Atlanta’s 14 Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

Credit: Heidi Harris for Iberian Pig

There’s no better way to experience Atlanta than by taking advantage of the many excellent outdoor dining options. From garden-like terraces to backyard patios, restaurants across the city and surrounding areas are pros at creating memorable spaces for al fresco dining.

From oysters to Oaxacan, here are the best patios for outdoor dining in Atlanta.

For high-end comfort food in Vinings: Paces & Vine

The patio of this Vinings restaurant has always been a draw for its covered porch and spacious seating, which makes it an ideal perch for sampling a glass or bottle from an excellent wine list. The upscale American menu includes a variety of small plates to share, in addition to classic entrees such as local roast chicken or a blue cheese-buttered burger. For those that prefer a cocktail with dinner rather than wine, the drink menu changes frequently to embrace the season. 

For modern Indian in Midtown: Tabla 

Grab a table on Tabla’s patio for an Indian feast in Midtown. Traditionalists will appreciate dishes such as butter chicken and lamb korma, but dig a bit deeper on the menu to find wholly original creations such as duck samosas and kale and pea fritters. Don’t miss the cocktail menu either, which borrows from the kitchen’s spice collection for drinks such as the Goan Beach, with cachaça, mango, chiles, and mint.

For creative seafood in Inman Park: BeetleCat

A bowl of seafood stew next to a bowl of rice.

Credit: BeetleCat

BeetleCat takes the idea of a New England seafood shack and turns it on its head, juxtaposing stand-bys like lobster rolls and oyster platters with dishes such as moqueca, a Brazilian seafood stew packed with shrimp, the fish of the day, coconut, jalapeño, cashews, and rice. Head to the bright and colorful patio, where the Fish House Punch made with rum, brandy, peach whiskey, lemon, and black tea comes by the mug or the pitcher. 

For vegan pizza in Freedom Park: Plant Based Pizzeria

Though Plant Based Pizzeria doesn’t technically have a patio, one could say that it has epic outdoor seating: This vegan pizzeria is located on the border of the Virginia-Highland neighborhoods, just steps from Atlanta’s Freedom Park. Everything on the menu is completely plant-based, with creative combinations such as the “Georgia peach,” a pie loaded with spicy Beyond Meat-brand vegan sausage, vegan mozzarella, roasted basil pizza sauce, roasted peaches, onions, and jalapeños for a sweet and spicy punch. Order online. 

For a taste of Italy in West Midtown: Forza Storico

It might be a bit more before a trip to Italy is in the cards, so the next best thing is the laid-back outdoor area at West Midtown’s Forza Storico. The outdoor patio transports diners with playful Italian-inspired murals and festive bistro lights. To complete the experience, order a bottle of wine from the Italian-focused list to pair with classic pasta dishes such as cacio e pepe and tagliatelle alla bolognese.  

For a meat-centric meal in Roswell: The Mill

In a town where steak is easy to find, The Mill stands out for its departure from the standard steakhouse formula. After you’ve chosen your cut of beef, you can select a preparation style, with options ranging from the “Mill” (with lobster mac and cheese, lobster butter, and asparagus) to the the “Far East” (featuring jasmine rice, Thai bean salad, and Korean barbecue demi-glace). Grab a seat on the outdoor patio under the red umbrellas, and order a cool cocktail to complement your cut, such as the Porch Pounder, made with blueberry moonshine, blueberry liqueur, and freshly pressed lemon.

For tapas in Buckhead: Iberian Pig

Iberian Pig’s indoor/outdoor glass patio in Buckhead has a European feel thanks to geometric-patterned tile and chevron bistro chairs, while a wall of adjustable windows allow for circulation. Atlanta residents can enjoy the breeze while sampling the restaurant’s selection of tapas, which range from traditional pan con tomate (bread with grated tomato) to the Southern-inflected blue crab croquetas.

For sushi in Midtown: O-Ku

O-Ku’s partially enclosed rooftop patio is an excellent place to dine while soaking up views of the Atlanta skyline. The restaurant offers a full menu of sushi, sashimi, and a few entrees from the kitchen such as soy-braised pork belly, all ripe for pairing with a sake from the extensive beverage menu.

For farm to table in Athens: Five and Ten

Dining tables under heaters on a patio.

Credit: Five and Ten

Celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s Athens restaurant stands out for its infusion of international ingredients into Southern cooking traditions, evident in dishes such as the cornmeal catfish, accompanied by Carolina gold rice pilaf and tomato chutney with beurre blanc. The result is an inventive take on American cuisine, which can be enjoyed all year long on the restaurant’s spacious porch.

 

For a taste of Italy in Decatur: No. 246

This restaurant in downtown Decatur is a seasonally driven ode to simple Italian cooking. The ever-changing menu revolves mainly around pizzas, pastas, and a few proteins, with local ingredients frequently making appearances, such as Georgia strawberries and local lettuces. The backyard features covered and open areas, plus plenty of shade from old growth trees to ensure comfortable dining year round. 

For dry-aged meat in Brookhaven: Arnette’s Chop Shop

On the second floor of this Brookhaven steakhouse sits a covered patio, twinkling lights, and comfortable seating where diners enjoy all the steakhouse classics such as shrimp cocktail, wedge salads, and dry-aged meats. For those craving a little something different, Arnette’s offers distinctly modern twists, like the option to top your chop with roasted shallot bordelaise, or add a side of hearth-roasted cauliflower and peppers.

For cult burgers in Grant Park: Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Grindhaus has several locations around Atlanta, but the Memorial Drive outpost is worth the trek for its covered patio area and indoor-facing outdoor bar seats. Get creative with the build-your-own-burger option, and then shake off the desire for a meat-induced nap by playing backyard games such as shuffleboard, ping pong, and cornhole. Walk-ins only.

For Mexican in Sandy Springs: Casi Cielo

This Sandy Springs hot spot is known for its Oaxacan cuisine and mezcal cocktails, all available on the shaded patio that runs alongside the restaurant. Come here for the dishes you won’t find at other Mexican spots in town, like the duck carnitas smothered in mole negro, the complex Oaxacan sauce that usually combines a region-specific chile with a host of spices, nuts, and chocolate.

For a Vietnamese-inspired meal In West Midtown: Le Fat

Vietnamese fare meets Cantonese and French at this modern brasserie. Originally the brainchild of chef Guy Wong, the menu includes dishes such as pho, papaya salad, and summer rolls, in addition to bao buns and pei mussels in a lemongrass broth. The outdoor patio channeling French colonial style is best enjoyed with a Vietnamese coffee or a cold cocktail.