12 of San Francisco’s Best Outdoor Dining Spots

The patio at Foreign Cinema. | Credit: Leonard Martin Hughet for Foreign Cinema

Outdoor dining flies any time of year around San Francisco — provided you bring a jacket. So grab an extra layer and take advantage of closed streets and pop-up patios. In the last couple of years, restaurants have worked harder than ever to ensure diners get full use of outdoor spaces, offering plenty of amenities and cozy heated areas. From spots serving fresh pasta and pizza on a rooftop to steak and seafood towers alongside epic Bay Bridge views, these are the best places to dine outside in San Francisco.

Foreign Cinema (Mission District)

Perhaps San Francisco’s most renowned patio, Foreign Cinema’s outdoor space is still going strong in the Mission, with classic films being projected al fresco onto the garden wall. Nothing beats dinner and a movie under the stars alongside Foreign Cinema’s Californian-Mediterranean menu, which includes dishes such as oysters on the half shell, spiced duck breast, and sesame fried chicken. For those who prefer a matinee, try the famous homemade pop tarts at brunch.

The Vault Garden (Financial District / Embarcadero)

A plate of lobster and a glass of wine

Credit: Hardy Wilson for The Vault

The Vault, from the hospitality group behind New American favorite Trestle, showcases its enormous courtyard downtown with decor transformations from season to season. Covered and heated areas allow for comfortable outdoor dining rain or shine. Lined with floral curtains, twinkling lights, and plenty of greenery, it’s a festive space to enjoy a contemporary American menu featuring favorites such as Parker House rolls, Dungeness crab cakes, and steak frites.

Canela Bistro & Wine Bar (The Castro)

Do as the Spanish do and settle in for croquetas and patatas bravas outdoors at Canela’s on Market Street, where paper lanterns and twinkling lights float above colorful tables. If you’re stumped on what to order, opt for the Paella & Tapas Experience in advance on OpenTable — for $69 per person, diners receive their choice of paella, two tapas, and a dessert. The restaurant also sells throw blankets on site in case you need another layer to bundle up on cooler evenings. 

Fiorella (Various locations)

Pizza and pasta is Fiorella’s specialty, best sampled via dishes such as a burrata pie, asparagus pie, and cacio e pepe. An all-local beer list, regionally sourced produce, and city-themed murals and wallpaper make the restaurant strongly San Franciscan. The original location on Clement has a compact backyard with tables and sunny yellow chairs, string lights, and heaters for cool Richmond nights. But the newest location in the Inner Sunset also opens up to a scene-y rooftop with black-and-gold striped awnings. 

Book Fiorella Clement

Book Fiorella Sunset

Book Fiorella Polk

Khamsa Restaurant (Mission District)

Moroccan fare gets filtered through a California lens at Khamsa in the Mission. The mainly halal menu includes dishes such as chicken basteeya (pot pie), lamb couscous, fish, beef, chicken, or duck tagines, and beef and lamb meatballs. It’s all available on the outdoor patio, decked with twinkly lights, heaters, and plenty of foliage.

Mochica (Potrero Hill / Dogpatch)

Potrero Hill neighborhood darling Mochica is the spot for ceviche, rotisserie chicken with chimichurri, and other bright Peruvian plates. Outdoor seating now spans onto the street under a covered area that’s livened up with green turf, planters, string lights, and heaters. Don’t miss the extensive cocktail menu that focuses on pisco, the clear liquor made from Peruvian grapes.

The Anchovy Bar (Western Addition)

Outdoor tables with heaters

Credit: The Anchovy Bar

The newest restaurant from the acclaimed team behind State Bird Provisions and The Progress brings European seafood traditions to the Bay Area, most evident in the house specialty, local anchovies cured in vinegar, boquerones-style, a true labor of love. The menu also includes shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and clams, along with a few meat dishes — all ready to be enjoyed on the restaurant’s charming streetside patio.

Barcha (Financial District / Embarcadero)

Credit: Barcha

With cane chairs, colorful rugs, and intricate wooden dividers providing plenty of privacy, the patio at this Mediterranean and Parisian-influenced bistro makes it one of the city’s coziest. Known for its shawarma and meatball kebabs, the lunch menu is an unexpected treat for those commuting downtown again, bringing dishes such as fattoush salad, brightened with mint and sumac, and pistachio-walnut baklava.

Chili House (Richmond District)

A Chinese American classic with white tablecloths and rotating trays, Chili House was first established in 1988, and has proudly served its crispy duck to visiting Chinese presidents. Even though the avenues surrounding it are notoriously foggy, the restaurant claims a cozy parklet on Clement, and the Szechuan-laced tan tan noodles and spicy wontons certainly keep outdoor diners warm. 

Buena Vida Cantina (SOMA)

This Mexican neighborhood restaurant, tucked behind Moscone Center and Yerba Buena, boasts a heated parklet that’s surprisingly secluded and lush with greenery. Kick back and relax with palomas, ceviche, and cochinita pibil tacos; the chef is originally from the Yucatan—where the slow-roasted dish originated—so the pork is seriously succulent.

Golden Crab House (Sunset District)

Before or after an adventure in Golden Gate Park, fuel up with a full crab feast. It seems only fitting to crack explosive crustaceans out on sidewalk seats, and there are plenty at this Vietnamese-inspired spot. From the same team behind PPQ Dungeness Island, Golden Crab House lays down the quintessential seafood spread, starring roasted crab drenched in garlic butter or fiery chiles and epic pulls of creamy garlic noodles. 

Tried them all? Check out other options here.