33 beautiful spots for outdoor dining in Philly in gardens and on patios

Restrictions on indoor dining have further relaxed. Still, it’s spring: Philly diners seem happy to stay outside for their meals. And why not? Inspired by the pandemic, lots of our restaurants have created amazing spaces for al fresco dining. In fact, thanks to the ingenuity of our restaurateurs, eating out(side) is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia these days.

That said, there’s “outdoor dining” and then there’s “eating on a sidewalk.” The latter has its place—aren’t we still feeling grateful to be able to go out to eat?—but for this guide, we scoped out fresh-air dining destinations tucked away on patios, in gardens, or, in thoroughly transformed streateries—removed from the world just enough that you still feel like you’re in the city, just surrounded by foliage, fountains and strands of twinkling lights (rather than sidewalk gawkers and whizzing traffic).

Keep reading for spots across the city that offer all types of cuisine—and give you a chance to support locally owned businesses this spring. Just be sure to check the websites before you go: Most spots these days require reservations. Some still require masks and proof of vaccination. Happy outdoor dining.

OUTDOOR DINING NEAR RITTENHOUSE SQUARE

This photo in included with a guide on great outdoor dining in Philadelphia

Restaurateur Nicole Marquis’ cheerful, vegan, Puerto Rican/Latin American bistro, known for excelling in punches, Buffalo cauliflower tacos, grapefruit margaritas, and Cuban black beans, has also exceeded streatery expectations. Bar Bombón’s lovely streetside space is centered around a San Juan-inspired yellow bike with an overflowing basket of blooms from Maidencreek co., a Callowhill florist. 133 S. 18th Street. 267-606-6612

A reader tipped us off to the loveliness that is Rittenhouse restaurant Branzino’s lush interior patio, filled with trees and surrounded by cool brick and stone walls—a beautiful little space that remains open as long as people wish to dine outside. A trickling fountain sets the scene for the menu of beautifully prepared traditional Italian pasta and seafood dishes, including, of course, a whole branzino seasoned with lemon caper butter. But go Soave shopping first: It’s BYOB. 261 S. 17th Street, 215-790-0103

The outdoor seating area at Harper's Garden in Philadelphia

If you’re outdoor dining near Rittenhouse, do it at Harper’s Garden, a lush, immersive urban landscape attached to an unsuspecting office tower. Beyond the lovely ambience, you’ll also enjoy lunch (go ahead, have a glass of Scarpetta), dinner (the double burger is a Big Mac, without the stomachache) and brunch (salmon Benedict, espresso martinis) comprised of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients—and an all-star cocktail (and mocktail!) list. 31 S. 18th Street, 267-886-8552

Rouge Philadelphia

In 1998, this tiny, Rittenhouse bistro launched Philly’s sidewalk cafe trend. Back then, martinis and cosmos were the thing. Today, Rouge remains a gem, with double the capacity thanks to a positively scenic, Philadelphia Flower Show award-winning, tent along 18th Street. In winter, the tent felt like a ski chalet, complete with fire pits and antler chandeliers. In spring, it has a full-grown, in bloom cherry street, its blooming branches dangling from above. Martinis are still on offer, as is the Gruyère-topped burger, but these days, most patrons go for the fresh juice cocktails and sparkling rosé with a light dinner or long brunch. 205 S. 18th Street. 215-732-6622

The Schulson Collective’s upscale pasta spot in Rittenhouse pretties up its outdoor “veranda” with potted shrubs and eye-pleasing mint green chairs. The pasta here is freshly handmade with locally sourced, fresh-milled flour. Have a plate of creamy ravioli and top it off with some shareable small plates and one of six specialty cocktails. 1723 Locust Street, 215-642-0020

WHERE TO EAT AROUND THE DELAWARE RIVER, OLD CITY, MARKET EAST, WASHINGTON SQUARE AND GAYBORHOOD

Friends hangout on the patio of The Bourse Food Hall in Old City Philadelphia

Inside a 19th-century, Beaux Arts former stock, maritime and grain exchange, an indoor food hall also caters to outdoor tables—with a pretty great view of Independence Hall. There’s poke, fried chicken, tacos, local beers and cocktails, and, considering this is the touristy part of town, cheesesteaks. The Bourse also has a calendar dotted with outdoor movies, brewery pop-ups, and corn hole. 111 S. Independence Mall East

The outdoor seating area at the Garden at Cherry Street Pier

The massive, transformed industrial pier jutting out into the Delaware has artist studios, live music activations—and a chic, open-air, 200-seat eatery with floor-to-ceiling trees, flowers, modern art and a stellar view of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Despite its size, Cherry Street’s concession has quiet spots, if you head toward the boats. For now, the restaurant is open Saturdays and Sundays noon to 10pm for tacos, burgers, guac, chips, and all kinds of drinks. Extended hours are expected once the weather warms up. Cherry Street and N. Columbus Blvd. 215-839-8031

