Reader: I constantly see tons of people standing outside Giorgio on Pine . . . any good?
C.L.: Not bad, pleasant, decent food. Giorgio was one of the former Monte Carlo Living Room partners, and he's a gracious host. It's convenient to the theater and affordable, but would not rank in my top Italian BYOs. . . .
Reader: What are your favorite simple, off-the-radar Italian BYOBs?
C.L.: Radicchio, Ulivo, Roberto's Cafe, L'Angolo, Cucina Forte, to name a few. I doubt these are off your radar, just places that don't get talked about enough. There are others, those came to mind first.
Reader: Italian BYO: Il Cantuccio in N Libs.
C.L.: The last time I walked into Il Cantuccio (last year), we walked out, as the smell of lemon detergent was overwhelming the dining room. I was lukewarm on Il Cantuccio to begin with, was not enticed to return.
Reader: Scannicchio's and Pesto are two great red-gravy Italian BYOBs as well. Pesto now has a liquor license but will still let you BYOB wine (maybe beer too)
C.L.: I was at Pesto recently, considering it for a large event, and we were pretty disappointed with the food, a bit sloppy. I liked it better when it first opened.
Reader: Speaking of Italian BYOs, I haven't heard much about Popolino. Thoughts?
C.L.: You will hear my thoughts soon enough - Popolino gets reviewed Sunday, Sept. 30. Not only did you hear that first here - so did Popolino!
Reader: An Italian BYO you reviewed a bit back is still on my to get-to list . . . Fiorino in East Falls. Have you revisited?
C.L.: Thanks for reminding me of Fiorino - I really enjoyed that East Falls hidden gem . . . but no, I haven't had a chance to go back. Too many new places to get to!
Reader: Just moved in at 15th and South, whats your favorite place around there?
C.L.: I've written a lot lately about the blocks around 15th and South, which are really hopping. I haven't been to the Cambridge yet, but it looks promising. Meanwhile, I've put Rex, Jet, and Pumpkin (of course) on my "go" list . . . plus Magpie.