+ Melograno- Rustic Italian BYOB with room for all
Philadelphia is known for its BYOB restaurants. The only downside is that many BYOB restaurants are small and cramped. While some may enjoy the small rustic charm, others like to eat without elbowing their neighbor. Melograno located in Rittenhouse Square offers authentic Italian cuisine in a spacious atmosphere. If you have a larger party to accommodate, this is definitely the place to gather friends with copious bottles of wine. Chef Gianluca Demontis expanded Melograno to their location on 20th and Spruce for business, and in return created a more desired dining atmosphere with an expanded menu. From snail soup to classic Italian dishes like Carbanora, every dish is unique with a touch of Roman flare. For the full menu visit www.melogranorestaurant.com Insider’s Tip: Like many Philadelphia BYOB restaurants, Melograno is closed on Mondays. They only accept reservations on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings- Fridays and Saturdays are walk-in only. 215.875.8116
+ Creperie Beau Monde/L’Etage: French Food, European Night Life
Off the beaten trail, and nestled in South Philadelphia this French sensation offers an experience unlike any other. A savory lunch or dinner at Creperie Beau Monde is something unique. From hearty buckwheat crepes to sweet crepes, mouthwatering salads to flavorful cheese plates Beau Monde is a foodies dream. The fresh vintage setting brings a feeling of France to the intersection of sixth and Bainbridge. On top (literally) of all of the wonder that is Beau Monde is L’Etage, where the French flare is illuminated into the night. There you can find a DJ pumping beats in a cozy cabaret setting well equipped with a dance floor. If you are looking for a night of dinner and dancing or a memorable luncheon, Beau Monde/ L’Etage has it all under one roof. The Creperie is open Tues-Fri:12-12, Sat:10-11 and the cabaret upstairs runs Tue-Thu,Sun 7:30pm-1am; Fri-Sat 7:30pm-2am. Insider’s Tips: L'Etage offers special nights for live cabaret, music, film and Djs.
+ Garces Trading Company- A Unique Concept
Located in West Washington Square, Garces Trading Company offers a dining experience unlike any other. Whether you are dining at home and looking for a gourmet touch, or looking to dine out-Chef Jose Garces has created a one-stop shop. Food Network’s newest Iron Chef has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and opened Garces Trading Company, a cafe, wine shop and on-site bakery. Not only can you go in and purchase a bottle of wine to take home, but you can also buy a bottle with no markup price to accompany you at your table as an afforable asset to your meal. Along with a phenomenal menu for diners, customers can also purchase artisan cheeses, charcuterie, breads, desserts and much more. Although the restaurant is in the middle of the market, the ambience is charming and does not lack an ounce of rustic flare. This unique concept in a Philadelphia original and definitely worth a trip. Insiders Tip: Check out the vingegar bar, where you can find a plethora of choices to dip your bread in before dinner. The pomegranate balsamic vinegar is delicious! Yum!
+ Flay brings the flavor to University City- Bobby’s Burger Palace
Food Network stars are no stranger to the Philadelphia food scene. Inspired by chef and TV personality Bobby Flay’s boyhood summers at the Jersey Shore, Bobby's Burger Palace offers a gourmet spin on a fast-food favorite. A burger with fresh goat chesse and lemon meyer honey mustard runs for a reasonable price of $7.50, cheapier than most fancy burgers you would find in an upscale restaurant. You can also get the standard burger sides like fries at $2.50 or a thick creamy milkshakes for $5 a pop. With hip leather barstools, this 71-seat David Rockwell designed eatery resembles a back-to-the-future burger joint. I am sure Marty McFly would approve! Insider's Tip: If they ask you if you would like your burger "crunchified", don't be concerned. No they are not offering to burn it to a crispy black- they simply want to know if you would like to add chips on your burger for that extra bite!
+ Distrito Serves Modern & Creative Mexican
Distrito serves modern Mexican food in a fun and quirky environment - Pepto-Bismol pink walls and VW bugs as booths to be exact. Located in University City among three of Philadelphia's major universities, Distrito is always packed with the young and young at heart that are ready to have a good time. And Chef Jose Garces (of Top Chef and Philadelphia restaurant fame) is ready all the time for the taco-loving crowds: Distrito is open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, lunch 5 days a week and dinner 7 nights a week. The first floor bar and tequila lounge serves a fun cantina menu, full of all different types of tacos, enchiladas and especialidades, then when served alongside a house specialty margarita, you are good to go. For the heavier appetite or a night out with friends, it's best to get a table and be prepared to share. All of the dishes are based on traditional Mexican ingredients but modernized - like the Fish Tacos with yellowtail, chipotle remoulade, avocado, red cabbage and lime juice, or the Skirt Steak Nachos with refried beans and queso mixto. Tasting menus are also always available, with tequila pairings, which are not recommended for the faint of heart.