Instead... we checked out Di Vino on 19th Street, just off Rittenhouse Square. Excellent substitution! It's a wine bar with a varied, but not overwhelming, selection of wines by the bottle and glass, plus apps, flatbread pizzas and salads.
It was one of those situations where you don't want to be that girl who picks the cheapest bottle on the menu, but you also don't want to make your friends spend an unecessary amount of money when none of you care THAT much about the actual wine, you just want to feel sophisticated and get a good buzz on. So I picked a reasonable $32 bottle of Merlot, and asked our absolutely fab-u-lous waiter Jay if it was good. Extra points were then quickly earned by Jay, who told me he actually likes the other Merlot better and would recommend that instead. It also happened to be the cheapest bottle on the menu. Sold! I like this guy.
Wine was great (polished off 2 bottles of the Merlot), food was good. The calamari appetizer was really delicious but not big enough for four people. I only had maybe two or three little pieces and was left craving more. All the pizzas on the menu looked tasty - we decided on one with sausage/roasted peppers/mozz/something else, and a second with prosciutto/arugula/mozz etc. All yummy but in my opinion also not enough for four people, again. That's our fault though - we could have ordered more, but rarely are those smart decisions made post-two bottles of wine.
Ambiance gets an A. Typical wine bar, high tables/stools, low light, small place, which I love Jay was also very attentive to our personal ambiance and was quick to re-light our candle since our enthusiastic conversation kept blowing it out.
BUT don't get toooo excited to google Di Vino yet. Jay gave us the whole run down of Di Vino's future plans. It will soon be changing its name to Cichetteria 19. A mouthful but they hope people will shorten it to "C19." There's already a website up, Twitter account, everything, they are just waiting on something related to the liquor license. Theme will be Venetian, bringing the typical wine bar/cafe feeling from Venice to Philadelphia. Bradd and I got super psyched because we went to Venice during our honeymoon and lived in the cafes. They are the perfect spots to drop in for a quick bite and drink. We were a little surprised, though, when they didn't know what a "Spritz" was - the drink we learned was the thing to stop and get at one of the hundreds of little stand-up cafe bars in Venice after work. Maybe they'll look it up and add it to the menu?
I'll definitely go back to check out C19 when it changes over, if not stop in for a glass of wine before. Jay said they are running some awesome happy hour specials. I forget what day/time, but $5 glasses of wine were mentioned... whatever they were, the specials were better than Tria, which I also love. That being said, if you like Tria, its worth a walk across the park to Di Vino for a similar experience but a bit of a more chilled out, and definitely not so loud, atmosphere.