795 S 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Okay, well this review has been a long time coming. Why? Because I didn't want any more people than already know about this Dmitri's to go there. The wait is already long enough. But alas, I cannot hide my love for my favorite BYOB in the city anymore. There I said it. Dmitri's is my favorite BYO, and one of my favorite restaurants in all of Philadelphia. It's where I like to go, if I am paying. The prices are extremely reasonable, the service is brisk, but cordial, and you can bring your own wine as you see fit. Oh, and the food is absolutely incredible. It's never-fail, fresh, simple Mediterranean food (a majority of it from the sea) of which I never grow tired. Seriously. I have eaten here more than any other "sit down" restaurant in the city. Not to mention the pita bread. Oh that pita.
I have heard they get their pita shipped down from Brooklyn and it comes in large stacks inside of plastic bags, coated with oil. Wherever it comes from, it tastes as though it arrived from heaven. They grill it fresh before it arrives to your table, and although they provide a dish of olive oil and red wine vinegar, it is worth it to wait for your order of 'half baba ghanoush - half hummus' to arrive. Because you HAVE to order a plate of it. The baba is smoky, thick and delectable, while the hummus is smooth and creamy, which makes for pita dipping perfection. Garnished with some smoked paprika and olives, this always arrives first and helps satiate your dining partners, who are no doubt ravenous after seeing other diners' plates, and smelling the fresh seafood being grilled over blazing hot grates.
So next, do yourself a favor and order the 'snap peas'. They are crisp, served with a fantastic tomato sauce and topped with chunks of feta that does not melt, but softens in the warm sauce.
Now stop. Ask for more pita!
Okay, on to the next delivery. The 'mussels saute' are delectable. You receive about two dozen of these salty, crunchy little shelled crustaceans. They are sort of a Greek version of popcorn shrimp. They are really quite good with a squeeze of lemon.
The 'meatballs' are also really good, offering a slightly crispy exterior with a moist, juicy inside. I always order a side of tzatziki, to dip them in, which really solidifies their "Mediterranean-ness" (and I love sauces).
The 'fried smelts', are not fishy at all, and have a meaty, tender interior, with a slightly crunchy breaded exterior. They are served with a sauce that seems to be some kind of horseradish dip, but it is not super flavorful. I would just suggest a liberal squeeze of lemon and really embracing the delicate flavor.
Which brings me to my favorite of these tasty small plates. You will want to make sure you have extra pita left for this little number. Dimitri's 'shrimp scampi' is, to me, one of the best presentations of shrimp around. They are cooked simply in oil and some vinegar, with red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs. But the results are fantastic. Everyone at the table was commenting on how much they thoroughly enjoyed these delicious shrimp, all the way to the last drop of that succulent oil. A must, on every trip.
A head's up, you have to order everything at once here (not by choice), because it is tiny inside, and people tend to sit for a half hour or more after they finish and shoot the breeze drinking their wine, which is fine, unless you are waiting for a table. Fortunately, the New Wave Cafe is across the street, and serves an ample array of wines and micro brews to hold you over during the excruciating waiting game that sometimes exists. The hostess will come across the street and get you when your table is ready. Sometimes I will go in and get a table right away, although I am used to waiting about 30-45, and have even once waited for an unprecedented two and half hours on a Saturday night (I really wanted grilled octopus).
The food is amazing, and the bill will pleasantly surprise you. Although they have a Fitler Square location (not a BYOB) and a new one in Northern Liberties (not sure on the liquor license status), I always stick with the original. Just be prepared for a wait, and bring cash (they don't accept cards).