Outdoor dining has become almost ubiquitous in Philadelphia, with more than 200 outdoor cafes appearing in Center City alone. And with that many al fresco options, there are bound to be some hidden gems.

Le Virtu’s (1927 E. Passyunk Ave.) cuisine from the Abruzzo region of Italy is rare in Philly, but its herb garden is even rarer. The Passyunk-facing garden offers a peaceful ambience and a menu of grilled meats, sausages, pancetta and ribs along with vegetables and fried Abruzzo specialties for $10 and under.

Throughout the summer, the garden will host cookouts and will shortly be home to a Mural Arts program project dedicated to Abruzzo.


Tucked away from bustle of Rittenhouse is Gardenia (251 S. 18th St.), the restaurant situated at the Philadelphia Art Alliance’s grand Italian Renaissance-style mansion. Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sundays, its outdoor garden area is enchanting.

Near Washington Square, M Restaurant (231 S. Eighth St.) offers an off-the-street respite from city living. The garden restaurant features Argentinean and Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner, and the happy hour features $6 glasses of wine and perfectly flaky empanadas. Living the good life was never so easy.


Drink here

Parc roughed it with heaters in the chillier months, but this weather is what the open, airy bistro was made for. If you haven’t had the chance yet, their generous outdoor seating — perfectly angled to the street — provides the ideal perch to watch Rittenhouse pass by.

227 S. 18th St., 215-545-2262,


Eat here

Twenty Manning just overhauled their menu to include more casual comfort food, but don’t expect any tired, nuevo chicken-and-waffles fare here. Chef Kiong Banh still keeps things elegant with new dishes such as heirloom tomato gazpacho with pineapple basil sorbet and his signature charbroiled beef sirloin noodles.

261 S. 20th St., 215-731-0900,


Shop here

Save Some Green is concerned about your wallet as well as the Earth. Newly opened, they're carrying eco-conscious home goods, natural cleaning supplies, organic clothing, recycled school and office supplies and more.

2005 Chestnut St.,


– Arthur Etchells is a local food blogger. Read more at www.foobooz.com.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.

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