Here's a restaurant trend that can help keep dining costs down and encourage off-the-beaten path eating in Philadelphia. At more than 200 restaurants in and around the city, BYOB is not just an acronym but a way of life. Most BYOB ("bring your own bottle") establishments encourage patrons to bring their own wine and beer, but there are a few that provide the mixers for those who prefer cocktails and want to bring along something a bit stronger.
The only place I've ever gone BYO (as opposed to bringing wine to restaurants that charge a corkage fee) is at Mandola, a little Sudanese restaurant close to the Notting Hill Gate tube stop in London, but I loved it and would do it again. Though it seems like things might spiral out of control when people aren't constrained by the inflated restaurant alcohol prices, I found that everyone managed to hold it together admirably, and that the novelty of it actually fostered a convivial sense of community.
To find BYO establishments in Philly, visit the interactive BYO map on the GoPhila website.