You have some friends visiting from the west coast and all they know about Philadelphia is that it has “a lot of Italian mob restaurants, right?” After you’ve finished rolling your eyes, take them to La Locanda. They serve great red-sauce Italian food, it’s pretty inexpensive, and the staff is so friendly it will make your out-of-town friends rethink everything they saw on It’s Always Sunny. It’s also BYOB, so make sure you pick up a bottle of wine or three on your way there.
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LaScala's is a casual Italian restaurant that looks like a diner and is useful for watching football games over a plate of pasta and beer.
Old City Beer Garden
Old City Beer Garden is essentially an empty lot with a tiki shack for a bar. It’s perfect.
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Vetri is expensive, completely over the top, and possibly the best restaurant in Philadelphia.
Mercato is an Italian BYOB in Washington Square West that has a ton of outdoor seating in the summer.
Suggested by our writers
Murph’s is an Irish pub in Fishtown that also happens to make some of our favorite Italian food in the city.
Palizzi Social Club
Palizzi Social Club is a members-only spot in East Passyunk. It’s hard to get a membership, but it’s worth it since the Italian food is so good.
Dim Sum Garden
Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown is affordable and BYOB, which makes it a great spot to start a night or anytime you want some soup dumplings.
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