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Antica -- new Italian BYOB in Chadds Ford

CindyJ Nov 9, 2013 08:27 AM

I'm wondering if anyone has tried this new place yet. It's right next door to Brandywine Prime, in the location that was formerly Bistro on the Brandywine. It's only been open a couple of weeks, and I'm sure I'll get there soon, but until do, I'm curious to hear from anyone who's been there.

  1. Bacchus101 Nov 11, 2013 04:44 AM

    Good news, thanks. We had frequented the Bistro and witnessed its decline from good, interesting and casual to its sad state at closing. The Bistro was owned by the Brandywine Prime people who are quite capable restauranteurs; wondering if it is the same ownership. I too look forward to hearing about the Antica and will move it to the top of my "when in the area list".

    18 Replies
    1. re: Bacchus101
      CindyJ Nov 11, 2013 05:42 AM

      Different owners. Brandywine Prime and the Bistro are/were owned by chef Dan Butler, who also owns Deep Blue and Picolina Toscana in Wilmington. From what I've read, Antica is owned by the folks who own Il Granaio, a popular Italian spot in the Concordville area (Delaware County).

      1. re: CindyJ
        bluehensfan Nov 12, 2013 05:33 AM

        And I might add that Toscana (in its many iterations) has also declined from good, interesting and casual to its sad state now (thanks for the quote Bacchus!)

        1. re: CindyJ
          FrancisdeR Nov 13, 2013 02:10 PM

          That's wonderful news. I love Il Granaio, although it is a bit far for me, and parking is at times hellish. I used to be a fan of Toscana (previous name), but I felt a lot was lost when it became part of a group (I don't think it deserves to be called a chain).

          1. re: FrancisdeR
            CindyJ Nov 14, 2013 03:22 PM

            Back when Toscana first opened we went there quite often. And even after their first couple of re-inventions we liked it. But then it became clear to us that they were wooing a younger, hipper crowd, and by then we had many more good dining options in southern Chester County, so we pretty much stopped going.

            Antica must be doing something right. Yesterday (Wednesday) I phoned for a Friday night reservation and was given a choice of 6:00 or 8:30. Same for Saturday. They don't set aside tables for walk-ins. We might try our luck for an early Sunday dinner.

            1. re: CindyJ
              FrancisdeR Nov 15, 2013 05:17 AM

              Tried Antica last night, and it lived up to expectations. Slightly different menu than Il Granaio, same feel, same friendly service, same quality.

              We're not talking high gastronomy here, just well-prepared authentic Italian food. At a reasonable cost.

              And there was parking available.

              1. re: FrancisdeR
                CindyJ Nov 15, 2013 12:39 PM

                >>> We're not talking high gastronomy here, just well-prepared authentic Italian food. At a reasonable cost. <<<

                That's JUST what I was hoping for. I can't wait to try it -- it could well become one of our regular go-to restaurants.

                1. re: CindyJ
                  bluehensfan Nov 15, 2013 01:01 PM

                  It looks good...and timely since the Italian place around us seems be headed towards mediocrity after a promising start.

                  1. re: bluehensfan
                    sal_acid Nov 15, 2013 02:24 PM

                    which one is that?

                    1. re: sal_acid
                      bluehensfan Nov 15, 2013 03:30 PM


                      1. re: bluehensfan
                        CindyJ Nov 15, 2013 07:17 PM

                        Where is that?

                        1. re: bluehensfan
                          sal_acid Nov 16, 2013 12:50 PM

                          I still like Maria's. What has disappointed? Other than the pizza.

                          Cindy, Maria's is in the shops where Okura and Fat Guys is.

                          1. re: sal_acid
                            CindyJ Nov 16, 2013 05:44 PM

                            Ooooooh... you mean "south of the border."

                            1. re: CindyJ
                              bluehensfan Nov 18, 2013 06:31 AM

                              Maria's is still decent actually but their marinara sauce is getting kind of spicy these days. Maybe we are tired of it because we went there so often?

                              1. re: bluehensfan
                                sal_acid Nov 18, 2013 08:08 AM

                                We are there a lot too, but oddly I rarely get a red sauce other than the bolognese. I will check it out!

                                1. re: sal_acid
                                  bluehensfan Nov 18, 2013 09:40 AM

                                  Don't get me wrong, Maria's is still good. It just seems like it needs something new, since I am all musseled and clammed out.

                  2. re: FrancisdeR
                    CindyJ Nov 18, 2013 07:15 AM

                    So we had dinner at Antica last night. It was just as you said, FrancisdeR --well-prepared food at a reasonable cost, just like Il Granaio. Service was very good, very friendly, just like at Il Granaio. In fact, we recognized our server from Il Granaio, who told us that the place has been busy with Il Granaio "regulars" who like this new location. And another similarity to Il Granaio -- it was LOUD!!! I mean, really, really loud. Even as it got late and tables emptied, it was still noisy. It was one of those situations that was self-perpetuating. In order to have a conversation with your dining partner, you practically had to shout. And those at the table next to you had to shout just a bit louder.

                    Oh, another observation -- the crowd that was there last night definitely skewed to the older side. I'd say, with the exception of a few tables, the majority of folks there (my husband and myself included) were well into their 60's, something we don't often notice at restaurants around here.

                    Will we return? Yes... probably. Will it become one of our go-to regular restaurants? Probably not -- unless we find that the noise level we encountered last night was somehow unusual. (Granted, there WAS a large party of shrieking women seated fairly close to us that contributed significantly to the din.) We'll probably stick with Portabello's in Kennett for similar food, friendly service and a quieter dining experience.

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      sal_acid Nov 18, 2013 08:10 AM

                      Portabello's ...uggh. What a weird meal I had t here a year or so ago. I forget the details other than a greasy fried bread-like thing, but it was just not good. I'll have to plumb the depths of my memory and remember better what I hated.

                      1. re: sal_acid
                        CindyJ Nov 18, 2013 08:25 AM

                        To me, Portabello's is one of those places where the food is neither raveworthy nor complaintworthy. It is what it is.

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