Where To Get A Big Group Meal Outside In Philly

The 17 best places to head outside for a big group dinner.
Where To Get A Big Group Meal Outside In Philly image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

It doesn’t take much to find yourself planning a big group dinner, especially when it’s nice out. One friend texts you about meeting up, then they tell another friend, and now you’re trying to find the best and most spacious patio, rooftop, or garden in Philly. To help you out, we threw together this guide to the 17 best outdoor dining spots where you can take a big group of friends and have an excellent meal. 




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With large fire pits, cabana-like seating, and plenty of tall trees and hanging lanterns, Suraya in Fishtown has one of the best patios in Philadelphia. And because of this, you’ll have to make a reservation before diving into a mezze plate full of things like baba ganoush and smooth hummus or a large and tender ribeye perfect for passing around the table. The Lebanese spot’s patio is also spacious enough thagt when you bring a big group here, you won’t overhear people talking about their most recent bad date or how the Phillies will never win it all.  

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 paper lanterns in their covered streetery. The menu is filled with standout dishes like grilled shrimp in a curry broth and herby chicken meatballs that are perfect light dishes 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. Plus, the cozy streetery has speakers at each large picnic table so you can have a cheesy slice while singing along to SZA with your friends. 

At Irwin's, you can enjoy some of the best Italian food in the city, choose from a great selection of natural wine, and enjoy it all on a sprawling rooftop in South Philly. The Sicilian spot is located inside a renovated former school building, but the patio with hanging lights and plants is where you want to be. You can expect dishes like orecchiette with swordfish and fava beans, a broccoli-heavy rigatoni, and citrusy whole fish (which they change each week). Order a few plates with your friends and take in one of the best views in the city. 

Wm. Mulherin's has two outdoor areas you should seek out. The first is the lineup of tables on the sidewalk directly across from the restaurant. The second is their corner garden that’s surrounded by trees and happens to be one of our favorite Fishtown spots to sit, drink, and eat plates of pasta. With long picnic tables and a massive umbrella for some shade, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out and fill up your table with dishes like yellowfin crudo, lobster gnocchi, and thin-crust pizza topped with pepperoni, caciocavallo, sharp provolone, and long hots. Come hungry, order a lot, and pick something from their excellent wine list that’s exclusively made up of bottles from Italy. 

While Little Nonna’s is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, they’ve also got a large backyard patio complete with hanging lanterns, plants, and an overhead cloth covering that will make you feel like you’re in a fancy tent. When you’re at the Midtown Village spot with a few friends, prioritize the massive meatballs and handmade pasta, and appreciate the fact that you can hang out on their completely covered patio even on rainy nights. 

Le Virtù in East Passyunk has a bunch of seating underneath a large outdoor tent out back similar to the ones you see at weddings. They even have a long family-style table that can fit up to six or seven people and lots of tall trees and overhead lighting. They have Italian dishes like ceppe ai funghi, lamb sausage gnocchi, and lemony whole branzino, and everything is easily shareable and comes family-style. 

Barcelona has a long wine list and an even longer menu of tapas. There’s also a corner seating area that’s large, spread out, full of plants, and has old theater-like signage hanging overhead. The East Passyunk spot dishes out so much solid Spanish food that you may find yourself in a group argument deciding between ordering extra of the spiced beef empanadas, chicken pimientos, or just skipping straight to a moist olive oil cake for dessert. If you can’t decide, just order it all.



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People spend a significant amount of time waiting for the tacos from South Philly Barbacoa. But Casa Mexico, a spot run by the same team, is actually easier to get into and has the same great Mexican food. While they only have a handful of indoor seats, their outdoor setup has a long wooden and covered structure out front with plenty of tables covered in bright yellow picnic tablecloths. It’s the perfect spot for sharing bowls of queso fundido with steak or green mole with chicken—both dishes that are big enough for four people.  

