Endless Summer Fun: Eat Out

Everything from foie gras to fries tastes better outside. Here, a summer’s worth of places for terrific alfresco dining wherever your rambles take you — and no matter how much is in your wallet.

Bucks County

Slate Bleu  Through the main dining room and up the steps is Slate Bleu’s delightfully tiny deck. There are just five tables, which means dinners here are always private and service is plenty attentive. The French-bistro menu boasts seasonal specialties; on a recent summer night, we noshed on a cold pea soup drizzled with crème fraîche, pan-roasted halibut with spring veggies, and a bowl of red-wine-soaked berries topped with a scoop of homemade hibiscus ice cream.
Cost $$$
100 South Main Street, Doylestown, 215-348-0222, slatebleu.com.

The Knight House
The new lighter-fare menu at this historic-house-turned-restaurant is perfectly suited to its wrap-around patio. The best seats are in back, where, at tables anchored on one side by an ivy-covered wall and on the other by the long bar, late lunches and early dinners of dressed-down (and price-adjusted) versions of the restaurant’s classic dishes  —  the lightly seared ahi tuna from the dinner menu is now served with a bed of grilled romaine hearts  —  are enjoyed amidst the happy clamor of young families and groups of college students home for summer vacation.
Cost: $$
96 West State Street, Doylestown, 215-489-9900, theknighthouse.com.

Dilly’s Corner 
You’ll know local fave Dilly’s Corner by its minivan-and-­motorcycle-lined parking lot. (This ­family-owned burger, hot-dog and ice-cream joint sits just across the bridge from Stockton, and a mere five-minute drive down River Road from New Hope.) Newcomers catch on fast: Give the girl at the window your order and money  —  cash only!  —  and she’ll deal you one of a stack of beat-up Harrah’s playing cards. Wait for your card to be called  —  you might be “Ace of Spades” or “Jack of Diamonds”  —  then pick up your piled-high tray and head to one of the super-size picnic tables on the covered porch. Oh, and don’t forget to stop at the do-it-yourself condiment bar.
Cost: $
Routes 263 and 32, New Hope, 215-862-5333.

Chester County

Dilworthtown Inn 
Ten minutes from downtown West Chester is the charming and romantic Dilworthtown Inn, where dining alfresco is like supping in a private garden. Two large evergreens mark the entrance to the inn’s open-air courtyard, pots of pink and purple petunias dot the short stone walls that surround the glass-topped tables, and blades of green grass poke up from beneath the slate floor. Relax, and wait for your server to deliver plates of butter-poached lobster, seared scallops and perfectly cooked filet.
Cost: $$$
1390 Old Wilmington Pike, West Chester, 610-399-1390, dilworthtowninn.com.

Coyote West 
It’s three flights up to Coyote West’s roof deck (the original Conshohocken location has a large, tree-covered courtyard for outdoor eaters), but the margaritas (on the rocks, with salt) and top-of-the-city view of downtown West Chester are worth the trek. Sit at the ­marble-topped, red-lantern-lined bar to sample chef Carlos Melendez’s Mexican fare. Portions are more than generous, so get appetizers, then split an order of grilled chicken with house-made mole sauce.
Cost: $$
102 East Market Street, West Chester, 610-429-8900, coyotecrossing.com.

Three Little Pigs
If it’s lunchtime in West Chester, get yourself to one of the mix-and-match tables on Three Little Pigs’ fenced-in patio and nosh on the affordable (not a one over $6.75) gourmet sandwiches, all served on house-baked bread. This little piggy likes the Matlack (turkey, New York cheddar and herb mayo on sourdough), and this little piggy likes the High Street (honey ham, brie and a kicky mustard on multi-grain).
Cost: $
131 North High Street, West Chester, 610-918-1272, threelittlepigswc.com.