This photo of the patio at Little Nonna's accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

It doesn’t get much more secluded—or romantic—than the patio of chef Marcie Turney and Val Safran’s Gayborhood Italian restaurant, Little Nonna’s. Accessed by going through the restaurant (mask on!), the enchanted, heated (when necessary) hideaway is surrounded by four brick walls and sheltered by wooden canopies draped with hanging lights. Be sure to book early—and ask for the patio, because sidewalk seating is available, too. And bring a hearty appetite for Turney’s menu of traditional Italian comfort foods, like spaghetti and meatballs swimming in Sunday gravy, half a roasted chicken, squid ink-pasta, eggplant and chicken parmesan, and pan-seared gnocchi. 1234 Locust Street, 215-546-2100

Royal Boucherie Philadelphia

This garden dining space atop this French brasserie is so charming, you will want to keep it a secret. Then again, it’d be unfair not to share in the exposed brick walls, hanging greenery, more white string lights, and clandestine vibe—all that make the Parisian steak tartare, steak frites, lobster cocktail and French 52 somehow taste even better. 52 S. 2nd Street. 267-606-6313

This photo of the patio at Talula's Garden accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

The lush, tucked-away little patio at Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr’s popular farm-to-table eatery (justly famous for its cheese plate) is always in high demand, and with good reason: Punctuated by a spring menu with roasted chicken and gnocchi, lemon- seafood risotto and ricotta ravioli. Talula’s is an incredibly pretty spot to nosh within throwing distance of Washington Square. 210 West Washington Square, 215-592-7787

The Wayward Philadelphia

Rustic, geometric wooden panels separate the Canopy Hotel’s outdoor terrace from the busy Market East corridor, while deep planters seem and dim lighting further muffle the din. The 30-seat American brasserie has one of the largest gin menus in Philly. Gin, by the way, goes great with oysters. But it’s not a bad prelude to corn beignets, duck confit or a pain au lait-bunned cheeseburger, either. 1170 Ludlow Street, 215-258-9430

WHERE TO EAT NEAR SOUTH STREET AND SOCIETY HILL

This photo of a plate of food and wine at Bloomsday accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

Evenings at Headhouse Square are looking pretty quaint these days—four restaurants, including Bloomsday, have set up tables and chairs set up on the brick sidewalk, cobblestone street and under the shambles with twinkly lights above. We love Bloomsday for it’s extra-savory weekend brunch, never-disappointing wine selection (including more than a dozen local wines—that are actually good) and dishes like smoked NJ carrots with farro and whipped feta and tinned fish from around the world, served with olives, crostini and a lemon wedge, which feels especially transportive these days. It’s the simple things. 414 S. 2nd Street

This photo of The Good King Tavern accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

Last year, this just-south-of-South Street (officially Bella Vista) French brasserie took over a section of Kater Street with its charming streatery. Order an expertly crafted cocktail, simple French white, oeuf mayonnaise, socca, escargots, raclette-topped burger and frites—and check the chalkboard menu for butter-poached radishes and other basic French delicacies. 614 S. 7th Street, 215-625-3700

Jet Wine Garden

Orange and semi-sparkling varieties are among the less usual, wholly international wines touted at a semi-hidden yet expansive South Street courtyard with a tiki-style drink hut, umbrella-sheltered tables, and foliage galore, including vine-covered walls and an enormous old tree in back. An eclectic food menu reflects archaeologist-owner Jill Weber’s world travels. There’s blackened shrimp tacos, Weisse-braised bratwurst, and cauliflower wraps. A full calendar of events include wine tastings, pop-ups and guest chefs. 1525 South Street, 215-735-1116

PHS Pop Up Garden South Street 2 1

The lush PHS pop-up garden is back for the spring and summer, enchanting with wooden seating and bar areas, and a veritable jungle of flora and fauna. Cantina Los Caballitos and Khyber Pass Pub continue to handle food and drinks, so expect a blend of Mexican- and Southern-inspired grub, herbal cocktail infusions and more. There’s also a Polynesian-inspired PHS pop-up in Manayunk (106 Jamestown Avenue), with palm trees, flower-garnished cocktails, a menu of beef and beyond burgers and brats, chicken and vegan tenders, and so many fries. 1438 South Street, 215-988-8800

The outdoor seating area under the Head House Shambles at Pizzeria Stella

Outdoor seating at Stephen Starr’s all-day Pizzeria Stella is technically street-side, but its location under the Headhouse Shambles earns it enough points to nab a place on this list. Tables and trendy red chairs are situated among the brick pillars along the historic Society Hill structure, giving diners ample space to enjoy the pizzeria’s signature wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas with gutsy Italian wines. 420 S. 2nd Street, 215-320-8000

