Field Guide: 12 Hidden Outdoor Dining Spots in Philadelphia
The Center City District now counts 412 outdoor dining cafes in just Philadelphia’s downtown area. Many a sidewalk has been turned over to eating al fresco. But if you’re looking to dine in the sunshine without the crowds, out of earshot of the SEPTA bus and away from the peering eyes of passersby, you’ve come to the right place. Here, our picks for the 12 best hidden outdoor dining spots in Philadelphia.
Gennaro’s Tomato Pie
Tucked behind the dining room of Gennaro’s is a cozy courtyard with walls done up in Isaiah Zagar mosaics. Even the tables are Zagar art pieces. Enjoy an old-school pizza amid the tile of one of Philadelphia’s most popular artists.
Dining along the sidewalk of the original Kanella was always a favorite of al fresco diners. Now at Konstantinos Pitsillides’ new location, the patio seating, tucked in on the side of the restaurant, is where you want to eat on a comfortable evening.
Beyond the bar, the butcher counter, the open kitchen and the dining room is a surprisingly expansive outdoor patio at Kensington Quarters. Slide into a two-top or bring a crew and grab a long table as the staff serves housemade charcuterie, fantastic pasta and sustainably and humanely raised meat fresh from the on-site butcher.
La Calaca Feliz
It’s always festive at La Calaca but the place to dine is in the courtyard under the soaring sycamore tree. It provides so much cover that you might not get wet while a shower passes.
Nick Elmi’s restaurant is always among the most difficult reservations to get in Philadelphia. That holds true for his outdoor table, as well. The table beyond the kitchen seats four to eight people and is only booked once a night at 7 p.m. And it’s weather dependent, so if there’s a 40 percent or greater chance of rain the table is cancelled, and Laurel’s team will do their best to rebook you as soon as possible.
If Parc is Rittenhouse’s spot to see and be seen, Le Cheri’s courtyard, tucked just steps from the 18th and Locust gawk-fest, is the ideal spot to slip away to enjoy a quiet night with just your dining mate.
Dining indoors at Little Nonna’s can feel a little like al fresco dining, thanks to the strings of lights hanging from the ceiling. But head outside to 40-seat courtyard sandwiched between Little Nonna’s and Bud & Marilyn’s for a taste of the real thing and those giant meatballs.
Washington Square West
One of the most attractive courtyards in the city, dinner in M Restaurant’s courtyard is a romantic night that feels more Charleston than Washington Square West.
This Kensington bar is a salute to all things local, from spirits to beers. Outside, chow down on a hoagie built with local meats and get into a game of bocce. That’s all very Philadelphian, too.
Inside, Tony Rim’s sushi spot is dark and sexy. Outside, a courtyard is oasis surrounded by buildings on all sides. Safe from the 13th Street bustle, it’s easy to focus on the sashimi and sake.
Tucked in the back of this downtown townhouse is a string light-lit courtyard and a canopy of wisteria. Bring your own bottle and enjoy a farm-to-table dinner from one of Philadelphia’s smartest chefs.
The revamped Southwark has enhanced its outdoor patio, adding enough flora to officially change the name of the area to a garden.