Philadelphia’s restaurants step it up a notch in the summer months when outdoor dining is at its best. While all of our favorite alfresco spots have attractive decor and elegant dining rooms, it’s even sweeter to enjoy meal “en plein air” at these local favorites. Here are our favorite spots to dine as the sun sets and the stars appear.
Parc is a Stephen Starr staple in the heart of the Rittenhouse neighborhood. If you’re lucky, you can land a table on the terrace and enjoy your meal like Parisians at a sidewalk cafe. The wicker chairs, green backdrop of Rittenhouse Square’s trees, and quaint ambiance creates an unmatched, chic French experience. The food is exceptional too, of course. The steak tartare, bursting with savory flavors, capers, and egg yolk, is a good place to start, and the duck confit is perfectly crispy.
227 S. 18th Street
Located downstairs at the Independent Hotel, Little Nonna’s serves up classic Italian dishes that have evoke “soul food” comfort. The dining area, while rustic and charming, is almost upstaged by the garden hidden behind the restaurant. Stringed lights and hanging plants harken to terrace cafés, and create a cozy and romantic patio. Enjoy the best meatballs in Philadelphia—fontina-stuffed with a smokiness that lingers on your tongue—or the crispy risotto balls with olive oil and truffle aioli.
1234 Locust St.
Sweeping views of Logan Circle and some of Philadelphia’s most iconic buildings (such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Franklin Institute) highlight the new Assembly Rooftop Lounge. Nine floors above street level, the relaxing bar area and lounge offers modern seating nests and fireplaces. While not necessarily a restaurant, Assembly Rooftop Lounge offers a formidable menu of small plates to accompany its list of sparkling wines and cocktail blends. You can enjoy shareable charcuterie, cheese plates, oysters, and more with your glass of rosé.
1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Another Rittenhouse favorite, Rouge evokes the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro and offers an attractive setting, delicious American fare, and people watching. The sidewalk is the perfect vantage point for seeing locals and tourists stroll by, and is a relaxing scene to enjoy small or large plates. On the small side, try the shrimp dumplings or the roasted beets, and for a huge meal indulge in the Rouge Burger, a gruyere-stuffed beef patty with caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, and pickle.
205 S. 18th Street
Newly installed outdoor tables bring The Little Lion to the front of the alfresco scene, and the apt combination of Southern food and being outdoors makes it worthy of our list. Diners sit along Chestnut Street in Old City, and can enjoy a variety of favorites like fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, shrimp and grits, catfish and more.
243 Chestnut St.