Now that the days are growing longer in Philadelphia, many restaurants are opening their doors and setting up shop on sidewalks and roof decks. And since there’s nothing like the combination of food, friends and the great (urban) outdoors to instantly improve your mood, here are our picks for some of the prettiest Philly spots to wine and dine in the sunshine. –Chelsea Karnash
Bistrot La Minette
623 S. 6th St.
Bistrot La Minette offers beautiful outdoor seating, and for an upscale French restaurant, the place is remarkably dog and family-friendly. Plus, they offer dinner and a French film—al fresco!—on Monday, Thursday and Friday nights, all summer long. Oui, s’il vous plait!
City Tap House
3925 Walnut St.
City Tap House has one of the most amazing outdoor spaces in the city. Between two terraces, five fire pits, and an ample grassy lawn (yes, grass on the terrace!), you’ll never want to eat indoors again.
1801 Chestnut St.
Stephen Starr’s funky diner-esque eatery boasts a pretty sweet rooftop space, complete with heat lamps and potted trees. And if the weather is less than ideal and you still want that al fresco feeling, the glass-enclosed rooftop bar is your best bet.
1927 E. Passyunk Ave.
Le Virtu’s fab outdoor space, Campo, will be the place to be on warm nights for the next few months. Think authentic Italian cuisine, artisanal wines and craft brews—yum!
500 S. 20th St.
Meritage’s quaint outdoor seating area—bedecked with strands of twinkling lights—draws diners like moths to a flame, but the food keeps them coming back. Adorable and quiet—great for date night.
231 S. 8th St.
M has arguably the most beautiful outdoor dining space in Philadelphia. With a miles-away-from-the-city feel, brick paving and landscaping reminiscent of an English garden, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a real-life secret garden that’s every bit as enchanting as the one in the movie.
227 S. 18th St.
When it comes to seeing and being seen, there’s no better place than Rittenhouse Square, and Parc’s Parisian street café style and park-facing outdoor seating only enhance the aesthetic. If you can secure a table outdoors, you’ll probably want to sit there all night.
The Piazza at Schmidt’s
2nd St. & Germantown Ave.
Never mind the naysayers; the Piazza is an excellent addition to the NoLibs scene. Head to P.Y.T. or King’s Oak for a chill evening outdoors with drinks, dinner and friends. Just like an Italian piazza…only with multitudes of hipsters and uber-modern architecture.
RAW Sushi & Sake Lounge
1225 Sansom St.
RAW’s private courtyard is always full in the summer, and it’s not hard to see why. The enclosed space, featuring modern furniture and décor set against old-school brick walls, makes for a meal that feels as trendy as a NYC lounge but not nearly as pretentious.
205 S. 18th St.
Full-disclosure: I lived in a building very, very near to Rouge for three years, and while running errands, the restaurant’s sidewalk-clogging, uppity crowd and their little dogs, big bags and haughty stares used to make me literally cross to the other side of the street.
That being said (er, ranted), this list would be an epic fail if it didn’t include Rouge, Philly’s original al fresco dining experience. Now that I don’t live nearby anymore, I can appreciate the place for what it is: a place where anyone can go to feel pampered and special. Plus, the burgers are really good, and the drinks aren’t too shabby either.
435 Spring Garden St.
This place has been on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” and there’s a reason why: Silk City does (interesting) comfort food right. The outdoor patio has only made the place more difficult to resist on a night out in the summer, when you can go for dinner, stay for drinks and dancing…and then order more food, since Silk City serves late night.
901 N. 2nd St.
The Standard Tap looks like a country tavern plopped in the middle of the city, and that’s sort of what it is. Only with a much more creative menu focusing on local, seasonal ingredients, and an impressive craft beer list. Oh, and a cute rooftop patio that’s worth waiting for a table on.
Water Works Restaurant
640 Water Works Dr.
The Water Works has practically attained landmark status for its gorgeous outdoor terrace and amazing views, and a visit to the place is a must-do for anyone who sets foot in Philadelphia. Just make sure to bring your camera—you’ll want to take some pictures at this one.