Movable Feast: Go outside

When the mercury inexplicably crept above 80 degrees earlier this month, the Current staff could not justify another noontime hour eating humble lunches at its grungy, paper-strewn desks. It just wouldn’t have been right.

Instead, we decided to treat ourselves to some much-needed fresh air. We decided to eat outdoors. And we assure you, it was nice.

The result of our hard work is this quick guide to some of University City’s best places to grab a good meal, a light lunch or a cup of coffee on those not-frequent-enough beautiful spring days. Enjoy.

Ecco Qui

3200 Chestnut St., 215-222-3226

Ecco Qui sits smack on the corner of 32nd and Chestnut, and cars stream past at a near constant clip. That a lunch on the restaurant’s patio does not feel like dining on the Schuylkill Expressway, then, is reason enough to commend it.

Heavy granite tables offer an upscale feel, and stone-lined landscaping helps soften what could otherwise be a rather bleak location. For a pleasant light lunch, check out Ecco Qui’s reasonable salad offerings. Our simple but tasty salad, with fresh greens, tomatoes and a flavorful vinaigrette ($6), was perfectly sized for lunch and the accompanying assorted bread basket—including a garlicky tomato bread—was a nice freebie.

The Green Line Café

4239 Baltimore Ave., 215-222-3431

It may be a hike, but this lively neighborhood haunt is worth the walk. You’ll likely see students armed with laptops sitting side-by-side with local artists and musicians. As spring arrives, they spill onto the sidewalk—joined by dog owners—at a cluster of small wooden tables on the bustling corner of 43rd and Baltimore.

Quiet it’s not, but it’s a great place to grab a flavorful falafel sandwich with hummus for $4.25 and a locally bottled “Green Line Brand” drink (birch beer, ginger beer and others) for $1.25. Green Line’s organically grown coffee and wide selection of teas alone merit the walk, though the hard wooden chairs will motivate you to head back to work without lingering too long.

Mad 4 Mex

Behind the Shoppes at Penn at 34th and Walnut sts., 215-382-2221

It may be a hike, but this lively neighborhood haunt is worth the walk. You’ll likely see students armed with laptops sitting side-by-side with local artists and musicians. As spring arrives, they spill onto the sidewalk—joined by dog owners—at a cluster of small wooden tables on the bustling corner of 43rd and Baltimore.

Quiet it’s not, but it’s a great place to grab a flavorful falafel sandwich with hummus for $4.25 and a locally bottled “Green Line Brand” drink (birch beer, ginger beer and others) for $1.25. Green Line’s organically grown coffee and wide selection of teas alone merit the walk, though the hard wooden chairs will motivate you to head back to work without lingering too long.

 

Originally published on April 28, 2005