Every year in Los Angeles it seems like summer just doesn't want to give up. The warm weather, endless sun, and cloudless sky stick around well into September and even October. That makes this time of year the perfect opportunity to enjoy meals al fresco, or outdoors. Many restaurants dedicate a large part of their floorspace to accommodating patios. And 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 an updated guide to the best al fresco dining in Los Angeles.Read More
An Updated Guide to Al Fresco Dining in Los Angeles
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another one of the great enclosed patio spaces in the city, Wilshire Restaurant has a magical evening ambiance, where diners can enjoy market-driven cooking under the stars.
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.
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.
Spago Beverly Hills
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.
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Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
Definitely one of the most glamorous places to enjoy a meal outdoors in L.A. There are lush gardens all around and a massive marble fireplace to warm things up. The fare is standard high-end Wolfgang Puck, meaning loup de mer with sweet white corn or crispy veal "wiener schnitzel."
Connie and Ted's Seafood
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.
Wood & Vine
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.
The back garden patio at Laurel Hardware, the popular West Hollywood eatery and bar, might be one of the loveliest places to enjoy a casual lunch, dinner, or brunch. With trees and natural shrubs galore, it feels like an escape from the bustle of the city. Nosh on the fantastic burger, featuring comte cheese and Peruvian rocoto sauce, or enjoy the lamb neck with mustard spaetzle.
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.
This small patio in the former Sawtelle Kitchen space has a complete barrier against the boisterous Sawtelle sidewalk, making it an ideal place to snack on things like pork croquettas, deviled eggs, or a large place of lamb pasta while sipping rose or a terrific glass of Cote du Rhone. More of a nighttime al fresco spot, though Flores does lunch, too.
The back patio at this hideaway of a restaurant in Hollywood is the new hangout for celebrities and those looking to people watch in general. The familiar Italian-American food doesn't challenge, but maybe that's a good thing. You wouldn't want the meatballs to get in the way of the stars, but at the tables and in the sky above.