There’s no better time of year to enjoy New England sunshine, and Boston restaurants are welcoming back patio season with open arms. From basking in waterfront breezes on the city’s scenic decks to enjoying chic, shaded city oases, Bostonians have a wide variety of settings and cuisines to choose from while still dining safely this spring and summer.
Read on to book reservations for tables where the food is as cool as the environment, including (of course) a few places specializing in everyone’s local warm weather favorite: the lobster roll.
For cool cocktails in Dorchester: dBar
Dorchester’s dBar built out the restaurant’s extended patio as a creative response to the pandemic. Repurposed shipping containers have been outfitted with murals and lounge-like vibes, providing three-walled coverage along with plenty of air circulation to enjoy colorful cocktails on sunny days and warm nights. With a seasonal menu that focuses on eclectic bar food, favorites include the Giannone brick chicken and the Thai chili calamari.
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 is decorated with hanging plants and colorful padded chairs, and with sunny days in the forecast, you might think you’ve been transported to a tropical climate.
For bocce and top-notch wine in Watertown: Branch Line
The massive patio at Branch Line in Watertown has long been a draw, with lots of foliage, rustic, shaded tables, and a bocce court exceptionally suited for sunny days and warm weather hangs. 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 flora-filled patio to sample dishes such as the Catalan tomato bread topped with jamón Serrano, pepperoncini, and chile flakes, 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 to enjoy front-row views of the harbor and a classic seafood menu with crab cakes, scallops, and the restaurant’s lauded lobster roll. Head to the third-floor rooftop lounge — complete with retractable glass roof — for light bites, sushi, and cocktails.
For new American near Harvard Square: Harvest
Harvest’s light-filled, plant-lined outdoor patio is sophisticated and romantic, making this Harvard Square restaurant’s garden terrace the portrait of elegant all-weather dining. Open for lunch, brunch and dinner, the seasonal menu includes creative takes on New England and American classics, such as pickled local herring, Atlantic cod, and locally farmed chicken with wild rice and pistachio mole.
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 some truly beautiful seasonal craft cocktails make the patio a prime spot to take in the stunning view of Back Bay’s skyscrapers. 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 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.
For a tasting menu without the fuss in Cambridge: Craigie on Main
The return of warm weather brings the return of Craigie Next Door, an outdoor dining experience Craigie on Main kicked off last year during the pandemic. Known for refined French and new American food, this iteration of Craigie is more casual, more shareable — and completely outdoors. The menu changes to reflect the best of the market each day and chef Tony Maws’s choice of seasonal dishes, such as grilled Duxbury oysters and spatchcocked chicken. Want in? Tickets are available on OpenTable Experiences at $85 per person.
For Greek and a waterfront view in Fort Point: Committee
Shareable plates and patio dining with a view make this Greek “ouzeri” an ideal warm weather spot to safely share a meal. Made for family style eating, the menu includes seasonal vegetable dishes such as artichoke moussaka, crab meat dumplings with Greek yogurt, and large platters like the Poikilia Kreaton, which includes a selection of grilled meats along with sauces and grilled pita.
For a laidback neighborhood spot in South Boston: The Playwright
With the recent addition of a back patio, this long standing neighborhood bar and restaurant offers plenty of outdoor space to enjoy lunch, dinner, brunch, and late-night snacks. Bar fare aficionados will get their fix with a large selection of the hits, including burgers, nachos, chicken tenders, and wings, while those looking for lighter options will appreciate dishes such as the vegetarian-friendly quinoa summer grain bowl.