Whether you’re looking for a cosy heated terrace or a bustling beer garden, here are London’s best outdoor dining areas
By Philippa Thomas, Helen Brown & Abbie Schofield
While we aim to keep this article up-to-date, please note that due to Covid-19 some events may have been postponed or cancelled. Always follow government guidelines and check individual venues’ websites for more information.
London has plenty of fantastic al fresco bars and restaurants so we can keep socialising safely. Here are our favourites outdoor spots.
London’s Best Outdoor Restaurants
The Tramshed Project
One of Shoreditch’s largest outdoor dining areas, The Tramshed Project is open for lunch and dinner with a new spring menu by chef, Andrew Clarke. Mains include Scandinavian-inspired butternut schnitzel served with pumpkin miso pickled blueberries, as well as bream with blood orange & ancho oil. For meat eaters, The Tramshed Project celebrates the best of carefully sourced British produce with longhorn ribeye and grilled chicken. Don’t forget to order the tropical slushie cocktails!
Duke of Hamilton
This pub in picturesque Hampstead has a brilliant outdoor area and is conveniently located right by the tube station. Alongside a extensive wine list, range of local and craft beers and homemade sodas, their food menu includes elevated pub classics from The Hampstead Butcher’s aged sirloin with chips to the Duke cheeseburger with bacon jam in a brioche bun.
Stevie Parle, the chef behind Pastaio, and British designer Tom Dixon have opened Joy on Portobello Docks. The space includes a bar, fresh produce shop The Goods Shed, bee hives producing honey to purchase and pop-up restaurant Flora, all in a beautiful al fresco setting. The seasonal menu features dishes such as clams cooked with butter and fresh peas, and red prawns with burned lemon and marjoram.
The Chapel Bar in Islington is home to this new outdoor restaurant. Arenella’s terrace is not only covered but has heaters — bingo! — and is open for dinner service Monday to Friday, serving their new Italian spring menu. On weekends, you can enjoy their bottomless lunch with a two-course meal and free flowing prosecco for just £35.
Richard Corrigan’s critically-acclaimed Old Street restaurant opened a new terrace last month. The menu is cooked over a wood-fired grill and includes small plates such as pig cheek skewers with tamarind and crab ‘chip shop’ curry sauce, salt chilli fried chicken, cucumber, mustard with chilli pickles.
The Hawk’s Nest
Housed in a converted goods yard in Shepherd’s Bush Market, The Hawk’s Nest is a west London hidden gem. As well as a fully-stocked bar serving great cocktails (think Margarita Picante and frozen Watermelon Aperol Spritz) there’s a new pizza menu. Visit on the weekends for live music and DJs!
Situated at the heart of Chelsea’s Duke of York Square is Vardo. This stylish restaurant serves up flavours inspired by countries across the world in a relaxed, modern environment. Their fully retractable 360-degree wall to floor windows are a first in the UK and allow diners to enjoy their meals in an indoor-outdoor setting.
This modern British Thames-side brasserie owned by Sam Harrison has added a 40-seat terrace this year, complete with protective umbrellas, heaters and windbreakers. The menu highlights fish and seafood, plus an outstanding traditional Sunday roast.
Vermuteria is an all-day cafe/bar in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross inspired by the origins of Vermouth distilling. There is a terrace with space for up to 40 to enjoy their food and drink menu, with dishes such as duck rillettes with cornichons and Highland venison ragù with potato gnocchi and aged Parmesan.
Mo Diner’s Mediterranean take on a classic 1930’s diner is complete with a candy coloured outdoor terrace. Guests are able to dine alfresco style in this bold outdoor spot with an all-day menu by Michelin-starred chef Eric Chavot, offering Mediterranean twists on classics dishes. While Momo’s is closed, guests can still dine on the terrace with dishes from Mo Diner’s kitchen.
The Cheese Truck
Parked in Sheldon Square, Paddington, The Cheese Truck is the perfect place to meet friends for a spot of al fresco wine and cheese. Enjoy canalside views as you sample natural wines and their signature grilled cheese sandwiches, including the likes of Cropwell Bishop Stilton with Swaledale smoked bacon and spiced pear chutney.
