Outdoor dining has never been better in Philadelphia. Recent years have seen expansions, upgrades, and brand new streateries proliferate to the delight of residents and tourists alike. There are copious sidewalk tables, plentiful patios, and rooftop spaces galore. Many have installed shading and sheltering so you’ll stay dry and comfortable, rain or shine. There’s no better way to take a bite out of Philadelphia’s irrepressible food culture now that the warm weather is here—here’s a look at the best of the best al fresco options.
Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti (Old City)
At this Old City gem—fresh from an impressive renovation—the front and back patios are umbrella-shaded and adorned with tropical plants, flowers, and palm trees. On weekends, DJs set a party scene with music. The food is inspired by Italy’s Amalfi Coast with an emphasis on seafood; standout plates, which all taste even better outdoors, include grilled calamari salad, smoked salmon flatbread, and tuna tartare.
Philadelphia’s most adored French restaurant is also home to one of the choicest outdoor dining perches in the city. In the spring and summer, with the dining room windows flung open and the corner teeming with people hopeful for a table, Parc reaches its atmospheric apex. The bustling sidewalk tables sit across the street from Rittenhouse Square Park, and the restaurant takes full advantage of its setting. There’s no better place to enjoy a flawlessly cooked French omelet or steak frites while people-watching.
Booker’s Restaurant and Bar (University City)
An oasis in West Philly, Booker’s lush patio has a greenhouse vibe. It’s set up under a sturdy pergola that’s crisscrossed with ample flowers, vines, and greenery. Comfortable outdoor tables and chairs make it the type of place city dwellers will want to linger. The food also makes people want to hang around. Try the fried okra with a side of sweet and spicy aioli or get a plate of fried fish sliders and soak in the sunshine. The iconic Cedar Park spot is named in honor of Booker Wright, a server at a whites-only restaurant in 1960s Mississippi (the subject of a 2012 documentary).
Continental Midtown (Center City)
The original location of the Continental in Old City may be gone, but the Rittenhouse sequel is still going strong. In the warmer months, the rooftop, with a partially enclosed indoor lounge and an outdoor patio, is the place to be; there’s even a cozy fire pit for when there’s a little chill in the air. Longtime fans of the restaurant know that whether you choose the calamari salad with bean sprouts and sesame dressing or lobster pop-tart with mornay sauce, a towering plate of the Szechuan shoestring fries for everyone to share is an absolute must.
Jet Wine Garden (South Street)
A two-story mural with bold colors and patterns provides the backdrop for this outdoor extension of Jet Wine bar. Set off from busy South Street by a neon green picket fence, the patio here is one of the most vibrant outdoor spaces in the city. Though there are cocktails and beers on offer, the focus is squarely on unique wines from around the world including unlikely locales such as Romania, Serbia, and Uruguay. The food menu, heavy on sandwiches and snackable plates, is short, fun, and perfect for open-air dining.
La Llorona Cantina (South Philly)
Situated on a quiet corner in Point Breeze, La Llorona has an extra-wide pavement for a dining area bedecked with lights—and there are enough plants to make it feel like a haven in concrete-heavy South Philly. The cantina-style menu offers tacos, nachos, and ceviche. The house-made mole sauce is layered with complex flavors—try the chile relleno, a poblano stuffed with potato, corn, and jalapeno sauced with the mole and served with plantains. Spirits aficionados, take note: the bar offers a few tequilas you won’t easily find elsewhere.
Le Virtu (East Passyunk)
You’ll find Le Virtu on the quieter end of East Passyunk avenue, and its sprawling patio seating is among the best al fresco options in Philadelphia. Tables are well spaced, plants abound, and there are plenty of shaded and sheltered options so diners can find their own perfect spot. The Abruzzo-focused menu, with its housemade pasta, is another reason to visit Le Virtu at any time of year. Try the maccheroni alla mugnaia—a single, impossibly long strand of pasta tangled in hot peppers, garlic, olive oil, and pecorino.
Revolution House (Old City)
From the second-story roof deck of this former Quaker meetinghouse, diners have a bird’s eye view of Old City’s streetlife. The wooden space sports plenty of planters and a few small potted trees to add to the outside atmosphere, while umbrellas provide a break from the sunshine. The New American menu has plenty of varied choices, including roasted garlic hummus with flatbread and shishitos with tahini and walnut dukkah as well as classic bar foods such as burgers, cheesesteaks, and fries.
Royal Boucherie (Old City)
The narrow sliver of rooftop that’s home to Royal Boucherie’s outdoor seating feels all the more secret for its charming confines. White lights pass overhead, plants adorn the brick walls, and a mix of wood and iron tables lend texture to the decor. It’s the ideal setting to splurge on a shellfish tower filled with oysters, shrimp, lobster, and crudo or one of the charcuterie boards for which the restaurant is well known.
Sor Ynez (Fishtown)
With an expansive patio and capacious parking lot, Sor Ynez is something of an outdoor dining unicorn in Philadelphia. In addition to ample standard seating, there’s a lounge-like area for grabbing a drink or waiting for a table. The menu is inspired by the ingredients, flavors, and techniques of Mexico and there are plenty of plant-based options, too. The sikil pak – a rich, spiced puree of pumpkin seeds served with raw vegetables – is a must.
Talula’s Garden (Washington Square West)
Semi-hidden behind a vine-tangled wrought iron fence across from Washington Square park, the patio at Talula’s Garden feels like a secret garden. Lit by paper lanterns and bountiful twinkly lights, the atmosphere is particularly enchanting. Local ingredients punctuate the menu so look for the most seasonal treats—such as ricotta ravioli with spring green asparagus butter sauce and champagne pickled vegetables or the vegan curry—on offer.
The Twisted Tail (Society Hill)
With a prime location off the historic Headhouse Shambles, Twisted Tail is an ideal spot to soak in Society Hill’s many charms. The large sidewalk patio offers a great view onto Second Street’s busy life. The restaurant has a Southern theme, so expect fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and crawfish mac and cheese though you’ll also find pasta, vegetables, and tacos on the large and eclectic menu.
Lauren McDowell contributed to this article.
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