From open-air patios to farm-fresh plates, summertime is the right time for dining in Philly.
It’s that time again: The year’s warmest months find Philadelphia restaurants at their best. And after a year of exciting debuts and openings, there are more standout choices than ever before. Whether they offer a patio for sipping Champagne alfresco or take full advantage of the astounding seasonal bounty from local farms, these five restaurants below, in top form during the summer, are our choice picks this season.
Talula’s Garden Talula’s Garden (210 W. Washington Sq., 215-592-7787), from the dream-team collaboration between Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy, is one of the city’s top destinations in any season. But when the mercury climbs and its magical outdoor garden opens, it’s nothing short of perfection. Tuck into deeply seasonal dishes like snapper crudo with kohlrabi-jalapeño vinaigrette, Jonagold apple and endive salad, and candied kumquats with any one of Talula’s thematic cheese boards—or one you curated yourself from its lengthy list of fromage varietals, including several from PA.
R2L Chef Daniel Stern has been holding sway at his 37th-floor perch for years, and his food is as fantastic as ever. Enjoy the longest days of the year at his R2L (50 S. 16th St., 37th Fl., 215-564-5337), which offers some of the city’s best views of dramatic summer sunsets. With a flute of bubbly in hand, the city shimmering beneath you, and Stern’s magic in the kitchen—think skate cheek with foie gras, scallops, lentils, and a black tea sauce, or happy-hour plates like grilled truffle flatbread—any plush seat in the house provides a perfect photo opportunity.
Capofitto This past winter, the Capogiro team, which brought Philly into the national gelato spotlight, opened Capofitto (233 Chestnut St., 215-897-9999), an excellent pizza-centric destination in Old City. Its immediate success is no wonder: Those uninterested in phenomenal Neapolitan pies, like the carciofi e guanciale (artichoke and cured pork jowl), not to mention some of the city’s best desserts (including some coveted gelato), are few and far between.
Will BYOB Chef and owner Christopher Kearse of Will BYOB (1911 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-271-7683) has quickly become one of the region’s top toques. And this time of year, Kearse’s creative vision peaks, right alongside our local bounty. (The Rohan duck breast and sausage with rhubarb, pecans, fiddlehead ferns, and huckleberry jus was one of many standouts on a recent à la carte menu.) Our recommendation? BYOB. Come with a bottle of bubbly and one each of white and red: The range of flavors and textures he works with is unparalleled and demands a variety of pairings.
Dizengoff From the much-praised team of Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook comes Dizengoff (1625 Sansom St., 215-867-8181), a Rittenhouse Square hummusiya invested in the humble chickpea. The classic hummus here is world class, the brave riffs on it electrifying, and the pita as tender and soulful as any on the planet. Wash it all down with their legendary minty lemonnana, a kind of lemon-mint slushie. It practically screams summertime.