The Main Line’s 50 Best BYOBs
Here’s the first 10 … More to come!
Le Saigon: The Princess Platter, with summer rolls, crispy spring rolls, a grilled meat skewer,
stuffed grape leaves, grilled jumbo shrimp, rice vermicelli and greens
A La Maison: Embrace French favorites and settle into a country-chic setting as you enjoy wholesome, impeccably prepared plates of beef bourguignon, bouillabaisse and steak frites at this classically cool bistro. The kitchen’s masterful technique is especially evident in namesake dishes like the poulet and the cassoulet. Old-school cuisine is definitely alive and well.
53 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (484) 412-8009.
Alfredo Italian BYO: Reliable Old World Italian cuisine in generous portions, plus a sublime red sauce, make this cozy bistro a standout for pasta-crazed diners. Crusty, fresh-baked bread, hand-rolled gnocchi, and a flat-out fantastic cognac-cream sauce have all elevated this local favorite. The room’s wine-cellar feel is perfect for private parties.
668 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 640-2962.
Amani’s BYOB: For years, Amani’s has been quietly making an impression on loyal patrons with its seasonal menu. Chef Jonathan Amann has forged a
special relationship with local farmers, bringing a bounty of fresh ingredients to the table. His warm goat-cheese dumplings, served with a truffle sabayon and roasted mushrooms, are like pillows on a plate, and the Berkshire pork porterhouse with fig-apple chutney embodies stick-to-the-ribs satisfaction. Amann’s wife, Jeanine, runs the front of the house, accounting for the first-class service. Bring your own spirits and choose from several freshly made mixers, including charred pineapple jalapeño and strawberry-lemon basil.
105 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (484) 237-8179.
Antica: Chefs Josh Friedberg and Gent Mema also own the nearby stunner, Il Granaio. They bring a similar approachable concept to Antica. Served in a cozy New England-style setting, its fiercely traditional fare is cleanly executed. Standouts include the pulpo contadino and the bronzino—filleted tableside—with a savory lemon-oregano jam.
1623 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (484) 770-8631.
Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria: Passionately committed to fresh, authentic ingredients—some sourced from Italy (the mozzarella di bufala is flown in weekly from Naples)—Pino DiMeo elevates Wayne’s Italian dining scene with Ardé’s distinctly family-style experience. Pop open a bottle and start with an imported cheese-and-charcuterie board. Split a plate of fresh house-made pappardelle pasta with duck ragu. Or share slices from uncomplicated pies like the arugula-and-prosciutto combo.
133 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (484) 580-6786.
Bangles Indian Cuisine: masala-fried tilapia
Bangles Indian Cuisine: Don’t let the strip-mall locale keep you away. Bangles blends authentic Indian dishes with modern, elegant décor that rivals many Center City eateries. A few highlights: chef Dhirendran Paulraj’s oversized paper dosa—served with sambar (spicy lentil-and-veggie dip) and tomato and coconut chutneys—and the Chettinad chicken curry. Finish your meal with the kuzhi paniyaram, a maple-glazed rice-and-lentil doughnut hole, flavored with coconut and cardamom and filled with berries.
889 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (610) 269-9600.
Barbacoa: Robert Hayes and Guy Buonadonna are heading up a local fire-roasted barbecue revolution, juggling an eclectic menu that includes Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, St. Louis ribs, certified Angus beef brisket and slow-cooked pulled pork. The magic is in the house brine, its aged oak, cherry, pear and apple woods adding to the finger-licking flavor profiles. Bring a six-pack, or a growler from nearby Tired Hands Brewing Company. And never skip the side dishes.
64 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore, (610) 642-0600.
Birchrunville Store Cafe: This 45-seat gem, which shares space with a small post office, redefines quaint. To enjoy Francis Trzeciak’s impeccable contemporary French-Italian cuisine, one must plan ahead: Expect to wait up to three weeks. Signature dishes include Kobe beef carpaccio, venison filet with pumpkin risotto, and white-chocolate-and-cranberry crème brûlée.
1403 Hollow Road, Birchrunville, (610) 827-9002.
Blackfish: Always packed with wine-toting diners, this highly lauded seafood-centric spot is challenging without being too over-the-top. The first restaurant from the ever-evolving Chip Roman features à la carte selectons that change daily and two tasting menus (five or seven courses). Colorful dishes like smoked salmon with a crispy hen egg, and foie gras terrine with apple-cider broth keep the senses alive.
119 Fayette St., Conshohocken, (610) 397-0888.
WooJung: Based in a sleepy strip mall, this family-owned Japanese BYOB offers a creative array of cutting-edge maki rolls and impeccably fresh sashimi. Apps like tako carpaccio and jalapeño-infused hamachi are among the region’s most interesting, effortlessly combining color and artistic design. Push the limits with the Kiss of Death roll, a texturally loaded concoction layered with Thai-chili-infused whitefish and available at five spice levels.
1017 Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, (610) 272-2962.
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To see part three, click here.
To see part four, click here.
To see part five, click here.