BELLA VISTA, EAST PASSYUNK AND POINT BREEZE (SOUTH PHILLY)

This photo of a couple eating at Alma Del Mar in the Italian Market accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

This Italian Market seafood spot got a dose of pizazz from the Queer Eye crew in 2020 (watch episode eight, “Father Knows Fish,” to get to know the sweet and spunky family owners). It’s the sister restaurant to Marco’s Fish & Crab House just down the street, and it’s beloved for its mango, avocado and blue point crab salad, served in a delightful covered lot with tropical palms and plenty of seating. 1007 S. 9th Street, 215-644-8158

This photo of American Sardine Bar accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

This laid-back Point Breeze bar/restaurant offers sidewalk seating, but try to get in early enough to snag a spot on the backyard patio, which is blocked off from the street by flower boxes and hanging lights. The dining area gives off serious South Philly block-party vibes with folding lawn chairs and umbrellas. A chalkboard menu lists the day’s offerings, including a variety of sandwiches and comfort foods, loads of beers and refreshing seasonal cocktails. 1800 Federal Street, 215-334-2337

Barcelona restaurant Philadelphia 2

A block south of the Passyunk fountain, below a marquee with the Oscar Wilde motto, “I can resist anything except temptation,” a V of planters and trees conceal a small, triangular patio. For six years, the South Philly outpost of a small chain has shifted the neighborhood’s focus from Italy to Spain, with tapas (try the ham and manchego croquetas and fresh sardines), cheese and charcuterie plates and loads more dishes rich in olive oil, lemon and smoky paprika—plus a decent list of small-producer Cavas and rosés. 1709 E. Passyunk Avenue, 215-515-7900

The outdoor dining area at Italian Market Mexican restaurant Blue Corn, decorated with hanging lights and heat lamps

Dine quite literally on the Italian Market in Blue Corn’s covered streatery, complete with festive twinkly lights. Enjoy tacos, tortas, burritos, amazing ceviche, and specialties like huarache gratin—a thick tortilla topped with salsa verde, queso fresco, refried beans, onions, cactus, and melted chihuahua cheese. Pro tip: It’s a great place to celebrate a birthday; they’ll blast jovial music over the loudspeakers in your honor (plus … margaritas). 940 S. 9th Street, 215-925-1010

Chef Cristina Martinez, of Casa Mexico and South Philly Barbacoa

So you’ve probably been to its sister restaurant, South Philly Barbacoa (go on Monday to skip the weekend lines!), but have you tried Cristina Martinez’s new spot? It opened just before the pandemic hit and—thanks to the charming heated streatery on the market, excellent food and warm service—it’s still thriving. From the huevos rancheros and chilaquiles (brunch) to consomme and azteca soup (lunch) to moles and ceviche (dinner), nothing on the menu will let you down. 1134 S. 9th Street, 267-470-1464

This photo of Irwin's accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

This Bok Building restaurant with sweeping, 8th-floor terrace views of South Philadelphia continues to outdo itself thanks to former Res Ipsa chef Michael Vincent Ferreri, responsible for a serious spread of modern Sicillian plates and fresh pasta: straightforward spaghetti and clams, gnocchi Sardi with eggplant and chili, seasonal caponata. 800 Mifflin Street, 215-693-6206

kalaya philadelphia 1

Dine in a converted shipping container adorned with bright floral paintings and charming lights at the always-busy Thai hit. Kick off your night with stunning starters like kanom jeeb nok (bird-shaped dumplings with fish, caramelized onion & sweet radish) and shaw muang (vibrant blue flower-shaped dumplings with ground chicken filling, cucumber, red chili and cilantro), then dig into herb-loaded salads, rich curries, noodles (and) or stir-fry. 764 S. 9th Street, 215-385-3777

This photo of Le Virtu accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

This Italian restaurant on East Passyunk Avenue specializes in food from the Abruzzo region of Italy, where many older South Philadelphians hail from. The menu features hearty seafood stews, heaping, flavorful plates of fresh pasta, but we’ve always been partial to the small plates, arancini, cozze (mussels red or white), pork-filled fried olives). A spacious patio is adorned with lights, shrubs and potted plants, has canopies to keep you dry on wet evenings—and a lovely mural telling the story of the rugged Abruzzi region. 1927 E. Passyunk Avenue, 215-271-5626

