What could be cooler than dining in an old firehouse while enjoying mouth-watering BBQ and southern-inspired food? Doing all that while also enjoying the extra benefit of relaxing in their attractive, private courtyard setting. The inside of this 19th century building has been lovingly converted, with a great mahogany interior, while still retaining the charm of the place. The outside offers privacy in a quiet neighborhood setting. Large doors open up into the street, encouraging visitors to wander in. Once seated, enjoy selections such as Rocky Mountain Buffalo with Wild Spelt and Corn and Cranberry Ragout or Jack's Tongue Smackin' Ribs with Firehouse Fries. Wow.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: In addition to delicious food, Jack's offers the interesting "firehouse" factor, as well as a terrific outdoor seating area to boot.
Sharon's expert tip: In the event you don't get outside seating in warmer weather, fret not, as the huge doors out front open wide enough, that it can allow you to feel like you're outside anyway.
Fun and energetic decor and a lively environment make this a must-visit for the hip and happening. Fresh and flavorful Mexican food such as homemade salsa, lobster tacos, and sweet and tasty churros make a visit here worth its weight in pesos. If you're in the mood for Mexican cuisine that's fresh and well-made, El Vez doesn't disappoint. Step out with girlfriends or coworkers and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere complimented by south-of-the-border entrees that please one and all. Chicken quesadillas, homemade guacamole, a variety of seafood taco options, salsa, nachos, carnitas and more will keep your crowd very happy. Ole!
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Dining at this Philadelphia restaurant makes many diners feel like they've escaped to the best of Mexico.
Sharon's expert tip: Sample the mahi mahi or the lobster tacos for something different, and be sure to make a reservation, as this place gets busy for a reason! It's also got Gluten-free options.
Livening up the restaurant scene around the city, this pretty, colorful, vibrant, Spring Garden eatery ups the game as far as Mexican fare is concerned. Fresh, local ingredients combined by Chef Miguel Angel Hernandez Mota create simple, tasty and attractive dishes. From the wide variety of taco options including the Asada with beef, cilantro, onion, peppers. and salsa de arbol, or the Camarones with shrimp, red cabbage, queso cotija, salsa de pina, and cilantro, you're sure to find a dish that resonates with you and your crowd. Other options include fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, a host of scrumptious appetizers, salads, and desserts. This venue delivers on casual Mexican flavor. Be sure to enjoy dining outdoors on their attractive lighted and covered dining space any time of the year.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Elevate your Mexican experience and enjoy the fresh air and city vibes while you do so.
Sharon's expert tip: Stop in for their weekend brunch for a deliciously different experience, and be sure to sample one of their killer cocktails whenever you're here.
Dining outside has never been nicer than when it encompasses a view. Irwin's isn't called Upstairs for nothing. Located on the 8th floor of the Box Building, this eatery delivers on view as well as food and drink. Here you can fill your belly with modern Sicilian fare & natural wines for a decadent dining experience. Dig into dishes like gnocchi sardi, trofie con pesto, swordfish, or orechiette with sides like broccoli rabe, fennel salad or potatoes with bottarga and sesame. Cocktails with funny names like Birds of a Feather, Broken Flowers, and Monkey Business on a Sunny Afternoon will certainly add a smile to your pre dinner conversation.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Both indoor and outdoor dining options exist here, combined with terrific Sicilian food and cocktail selections in an uplifted environment.
Sharon's expert tip: Book a terrace table on warm weather days, but remember, although it's outside, it's unprotected from the elements.
Whether it's over weekend brunch or daily breakfast, the best spot in the city for people watching and a caf� au lait is on the sidewalk or by the floor-to-ceiling windows at Stephen Starr's Rittenhouse Square paean to Parisian caf� culture. The brunch menu, not surprisingly, contains more French entrees, eggs and hors d'oeuvres than the breakfast menu. But neither comes close to being petit. Two-dozen selections, including a smoked salmon tartine and a Gruyere omelette, grace the daily menu, which is served starting at 7:30 am. If lunch or dinner is more to your liking, check out their plentiful offerings in this area as well.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Well known for it's superb people-watching opportunities, this venue is a city-goers favorite for outdoor dining.
