An ambitious dinner service was added a couple years ago.
There are few spaces in the suburbs as impressive as the new location for Arpeggio, the 22-year-old Italian-Med BYOB that owners Mary Gigliotti Collum and Hamdy Khalil just moved across the parking lot of the Spring House Village Center.
And to be fair, chef Tim Thomas doesn’t pretend to adhere rigidly to tradition at the pair of Southern Belles he’s opened with partners Jose and Jennifer Vargas.
Southern inspiration is more like it, as well as the soul food traditions Thomas grew up on in Nicetown.
It has continuously evolved and improved (now with soundproofing to dampen the margarita-fuled noise) — enough to step up to 3 bells.
There are suddenly two Spanish restaurants on Ambler’s main street, and while Vida & Comida has a crisper modern style, the rustic little BYOB called 555 Lagiola was decisively superior in back-to-back meals.
After six years and several spin-offs (La Calaca Feliz, Taqueria Feliz), the original Cantina in Fort Washington remains the best of the Feliz family from Brian Sirhal and chef Tim Spinner, who’ve created here one of the region’s most satisfying Nuevo Mexican dining experiences, blending a colorful, casual space with outgoing service, excellent tequila cocktails, myriad fresh guacamole variations and a menu built to please a broad audience.