We round up some of London’s best outdoor dining areas whether you’re looking for a cosy heated terrace or a bustling beer garden
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.
The government’s Tier 2 restrictions have now been implemented across the capital to help prevent further spread of Covid-19. This means that we can only meet with people outside of our households outdoors; thankfully, London has plenty of fantastic al fresco bars and restaurants so we can keep socialising safely. Here are 29 of our favourites.
London’s Best Outdoor Restaurants
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.
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 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 has opened up the extractable roof over their traditional pub garden allowing groups of up to six friends from different households to meet for a drink or meal in the fresh air. There will also be space inside for single household or bubble bookings. As well as beer and winter cocktails, The Prince’s resident food traders will be serving up a menu of tasty street food, including burgers and sides from Filth&Co, sweet and savoury waffles from Utter Waffle, and fish and seafood specialites from Jack’s Sprat.
Double Standard, The Standard hotel’s bar and terrace, has transformed its outdoor seating area into a warm and cosy winter terrace. Complete with a crackling fire pit, festoon lighting and sheepskin furs, this is the perfect spot to curl up in with friends this winter.
Pergola Paddington’s top deck will transform into an open-air winter wonderland forest from 12 November. The al fresco terrace will be complete with real Christmas trees and a bar serving hot toddies, while the lower level will take the form of an Alpine Winter Hall, which will be indoors and heated for single households or those visiting with their support bubble.
Erev by Shuk may be an outdoor restaurant in Borough Market, but it’s fully covered under a huge roof. Plus, they’ve just installed heaters for the colder months. Serving Tel Aviv-inspired dishes, the menu features small plates as well as their signature sharing dish of whole lamb neck, which is sourced from Ginger Pig and cooked for 12 hours in chopped tomatoes, Baharat spices, date honey and sweet red wine.
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.
For authentic Italian food, head to Caldesi on the newly pedestrianised 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 new 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.
Holborn Dining Room
The Rosewood London’s Holborn Dining Room has opened its new winter terrace in partnership with renowned whisky brand The Macallan. The cosy, covered space is inspired by the Macallan estate in the Scottish hills, and in keeping with the theme, staff will be dressed in Scottish tweed, roll necks and fly fishing jackets. Holborn Dining Room will be providing a menu of delicious, comforting dishes for guests to enjoy, which can be paired with a Macallan whisky.
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 is a place for eating, drinking, meeting and unwinding. The central brass bar is open on all sides and is a bustling hub for post-work socialising. Outside, there’s a large, south-facing terrace that catches the sun all day. The seating is designed to make the most of the view over the river. Dine on European small plates and snacks, grilled mains, sourdough pizzas and salads.
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.
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.
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