The 26 Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in Los Angeles
Open-air dining is a year-round thing in California, and with everyone newly sensitized to (and sanitized around) outdoor restaurants in Los Angeles, we're excited to be a part of it. While all of these spots have outdoor areas and uphold the latest L.A. County Department of Health protocols (peep them here), most also do takeout and/or delivery in case you can't make it to the patio or can't get a reservation. On that note: Whenever possible, make a reservation to ensure you'll have a spot, since reduced occupancy makes a seat at one of these joints even more precious.
1. The Courtyard at 1 Pico, Santa Monica
In a creative pivot, luxury beachfront hotel Shutters on the Beach has turned its former porte cochère into a sparkling, lantern-lit outdoor dining area. Tables with benches softened by thick linen pillows are placed a Covid 19-cautious six feet away from each other, and servers are masked, so you can feel safe in the ocean breezes dining on a gorgeous plate of hamachi crudo that's as artfully composed as Shutters's famed art collection (which you'll see in the lobby on the way to the loo). Spicy blue prawns on a bed of eggplant tzatziki are another standout dish, as are the grilled lamb chops served with sour yoghurt. Enjoy the savory-yet-light summer menu with a flute of Veuve, but toss all diet caution to the seaside winds and order the famed caramel popcorn sundae to celebrate that rare evening out.
1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-587-1717 or shuttersonthebeach.com
2. Baco Mercat, Downtown
Besides the amazing food from chef Jose Centano (think: pickled beets with feta and jerk chicken with lebni), we're heading here to support the man's amazing response to the current moment: When protesters smashed the front window of his acclaimed restaurant, he publicly stated his support for the protesters and built a plywood window for patrons to order their food and sit at the outdoor patio. There's limited seating for now, so call ahead for reservations. You can also order takeaway (or try one of the produce boxes to go) to support the staff and the chef's meals to those in need.
408 S. Main St.; 213-687-8808 or bacomercat.com. Delivery available via Caviar and Grubhub.
3. Alta, West Adams
A sweet back patio to dine under blossoming jasmine is a wonderful way to eat Southern comfort food like cornbread with honey butter, pimento cheese with crackers and pickled veggies and deviled eggs. But since this is L.A., there's something for everyone. Case in point: The barbecue sandwich is made with your choice of brisket, chicken or smoked tofu.
4. Catch, West Hollywood
The West Hollywood iteration of this chain of seafood restaurant-bars is among the most Instagrammed places in town, thanks to the flower plumes hanging over the open-air archway entrance to the rooftop dining area. But the real draw here is weeknight dining, when the crowds have thinned and you have all the twinkling lights of Hollywood to go with your sushi, sashimi and grilled octopus.
8715 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 323-347-6060 or catchrestaurants.com. Delivery available via Caviar, Seamless, Grubhub, Doordash and Postmates.
5. Ballast Point Tasting Room, Long Beach
These people are on it: Not only is this among the most gorgeous patio views in Los Angeles with two stories overlooking the Long Beach marina, but the management has also instituted a QR-code enabled contactless ordering system. Turn it into a family event: Rent a Waverunner next door at London Boat rentals then roll in for crowd-pleasing lunch of burritos, burgers and beer.
110 N. Marina Dr., Long Beach; 562-296-4470 or ballastpoint.com
6. Butcher's Daughter, Venice
Your 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. vegetarian resto and beautiful people-watching spot is open for you, with touchless payment and lots of fresh air swirling around. In the morning, have avocado toast. At midday, order a strawberry and fennel salad with pea shoots. And for dinner, have someone in your pod stop by to split a pad Thai with you.
1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310-981-3004 or thebutchersdaughter.com. Meal pickup available via Toast and delivery via Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, Caviar, UberEats and Seamless.
7. Angelini Osteria, Beverly Grove
Expanded outdoor seating extends right to the edge of Beverly Boulevard at this classic Italian fine-dining restaurant. An octopus antipasti followed by a big plate of creamy pasta followed by tiramisu...that's the sort of comfort food that will make all those weeks of home cooking fade into memory.
7313 Beverly Blvd.; 323-297-0070 or angelinirestaurantgroup.com. Takeout available by calling the restaurant; delivery available via Postmates, UberEats, GrubHub, Caviar and Doordash.
8. Birdie G's, Santa Monica
A newly expanded patio section makes dining at this hip Santa Monica spot feel safe. Enjoy comfort food with a cheffy spin from award-winning Jeremy Fox including tomatoes and Burratawith tomato vinegar, anchovy, capers and yuzu kosho followed by homemade cavatelli pasta with pickled peppers, tomato and kimchi butter.
