Outdoor Dining Guide 2006

Up on deck. In the cool, cool shade. Under the stars. Whatever your preference, you'll find the area's top table picks — and our recommendations for dishes that capture the essence of the season — in our summer dining guide.

On the Roof

The best table: On the newly opened rooftop deck at West Chester’s Coyote Crossing, where mango margaritas are their own air-conditioning.
The ultimate summer dish: The make-it-yourself soft-shell crab tacos, pricey as a $17 appetizer, perfect as a generous entrée.

On the Water

The best table: At the Bongo Bar on the top deck of the once-seafaring Moshulu, lulled by the gentle waves of the Delaware.
The ultimate summer dish: The substantial “seafood plateau,” heavy with shrimp, clams, mussels and oysters dressed with zingy wasabi cocktail sauce and cilantro aioli.

In a Cabana

The best table: In the brand-new private cabanas on the grounds of the Joseph Ambler Inn.
The ultimate summer dish: One of the restaurant’s colorful water-ice cocktails and, on Friday nights, something straight from the grill.

On the Patio

The best table: On the patio at the Main Line’s Pond Restaurant, watching the swans.
The ultimate summer dish: Red-hued Valencia gazpacho kicked up with a shot of pepper-infused vodka.

At a Sidewalk Café

The best table: At Crescent City’s sidewalk café, which has energized this more grown-up stretch of South Street.
The ultimate summer dish: The crisp, sweet fried Maryland oysters with house-made jalepeño-spiked cocktail sauce and creole rémoulade.

In the Courtyard

The best table: In Gayle’s secluded courtyard, where the bustle of South Street fades away — but you can’t enjoy it until July 23rd, when the restaurant reopens after a three-week summer vacation.
The ultimate summer dish: Chef Daniel Stern’s unique sweet-and-spicy watermelon-glazed “summer wings” and a glass of L’Estandon rosé.