The Terrace at Tate Modern
What better way to celebrate the end of lockdown than a peruse of the Southbank and a slice of pizza? At The Terrace at Tate Modern pop-up, visitors can enjoy stone-baked pizzas, craft beer, Jude’s ice cream and freshly roasted coffee. Pizzas include the classic Margherita and pepperoni, plus the spicy ‘Nduja and veggie Radicchio.
The Hari’s Garden Terrace is an elegant suntrap on warm days and a cosy retreat in winter. A retractable roof keeps guests dry all year round and built-in heaters mean the space is warm on the coldest of winter evenings. Now serving an exciting new menu and cocktail list, the terrace provides the perfect setting for an afternoon aperitivo or long, lazy lunches and dinners al fresco.
The Prince is a lively pub garden with an extractable roof so come rain or shine, you can sit outdoors. As well as beer and winter cocktails, The Prince’s resident food traders serve tasty street food, including burgers and sides from Filth&Co, sweet and savoury waffles from Utter Waffle, and fish and seafood specialties from Jack’s Sprat.
The Brixton Courtyard
You’ll easily wile away a sunny spring afternoon at Brixton Jamm’s Courtyard, which has an outdoor beach, courtyard and terrace. As well as Jamaican-inspired food from Only Jerkin’, the venue will host ‘socially-distanced socials’ such as BBQs, open-deck nights, brunches and more.
Double Standard, The Standard hotel’s bar and terrace, has transformed its outdoor seating area into a beautiful terrace. Guests can enjoy Aperol slushies, cocktails and burgers while soaking up the sun, or, knowing London weather, hiding under an umbrella.
The Sipping Room
This large al fresco bar and restaurant in West India Quays has a brilliant view of the docks. The menu is mostly casual food, from nibbles and sharing boards to burgers and sandwiches, plus a fantastic selection of cocktails and wines.
Pergola Paddington’s top deck is always beautifully decorated, with both indoor and outdoor seating aplenty. Relax on daybeds, sip cocktails at your own table and enjoy grub from their many street food stalls.
The Sea, The Sea
London’s longest mews and Chelsea’s food quarter, Pavilion Road, has been pedestrianised and set up with picturesque outdoor terrace seating. Diners can while away the evening with champagne, oyster sashimi and other light seafood plates. It is the perfect way to treat yourself after lockdown.
Luxury French tea emporium, Mariage Frères will open its chic Tea Terrace for al fresco dining and drinking on 12th April, serving refreshing iced teas, chilled champagne and cocktails alongside picture perfect afternoon teas.
For authentic Italian food, head to Caldesi on Marylebone Lane. Here you can tuck into freshly made pasta dishes made using only the finest artisan Italian produce and seasonal ingredients.
Allow yourself to be transported to Italy without leaving London with Lina Stores’ al fresco terrace on Lewis Cubbit Square. The outdoor space in Kings Cross offers diners a seasonal menu focusing fresh pasta dishes such as maltagliati verdi with spring mushroom ragù and crab linguine with lemon, chilli and garlic. For those with a sweet tooth, you can also pick up an icy treat from their vintage Italian gelato cart.
Over lockdown many people starting experimenting with bread making as a way of passing the time. Now, they can enjoy all the foodstuff has to offer with Bread Ahead’s outdoor dining area. The flagship artisanal bakery has expanded its outdoor seating as Wembley Park sets out to transform itself into a continental-style outdoor eating destination. From banana bread to babka buns, there are plenty of delicious freshly made goods for everyone.
Nestled between Tower Bridge and London Bride is Gaucho’s tranquil terrace. The Argentinian restaurant’s al-fresco dining area offers guests magnificent panoramic views across the River Thames in an exclusive setting. Drinks are served from a stylish cocktail bar whilst inside diners can tuck into with our menu showcasing impeccable Argentinian steaks and Latin American inspired food.
Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill
A London stalwart for over 100 years, Bentley’s 60-seat terrace is back open serving the full menu including the signature fish pie, shellfish cocktail and Cornish dressed crab. It’s covered and heated so you can visit whatever the weather.