2421 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; 310-310-3616 or birdiegsla.com. Pickup orders available via Chownow and Tock; delivery available via Postmates, UberEats and Doordash.
9. Gracias Madre, West Hollywood
The Cali-glam patio of this vegan Mexican restaurant is a like a trip to a groovy estancia, one where grilled corn with cotija and guac with pico de gallo is joined by Macadamia ricotta enchiladas and organic tequila.
8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 323-978-2170 or graciasmadre.co
10. Nobu Malibu
Sure it's pricey, but you're only splashing out for an exceptional meal of world-class sushi during a pandemic once in your life! (We hope.) Not only does this chic spot have a crazy-gorgeous setting (a minimalist deck sitting wide on Carbon Beach) but it also boasts beautifully presented and well-executed Pan-Asian food. Don’t miss the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s famous black cod with miso. This seaside dining room’s website crows that it’s one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in the world, so take a picture.
22706 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; 310-317-9140 or noburestaurants.com. Pickup orders or delivery are available via Postmates.
11. True Food Kitchen, Santa Monica
Vegans, celiac sufferers, vegetarians: Don’t settle for one or two menu selections like you usually do when dining out with friends. Come here, where bigwig health guru Dr. Andrew Weil and his team will feed you organic kale, butterfly pea flower and a bunch of other dishes with ingredients designed to make you feel great. It might sound tedious and, well, un-yummy, but it’s quite the opposite. The seasonal menu items—such as summer’s heirloom tomato and watermelon soup with turmeric ponzu, and cauliflower polenta bowls with asparagus, snow peas and watermelon radish—are as appetizing as the whole “elevated health food” concept is Californian.
12. Spago Beverly Hills
Even after all these years (the first Spago opened in 1982), chef Wolfgang Puck’s Beverly Hills fine-dining establishment still packs in the celebs, and on any random night you can see them hobnobbing as they walk through the cozy patio anchored by a large stainless-steel outdoor fireplace. Budget be damned, start your meal with caviar accompanied by lemon crème fraîche “snow” and order the summer truffles to be shaved over your handmade agnolotti.
13. Ca Del Sole, Toluca Lake
This charming Italian restaurant has been serving traditional Neapolitan fare to Valley residents for 25 years, and the country-village-style back patio is the place to experience it. Piping-hot fried calamari, roasted beet and goat cheese salad, and pan-seared jumbo scallops are among the favorites here.
4100 Cahuenga Blvd., Toluca Lake; 818-985-4669 or cadelsole.com. Pickup and delivery available via Chownow.
14. A.O.C., West Hollywood
Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s wine-centric West Hollywood restaurant opened with a then-groundbreaking concept: Tailor a small-plates menu around a carefully curated selection of wines by the glass. That was back in 2002, and since then the restaurant has expanded to a new location on West Third that’s the rarest of finds, a see-and-be-seen lunch spot where the well-heeled and beautiful crowd is happily eating meals like the farmer’s lunch (roasted veg and chickpea puree and toast) and blistered tomato, Meyer lemon and olive focaccia. Cheers to the dozens of wines by the glass.
8700 W. Third St.; 310-859-9859 or aocwinebar.com. Pickup orders available via Toast; delivery available via Doordash.
15. The Rose Venice
After beloved West Side chef Jason Neroni basically reinvented Santa Monica dining with Superba, he took on making over a neighborhood institution, Venice’s Rose Café. The poky diner was reinvented as a sprawling multi-use complex that includes a place to get your coffee and muffin in the morning, a front patio to watch the crowds go by as you eat lunch, and for a sexy date night, hipster-style, a back garden area where you can’t go wrong with a dozen oysters and the morel mushroom tart. And now there's even more outdoor area that management has turned the parking lot into another outdoor patio to accommodate more tables.
220 Rose Ave., Venice; 310-399-0711 or rosecafevenice.com. Pickup orders available via Tock; delivery available via Postmates.
16. Pez Cantina, Downtown
Who says you need to be near the beach to enjoy a brisk breeze or a fantastic seafood meal? Not you, after you sit on the shady downtown patio here, enjoying a Pacifico beer–battered crab with green papaya and green bean slaw or grilled shrimp and avocado salad.
401 S. Grand Ave.; 213-258-2280 or pezcantina.com. Delivery available via Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub and Caviar.
17. Malibu Farm, Malibu
Go for a long walk on the beach and then roll in here for breakfast (served on weekends only). The green-eggs-and-ham skillet with Gruyère, chorizo and green harissa, along with a mimosa and the sound of the gulls and the waves, is the feel-good Xanax replacement your busy schedule needs.
