No matter what style of food you favor, eating it in the open air makes it taste better. Want more ways to add alfresco dining to your schedule? From elegant Italian to tavern fare and tacos to dumplings, here are the 10 hottest new spots for outdoor dining in Philly.
A newly wood-planked ceiling and polished mahogany tables make the covered terrace nearly as luxe as the interior of Luke Palladino’s Italian, except that fresh air breezes through, leaves flutter nearby and the East Passyunk streetscape pulses just a few feet away (pictured above).
The View: Set at the tip of East Passyunk, where the avenue curves off Broad to start its diagonal jaunt toward South Street, the patio offers a chance to make both neighborhood residents and passing drivers jealous of your food.
What to Order: Truffle cheese potato skins ($9), sweet pea tortelli ($21)
Insider Tip: Both bar and terrace are now open all day on Sunday, so you can stay late after brunch or stop in for an early dinner.
1934 E. Passyunk Ave.; 267-928-4339
West Philly’s new tip-inclusive eatery from Avram Hornik has opened a 60-seat patio, turning the indoor beer hall into an indoor-outdoor beer garden complete with picnic tables and string lights. More intimate sidewalk seating, at regular tables, follows along the corner building’s 39th Street side.
The View: In the heart of University City, the tables are surrounded by both landscaped college halls and busy retail stores.
What to Order: Smoked eggplant croquettes ($7), BBQ short-rib sandwich ($12)
Insider Tip: With a hat tip to the restaurant’s former life (as Drinker’s West), the $25 prix fixe weekend brunch includes three glasses of booze with your meal — plus unlimited coffee and donuts.
3900 Chestnut St.; 215-397-4693
Marc Vetri’s rotisserie-focused kitchen at the tip of South Broad Street now has the chance to do something none of his other restaurants can: serve hot-off-the-grill meats and veggies to 60 seats surrounded by green grass and leafy trees.
The View: Set just behind the main building, the outdoor patio looks out on the relatively idyllic streets of the Navy Yard complex, framed by a unique backdrop of giant seaworthy ships.
What to Order: Spit-roasted chicken salad sandwich ($12), BBQ popcorn ($3)
Insider Tip: This is the perfect spot for a pre- or post-Phillies game drink or snack — you can even see the sports complex from the second-floor dining room.
4503 S. Broad St.; 215-282-3184
Like a friendlier, more-adorable version of Rittenhouse, Fitler Square now sports a complement of tables lined up on the sidewalk across from its gates, thanks to the newest outpost of this wine/beer/cheese cafe, which here also serves from a full hot kitchen.
The View: For such a compact park, Fitler Square is incredibly picturesque, with tree boughs stretching across brick-paved pathways, a fountain and wrought-iron gates.
What to Order: Mission figs with prosciutto ($6), roast Lancaster chicken ($15)
Insider Tip: Even though there's a more expansive menu, this location offers the same "Sunday School" specials as the others — one wine, one beer and one cheese, all available at half-price.
2227 Pine St.; 215-309-2245
Wide windows along the East Passyunk side of the trapezoidal dining room let sidewalk diners soak in the gonzo-trip vibe of Cheu Noodle Bar’s new South Philly sibling, while still enjoying fresh air with their Asian-skewed bites.
The View: Dog walkers, cyclists and other EPA traffic provides a foreground for the margarita-fueled stories evolving under the tented patio of Cantina Los Caballitos, just across the way.
What to Order: Fermented garlic green beans ($9); pan-fried bao ($7)
Insider Tip: If you’re planning to imbibe, don’t miss the best tea-infused cocktails in town, which are even better because they’re served in family-style pitchers.
1648 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-279-7702
There’s plenty of greenery inside the cedar-clad dining room, but any day now this new Northern Liberties jazz lounge and beer bar will launch its patio garden, adding 30 seats below lamps that hang from the rooftop garden.
The View: A narrow entrance provides a glimpse of the hippest part of North Second Street (Standard Tap, North Bowl), but expect urban garden decor interesting enough to hold your attention.
What to Order: Smoked baby potatoes ($7), rabbit sausage with black garlic BBQ ($22)
Insider Tip: At the head of the dining room is a choice semi-alfresco seating area — cushioned easy chairs in front of the roll-up garage door.
914 N. Second St.; 215-627-7500
If you thought the stone-covered front of Chip Roman’s Chestnut Hill restaurant was picturesque, wait till you see the back — the historic townhome turned contemporary American dining room was recently outfitted with a flower-ringed, trellis-covered patio.
The View: Flowers, trees and the rooftops of the quaint stores and houses that line Germantown Avenue.
What to Order: Foie gras torchon with strawberry jam ($16), roasted Atlantic blackfish ($24)
Insider Tip: Be sure to ask for a wine recommendation; two staff members recently achieved official sommelier certification.
8609 Germantown Ave.; 267-335-3912
The interior of this BYO brasserie is plenty cheerful, with light streaming across a wood floor below yellow-accented walls, but outdoor seating offers a chance to enjoy the varied, French-inspired menu with even more sun.
The View: Fishtown is on the move, and the streetscape beside the El now boasts a string of restaurants and shops, with more due to open soon.
What to Order: Croque madame ($13), brasserie burger with bacon jam ($17)
Insider Tip: Stop in anytime for a quick cup of coffee and one of the house-baked pastries — recent treats out of the oven have included maple-bacon cinnamon rolls and strawberry “Pop-Tarts.”
300 E. Girard Ave.; 267-457-2486
Get neighborhoody at this BYO set between the rowhomes of Bella Vista and Queen Village — Gene and Amy Giuffi have set up a couple of wood-slat tables outside their pizzeria-plus, offering the chance to attack a puffed-up rectangular pie under the open sky.
The View: Just across the street is Giuffi’s BYO Cochon, which gives the whole corner a quaintly Parisian feel.
What to Order: Funghi pizza ($11/$14), ragu all nonna ($18)
Insider Tip: Even though the larger-size pizzas bring too much food for one person, get a couple to share, then enjoy the leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day.
600 Catharine St.; 215-238-0615
The outdoor prowess of Groundswell Design Group (Morgan’s Pier, Independence Beer Garden) makes the landscaped patio at this new cantina one of the most appealing outdoor spaces in Chestnut Hill. Don’t worry too much about finding space — it holds 100 seats.
The View: Look out past the trees, lights and flowers and you’ll catch sight of shoppers and residents strolling brick-lined Germantown Avenue.
What to Order: Housemade chorizo tacos ($10), torta de barbacoa ($11)
Insider Tip: Test out the Taco Tuesday deal, which here brings $4 trios of tacos in either mushroom or “Americano” style (pony up $1 extra to get your three tortillas stuffed with shrimp).
8201 Germantown Ave.; 267-766-5372