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo

Bok might be labeled as a rooftop bar, but there’s a lot more going on here than just margaritas, IPAs, and wines by the glass. Outside of having pop-up chef residencies from restaurants like Kalaya and Tabachoy, the view here is stunning. Like all rooftop spots, the restaurant is entirely outside, and almost all the food here (no matter who’s in the kitchen) is made for sharing. Order a bunch of stuff to split, some bottles of Malbec or Grüner for the table, and stare out at the South Philly skyline. If you want a more sit-down experience, Irwin’s is in the same building.

Whether you come for a double date or a birthday, Tuna Bar's spacious outdoor setup is great for any situation. On sunny days, you’ll find groups in their shiny metal seats people- and cherry blossom tree-watching in Old City. Plus, you can usually stop by without a reservation, making it an ideal spot for a last-minute meal. Order a few small plates like crispy miso brussels sprouts and oysters, and spend the rest of the night drinking Junmai sake and eating too many spicy crab-filled liberty rolls.

The large Sor Ynez parking lot setup is the first thing you’ll see when you walk up, and it’s a pretty lively scene—you have a bunch of people sharing lamb shanks coated in salsa verde and after-work hangouts sipping on Oaxacan Old Fashioneds. The Kensington Mexican spot also has plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes, like root vegetable ceviche vegan mixtole, so there’s something for everyone in your friend group. 

Cheu has a massive outdoor alley space that feels like you’re eating in a secret passageway (one that has lots of neon red). It’s a large shared space with metal tables, hanging lanterns, and space heaters for the colder months. On the menu, you’ll find Japanese small plates like pork and chive dumplings and cheesy squash rangoon, but the savory brisket ramen is what you should go for, regardless if it’s chilly or hot out. While you can’t really share a soup, everybody at your table should get it and call it a day since it’s the best thing here. Pair it with a bottle of shochu and you’re well on your way to a fun night in Fishtown. 

The sidewalk at this French bistro gives you a great view of Rittenhouse Square and all of the people walking by who are usually extremely well-dressed. Besides the great view, Parc is somewhere you could just as easily use for a double date or pop in for a bite with friends and share a bottle of wine. When it comes to food, expect things like escargot, steak frites, and a juicy burger. When it’s nice out, their sidewalk is usually 98% full, so you should either grab a reservation or just post up in the park and wait—we’ve found that tables usually open up after about 30 minutes. 

In Riva is a place where you can sit on a garden-like patio and look out at the Schuylkill River while biting into a few slices of wood-fired pizza. Their patio is massive and enclosed so you don’t just feel like you’re just sitting on another sidewalk setup. The large tables are perfect for groups to dive into bowls of garlic shrimp, spicy chicken parm, creamy wild mushroom bucatini, and forget that the inside of this restaurant ever existed.

The main attraction at Harper’s Garden is its very charming outdoor setup. Complete with hanging lights, overhead covering providing lots of shade, and more plants than a greenhouse, it’s one of the most scenic restaurants in town. All of their small plates, like roasted beets and pomme frites with creamy chipotle aioli, are solid, but we’re big fans of the pasta that’s served with garlicky calamari, red pepper, and seafood broth. Also, on a really warm night when you feel the need to constantly check if you’re sweating through your shirt, any of their tequila-based cocktails made with fresh fruit juices will at least help cool you down a bit. 

You wouldn’t be able to tell when you walk by, but 1225 Raw Sushi and Sake Lounge has a big patio out back with plenty of umbrellas and long tables. They even have a section of their menu called “Let’s Share,” so they fully encourage you to pass around as many plates of edamame, sumo fries topped with wasabi oil, and pork gyoza all night long. During Happy Hour, the enormous backyard is usually filled with lots of people sipping on cheap citywides, $6 wines, and biting into a few rolls of sushi.

Trattoria Carina is in Fitler Square and you’ll feel the shift as soon as you cross 20th street. It’s a little quieter and less flashy than most places around Rittenhouse, but the food and cocktails are both great, and they have a lot of white bistro seats lining the street. It’s a good option for a weeknight date, or really any time you want to spend the night drinking Negronis, eating spaghetti with clams, and sitting under some green and white sun cover.

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