doo, of course, was awesome but is not a choice this time around.

Any opinions?

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  1. PhillyBestBYOB RE: linguafood Jun 19, 2013 05:22 PM

    Modo Mio

    8 Replies
    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
      linguafood RE: PhillyBestBYOB Jun 19, 2013 07:21 PM

      Wowzah. I am LOVING the Modo Mio menu.... alas, I just realized I brain-farted on our location. We're actually in the Rittenhouse area, so that place is a bit far off, but the brains and sweetbreads alone might make me wanna hop on the train.

      I'll check out the other places -- walked by Melograno several times and have heard good things.

      I'll check out Monsu and Zeppoli.

      ETA: OK, those two are also wahay out there.... NJ? Not happening.

      1. re: linguafood
        barryg RE: linguafood Jun 19, 2013 08:07 PM

        If it wasn't clear on the website, Modo Mio offers daily their $35 "turista" menu which includes your choice one dish from each section of the menu (excluding contorni) and dessert. Combined with BYOB it is definitely one of the best deals in the city, well worth a cab ride IMO, the food is really great. However it is very small and gets loud.

        Zeppoli is in Jersey but Monsu is in the Italian Market, 10 min or less cab ride from Rittenhouse. Same owner/chef as Modo Mio. But I'd choose Modo Mio over Monsu.

        1. re: barryg
          JanR RE: barryg Jun 20, 2013 04:23 AM

          Agreed. Modo Mio is my preference over Monsu as well. Zeppoli is very good but difficult to get a last minute reservation.

        2. re: linguafood
          PhillyBestBYOB RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 04:55 AM

          Download the Uber smartphone app. In 5 min you'll have a limo picking you up wherever you are in the city, and the trip will only be a bit more expensive than a cab (tip and all automatically paid through the app). Do the same coming back. No calling or flagging down uncomfortable dirty cabs ever again!

          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
            barryg RE: PhillyBestBYOB Jun 20, 2013 06:20 AM

            Uber is great but it's more like twice the price of a cab, not a little more expensive. Still worth it especially if in an unfamiliar neighborhood or one where the cabs don't cruise as often. That side, it's easy to hail cabs both around Rittenhouse and where Modo Mio is. Around Italian Market can be a little more difficult.

          2. re: linguafood
            PhillyBestBYOB RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 04:59 AM

            Zeppoli is just over the bridge, so that's like Center City to me (with no traffic, I live 40 min north of Philly)!

            It's well worth the schlepp. It's probably the best Italian BYOB in the area (and one of the best BYOBs period). Only downsides are you can't walk to it (although there is easy parking), and it is mega-noisy. Chef is ex-Vetri.

            1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
              Bob Loblaw RE: PhillyBestBYOB Jun 20, 2013 07:22 AM

              "Zeppoli is just over the bridge, so that's like Center City to me"


              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
                JanR RE: PhillyBestBYOB Sep 8, 2013 10:07 AM

                Went back last night. I agree. It is a terrific byob. It's noisy but for some reason it doesn't bother me as much here.

          3. h
            Hungryin theBurbs RE: linguafood Jun 19, 2013 05:40 PM


            1. b
              barryg RE: linguafood Jun 19, 2013 05:57 PM

              Agree with all of the above, but Cochon (not Italian) should also be on the radar. Often overlooked but great food.

              1. a
                alex1018 RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 05:04 AM

                why has no one suggested Ulivo? have had repeated great meals there the last couple months. The gnocchi is out of control.

                If you're willing to go to south philly, which is just a subway ride away, L'Angolo is my favorite classic South Philly italian in the city. They have a seasonal menu, and really great ingredients.They are also BYOB.

                Please don't go to Estia or Farmer's Cabinet. If you want greek, you want Kanella, and it's BYOB.

                Farmer's Cabinet is perhaps the worst restaurant in the city. You might also look into Matyson, which is great.

                9 Replies
                1. re: alex1018
                  bumble RE: alex1018 Jun 20, 2013 10:22 AM

                  I, too, really like Ulivo. I feel this restaurant gets as much attention as his previous restaurant in Northern Liberties, Sovalo.

                  How about Le Virtu?

                  1. re: alex1018
                    linguafood RE: alex1018 Jun 20, 2013 10:23 AM

                    Wow. Worst restaurant in the city? I thought that honor went to d'Angelo's! Well, worst Italian food I've ever had.

                    In any event, I can't comment on the food at FC, since we just had (very good) cocktails there.

                    I've been to Kanella which was nice, but I'm not interested in returning.

                    1. re: linguafood
                      Bacchus101 RE: linguafood Jun 21, 2013 05:59 AM

                      Kanella is one of a few places that most people seem really like and I think overrated and underwhelming. Those other places where I am frequently at odds with general opinion are Osteria and Vedge, understanding that I just demure on issues regarding same.

                      1. re: Bacchus101
                        Delucacheesemonger RE: Bacchus101 Jun 21, 2013 06:03 AM

                        Agree completely with your three downgrades.l don't go to any of them anymore and regretfully l have a place 2 blocks from Osteria and still do not go anymore.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                          linguafood RE: Delucacheesemonger Jun 21, 2013 10:27 AM

                          I've been to Osteria twice and liked it, but I don't feel like I have to go back -- it's time for something different. Plus, BYOB always makes the bill smaller, which is a bonus.