23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; 310-456-8850 or malibu-farm.com
18. The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills
One of a handful of special old-school Hollywood places still in operation, this garden restaurant-bar of the Beverly Hills Hotel is all palmy and filled with flowers—and basically a trip back to the past. Lunch isn’t as buzzy-profesh as it once was, but you can still catch sidelong glances of performers during cocktail hour and at dinner. Over a McCarthy Salad (the chopped affair created for a polo player in the ’40s and served here ever since), a glass of wine and the tinkling of a piano player, you’ll be the star of your own show.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-887-2777 or dorchestercollection.com
19. Gjusta, Venice
This Venice spot started as a bakery for the Abbot Kinney anchor fine-dining resto Gjelina, but it has sinc evolved into a deli-bakery-café-market hybrid—basically, your all-day hang. There’s a patio with roll-back canvas awnings where you can eat your banh mi Americano or porchetta melt from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Mix up your beverage order with a seasonal shrub; like everything here, it’s sourced from five different local farmers’ markets.
320 Sunset Ave., Venice; 310-314-0320 or gjusta.com. Pickup orders available via Toast; delivery available via UberEats and Doordash.
20. The Albright, Santa Monica
You’d think the draw here would be the location, sitting right on the Santa Monica Pier, but it’s a couple of other things. Namely, the dependable seafood dishes (like fish and chips and clam chowder) presented in a spiffily branded, tightly run ship of an operation. The second draw is the passing parade, as the steady stream of international tourists and Pokémon GO–hunting locals traverse one of Santa Monica’s iconic destinations.
258 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; 310-394-9683 or thealbright.com. Pickup and delivery available via Chownow.
21. Broken Shaker, Downtown
On top of the Freehand Hotel in DTLA, this poolside bar with small bites has a less corporate, more festive vibe than many places where there’s a premium on communicating “Look at me, I’m on a roof.” Here, the beach-shack bar setup and the oilcloth tablecloths make you feel like you’re atop someone’s Waikiki high-rise, not next to a hotel pool. Tuna tostadas and fried chicken with yuzu kosho are menu standouts, as is the daily punch your server will tell you all about.
416 W. Eighth St.; 213-612-0021 or freehandhotels.com
22. Idle Hour, North Hollywood
Revel in not only the cool night air but also the glories of SoCal programmatic architecture, which was born in the ’40s as business owners built structures in recognizable shapes designed to entice passing drivers into stopping. The front of this bar-brunch spot is shaped like a whiskey barrel, for motorists to stop in and drink during an “idle hour.” (It was declared a cultural monument in 2010.) Around back, there’s a fire pit and another example of the style—a pipe-smoking dog that served as the Bulldog Café until the mid-’60s. Wait out rush hour from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays with a happy hour menu of chicken sliders on Hawaiian bread, white-cheddar sloppy Joes and root beer barbecue wings.
4824 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood; 818-980-5604 or idlehourbar.com. Online orders and delivery are available via Doordash, GrubHub, Postmates, Uber Eats and Toast.
23. Mama Shelter, West Hollywood
Order beer-infused shrimp or an Impossible burger atop the Mama Shelter hotel. Or keep it alcohol-focused, and wash an order of spiced fries down with one of a handful of Moscow Mule-inspired cocktails in which ginger beer is paired with everything from passion fruit to Jameson. Whichever one you choose, you can enjoy this outdoor spot until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and no reservations are required.
6500 Selma Ave; 323-785-6669 or mamashelter.com
24. Plant Food and Wine, Venice
Matthew Kenney’s plant-based menu at this chill Venice spot will satisfy vegans and possibly convert their eye-rolling, animal-product-eating friends. Whether it’s a raclette starter (made from cashews, naturally) or a surprisingly dense heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagna, this elegant but unassuming restaurant is just like its Venice ’hood: upmarket and socially conscious. Enjoy newly renovated back patio, especially during the week when the whole 'hood is quieter.
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310-450-1009 or matthewkenneycuisine.com
25. E.P. & L.P., West Hollywood
This usually-packed rooftop between the fashion and interiors districts is quieter these days—all the better to enjoy small plates like curried cauliflower tacos and ahi tuna with kimchi crostini. Toast finally getting out of the house with a California Love: white wine, rosé aperitif and seasonal fruit.
603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-855-9955 or eplosangeles.com
26. Fia, Santa Monica
This calm, quiet and gorgeous tree-lined back patio is reason enough to plan date night here. But the extensive wine list and menu which includes dependable Italian classics like chicken Parm as well as more exciting fare like Gochujang cauliflower with tahini? Well, that seals the deal.
2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 424-280-4196 or fiarestaurant.com