Craig LaBan's favorite Italian BYOBs

Philadelphians love BYOBs of all sorts.

But no style within that genre has thrived with as much enduring appeal as the Italian BYOB.

Two of them – Zeppoli in Collingswood and A Mano in Fairmount – are good enough to have cracked our list of Top 25 favorite restaurants in the region.

But there are so many others also worth touting.

In a category full of cookie-cutter menus, here are five more from East Falls to South Philly, excerpted from Craig LaBan’s Ultimate Dining guide, recently delivered to subscribers, that bring distinctive menus and consistently great authentic cooking inspired by every corner of the Boot. (Not a subscriber? You can order a copy; info is below.)

Bell ratings, where applicable, range from zero to four.

 

MELOGRANO

2012 Sansom St., 215-875-8116; melogranorestaurant.com

Gianluca Demontis’ Roman touch has long kept this noisy trattoria among Philly’s Italian elite, with expert whole fish, fresh pastas, and awesome Amatraciana. Its Bryn Mawr sibling, Fraschetta, is among the Main Line’s best restaurants, period.


FIORINO

3572 Indian Queen Lane, 215-843-1500; www.fiorino.us

It’s hidden up a hill in East Falls, but Franco Faggi’s cozy ode to northern Italian classics — pristine tuna carpaccio, fresh ravioli, and pasta fagiole soup — is worth seeking out.


MODO MIO

161 W. Girard Ave., 215-203-8707; modomiorestaurants.com

Peter McAndrews’ original BYOB remains one of his best, especially for the boisterous “Sugo Sunday” feasts that are a $37 abbondanza bargain.


TRE SCALINI

1915 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-551-3870; trescaliniphiladelphia.com

Franca DiRenzo’s long-running hit features unpretentious Molisana home cooking, including chitarra-cut tonnarelli, grilled polenta with broccoli rabe, veal specialties, and saffron gnocchi.


L’ANGOLO

1415 W. Porter St., 215-389-4252; langolo-restaurant.com

Davide Faenza’s 16-year-old Pugliese nook remains a hidden South Philly gem just west of Broad for garlicky artichokes, grilled seafood, and braised duck pappardelle. L’Angolo West is its new suburban cousin in Havertown (26 E. Eagle Rd.).


"Craig LaBan's Ultimate Dining," a glossy, 52-page, magazine-style book that wraps up the food critic's 25 favorite restaurants, as well as lists such as favorite BYOBs, Chinatown, and Philadelphia classics, is available by mail, through this link, or in person at the newspaper's offices, 801 Market St. (entrance on Eighth Street), from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays ($5.95, cash only).

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