Ahhh, South Philly: a bastion of tried-and-true BYOBs. But how do you determine which are worth heading to the liquor store for? Check out our shortlist of the neighborhood’s best — from mom-and-pop spots to upscale experimental dining — below. – Chelsea Karnash
1911 E Passyunk Ave
A seasonally changing, modern French-inspired menu makes Will a welcome addition to South Philly’s Italian-heavy restaurant scene. Grab a bottle of wine and be prepared to be wowed — by both the food and the presentation — at this cozy East Passyunk bistro. If you’re one of those people who takes photos of your food (full disclosure: I am), this is definitely the place to do it.
1537 S 11th St
In 2009, three good friends came together to open Fond…and one of the city’s best restaurants was born. While this corner spot recently added a wine list, you can also BYO (with a $10 corkage fee on Fridays and Saturdays), and that’s what we’d suggest. Along with the chef’s tasting menu and the freshly baked crusty bread, of course.
801 E Passyunk Ave
All hail the hog at this petite East Passyunk gem, where the menu is heavy on pig and Frenchified items like escargot are just as palatable as a strip steak or that pork-covered plate of eggs. For a fun gathering with friends, try Cochon’s Sunday brunch – the Eggs Cochon (and the bacon cheddar biscuit it’s served with!) will have you practically licking your plate clean. Just make sure to bring cash; Cochon doesn’t accept plastic.
901 Christian St
From Chef McAndrews (of Paesano’s and Modo Mio) comes yet another culinary winner. Tote your wine (or a six pack of craft beer – why not?) and sit down to a feast of flavors that comes with freshly baked bread and friendly, efficient service – right down to the complimentary shot of liquor that’s often doled out post-meal. If you’re looking to try a little of everything, go for the four-course tasting menu for $40. And if you’re gluten-free, you’ll be happy to hear the Monsu offers both g-free pasta and bread, so you don’t have to miss out on one tasty bite.
1009 S 8th St
Amateur Andrew Zimmern’s will love this warm French restaurant in Bella Vista for its selection of interesting edibles. Frequenters recommend the pig’s foot, bone marrow, foie gras and of course, Bibou’s most famous dish, the escargots. And if you’re sitting there, reading this and thinking, Escargots AGAIN?!, you should know that these aren’t your average snails. Bibou’s version is made with trumpet mushrooms and fava beans (as opposed to butter, butter and more butter), and the dish is really more like a scrumptious stew — you’ll want to sop it up with Bibou’s amazing baguette.
1415 W Porter St
First date? No problem: Charm and ambiance are the hallmarks of this South Philly BYOB with the sunflower yellow interior. Walk through the door and past the kitchen to your cozy table (preferably situated near a stained glass window or underneath one of the murals), and let out a sigh of contentment. It’s just so…comfortable. But in an area where Italian food abounds, what really makes L’Angolo stand out from the pack due is consistency and interesting specials. Try anything involving seafood or pasta, which is pretty much…everything. ‘Nuff said.
Taqueria La Veracruzana
908 Washington Ave
No website – (215) 465 – 1440
Look past the seediness of Washington Avenue and do two things: 1) Stop at the liquor store for a bottle of tequila, and 2) Eat at Taqueria La Veracruzana. Here, your smiling waitress will deliver the closest thing to authentic Mexican food Philly has to offer, down to the type of (magical) cheese that’s used in the tacos and burritos to the presence of horchata on the menu. And though you’ll have to do your noshing under the ugly glare of fluorescent lights, everything’s muy muy delicioso. The best part? You can easily stuff yourself for less than 10 bucks. Oh, and they deliver.