                          Morimoto, OTOH, is a place I'd always return to. Not this w/end, tho.

                        2. re: Bacchus101
                          alex1018 RE: Bacchus101 Jun 21, 2013 06:03 AM

                          i think kanella is inconsistent, and better in the winter. but some of the stews and stuff are flat out amazing. i've been underwhelmed by those other places at times too, but still enjoy them.

                          1. re: Bacchus101
                            alex1018 RE: Bacchus101 Jun 21, 2013 06:05 AM

                            oh and i also feel that way abotu modo mio

                            1. re: alex1018
                              Delucacheesemonger RE: alex1018 Jun 21, 2013 06:07 AM

                              That one l disagree with you, l am still a big fan.

                              1. re: alex1018
                                JanR RE: alex1018 Jun 22, 2013 05:13 AM

                                Have to disagree with Modo Mio. Have bern there many times and it never disappoints.

                        3. j
                          JanR RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 05:33 AM

                          I suggest Fitler Dining Room at 22nd and Spruce if you can get a reservation.

                          1. p
                            Pros626 RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 07:57 AM

                            Dimeos in an Andorra shopping center is a great Italian BYOB. It may not look like a spot from the outside becuse there is a khols and GNC next to it but this place serves really good food. Great pizza and the pasta is shipped in from Italy.

                            It is a small place only has about 15 tables and can get very packed.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Pros626
                              JanR RE: Pros626 Jun 20, 2013 08:13 AM

                              DiMeo makes excellent pizza but I wouldnt travel from Rittenhouse Square to enjoy it.

                              1. re: JanR
                                Pros626 RE: JanR Jun 20, 2013 08:28 AM

                                That is true. Quite a hike for pizza. I work in CC do you know of any places close to rittenhouse that have comparable Pizza? Im hoping to find a place for lunch one day.

                                1. re: Pros626
                                  cwdonald RE: Pros626 Jun 20, 2013 08:40 AM

                                  Zavino is probably the one that I would recommend if you work near Rittenhouse. Bit of a hike but its not usually that busy at lunch. Bufad at 12th and spring garden is the other that comes to mind.

                                  Pitruco's food truck makes wood fired pizza's and is at Love Park on Mondays.

                                  1. re: Pros626
                                    barryg RE: Pros626 Jun 20, 2013 09:17 AM

                                    Dolce carini on chestnut has awesome NY style pizza.

                              2. linguafood RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 10:24 AM

                                Left a message with the nice folks at Modo Mio. Might do same with Zeppoli -- if we're cabbing it for dinner, I guess it's all the same.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: linguafood
                                  barryg RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 11:00 AM

                                  I wouldn't cross the bridge in a cab, the city regulated fares wouldnt apply at that point -- at least not on the way back.

                                  1. re: barryg
                                    linguafood RE: barryg Jun 20, 2013 11:07 AM

                                    You're talking Zeppoli now, not Modo Mio, right? Actually, I wasn't nearly as intrigued with Z's menu compared to MM.

                                    Hope it works out :-)

                                    1. re: linguafood
                                      cwdonald RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 11:13 AM

                                      To overcome the taxi issue you could take the path train from Philly to Collingswood then its a mile to the restaurant. Easy cab ride.

                                      1. re: cwdonald
                                        PhillyA RE: cwdonald Jun 20, 2013 01:04 PM

                                        For someone who lives in Philadelphia, it's not all that intimidating to train + cab to a NJ restaurant...but for someone visiting, it seems like an unnecessary hassle, especially given the number of perfectly awesome restaurants we have within the city.

                                        I agree with Modo Mio, based on the Italian BYOB question, although there are tons of options if they open it up to a wider question.

                                        1. re: PhillyA
                                          sockii RE: PhillyA Jun 20, 2013 04:24 PM

                                          I would agree. I lived in Philly and now live in South Jersey, and honestly while I like some of the Italian BYOBs in Collingswood none so far have wowed me enough to say they would be worth the trip from Philly, especially for a visitor, just to dine there. Plenty of comparable places within Philly city limits.

                                      2. re: linguafood
                                        barryg RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 12:17 PM

                                        Yeah Zeppoli. It would be an expensive cab ride. Modo Mio is a 10 min ride from Rittenhous.

                                  2. linguafood RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 03:08 PM

                                    Well, I could only get a 6:30 or 9:30 rez at Modo Mio, so went with the later time. They'll be in touch in case someone cancels for a more reasonable hour.

                                    Just in case I made an opentable rez at Branzino, to me the most interesting BYOB of all three (Melograno & Casta Diva being the other two).

                                    We'll see what happens :-)

                                    1. m
                                      mmgth RE: linguafood Jun 20, 2013 08:58 PM

                                      La Viola Ovest. You could walk.

                                      1. linguafood RE: linguafood Jun 22, 2013 10:57 AM

                                        Due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to cancel our trip. I'll definitely keep Modo Mio in mind for next time.

                                        Thank you all for your input.

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