Al Fresco Summer Dining in Philadelphia

From sushi in Center City to pancake brunch in South Philly, these are the best places to eat al fresco this summer.

Best Restaurants to Dine Al Fresco in Philadelphia: Center City
Let’s start with 13th Street—and an uncomfortable admission: Philadelphia’s best eating street has one of its worst eating sidewalks. Life can seem sweet indeed when you’re breaking a truffled egg yolk over Barbuzzo’s incomparable uovo pizza—until someone careens over the under-treed, too-skinny cement strip pushing an SUV-sized baby stroller with your kneecap written all over it.

But there are escape options.

RAW Sushi (1225 Sansom Street, 215-238-1903) has an urban patio worthy of a Hollywood set. Ringed by three-story brick walls and black iron balconies that make it feel like a building without a top, this charismatic space is really the only thing that justifies (over)paying for RAW’s dated-feeling specialty rolls.

The Graffiti Bar at Sampan (124 South 13th Street, 215-732-3501) puts another spin on inner-city eating, with bargain-basement happy-hour snacks whose flavors are as subtle as the spray-painted surroundings and the ear-rattling 1990s grunge—think truffle-oil-drenched edamame dumplings and sweet pork belly buns whose
deep-fried cargo is as crispy and perfectly geometric as a McDonald’s hash brown.

For a more serene scene, The Corner (102 South 13th Street, 215-735-7500) serves American sophisto-junk (salt-cod hush puppies, anyone?) and superior cocktails on a roof deck worthy of a Dwell spread.

Go farther up, and afield, with a balcony table about 200 feet above Broad Street at XIX (Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, 200 South Broad Street, 215-790-1919). Three words to remember: weekend afternoon tea. Three more: chocolate chip cookies. Or head east to try your luck at one of Center City’s two most idyllic courtyards. M Restaurant at the Morris House Hotel (231 South 8th Street, 215-625-6666) offers New American cooking amid old American splendor: late-18th-century brickwork, pink azaleas, air perfumed by a dwarf magnolia. Then there’s Talula’s Garden (210 West Washington Square, 215-592-7787), where Aimee Olexy crafts some of the best cheese plates on the planet and the patio is a farmhouse fairyland of weathered wood and leaf shade.


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>> Best Restaurants to Dine Al Fresco in Philadelphia: South Philly