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A Guide to Al Fresco Dining in Los Angeles, Summer 2014

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2008_10_hasmapsalfrescodining.jpgAh, the weeks of endless sun. It's what Los Angeles is known for. Late sunsets, crisp mornings, perfectly bright afternoons where lunch seems like it ought to last for hours. And the long twilight that affords ideal happy hour and early evening drinking outside. In commemoration of sister site Curbed LA's Outdoors Week, here's an updated guide to the best al fresco dining in Los Angeles for Summer 2014.


Added 3/14: Gracias Madre, Umami Burger Santa Monica, Nikita Malibu, RivaBella
Added 7/14: Zinc Cafe, Beelman's Pub, Sun Cafe, Madera Kitchen, Cliff's Edge, Dockside, Superba Food + Bread, PUMP Lounge, Chaya Downtown,

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. A-Frame

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12565 W Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90066
(310) 398-7700
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Roy Choi's ode to Hawaiian and Asian cuisine was inspired by picnic dining, and the dishes follow suit by being finger-friendly courses that are best consumed by your hands. The swordfish tacos, beer-can roasted chicken (fried chicken on the weekends), and hoisin ribs are the best things to get, in addition to the fantastic double-patty burger.

8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 859-9859
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After taking over the previous spot Il Covo, AOC now has one of the most charming patios in the city, a completely enclosed area that feels like an Italian villa, not the middle of the city. Chef Suzanne Goin is still preparing market-fresh cuisine like wood-fired clams while sommelier Caroline Styne pairs them with terrific glasses of wine.

3. Alcove Cafe & Bakery

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1929 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-0100
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This popular eatery in Los Feliz has an expansive patio that's great during the day or even late into the evening. The food and baked goods are probably a little unremarkable but with such a nice place to sit it's hard to complain.

4. Bucato

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3280 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90034
(310) 876-0286
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This Culver City newcomer has more patio space than dining room area, which means it's the ideal place to enjoy a meal outdoors. Evan Funke's near-perfect pasta, made with the utmost care and attention to detail, might be some of the best in the city. And everyone raves about focaccia for good reason.

5. Café Gratitude

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639 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 580-6383
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Both the Rose Ave and this Larchmont location of Cafe Gratitude boast great patios, where diners can dig into a homemade veggie burger or a macriobiotic bowl with sea vegetables. Wash it down with a freshly made glass of juice.

6. Chosun Galbee

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3330 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 734-3330
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While not quite as open as a traditional patio, this outdoor part of Chosun Galbee is great for Korean barbecue fans that would rather not smell like smoke at the end of the meal. Hanbok-wearing servers come around and prepare the grilled meats right before your eyes.

7. Connie and Ted's Seafood

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8171 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 848-2722
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This West Hollywood seafood shack has an impressive patio that overlooks Santa Monica Blvd, which doesn't necessarily beat the Atlantic Ocean in terms of view. But still, Michael Cimarusti's perfectly executed New England seafood fare more than makes up for it.

8. Dominick's

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8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 652-2335
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Chef Brandon Boudet's old-school Italian, with pastas like spaghetti and meatballs or whitefish picatta are great when enjoyed in the confines of Dominick's patio.

9. Drago Centro

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525 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-8998
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A recent addition to this large Italian restaurant in the Financial District, the patio is a congenial place to enjoy happy hour or a casual lunch with co-workers. The pastas are all handmade and the cocktails are worth ordering in twos.

10. Eveleigh

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8752 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 239-1630
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Still a hot spot on the Sunset Strip, the quality of the cocktails never seem to wane here, with a constant flow of innovative bartenders mixing and shaking behind the bar. The food is pretty good too.

11. Goldie's

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8422 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 677-2470
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The patio sits to the side of this design-minded restaurant on West Third, where every market-driven dishes can be enjoyed from morning until evening. There's bircher muesli for breakfast, diver scallops with kohlrabi for lunch, and hand cut tagliatelle with dungeness crab for dinner, along with great cocktails.

