Where To Eat Outside In Philly When It’s Cold & Rainy

If you want to eat outdoors on cold and rainy days, try these 10 places.
Where To Eat Outside In Philly When It’s Cold & Rainy image

photo credit: RACHEL LERRO

Like an alarm that no one asked to set, Mother Nature sometimes shifts to cool, cloudy, and rainy. But with so many great restaurants in the city offering fire pits and heat lamps, there are plenty of places to catch the sunset outside without having to wear a puffer jacket. Here are 10 open-air courtyards, streeteries, and patios with that extra warmth we all need when the temperature drops.  

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Bella Vista

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We’d wrap ourselves with as many layers as Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story just to eat at this Bella Vista spot on a cold day. But since they have covered and heated outdoor seating, you could pretty much get away with wearing just a Sixers jersey inside their streetery. The handmade pastas come in shareable portions that range from a lemony, ricotta gnocchi with leeks to a decadent, peppery sausage ragu. Both of those make for great dishes to try in the intimate dining room or on their outdoor patio, even on days when the weather chooses violence.

photo credit: RACHEL LERRO

Wm. Mulherin’s Sons is one of the best restaurants in Fishtown. And with its hanging lights, small rugs lining the streetery, and overhead coverage, they have one of the nicer sidewalk setups in the area where you can share a pizza, ricotta cavatelli and lobster gnocchi. While you won’t get the unique charm of dining inside a 100-year-old whiskey factory if you’re outside, you'll have just as good a time by ordering one of their whiskey-based drinks and a few plates of pasta in the fresh air.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Sally is the kind of place you can go to impress out-of-town friends who don’t think Philly is a pizza town while dining under the paper lanterns in their covered streetery. The menu is filled with standout dishes like smoky herb-butter-topped grilled shrimp and Japanese yam with braised pork belly that’s a perfect light dish to share before heading to the pizza. They have some of the best in the city, with a soft and chewy crust made from sourdough. Get the bacon sunchoke that’s covered in coriander cream and caramelized onions—one slice will transport you to a warm and toasty place faster than setting your car’s heat to high.

The spacious glass-enclosed patio at Spring Garden’s Osteria is the perfect way to enjoy the fall, winter, and blustery spring days without breaking into full shivers. In the warm, flower-filled, greenhouse-esque space, you can enjoy great handmade pasta—the creamy francobolli ravioli is packed with robiola cheese and topped with large trumpet mushrooms—and delicate thin-crust pizzas that will make you feel more comfortable than a heated blanket. 

We’re not saying you should leave your jacket at home when heading to Talula’s Garden, but you definitely won’t need it when you’re on their patio. Their sizable and heater-filled outdoor space, which features its own bar and a romantic, overflowing garden, is a great place to stay warm and take in the Center City skies. We love the tuna and citrus crudo for dinner, but if you catch their brunch, try the buttermilk fried chicken and waffles drizzled with maple sage gravy and hot honey.

El Poquito makes some of the most delicious Mexican food in Chestnut Hill. And whether you’re dining in the courtyard with a few friends or with a date under the hanging lights in the tent, you can’t go wrong with their grilled shrimp tacos or mole chicken enchiladas. To avoid the rainy sprint or a few flurries for a little while longer, end the night with a round of Mexican hot chocolate, warm cup of spiked cider, and a toasted cinnamon sugar waffle. 

When you say “lunch outside in Rittenhouse Square,” we immediately think of Parc. But sometimes early spring days don't warrant sunglasses and rosè while staring at the old statues nearby. The classic French bistro has dishes ideal for the cooler weather, like moules frites, French onion soup and beef bourguignon that you can dive into while sitting at the covered cafe tables along the entire sidewalk. They also have tons of heat lamps if you can’t resist a shellfish platter or warm shrimp salad instead. The whole combo makes it the perfect place to take yourself on a date and watch people walk their dogs who look just like them.

Right across from Somerset station in Kensington, this Mexican restaurant has a heated tent out back where you can eat chicken chilaquiles for brunch, tinga tostadas for lunch, and sizzling garlic shrimp for dinner. The large quesadillas can feed two people, and the shareable dishes like a braised pork shank are so big that just a few plates could cover the entire colorful picnic tables you’ll sit at. And since they’re open every day at 11am, you can get in a couple rounds of tacos and margaritas before noon and return to your day of couch-hugging and fuzzy socks. 

The backyard of Little Nonna’s feels almost like a secret. From the outside, you would think you’re just passing by a bakery or small cafe, but that’s all just a front for what’s happening in the back—a big garden space with string lights hung up on the trellis that covers the whole heated patio. For an outdoor date in Midtown Village, you can’t do much better. The menu is full of classic Italian dishes, but the Sunday gravy is why you should come here—a decadent dish of braised short ribs and fennel sausage covered in marinara. They sometimes run out of it before the night is over, so make a reservation here on the earlier side.

There are several ways to stay toasty at Frankford Hall. From standing heaters to multiple fire pits, the Fishtown beer hall’s massive backyard is a fit for all seasons. And with hearty options like German ravioli with beef and brown butter, along with a variety of wurst and sausage plates, the menu makes you feel as cozy as the heat lamps.   

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