Sharon's expert tip: Coffee is nice but a Kir Royale at brunch is nicer. Upscale lunch options are not just for show here - try a few and freshen up your dining game.
Snug but chic, this bistro is especially popular in the spring and summer, when patrons sit outside and watch as Rittenhouse Square buzzes with activity. The venue is a prime place for people-watching. In addition, Rouge draws a beautiful evening crowd that doesn't have any problem dressing to the nines and showing it off. As for the eats, the fare hovers in the vicinity of New American, from gourmet burgers to pan-seared Atlantic salmon. Brunch is a particularly attractive affair that features dishes like chilled Watch Hill oysters, eggs Norwegian with Scottish smoked salmon, dark chocolate chip pancakes and cinnamon French toast.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: While small, this lovely restaurant delivers on its signature burgers with outside dining that's like sitting at a French cafe.
Sharon's expert tip: When here during lunch or dinner, try the gourmet burgers, which never seem to disappoint.
Gracing the East Passayunk neighborhood is Le Virtu, a restaurant inspired by all of the best qualities of Abruzzo, Italy. From farm-fresh ingredients obtained from nearby Lancaster, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the way they serve their dishes to their great culinary traditions, it is a true dining experience. Dishes range "from sea to mountain" and combine traditional favorites with dishes that present ingredients in entirely new and exciting ways. For Italian cuisine done with a fresh take, along with the option to enjoy that delicious meal outside in the fresh, warm-weather, don't miss the opportunity to dine at Le Virtu.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: When in the city and want a great Italian meal with the opportunity to sit outdoors in a lovely garden setting, this is the place.
Sharon's expert tip: If an entire meal isn't in the cards, stop in for an appetizer or a glass of one of their wine varieties.
Occupying its own little niche in Rittenhouse Square, this pretty eatery offers a scenic and friendly venue to enjoy a meal, an appetizer or a cocktail. Serving up New American cuisine, the staff focuses on simple, seasonal dishes to share. Inside find full service seating with an overhead lounge available for private parties. One of its most attractive features is their open-air veranda which allows guests to escape the sun, heat and hassle of city life for a bit. The vibrant garden is soothing, attractive and perfect for dates, family gatherings, friend visits and work happy hours alike. It's the perfect place to enjoy a wide selection of food, as well as cocktails and beverages from the 30-tap draft system. It's a delicious mini garden getaway right in the heart of Center City.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: With its large outdoor seating options combined with cocktail list, this venue offers all kinds of options for diners and drinkers.
Sharon's expert tip: Try the 5-cheese board and one of their creative cocktails to get you started and sit back and take in the greenery.
Enjoy the luxuries and pleasures of the Amalfi Coast in Italy right in Old City Philadelphia. From the cobalt blue floor, to the spectacular life-sized postcards to the contemporary menu, when you step into Positano Coast, you will need to catch your breath. Serving modern Italian cuisine via small plates designed for sharing, Positano Coast welcomes guests to sample delicious selections from the menu, including the freshest fish and seafood, the must have "Crudo"(the Italian version of sushi) and creative variations of many classic Italian dishes. Positano Coast offers a dining experience unlike any other in the area, with guests truly feeling "as if they were on an Italian seaside holiday..."
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: When dining in Old City, a stop at this delicious Italian restaurant will not only deliver mouth-watering food, but a lovely outdoor experience as well.
Sharon's expert tip: Your fresh-ingredient cocktail has never tasted so delicious as when it's sipped al fresco at this Italian outdoor gem. Be sure to stop to savor the experience.
Talula's Garden is a an apty-named establishment featuring local garden-sourced ingredients. These ingredients are combined into contemporary American dishes designed to nourish and please. Set in a lovely garden patio, the well-known city restaurant treats patrons to a plethora of fresh, seasonal and delicately-prepared cuisine. They do focus on cheeses, and feature cheese combinations served artfully to start your meal. Menu items change seasonally, so be sure to check their menu for current offerings. Brunch options such as candied bacon strips, summer fiesta omelette, beet cured salmon gravlax or the Big Easy Benedict will start you out on a meal not soon forgotten.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Where better to enjoy a meal than in an lovely garden setting, well-known for its beauty?
Sharon's expert tip: This place is known for their cheese plates, so be sure to order one and see what the fuss is all about.