12. Gracias Madre

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8905 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 978-2170

The Cafe Gratitude crew ups the ante with this Mexican eatery touting plant-based cooking and an overall easy-to-approach menu that will be more familiar to the average diner. Think meatless enchiladas and a strong variety of tequilas to wash it down on the swell outdoor patio that works day or night.

13. Little Next Door

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8142 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 951-1010
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This cute French bistro on West Third feels a bit like Paris, a little more casual than the Little Door. There's escargot, charcuterie, Nicoise salads, and moules frites, all paired with champagne or other beverages for a great summer night's dinner.

14. Mr Chow Malibu

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(310) 456-7600
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The second outpost of Mr. Chow's LA operation, this terrific setting for high-end Chinese has a great patio to enjoy outdoor dining throughout the summer. They also serve lunch on the weekends for the summer.

15. Nikita Malibu

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22716 E Pacific Coast Hwy.
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 456-3274
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This pricey Malibu restaurant is quite the scene for the jetset and wealthy clientele in the 'Bu and Pacific Palisades, but the cuisine is overall polished enough to justify the price. And the seaside views on the outdoor patio makes it even more worth it. Don't skip the cocktails either.

16. Paichẽ

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13488 Maxella Ave
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 893-6100
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Ricardo Zarate's newest venture, an homage to the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavors, sits just a stone's throw away from the ocean, where cool breezes will make the patio one of the best places in the city this summer.

17. Polo Lounge

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9641 Sunset Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 887-2777
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Newly redesigned and updated for this century, Polo Lounge is still one of the ultimate places in LA to see and be seen.

18. Ray's & Stark Bar

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5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6180
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A tremendous spot to enjoy a midsummer night's dinner (or a midday lunch), Ray's presents elegant, simple comfort fare in constant view of museum-goers.

19. RivaBella

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9201 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 278-2060

This expansive patio overlooking the Sunset Strip certainly feels more enclosed than the average al fresco spot, but on a sunny day or balmy evening, there are few places in the city that would pair better with a plate of pasta than RivaBella.

20. Sunny Spot

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822 Washington Blvd
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 448-8884
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Roy Choi's take on Jamaican cuisine is a great place to enjoy a meal under the sun. The brunch has a delicious spicy shrimp and grits while dinner features things like jerk chicken, baby back ribs, and roasted lamb. Cocktails are stellar too, with the Death in the D.R. boasting Dominican rum, lime, honey, absinthe, and champagne.

21. Scarpetta

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225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 860-7970
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Located on the edge of a fully conceived park in the middle of the Beverly Hills Triangle, this patio at Scott Conant's Scarpetta makes the hours waste away, with glasses of prosecco and bites like burrata with roasted cauliflower, yellowtail crudo, and of course the signature spaghetti as the perfect companions.

22. Spago Beverly Hills

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176 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
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Wolfgang Puck's enduring flagship in Beverly Hills still has one of the best patio spaces in the city, thanks in part to an improved menu that encourages more casual dining and sharing of plates. Chances of catching a celebrity dining here might be higher than anywhere else in Beverly Hills.

23. Wood & Vine

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6280 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 334-3360
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The rather extensive outdoor patio at this Hollywood restaurant features a blazing firepit, which adds both warmth and comfort to the entire space. The happy hour is definitely the time to come, where drinks are a mere $5. Definitely a great urban escape from the absolute mess that is Hollywood Blvd at times.

24. Zinc Café & Market

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580 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(323) 825-5449
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This gorgeous space in the Arts District serves reliable European and American dishes in a respite from all that industrial stuff going on around it. A mini-park inside the restaurant is the ideal place to waste away the hours drinking coffee, wine or beer.

25. Cliff's Edge

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3626 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 666-6116

Almost situated on a movie set, the jungle-like patio is both expansive and relaxing at Cliff's Edge, especially when paired with the expert cooking of chef Vartan Abgaryan, who uses seasonal ingredients and artfully places them on some of the most attractive plates in town.

26. Chaya Downtown

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525 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 236-9577
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This Downtown Asian eatery has a summer-long beer garden with grilled skewers and plenty of cold suds to cap off the work days. Yes it's amid all the high rises in the Financial District but it's a ways away from the noisy streets.

