Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented patio season, and Boston restaurants have risen to the occasion. From adding heaters to the city’s scenic decks to brand new spaces built from shipping containers, Bostonians now have a wide variety of settings and cuisines to choose from while still dining safely this winter — including, of course, at least one chowder spot.
Read on to book reservations for tables next to outdoor fireplaces, inside solariums, and more.
For hot cocktails in Dorchester: dBar
Dorchester’s dBar built the restaurant’s patio with winter in mind. Repurposed shipping containers provide three-walled coverage while still letting air circulate, and heaters add extra comfort. The restaurant has also installed several glass huts for larger parties, giving diners several ways to enjoy the menu of eclectic bar food such as Thai chile calamari and fried chicken sandwiches. Need New Year’s plans? dBar is now accepting reservations for a four-course, New Year’s Eve dinner via OpenTable experiences.
For Mexican in a Back Bay alley: Casa Romero
Don’t be nervous when entering the alley that leads to Casa Romero. The casual Mexican gem is the delightful result, serving up tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, tequila drinks, and more since 1972. Its fenced-in outdoor seating with heaters is decorated with hanging plants and colorful padded chairs, temporarily transporting you to a warmer climate.
For bocce and top-notch wine in Watertown: Branch Line
The massive, heated year-round patio at Branch Line in Watertown has long been a draw, with a bocce court to keep you moving, lots of foliage, and tents for drinks. As for food, wood-fired American fare such as rotisserie chicken, a slow-roasted pork sandwich, and various hot dogs is the focus, best paired with a wine from the outstanding list.
For date-night Italian in Beacon Hill: Peregrine
Located in the Whitney Hotel, Peregrine serves a menu of seasonal small plates, salads and pastas for lunch and dinner. Snag a seat on the heated patio to sample dishes such as the bolognese-inspired cavatelli that’s flecked with honeynut squash and sample wines from the Italian island-focused list.
For the best harbor view in the Seaport: Legal Harborside
The flagship of popular area chain Legal Sea Foods, Legal Harborside is an iconic, three-floor, waterfront Seaport destination. Snag one of the first floor patio tables under a heater for the perfect winter setting to warm up with a bowl of traditional clam chowder and the restaurant’s lauded lobster roll.
For new American near Harvard Square: Harvest
Harvest’s beautiful, plant-lined outdoor patio already featured an outdoor fireplace, and recently completed the transition from summer to winter with the addition of overhead heaters, making this Harvard Square restaurant the portrait of elegant all-weather dining. The menu consists of creative takes on American classics, such as a savory Dutch baby pancake with melted brie and a sunny side up egg.
For Mediterranean and views from the Back Bay: Porto
Porto’s outdoor seating was some of the city’s best long before the pandemic due to its size and design. String lights, throw rugs, couches, and a long bar combine with heaters to create a winter space that provides a stunning view of Back Bay’s skyscrapers (though the restaurant also recommends bringing a blanket!). The Mediterranean is James Beard Award-winning chef Jody Adams’s focus here, with dishes such as a decadent seafood tower, grilled lamb chops with salsa verde, and grilled citrus-braised octopus.
For a Back Bay seafood bonanza: Saltie Girl at Met Back Bay
Critical darling seafood spot Saltie Girl has transplanted itself to sibling restaurant Met Back Bay to take advantage of its picturesque, sunken patio with heaters on iconic Newbury Street. All of Saltie Girl’s outstanding seafood is on display here, from its impressive seafood towers and extensive tinned fish to sandwiches, toasts, and small and large plates. It’s all of what made Saltie Girl a Back Bay favorite, just on a better patio.