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Top Five Places for Alfresco Dining in Rittenhouse Square

Our picks for the best places to dine alfresco around Philadelphia’s most popular square

1. Parc

Corner of 18th and Locust Streets

Not only does Parc have the most outdoor seating in the neighborhood, it also has the best. More than 75 seats wrap around the restaurant, which has an airy and authentic French brasserie feel. As a result, it is one of the most popular restaurants in Center City.

Tip: Go for a late lunch (after 1:30 p.m.) when it’s easier to get a seat outside on the 18th Street side. Order the Moules Frites. Enjoy.

2. Rouge

205 S. 18th Street

Rouge started it all back in 1998 when it opened its sidewalk cafe on Rittenhouse Square, the very first in Philadelphia. Today, it’s location is as popular as ever, offering amazing people-watching, park breezes and delicious fare.

Tip: The famous Rouge Burger is still as delicious as ever. Make sure at least one person in your party orders it.

3. Twenty Manning

261 S. 20th Street (Corner of 20th and Manning Streets)

Twenty Manning boasts awesome outdoor seating. Sit on Manning Street, a side street with very little automobile traffic, and enjoy Chef Banh’s interpretations of Asian-influenced international dishes.

Tip: With heat lamps installed in the awnings above, you can comfortably enjoy alfresco dining well into the fall.

4. Pub & Kitchen

Corner of 20th and Lombard Streets

Pub & Kitchen offers outdoor seating for up to 40 along 20th Street. There are awnings above as well as generous tree-cover. Overall it has a very ‘neighborhoody’ feel and we mean that in a very good way.

Tip: Go for happy hour, which is offered at their outside tables. Available from 4-6 p.m. Monday – Friday, happy hour at Pub & Kitchen offers $1 oysters, $2 bar snacks, and $3 domestic draft beers (for example, Flying Fish Farmhouse Ale is currently an option). But don’t miss the oysters.

5. The Plaza Cafe at the Comcast Center (by Table 31)

1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard at the foot of the Comcast Center

Our fifth selection is a little bit north of Rittenhouse Square, but it’s still within three blocks and the outdoor seating is too good to pass up. The Plaza Cafe at the Comcast Center opened in 2008 and it’s gorgeous. Orange umbrellas provide shade while dancing fountains offer a bit of visual entertainment, to say nothing of the tallest skyscraper in Pennsylvania standing just 50 feet away. Operated by Table 31.

Tip: An awesome choice for lunch, The Plaza Cafe also has a great happy hour, from 4-7 p.m. Monday – Friday, and all day on Saturday. Enjoy $5 cocktails and glasses of wine as well as $3 beers.

— Published July 8, 2009

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