CUT at 45 Park Lane has opened CUT-OUT, an intimate outdoor terrace serving dishes from the famed restaurant alongside cocktails from BAR 45. Highlights on the menu include Wolfgang Puck’s Australian Wagyu Filet Sashimi and Scottish Scallop Carpaccio. Guests can also enjoy signature Negronis served from the outdoor Negroni Bar.
King’s Cross restaurant Caravan is a modern eatery that serves up dishes inspired by flavours from around the world. With everything from seabass and cod dumplings to Dingley Dell pork schnitzel, there is something for everything on their menu. Their sunny terrace on Granary Square is the perfect place to set and watch the world go by.
Israeli restaurant Bala Baya is inviting guests onto their new outdoor terrace. Designed to transport diners from Southwark to more exotic climates, the al-fresco seating area is the ideal spot for laid-back lunches and evenings with friends and family. Their summer feasting menu features small Tel Aviv inspired dishes that are perfect for sharing with others.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Located on the desirable King’s Road, The Ivy Chelsea Garden brings sophisticated all-day dining to the heart of Chelsea. This outpost comes complete with an abundance of verdant foliage, as well as a pergola and water feature.
The Grain Store opens its terrace for the warmer months so that diners can enjoy the bustling atmosphere of Granary Square. On warm days this sun trap is a magnet for city slickers looking for the ultimate in alfresco dining, with wine and prosecco on tap.
Indian restaurants Dishoom Shoreditch and Carnaby have al fresco areas with retractable roofs. The terrace at Dishoom Shoreditch is especially cool, evoking the faded elegance of Bombay’s old verandas. Dishoom King’s Cross also has an outdoor area out front.
Coppa Club Tower Bridge’s famous dining igloos have had a spring makeover, with the pods now decked out in whimsical blooms. Guests can enjoy a selection of seasonal European dishes from generous sharing plates of seared garlic king prawns to fresh pasta of Devon crab linguine with anchovy & chilli and sourdough pizzas.
Head to Little Venice for an authentic taste of the Mediterranean. The Summerhouse is a bright, unfussy restaurant with a tantalising seafood-heavy menu. It affords canal-side seating, perfect for whiling away summer weekends watching the boats float by.
Barrafina Drury Lane
This Barrafina site serves its signature tapas from a large open terrace. Order the salt cod with sofrito and a great glass of wine and you’ll be whisked away to the sunny shores of Spain. Fingers crossed for the Spanish sunshine.
Serving cocktails, street food and beers on tap, Vinegar Yard is a lively destination for outdoor dining and drinking right by London Bridge station. There’s a canopy cover, plenty of heaters and warming drinks like mulled wine and hot apple cider.
Named after the eponymous character created by Virginia Woolf, Dalloway Terrace is a quintessentially English eatery. It’s a beautiful indoor-outdoor space set in the heart of Bloomsbury, London’s literary centre. Dalloway Terrace boasts a light, elegant and beautiful alfresco area with a daily-changing menu. The stunning floral displays change by the season too.
This bar and restaurant is in Devonshire Square, tucked away moments from Liverpool Street. It’s part of the Drake & Morgan group, and the food menu is pretty generic featuring nibbles, sharing boards, grills and burgers alongside an extensive cocktail and wine list.
Summer is bustling over at Pitch Stratford. The venue features a range of cinema screenings, music events and supper-clubs throughout the summer. Inspired by bright Moroccan themes, the space has had a revamp. Street-food vendors include Pakistani cuisine whilst a drinks menu has been curated by The Umbrella Project.
Cha Cha x Sister Jane
Notting Hill eatery Cha Cha x Sister Jane has opened a beautiful fairy-lit heated, outdoor dining space to ensure that diners can continue enjoying their food and atmosphere whilst remaining safe outdoors. The menu is European with a Latin American twist, with a fantastic all-day brunch option as well as an evening menu.
Wild by Tart
Wild by Tart’s menu focuses on big flavours and seasonal, sustainably-sourced ingredients, often from the founders’ respective family farms in Northumberland and Somerset. Their outdoor courtyard serves food cooked on the wood-fired oven and charcoal grill, with dishes such as grilled mackerel with pickled red cabbage, horseradish crème fraiche and watercress.
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