Philadelphia, PA

I guess I will start this up and start with my own neighborhood - Northern Liberties

Modo Mio (" onclick=";return false;)

161 West Girard Avenue
Phialdelphia, PA 19123

no corkage fee

Cash only
reservations encouraged
rather small so not good for a party bigger than say 8
loud, always busy atmosphere

5-10 pm Tuesday - Saturday
Closed Sundays in the Summer

Sugo Sunday in fall - no menu, just tradition

try the menu tourista - 4 courses for $33 - app/pasta/main/dessert

menu changes often

they also have a sister sandwhich shop right across the street which is arguably the best sandwhich in the city

I am new to Wine Beserkers, but not new to wine or to Delaware Valley BYOBS. Glad you started this as I was surprised that the Philly area, home of great BYOBs due to arcane PA licensing rules, was not represented as a topic. Went to Modo Mio last week and several times before with my wine group. Loud is an understatement, but very good food. Pre-fix is the way to go. Loved my braised rabbit last time there. Too many BYOBs that I like to discuss now, but will add some from time to time. Thanks for starting this. For those not familiar with Philly, in addition to many restaurants that have no liquor license and are solely BYOB with no or nominal corkage, to compete, many fine restaurants with liquor licenses have special nights of the week where no or nominal corkage is charged. One of my favorites is Paradiso in South Philly where on Sunday evening there is no corkage charge.

Paradiso Restaurant & Wine Bar
1627 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148
Telephone: 215-271-2066" onclick=";return false;

Another one in my hood that is pretty new is Lafayette Bistro." onclick=";return false;

501 Fairmont Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Phone: (215) 928-9200
Fax: (215) 928-9204

Regular business hours are:
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM Monday thru Thursday
5:00 PM - 11:00 PM Friday and Saturday
1:00 PM - 10:00 PM Sunday

Mediterranean food

Lafayette is a city in Tunsia and 1 of the owners is from there.

They suggested we do takeout, even though they don’t offer the service, when I called to cancel a reservation only moments before we were to arrive b/c the babysitter cancelled.

And we have been back twice.

Good food, a little on the pricey side but I would recommend this place.

Matyson is a long-known favorite in Philly.

Let me add another in John’s Northern Liberties area

1030 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA" onclick=";return false;

Chef/owner Mark Tropea does a great job at this trendy BYOB.

I have a review of Sonata and scores of other BYOB’s in the Philly/South Jersey area on my website:
SOUTH JERSEY WINE & DINE" onclick=";return false;

Frank - that was going to be my next post!

I read your review on your blog and say + 1.

We have been several times already and are never disappointed.

Although on the small side, we did have a party of 14 in there on a Friday night.

They also have outdoor seating.

And one thing you might not know is that he bought the restaurant / equipment from the previous owners on Craigslist of all places.

John" onclick=";return false;

Another great restaurant in John’s neck of the woods. BTW, thanks for opening the thread, John. IMO, the only benefit to living in the land of the PLCB is the fact that so many talented chefs don’t want to be bothered with the BS involved in getting a liquor license, so we have all kinds of places to eat & drink.

I have yet to get to koozeedoo but have heard great things and I love me a good portuguese meal

Copper, which was in this location before koozeedoo was one of our local favs

And I couldn’t agree more about the plethora of great BYO’s" onclick=";return false;

Shifting gears briefly, I was out last night in the far southwestern Burbs and had a wine dinner at Twelves Grill in West Grove. I always admire chef/owners who take the risk of opening a fine-dining establishment in some remote suburban outpost (two of my favorites that immediately come to mind are Sovana Bistro in Unionville and the Birchrunville Store Cafe in Chester Springs), and while I wouldn’t necessarily rank this place with those restaurants just yet, I did have a very enjoyable meal.

$5 corkage, and the stemware was very acceptable.

bibou restaurant in south philly." onclick=";return false;

probably had the best sweetbreads i have ever had there, and the pigs foot was just as good.
just an incredible meal.

blackfish restaurant in conshohocken." onclick=";return false;

personal favorite… i have had a lot of meals there with some friends, and it is always good.
if chip roman (the chef) is still doing it, on tuesdays he does a 3 course tasting menu based on a single
ingredient that is always great (i’ve had foie gras, rabbit, wild boar, and many others).

Paul, Chip is still doing those Tuesday night tasting menus." onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Three other suburban outposts, all featuring excellent food and with more than acceptable stemware. Alba & Sovana also now have bars/wine lists as well, but still allow BYOB as their customer bases were so used to it before they go their liquor licenses.

In Conshohocken, I really like the Fayette Street Grill. Fixed price… changing menu… one app, one entree, one dessert.

I think the Fayette Street Grill is a nice place - the only problem I can see with it is location - it’s only two blocks from Blackfish, and if I’m going to drive to Conshohocken, 9 times out of ten I’ll go there instead of Fayette.

If you are heading out to the Western Burbs, my neck of the woods, you might like the following BYOBs: a la Maison Bistro (Ardmore), decent French bistro fare, Gemelli (Narberth), very good Italian and particularly the pastas, and Sola (Bryn Mawr) very good contemporary American. All have detailed web-sites and first and last can be reserved on Open Table. Not the greatest meals you will ever eat, but reliable and up to snuff with other BYOBs listed in this topic so far, all of which I have tried, and some (e.g., Blackfish, Bibou, Sonata, Kozeedo, Alba), many times. EDIT dated 5/2/2011 understand that Clark Gilbert, chef and owner of Gemelli, has sold Narberth loacation to John Wohlferth, a prior owner of Sola, and is relocating to Manayunk. No details as to both locations yet.

+21 or so. KZD is worth the trip.

Nice topic.

Although perhaps persona-non-grata here, Mark Squires did a respectable summary of downtown Philly BYO options and is quite plugged in to that scene. Good reasonable fare to be had at Nan and Bistro 7

It seems like more and more licensed places are willing to negotiate or even wave corkage. Super off-liner D. Kaplan seems most adept in this area.

Forgotten yet still respectable is the Spring Mill Cafe near Conshohocken.

I keep looking for options in the boonies: Doylestown, Lansdale, Quakertown, Skippack, etc., but the quality can’t compete with Gilmores, Blackfish, etc. I was able to negotiate inexpensive corkage at the Mainland Inn, but it’s fallen out of favor after a case of goodies (being transferred at an off-line) was somehow “lost”. The food’s still decent.


Another good place (closer to Rich, although not quite at the Northern end of the world [wink.gif] ) is Sushi Bluefin in Plymouth Meeting, right past the mall in a strip shopping center on Germantown Pike. Excellent sushi, and quite a nice match for riesling, or the every once in a while Austrian pinot blanc. I’d link their website but last time I checked it was not up & running.

My cousin now lives out by the hospital somewhere around 34th-40th St & Chestnut. Any good reccos in that area? It seems to be only about 10min to Center City on the bus, so no big deal if there aren’t any.

To Brent: 2 good BYOBs on that side of the river that I am familiar with (I am sure there are more). 1) Nan at 4000 Chestnut Street (mentioned above) / Thai and French-Thai fusion. 2) Marigold Kitchen at 501 South 45th Street/ contemporary American. Marigold was a hot BYOB a few years ago, and I liked it. There was a change in chefs (perhaps owner too) and then I didn’t like it. Heard the chef changed again, and I returned recently with my wine group (8 persons) for a multi-course pre-fixe dinner, and it was GREAT! Looking forward to going back. Web-site is kept current . Check out the menus.