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Who Offers the Main Line's Best Alfresco Dining?


333 Belrose’s chicken salad, a lunchtime favorite. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Minnie G. of Devon asks: Now that it’s finally springtime, do you have any outdoor dining suggestions?

Hi Minnie,

The reality of back-to-back harsh winters seems to have made us all crave open spaces like never before, no? Fortunately, the Main Line and its surrounding region have many alfresco options. Here are a few easy-breezy favorites.

333 Belrose
333 Belrose Lane, Radnor; (610) 293-1000, 333belrose.com
“Out” is definitely “in” when referring to 333 Belrose’s jewel of a patio. It’s an umbrella’d affair, with dainty geranium boxes and a canopy of trees. Undoubtedly, 333 is one of the Main Line’s most sought-after alfresco dining experiences.

312 S. High St., West Chester; (610) 436-4100, avalonrestaurant.net
Colorful flowers, lush greenery and burbling fountains are concealed within this Mediterranean-inspired BYO, making it one of the region’s most outstanding outdoor dining venues. Best of all, the garden area has a dreamy covered tent that creates a gentle atmosphere, even when it’s raining—the drippy pitter-patter just beyond only complements the scene.

Azie and Azie on Main
217 W. State St., Media, (610) 566-4750, azie-restaurant.com
789 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, (610) 527-5700, azieonmain.com

Few, if any, restaurateurs in the suburbs have the visionary inspiration to create dramatic aesthetics like Win and Sutida Somboonsong. Each of their six popular restaurants offers feng-shui sensibilities to accompany consistent global cuisine. I especially enjoy dining on Azie’s garden-y deck—undeniably, the most spectacular outdoor space in all of Media.

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Bar Savona
100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills; (610) 520-1200, savonarestaurant.com
It doesn’t get any sexier than this billowy, draped and canopied space in Gulph Mills. It’s the perfect “casually fine” dining setting for a glass of wine and a few plates of high-end yummies.

Coyote Crossing
800 Spring Mill Ave., Conshohocken; (610) 825-3000, coyotecrossing.com
This Mexican-inspired restaurant is still the authentic, tequila-fueled force it was when it opened a decade ago. In back, the walled-in flagstone patio remains one of the most happening outdoor parties this side of the Schuylkill.

The Desmond Hotel
1 Liberty Blvd., Malvern; (610) 296-9800, desmondgv.com
Tucked away at the back of this notable hotel is the Sunset Grille, which has an expansive deck facing a lush swath of tree line, giving the space an almost tropical view. But it’s all a well-planned subterfuge since The Desmond is in the heart of a massive corporate center. Serving lunch, dinner, a summer happy hour on weeknights, and their famed Saturday-night grill—with live entertainment on Thursday and Friday nights—Sunset is the perfect outdoor deck for summertime sippin’ and suppin’.

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Four Dogs Tavern
1300 W. Strasburg Road, West Chester; (610) 692-4367, thefourdogstavern.com
OK, so there were only three dogs—a golden retriever, a German shepherd and a feisty beagle—seated with their chowing masters during my recent visit to this casual yet innovative tavern. It offers one of the most bucolic outdoor dining settings around. Its yummy flatbreads are worth barking about, too.

General Warren Inne
9 Old Lancaster Road, Malvern; (610) 296-3637, generalwarren.com
Few local restaurants boast the rich history and stunning natural beauty that The General offers. Its Spring House Terrace features a series of elevated decks and patios, each replete with splendid flora, dusky vines and a tree-lined view that’s much the same as days of yore.

McKenzie Brew House
235 Lancaster Ave., Frazer; (610) 296-2222, mckenziebrewhouse.com
Do this: Leave work early one afternoon, drive to McKenzie’s Lancaster Avenue location, take a seat on the ample deck, order one of the specialty brews (I recommend the Saison Farmhouse Ale), and pretend you’re down the shore on a bay-front dock. McKenzie’s is much closer than Stone Harbor, yet you can still catch a good band and a tan.

Tell us your local alfresco favorite by leaving a comment below.

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