WHERE TO EAT IN NORTHERN LIBERTIES, FISHTOWN AND KENSINGTON

Juno Outdoor Dining Philly 3

This festive, Mexican-American Spring Garden joint has added a pop of cheer to these otherwise dark times with colorful seating, vibrant wall murals and kitschy decor like neon-lit signage and a large model ship. It’s pretty, too, brimming with trees and overhead flower boxes. Come here anytime you’re in the mood for frothy margaritas and guacamole, meat- and veggie-filled tacos, and quesadillas. Reservations required. 1033 Spring Garden Street, 267-639-2892

The outdoor seating area at Martha in Kensington

Kensington’s spunky, fermentation-focused bar has a back patio with the best vibe. Between the carefully crafted cocktails, sour beers, natural wine, impressive selection of mezcal (too many good options!) and the bocce court, you’ll want to stay all night. Order snacks—house-fermented local veg pickles, hearts of palm toast, or an array of local veggies or cheeses—straight away. (They’ve got more substantial fare, like vegan and fried bologna hoagies, cold pho, too.) Get there early and make a night of it. 2113 E York Street, 215-867-8881

The outdoor seating area at Silk City Diner

The mural- and kitschy artifact-filled outdoor garden at Silk City has returned for the seasons. . Regulars will be happy to know that the diner’s beloved frozen drink machine continues to crank out delicious, boozy concoctions, and favorites like the Thai chili wings, spiced chicken sammy and vegan fare remain on the menu. Open evenings during the week and all day on weekends. . 435 Spring Garden Street, 215-592-8838

This photo accompanies a writeup about a new yoga vegan brunch event at Sor Ynez Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia

Brought to you by the team behind Jet, Sor Ynéz has an outdoor space of brightly-colored furniture under strings of white lights—the perfect spot to enjoy chef Alex Tellez’ vibrant, vegetarian-friendly, Mexican menu starring heirloom blue corn, cauliflower, cactus, pumpkin seeds—and mezcal. Next door: the new Neon Museum. 1800 N. American Street. 215-309-2582

This photo of restaurant Suraya accompanies an article about the best and most beautiful places to eat outdoors in Philadelphia

One of the best restaurants in the city offers one of the most beautiful outdoor dining spaces: Suraya, the Levantine-inspired Fishtown star, takes reservations for seats in its 5,000-square-foot outdoor lounge and garden, a space characterized by Persian ironwood trees, Arabic art, fountains, a fire pit. It’s quite the romantic, transporting escape—as is the patio seating near the garden entrance. Reservations required. Add an egg to your order of Lebanese flatbread (man’oushe), and don’t skip pastry. 1535 N. Front Street / 1528 Frankford Avenue, 215-302-1900

WHERE TO EAT AROUND FAIRMOUNT AND BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PARKWAY (ART MUSEUM DISTRICT)

The outdoor seating area at La Calaca Feliz in the heart of Fairmount neighborhood in Philadelphia

This charming contemporary Mexican spot in the heart of Fairmount boasts a menu of well-executed crowd pleasers and occasional surprises (try the bacon fig guacamole), along with compelling tequila and margarita lists. On top of that, it also has a twee little courtyard, hidden from the street, with all the wonderful trappings of your typical al fresco “dining room” (Charm? Check. Trees? Check. String lights? Check.). And yet, it’s always remained something of a neighborhood secret. Well … until now. Heaters and a tent keep the place cozy well into the cold-weather months. 2321 Fairmount Avenue, 215-787-9930

Barnes Garden Terrace

On the northwest side of this eminent art museum, a lovely, modern, tree-shaded patio serves elegant, healthful, seasonal lunches and brunches. You don’t have to purchase admission to enjoy a seared Ahi bowl, avocado toast, chicken salad BLT or crisp Sauvignon blanc, but, since you’re there, you should definitely try to get in to see the world-renowned collection. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-278-7070

This photo accompanies a guide to the best Philadelphia breweries that have delicious beer and also give back to the community

Victory opened its 14,000-square-foot taproom on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in fall of 2021. Spring is the moment to score a spot on the rooftop patio with its stunning Parkway views. The massive brewery and taproom has 30 beers on tap, plus seltzers and hard ciders to pair with a barroom-standard menu of burgers and sandwiches, salads, expected entrees and homemade soft pretzels. 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 445-223-1130

WHERE TO EAT OUTSIDE IN WEST PHILLY

The outdoor seating area at Dahlak in West Philly

The West Philly mainstay has a spacious—and covered—back patio, so you can dine on Eritrean-Ethiopian dishes rain or shine. Dahlak’s menu includes a wide range of stews: meats, veggies like okra, collards and spinach, lentils and chickpeas, to be eaten by breaking off a piece of spongy sour injera bread. Pro tip: Cocktails here come double-sized. 4708 Baltimore Avenue, 215-726-6464

Header photo courtesy Jet Wine Garden