Los Angeles has mastered the year-round outdoor patio, with exemplary renditions of waterside seating, nature-filled decks, and charming courtyards. Sunsets, ocean breezes, string lights, and umbrellas abound for both LA’s warm days and cooler nights.
The city is certainly not lacking in superb places to dine outside, but some rise above the rest. Here’s where to book a reservation at LA’s best restaurants for dining outside.
For a hip Middle Eastern meal: Bavel
It’s easy to see why Bavel has made such a splash in the LA dining scene, between its award-winning Middle Eastern fare, gorgeous desert-like patio, and critical praise. Right now, the DTLA hit has taken over two other patio spaces with similar twinkle-lit, plant-strewn charm. But the food is just as stellar in all three, with spreads like hummus and baba ghanoush, grilled prawns with harissa marinade, and slow-roasted lamb neck shawarma.
For a pasta feast: Felix Trattoria
There may be no more coveted pasta in town than what’s offered at James Beard Award-nominated Felix in Venice. Cacio e pepe, tagliatelle bolognese, and spaghetti with bottarga are all options, plus pizza, antipasti, and meat and fish entrees. Outdoor seating is in a small yard with string lights and plants.
For date night: Fia
Fia’s garden patio is truly special, made extra romantic by string lighting, old growth trees, and an outdoor bar that adds buzzy energy. Take a date there to bask in the space, accompanied by Californian-Italian plates such as handmade pastas (tagliatelle with duck ragu with orange and parmesan), farmers’ market dishes (grilled corn with brown butter and freshly shaved black truffle), and entrees (seared scallops with squid ink risotto and nasturtium).
For meat lovers: Carlitos Gardel Argentine Steakhouse
There’s no shortage of meat at Carlitos Gardel Argentine Steakhouse, a family-run Beverly Grove institution open since 1996. This year, Carlitos Gardel built an extensive outdoor patio to meet the moment. All the classic steakhouse dishes are here, plus Argentine dishes such as empanadas, morcilla sausage, and garlic shrimp. Steak options include ribeye, filet mignon, skirt, and short rib, all accompanied by a housemade chimichurri that’s so beloved that the restaurant even sells it by the bottle. Don’t miss the extensive Argentine wine selection.
For natural wine and fried chicken: A.O.C.
A.O.C. in Beverly Grove has long been a go-to for special occasions, thanks to chef Suzanne Goin’s refined Californian-French small plates. Dishes include parmesan-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates, fried chicken with romesco aioli and chili-cumin butter, and potato gnocchi with Maine lobster. The wine list is also a standout for its extensive organic, biodynamic, and sustainable selections. Its Spanish courtyard-style patio is a stunner year round, full of ivy, trees, and even balconies.
For live music and barbecue: Derricks on Atlantic
Barbecue plates are the specialty at Derricks on Atlantic in Long Beach. Smoked brisket, pork spareribs, beef ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and more come with your choice of two sides, from mac and cheese and potato salad to cole slaw and Texas-style pinto beans. Outdoor seating is in the parking lot out front, accompanied by live music acts from multiple genres, such as blues, Latin jazz, and rock ‘n roll. Walk-ins only.
For seaside seafood: Fishing with Dynamite
Some of LA’s best seafood can be found at Fishing with Dynamite, a Manhattan Beach destination that has managed to become even bigger than before the pandemic through a new patio on the sidewalk from which you can smell the ocean breeze. Seafood options include raw bar, crab cakes, chowder, and grilled fish entrees — and don’t skip the key lime pie for dessert.
For vegan diets: Gracias Madre
Organic vegan Mexican food is the focus of spiritual Gracias Madre, which just so happens to have one of the most iconic patios in town. It’s a sprawling space in West Hollywood with picturesque trees, string lights, and umbrellas to provide shade. Traditional dishes get a vegan makeover, such as the jackfruit birria burrito, mushroom fajitas, and macadamia ricotta enchilada.
For skyline views: Perch LA
Perch LA’s two-story rooftop overlooks Pershing Square and Downtown beyond. Couched areas, cane chairs, tables, plants, bars, and live music come together to create quite the scene. French fare such as steak frites, bouillabaisse, and crème brûlée make up the menu, and cocktails are a particularly strong point, like one with rum, strawberries, mint, lime sugar, and sparkling wine.
For iconic LA: République
République’s award-winning pastries and French brasserie fare are still the talk of the town after eight years in Mid-City. Beyond the always-outstanding croissants, cookies, pies, cakes, breads, quiches, and tarts, the savory menu includes dishes such as Santa Barbara spot prawns with brown butter and ponzu sauce or organic chicken tagine with baby turnips, merguez sausage, figs, and couscous. The historic building was erected by Charlie Chaplin in 1929, and the restaurant patio’s shade sails, string lights, and greenery make the outdoor space an inviting spot to enjoy a quick bite or a longer meal.
For a dose of Downtown LA industrial chic: Rossoblu
Minimalism goes to the max on Rossoblu’s DTLA patio, with a stunning industrial mix of concrete, straight metal lines, and shrubs. The Michelin-rated menu combines Italian and Californian influences, such as in the antipasto dish with eggplant, tomato sugo, basil, and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, or brick chicken with date jus, preserved lemon, and Tuscan kale. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of pasta, too, and the signature is tortellini and sacchetto in brodo, a comforting dish for cool LA nights. If you can’t get there, consider one of Rossoblu’s online classes, demonstrating pasta, pastry, and cocktail making.
For breezy Mexican fare: Socalo
Acclaimed Border Grill founders Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are behind this modern Santa Monica Mexican spot. An all-Mexican wine list accompanies the food, with dishes such as seared fish tacos, corn esquite, and lamb birria. Outdoor seating is on the sidewalk and a patio shaded by bright orange umbrellas and romantically lit by string lights.
For some sushi: Wabi on Rose
Flowers and greenery overflow on Wabi on Rose’s Venice dreamy patio, decorated in shades of millennial pink. The Japanese restaurant focuses on sushi, from maki rolls and sashimi to the chef’s choice omakase — cutely named “Make it Rain” after chef Rain Pantana. The restaurant has successfully rebounded after a 2018 fire, and it’s now ideal for an energetic night out.
For New American in Koreatown: Openaire
A lush rooftop garden beckons visitors to the aptly named Openaire, located on the second floor of the trendy Line Hotel. Award-winning chef Josiah Citrin — behind the two-Michelin-starred Mélisse — runs the kitchen, and his menu showcases fresh, California-centric flavors and local ingredients. The creative cocktail menu is a draw for the poolside venue, as is brunch, which includes bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary’s in addition to favorites such as the corn flake-crusted French toast with caramelized bananas.
For an Italian escape in Silverlake: Marco Polo at Silver Lake Pool and Inn
Coastal Italian meets California cool at Marco Polo’s laidback patio restaurant, just south of the Sunset Junction. Large white umbrellas and cane chairs create the right ambience for sipping on a spritz and enjoying oysters on the half shell, or diving into a bowl of casarecce fra diavolo pasta.
For a beer-soaked sunset hang: Ballast Point Long Beach
Take in Alamitos Bay views and gorgeous sunsets at Ballast Point Long Beach, a massive beer garden with tons of seating and even more beer. Choose from two stories with fire pits and more than 60 beers on tap to hang for a while. Walk-ins only.
Lauren McDowell contributed to this guide.