With warm weather upon us, it’s officially patio season, and restaurants in Philadelphia and across the state of New Jersey are welcoming summer’s return with rejuvenated outdoor spaces and menus. From frozen drinks to live music, Afghani kabobs to refreshing natural wine, here are the best places to enjoy dining al fresco, all available to book on OpenTable.
For Southern brunch in Cedar Park: Booker’s
Booker’s “greenhouse” patio brings the feel of a sunny garden — complete with paper lanterns and fresh flowers — to the West Philadelphia cityscape. Settle into the wrought-iron tables to enjoy Southern classics such as blackened catfish and chicken and waffles, and wash it all down with a whiskey ginger. Don’t miss the larger-than-life reproduction of photojournalist John W. Mosely’s 1940 shot of the Afro Market on a bathroom trip.
For a taste of the Amalfi Coast in Old City: Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
When you want to pretend you’re on vacation, head to Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti. The covered second-floor patio exudes beachy Mediterranean vibes to match the fresh seafood dishes the restaurant is known for. A new summer cocktail menu includes refreshing drinks like the Vespa, a brandy sour made with apricot and cardamom — an ideal way to cool down before tucking into spicy fried calamari or zucchini crab cakes.
For noodles and sushi in Fishtown: Cheu Fishtown & Nunu
With the recent merging of Cheu Fishtown and Nunu, diners can now enjoy sushi, noodle dishes, and a combined drink menu on Cheu’s shaded, plant-lined patio. Sip on draft whisky highballs and peruse the seasonal menu, which includes warm-weather favorites such as shrimp yakisoba, coconut curry noodles, and a hamachi ponzu roll . Visit during happy hour for a dollar off all drafts, cocktail specials, and reasonably priced snacks like sweet potato rangoons with a sweet and sour tamarind sauce.
For fish tacos in Fairmount: La Calaca Feliz
Chips, queso, margaritas, and patio seating are just a few of the reasons to post up at La Calaca Feliz. The contemporary Mexican restaurant is a favorite for its classics such as chorizo fundido and fish tacos, as well as its creative dishes like bacon and fig guacamole. The front patio makes a great spot for people watching from a garden table while sipping on seasonally inspired cocktails like the blush sangria.
Experience a beloved historical institution: Valley Green Inn
Step back in time and visit the last standing roadhouse of its kind — with origins dating back to 1850 — at this peaceful respite in Wissahickon Valley Park. The covered, columned porch is a popular place to dine in the summer, offering shade and a view of the nearby trail next to the creek. With items such as an artisanal cheese plate, burgers, sandwiches, and mains like pan-seared salmon with couscous, the contemporary American menu features something for everyone, whether you’re stopping by for a snack and a glass of wine or settling in for a long lunch.
For Afghan/French fusion in Atlantic City: Setaara
Setaara calls itself “the world’s first Afghani/French fusion restaurant,” and it certainly is one of the most unique restaurants in Atlantic City. The menu juxtaposes French classics like escargots à la Bourguignon and Afghani dishes such as mantu, a steamed dumpling filled with ground beef and topped with yogurt sauce. The outdoor seating is located within the inner courtyard, providing a covered but airy space surrounded by plants, flowers, and vibrant colors.
For al fresco beers in Avalon: Avalon Brew Pub
If your idea of the perfect day includes toes in the sand, listening to the ocean waves, and sipping on a flight of craft beers without getting wet, Avalon Brew Pub is the place to be. The restaurant offers a covered, umbrella-filled patio area to enjoy the sea breeze and housemade beers, which range from IPAs to Belgian-style witbier. Pair with a broad menu of pub food such as pretzels, pizzas, and fish and chips to help soak them up.
For wine and live music in Egg Harbor City: The Champagne Patio at Renault Winery and Resort
Where better to spend the summer than at one of the country’s oldest continuously operating wineries? The outdoor Champagne Patio at Renault Winery was created to help people get away from it all while sipping on the winery’s namesake sparkler. Live bands accompany wine flights, charcuterie boards, and seasonal specialty cocktails, along with casual fare such as short rib flatbread and Caprese salad.
For seaside brunch in Long Branch: Rooney’s
Located on the beach in the lively town of Long Branch, Rooney’s expansive outdoor area was made for long sunny days lounging under umbrellas. In addition to lunch and dinner, the patio is a favorite for weekend brunch, where diners can enjoy the scenery while sipping the restaurant’s generously-sized bloody marys and enjoying dishes such as the Carolina benedict: a take on the classic egg dish that’s given the seaside treatment with the addition of lump crab meat.
For tapas in Shrewsbury: Albariño
Albariño is a love letter to Spain, tucked between two shopping centers on a busy stretch of road in Monmouth County. Thankfully for diners looking for an escape from city life, the world falls away on the restaurant’s outdoor patio, where red umbrellas, string lights, and greenery accompany the extensive Spanish wine list and quintessential tapas, such as patatas bravas and grilled octopus with romesco sauce. For a celebratory feel, pair a paella with the famous sangria, now available in frozen form, too, for takeaway.
For casual bites and natural wine in Jersey City: Frankie
While a plane ride to Australia might not be possible this summer, the next best thing is dining out on the large front patio of Frankie. This Australian-inspired cafe brings a little slice of Sydney to Jersey City, serving up casual bites for dinner and brunch, including a solid burger and Australia’s biggest export: avocado toast. But the real draw here is the natural wine list, which includes light drinking wines from around the world.
For Italian in a garden in Cliff Side Park: Rustica
Rustica’s large, partially enclosed, steel-framed “skylight garden” creates a magical setting for live jazz dinners and bottomless mimosa brunches. Italian-inflected dishes, local fresh seafood, and steakhouse indulgences make it a go-to destination for celebrations and date nights. Don’t miss the house-made pasta, such as the linguine fra diavolo and the fettucine with a Roman-style sausage sauce.
For a Manhattan skyline view in Weehawken: Marcus at NoHu Rooftop
For a sky-high view of New York City, head to NoHu’s 15,000-square-foot roof deck, complete with Adirondack chairs and fire pits. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson handles the food here, serving up globally influenced comfort with dishes such as bucatini pasta with locally sourced lobster and uni, or eggplant cooked in buffalo sauce. No time for a full meal or brunch? Check out the late-night menu with appetizers and cocktails, available until 1 a.m.
For Mexican and mariachi in Rochelle Park: El Asadero Mexican Grill
If you’re missing live music, stop by this Rochelle Park Mexican spot, where a mariachi band performs every Wednesday and Friday on the outdoor patio area. The food here includes classics such as guacamole and enchiladas, as well as a large selection of grilled meats. Need something to wash it down? Check out the restaurant’s extensive list of tequila-based cocktails.
For international cuisine in New Providence: Providence Bar & Kitchen
The food at Providence Bar & Kitchen skews Italian, but brings in international influences to create an exciting menu where you could start a meal with yellowfin tuna tartare and then move onto a main dish of veal milanese. The large, enclosed patio can be covered with a retractable awning, ensuring a variety of set-ups to keep you comfortable throughout the season.