Just Say No: To the frozen food section
Cozy up to the fireplace during "Hours of Happiness" (Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.) at Bella Vista's James with $5 rum-spiked apple cider and $3 local draughts like Slyfox 113 IPA and Yards ESA. Balance the boozing with complementary bar snacks like arancine, popcorn and fresh roasted chestnuts from chef Jim Burke.
728 S. Seventh St. 215.629.0428
You might know this cozy, sun-washed BYOB for brunch, but they do a mean dinner business. Go on Wednesdays for their $35 four-course prix fixe. There's lots to choose from--think black linguine with scallops, lemony branzino and house-made gnocchi--and for dessert, head to the pastry case full of baked-daily fruit tarts and mile-high Napoleons.
227 S. 20th St. 215.496.9677
This Rittenhouse gem's $30 Recession Menu is a PW favorite. Just make sure one of the your three courses features chef/owner Stephen Vassalluzzo's heavenly pastas. Khyber
56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. www.thekhyber.com
This Old City spot is owned by the boys from Royal Tavern. Every day from noon till 7 p.m., the Khyber sells Royal's glorious trifecta of Angus beef, smoked Gouda and pickled long hots for only $4.
746 Christian St. 215.413.0171
Here's a sweet bonus from Bella Vista's newish Mexican outpost from bros-in-law Ismael Torres and Dionicio Jimenez: When everyone at the table orders an entree, the first pitcher of limey, fresh-squeezed 'rita mix is on the house. Just remember to BYOT.
Should you find yourself way down South Philly, hit this Girard Estate saloon for its rock-bottom lunch deal. Ten bucks buys a cup of soup du jour or house salad, followed by a veal meatloaf sandwich, IPA-battered fish and chips, wintry chicken potpie or one of several other entrees. Domestic pint included.