Spring is the season for outdoor eatin’! 😋
While the COVID-19 pandemic is something we don’t look back on fondly, one great thing that has stuck around from those times is outdoor dining (aka al fresco* dining) in Philly. Plenty of restaurants have incorporated outdoor space over the years, ranging from constructed sidewalk coverings to yurts to plastic “bubbles” to glammed-up rooftops.
Regardless of the setup, dining outdoors brings new ways for local foodies to people-watch and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. Springtime only adds to the outdoor buzz – catch yours at some of Philly’s best outdoor dining spots. Here’s my top three!
🧑🍳💚🤍❤️Figo Italian 🍷🍽️
Right in the heart of Northern Liberties on 2nd St. sits Figo Italian, a delicious and trendy spot for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor patio with a full bar, plenty of seating, floral ceiling fixtures, and tons of heat lamps to keep you toasty on chilly days.
Figo also features a few dining bubbles, which are large plastic private domes you can request for your party, complete with personal firepits on each table. Imagine being able to watch the city from your own private bubble while experiencing a great meal!
Figo also cooks up great happy hours every weekday from 3-6PM, which includes $6 12-inch pizzas, $5 house wines, and other drink specials. Their brunch is also unique with breakfast pizzas, pepperoni frittatas, mimosa towers, and more!
1033 N 2nd St.
🚨🔥 Jack’s Firehouse 🍺🍖
If you’ve never had a chance to dine in Fairmount, spring is the best time to do so. On Fairmount Ave., directly across from Eastern State Penitentiary, is a row of great restaurants, most of which offer outdoor dining options. Jack’s Firehouse is a southern and BBQ food joint that features delicious eats and a cool view of the penitentiary walls, for those like myself who are too scared to take an actual tour of the abandoned prison. 🤣
The restaurant has a few tables directly outside as well as a covered side porch. If you want good pulled pork, po’boy, ribs, or crabcakes, this is the place to go. No matter where you sit, the homemade mini cornbread muffins and BBQ food are delicious!
2130 Fairmount Ave.
🌮🍹El Techo 👀🙌
My favorite food in the world is Mexican food, but there aren’t many rooftop spots in town to enjoy it. El Techo in Center City is a fantastic exception – it’s a Mexican taqueria and bar featuring tacos, margaritas, various salsas, and even popsicles. The panoramic views of the city from the 11th-floor roof deck (with a state-of-the-art retractable roof) are amazing.
El Techo is also a great spot for nightlife too, often hosting DJs and other events. Every Sunday you can listen to a live DJ from 12-4PM while enjoying a savory brunch with dishes like steak and egg tacos and breakfast enchiladas. The restaurant is also available to book for private events like corporate happy hours, and even weddings!
1830 Ludlow St
HONORABLE MENTION: Cira Green 🧺🌳☀️
I can’t speak to the bar or restaurant here but this free rooftop park provides the unique opportunity to picnic 12 floors up, on a lushly landscaped public space surrounded by skyscrapers. Open 7 days a week, from 6am to 10pm (May thru September) and 7am to 8pm in the off-season (weather permitting). Conveniently located near 30th St Station.
129 S 30th Street (elevator within Center South garage)
🤓 *Fun fact. The phrase “al fresco” is borrowed from Italian for “in the cool/fresh [air],” but it has a different meaning in Italy. Instead, they use the phrases fuori (“outdoor”) or all’aperto (“in the open [air]”). In Italian, the expression “al fresco” usually refers to spending time in jail. 👮 Keep it in mind if you travel to Italy.
COMMENTS WELCOME! Have you been to any of these places? I’d love to know your favorite outdoor spots for dining in the city and beyond. Always open to your tips and recommendations for great local food and treats! Please chime in below, or catch up with me on Instagram, @gingersliketoeat. Read Eleni’s last Local column, “Burger Time,” here.