In the latest installation of Philly’s top BYOBs, we’re taking a short trek to the northwest neighborhoods of Chestnut Hill, Roxborough and Manayunk. Whether you’re craving wine and pasta or pancakes and mimosas, we’ve got you covered when it comes to dining and drinking on the cheap(er) in the City of Brotherly Love. – Chelsea Karnash
Terrace Street Bistro
This tiny Manayunk bistro has somehow managed to stay under-the-radar for a number of years, and the regs would like to keep it that way. Perhaps it’s the lack of a website, or the absence of a social media presence. Or the fact that there are no regular hours.
Whatever it is, you don’t want to skip Terrace Street. The French onion soup, crème brulee and pretty much any of the beef entrees are standout, and the owner is a home-brewer who will sometimes let you sample his work. But going back to the lack of a set schedule, make sure to call ahead and confirm the place is open, especially during the summer months.
You could make a meal of wine and the fresh, warm bread Stella Sera serves up, but please don’t. Instead, hunker down inside this C-Hill BYOB bedecked with twinkly lights, and order the carpaccio or melanzana (eggplant) appetizer, followed by your choice of pasta and any of the scrumptious desserts. Salute!
I will never understand how it’s possible for a pizza place in a strip mall off Henry Avenue to have ambiance, but somehow, DiMeo’s does. The other thing DiMeo’s has? The best pizza in all of Philadelphia (a bold statement, I know). Not only did owners and father-son duo Pino and Antimo DiMeo spend two years getting their wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies just right, they also import every ingredient directly from Italy — including the water! Insane? Perhaps. But once you bite into a perfect slice of the Fica (fig spread) pizza or taste the perfectly al dente butternut squash-laden Zucca pasta, you’ll bow to that insanity. And maybe just call it “love.”
Heirloom Fine American Cookery
If you can find this upscale eatery in Chestnut Hill on your own, you’ve got more skills than Magellan – it’s tucked away in the Top of the Hill shopping center, behind the fountain and in between a Thai spot and a Wine & Spirits. But once you do find it, grab a bottle from said Wine & Spirits and settle in for a feast of colorful , innovative cuisine from the rotating seasonal menu. Service is awesome, food is spectacular and atmosphere is, well, much better than you’d expect considering the location. The only downside? You won’t have time to try everything on the menu before it’s switched up again.
Chabaa means “hibiscus” in Thai, and it’s come to symbolize the friendly, hospitable nature of the Thai people — something Chef Moon Krapugthong manages to translate through her fresh, traditional tastes of Thailand. Frequenters swear by the basil fried rice, pineapple fried rice, drunken noodles and red curry. And don’t skip the mango sticky rice dessert, either. Because really, who can say no to drunken noodles, mango sticky rice and copious amounts of wine?
For the ladies (and gents) who brunch, there’s Cafette, a tiny restaurant nestled on a residential street that’s been serving up healthy(-ish) comfort food for more than 20 years. Vegetarians won’t be disappointed with the Señor Miguel’s Tofu Scramble, and omnivores have full run of the menu, including both savory dishes, like the Huevos con Chorizo, and sweet ones, such as the country-style Homemade Flapjacks served with fruit or caramel sauce. Lunch options area heavy on salads and sandwiches, but there are also several more filling entrees, like a cheesy poblano pepper stuffed with Jack cheese and grits and served with black bean and corn rice sauté. Consume your food outdoors in the fairyland-esque garden while sipping a Bloody Mary or two, and you’ll be sold on this bright, cheerful neighborhood noshery.