Table Talk:

Posted: December 24, 2009

New in Northern Liberties is Lafayette Bistro (501 Fairmount Ave., 215-928-9200), a 50-seat BYOB from Tunisian-born chef Ramzi Boughanmi and business partner Mondher Khayat.

They've converted a former antiques store on the corner of Fifth Street and Fairmount Avenue into a cozy, mauve-tableclothed, brick-walled dining room. Menu (seafood dishes, homemade pasta, and couscous are specialties) spans the Mediterranean and North Africa; entrees top out at $26. It's open daily for dinner.

What's coming

Floret, the reconfiguration of Pond and Bistro Cassis at 175 King of Prussia Rd. in Radnor, is shooting for a Jan. 12 opening. Scott Morrison (Nectar) and executive chef Dan Kremin (ex-Barclay Prime, Buddakan), backed by Pond owner Raelyn Harman, are promising a modestly priced Euro-American menu. Bar renovation shows a nod toward understated elegance.

Zavino, the spiffy, rough-hewn pizzeria-wine bar tucked into the northwest corner of 13th and Sansom Streets (215-732-2400), will open Saturday. Chef-owner Steve Gonzalez's menu (online at zavino.com) is a tight selection of easy-on-the-budget antipasti, a few hot dishes, and pizzas - all befitting the snug space, which includes a curved, marble-topped bar and one-person charcuterie station in one corner. By-the-glass wines are $6 to $10. It's open from lunchtime through late night.

Shank's, which moved out of its old-time South Philly luncheonette and opened a sandwich shop over the summer on 15th Street near Sansom, is preparing for the rollout of its second location. It opens Saturday at 901 S. Columbus Blvd. (215-218- 4000), outside of Pier 40 at Christian Street.

Franco Faggi is out of Franco's Trattoria, which he opened in June 2007 off Kelly Drive in East Falls in the spot that was Verge. Representatives of his landlord, Sherman Properties, are running it. Meanwhile, Faggi (a partner in the now-gone Monte Carlo Living Room) has migrated across the Falls Bridge to the Presidential City Apartments on City Avenue (site most recently of O'Hara's). He and chef Luca Sena (son of the Old City restaurateur) are hammering out a new place, Franco's Osteria. A wood-fired pizza oven will be the focal point, and it's on track for opening at the end of January.

West Avenue Grille, the nine-year-old Jenkintown bistro, plans to take over the space in Dreshertown Plaza last occupied by Carambola. Owner Bob Katz says he expects to open in February, with a similar arrangement/menu to what he has in Jenkintown.


Contact Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. For restaurant news in real time, read his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and follow him on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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