One of L.A.'s great strengths is the nearly year-round sunny weather, which makes for a perfect place to enjoy meals al fresco, or outdoors. Thusly, many restaurants dedicate a large part of their floorspace to accommodating patios. It also doesn't hurt that a lot of the market-driven cooking and freshly-shaken cocktails are conducive to dining under the sun (under umbrellas) or even under the stars late into the night. Below, Eater presents a handy guide to the best al fresco dining in Los Angeles.Read More
A Handy Guide to Al Fresco Dining in Los Angeles
Reminiscent of the former glory of Pane e Vino, this lovely patio behind Sirena is one of the best new places to dine al fresco in the city. There have been some chef changes of late so the food might be a little uneven - best to stick with tried and true classics like grilled octopus salad or whole roasted branzino.
2. Mr Chow Malibu
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.
3. Venice Beach Wines
This local favorite has a swell patio that overlooks Rose Avenue, one of the most happening blocks in the city. This wine bar is a great place to nosh on small bites while sipping a glass of beer or wine.
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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.
5. Alcove Cafe & Bakery
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.
6. Chosun Galbee
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. The Sycamore Kitchen
Though surrounded by brick wall and concrete, this patio is a great place to enjoy coffee or tea and some of the best baked goods and sandwiches in the city, all conceived by the Hatfield's crew. The turkey sandwich and double BLT-A are especially worth ordering.
8. Sadie Kitchen and Lounge
Though the great cocktails by barman Giovanni Martinez are great enjoyed next to the bar, the patio is really where the action is at Sadie. The southern shrimp & grits and 8oz Sadie burger are menu standouts, along with the Tuscan black kale salad with butternut squash and blueberries.
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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.
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.
11. Café Gratitude
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.
12. Wilshire Restaurant
Another one of the great enclosed patio spaces in the city, Wilshire Restaurant has a magical evening ambiance, where diners can enjoy chef Nyesha Arrington's cuisine. Her strength is seafood, with things like the hamachi crudo with ponzu and yuzu koshu, or the loup de mer with golden raisins.
13. Little Next Door
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.
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.
15. Sunny Spot
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.
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.
17. Il Cielo
Arguably one of the most enjoyable patios in the city, the romantic ambiance tends fills up quickly with diners on dates. There are even rose petals and candles galore.
18. Drago Centro
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.
19. Barney Greengrass
Perched over Beverly Hills, this underrated aerie has great smoked and cured fish, like the white fish or lox, especially when placed over bagels and spread with cream cheese. There's a near unobstructed view of the Hollywood Hills that makes this a great al fresco spot.
20. Polo Lounge
Newly redesigned and updated for this century, Polo Lounge is still one of the ultimate places in LA to see and be seen.
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.
This restaurant and lounge towering over Pershing Square in Downtown is one of the most remarkable places to enjoy an outdoor drink or dish in the city.
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.
24. Ray's & Stark Bar
A tremendous spot to enjoy a midsummer night's dinner (or a midday lunch), Ray's presents chef Kris Morningstar's elegant, simple comfort fare in constant view of museum-goers.