27. Sun Cafe

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10820 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 308-7420
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This spacious plant-based eatery has some new digs in Studio City in some of the most expansive and bright patio space in town. It's not a bad celeb spotting place either.

28. Beelman's Pub

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600 S. Spring
Los Angeles, CA 90014

This Downtown pub evokes a European street side cafe, making it an ideal place to sit out on the benches and watch all the pedestrians in Historic Core walk by. Have a cocktail, glass of wine or beer, order some delectable dishes by chef Tom Block, and enjoy the outdoors right in the heart of LA.

29. PUMP Lounge

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8948 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 657-7867

Lisa Vanderpump made sure that this was the kind of patio where people wanted to see and be seen. Using a myriad of pillows to ensure plenty of comfort, as well as even more comfort from the cooking, this is the place to hang out in West Hollywood this summer.

30. Superba Food + Bread

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1900 Lincoln Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

Venice is always going to be rich in patio dining, but Superba Food + Bread is easily the most stylish place to hang out in this part of town. Soak in the sun while enjoying the light California cooking from Jason Travi.

31. Dockside at Playa Provisions

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119 Culver Blvd
Playa del Rey, CA 90293
(310) 683-5019

The more composed, complete restaurant at Brooke Williamson and Nick Robert's Playa Del Rey four-part eatery has a shielded patio that's just steps from the beach. Easily the place to be this summer in Playa del Rey.

32. Madera Kitchen

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1835 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Escape from the bustle of Hollywood at this expansive Mediterranean restaurant with small, shareable plates and plenty of wine, beer, and cocktails to sip on while soaking in the sun. There's wood fire too, not that you'll need it for heat.

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1. A-Frame

12565 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066

Roy Choi's ode to Hawaiian and Asian cuisine was inspired by picnic dining, and the dishes follow suit by being finger-friendly courses that are best consumed by your hands. The swordfish tacos, beer-can roasted chicken (fried chicken on the weekends), and hoisin ribs are the best things to get, in addition to the fantastic double-patty burger.

12565 W Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90066

2. AOC

8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

After taking over the previous spot Il Covo, AOC now has one of the most charming patios in the city, a completely enclosed area that feels like an Italian villa, not the middle of the city. Chef Suzanne Goin is still preparing market-fresh cuisine like wood-fired clams while sommelier Caroline Styne pairs them with terrific glasses of wine.

8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

3. Alcove Cafe & Bakery

1929 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

This popular eatery in Los Feliz has an expansive patio that's great during the day or even late into the evening. The food and baked goods are probably a little unremarkable but with such a nice place to sit it's hard to complain.

1929 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

4. Bucato

3280 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

This Culver City newcomer has more patio space than dining room area, which means it's the ideal place to enjoy a meal outdoors. Evan Funke's near-perfect pasta, made with the utmost care and attention to detail, might be some of the best in the city. And everyone raves about focaccia for good reason.

3280 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90034

5. Café Gratitude

639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Both the Rose Ave and this Larchmont location of Cafe Gratitude boast great patios, where diners can dig into a homemade veggie burger or a macriobiotic bowl with sea vegetables. Wash it down with a freshly made glass of juice.

639 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

6. Chosun Galbee

3330 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

While not quite as open as a traditional patio, this outdoor part of Chosun Galbee is great for Korean barbecue fans that would rather not smell like smoke at the end of the meal. Hanbok-wearing servers come around and prepare the grilled meats right before your eyes.

3330 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019

7. Connie and Ted's Seafood

8171 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

This West Hollywood seafood shack has an impressive patio that overlooks Santa Monica Blvd, which doesn't necessarily beat the Atlantic Ocean in terms of view. But still, Michael Cimarusti's perfectly executed New England seafood fare more than makes up for it.

8171 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046

8. Dominick's

8715 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

Chef Brandon Boudet's old-school Italian, with pastas like spaghetti and meatballs or whitefish picatta are great when enjoyed in the confines of Dominick's patio.

8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048

9. Drago Centro

525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071