Philadelphia's BYOBs are one of the claims to fame of the dining scene in this city. They're perfect for date night or dinner with friends. (Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC)
This is the fifth in a series of posts that rounds up our top picks for “Bring Your Own Bottle” restaurants, or BYOBs, in Philadelphia, categorized by neighborhood.
Our fifth, and final, installment in the 2012 Uwishunu Guide To Philadelphia BYOBs sheds some light on three of the northern neighborhoods of the city: Fairmount, Northern Liberties and Fishtown.
Each of these three neighborhoods are thriving enclaves in Philadelphia, boasting a warm residential vibe and proximity to cultural attractions (Fairmount), a buzzing social scene and shopping district (Northern Liberties) or a vibrant arts corridor and emerging dining hotbed (Fishtown).
Check out our top picks, and contribute your own favorites in the comments:
• Sabrina’s Cafe and Spencer’s Too: BYOB to the Sabrina’s Italian Market, Powelton Avenue or Fairmount locations and chow down on a meal that has everyone in Philly talking.
• Figs: One of Fairmount’s best kept secrets, Figs is a wholesome Moroccan-inspired bistro serving exotic plates with hints of Mediterranean flavors. BYOB to dinner as well as weekend brunch.
• Trio: Opened in early 2006 by three friends and former servers, Trio offers Pan-Asian cuisine with a heavy Thai influence, along with the warm service and hospitality that you would expect from a cozy neighborhood BYOB.
• Zorba’s: Sit inside or out (in the warm months) at Zorba’s, Fairmount’s best Greek restaurant. Enjoy a glass of your own wine with tradional-style kalamari, zesty artichoke-drenched lamb chops, succulent charcoaled kabobs and so many more delicious dishes. They have a great vegetarian menu, too.
• Sazon: The first traditional Venezuelan restaurant in Pennsylvania is famous for its incredible cuisine and its newsworthy hot chocolate. Sazon also offers nearly everything on the menu as gluten-free, and starting on October 6, every Saturday they will have a 100% gluten-free buffet. This place is located slightly more in what’s considered the Callowhill neighborhood, but it’s in close proximity to Northern Liberties, Spring Garden and Fairmount.
• Angelino’s Restaurant Pizzeria: Tucked away in the residential heart of Fairmount, Angelino’s is a BYOB which serves the neighborhood with classic Italian pizza, stromboli, paninis, pasta, salads and more. They also serve Saturday brunch that features build-your-own omelettes and other staple mid-day meals.
• Umai Umai: A fine sushi restaurant nestled in the hills of Fairmount, Umai Umai lets you bring your own while you enjoy the cozy vibe and unique roll creations.
• King of Tandoor: They aim to give you the best Indian food in town, and arguably, they succeed. Take out or dine in with a bottle of your favorite spirit while you enjoy items from King of Tandoor’s extensive menu featuring items made with the freshest of ingredients. Try the chicken tikka masala or the tikka makhani with a side of mango or lemon hot and spicy Indian pickles. They’re very veg-friendly, too.
• Isabel: This Mexi-Cali BYOB from the owners of nearby Trio celebrates the bold and bright flavors of Mexico, California and beyond. Word to the wise: they’re open for (BYOB) brunch.
• A Full Plate Cafe: Northern Liberties’ A Full Plate Cafe created a menu that would make vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores excited about the selections. Influenced by Southern home cooking, the cafe puts a healthy spin on comfort food. A Full Plate will be moving to Fishtown come next year, across the street from Loco Pez. So it’ll continue to serve up your favorites, in good company.
• Dmitri’s: The Northern Liberties location of Dmitri’s (also located in Queen’s Village and Rittenhouse), is nestled in the heart of all that’s happening in these parts. Right across from the Piazza, this is the perfect spot to start your evening with some delicious traditional Mediterranean, enjoy the libation of your choice and continue your night in downtown Northern Liberties.
• Circles: With locations in Point Breeze and now in Northern Liberties, Circles is one of the best casual contemporary Asian fooderies of Philadelphia. Bring your sake or spirit of choice and indulge in the sweet, savory flavorings. Hint — the crab rangoons with curried cream cheese and sweet plum sauce are pretty much amazing.
• Il Cantuccio: Quaint and quiet Il Cantuccio features Tuscan fare that tastes straight from Italy. Bear in mind the restaurant’s three rules: no credit cards, no cheese on seafood and a $5 charge for plate sharing.
Many more BYOBs, below.
• Rustica Pizza: Grab some beer from the Foodery, conveniently located just a block away, and have a slice at one of Philly’s premier pizza places. Serving delicious specialty pizzas with truly unique flavor, Rustica deserves a good craft beer or fine wine companion.
• Green Eggs Cafe: Green Eggs Cafe in Northern Liberties, Midtown Village and South Philly offers daily brunch specials like the lemon meringue pie french toast or the gyro burger and is also a BYOB. Perfect way to start your day!
• Modo Mio: Chef Peter McAndrews’ Girard spot Modo Mio (sister to Monsu and Popolino) stars regional Italian cuisine.
• Popolino: Chef Peter McAndrews’ newest spot Popolino in Northern Liberties is a “Roman-style BYOB” that dishes up twists of ancient Roman recipes (Fried Calamari with Dates, Hard Cooked Eggs, Mint and Garum) alongside contemporary dishes (Veal Saltimbocca with Prosciutto and Fried Sage).
• Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat: Yes, this adorable NoLibs favorite will let you crack beers and pop bottles alongside your southern-style country breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week. Honey’s might keep you waiting a bit on weekends, especially at breakfast and hangover lunch-time, but there’s a reason people will wait over an hour to get a bite, and bringing your own booze might help ease the anticipation.
• Tiffin: Its Northern Liberties home is just one of Tiffin’s multiple locations, and this award-winning, all-star Indian eatery is BYOB-friendly.
• Radicchio Cafe: Located right on the edge of Northern Liberties and Old City, Radicchio is a casual cafe with downtown class serving up what they say is some of the most authentic Italian cuisine you can find in Philadelphia. Bring your own booze to lunch and dinner and try out one of the many amazing traditional selections like the paccheri bolognese or the veal milanese.
• Koo Zee Doo: This Portuguese-inspired Northern Liberties BYOB is run by a husband-wife team which serves rustic family-style share portions and a five course tasting menu. Hint — save room for dessert.
• Tacconelli’s: Located in Port Richmond, this iconic pizza joint lies just beyond our jurisdiction, but it’s so good it was worth a mention here. With 72 years of service and five generations of Tacconelli family pizza crafting under its belt, this is a great little slice of hometown charm perfect for bringing your own bottle of wine or a six pack of beer.
• Pickled Heron: Chefs Todd Braley and Daniela D’Ambrosio have a whole slew of impressive restaurant names on their resumes, and now they are putting all that prior practice into perfection at Pickled Heron, an adorable French-style bistro with a passion for local, artisinal and seasonal products. Cash only, BYOB, fresh, sweet and simple just like a Euro-classy bistro should be.
• Pizza Brain: The recently-opened, already world-famous, first ever ode to pizza museum has just one more fantastic detail to its bio: they’re BYO. Gourmet pizza conjoined with Little Baby’s (Philly’s trending gourmet ice-cream makers) let’s you feast your eyes on the unique collection of pizza memorabilia while you have a slice and sip on your favorite brew.
• Ekta: This Indian restaurant, located both in Fishtown and Bryn Mawr, can go head-to-head with Tiffin in terms of quality. In fact, chef/owner Raju Bhattarai is Tiffin’s former executive chef.