The Top 12 Seattle Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

The spacious patio at The White Swan Public House | Credit: Nick Jurich

For much of the year, Seattle is gray, a bit cold—and yes, rainy. But from May to September, sunshine and warm temps transform the city. Across Seattle, there are many perfect patios for sipping cocktails, lakeside venues with skyline views and fresh seafood, and cozy backyards to enjoy al fresco dining. So while the sunshine doesn’t last long in the Emerald City, as summer inches closer, here are a few of the best places in the city to visit for excellent food and drinks outside. 

Terra Plata (Capitol Hill/First Hill)

The rooftop garden on chef Tamara Murphy’s farm-to-table Capitol Hill staple is an outdoor dining gem. Overhead heaters and complimentary blankets make it a cozy spot to enjoy year-round. But it especially shines in the summer, when late sunset views enhance its shareable plates, such as roasted bone marrow and hand cut frites, and excellent wine list—necessary components for memorable group dinners.

The Pink Door (Belltown/Pike Place)

The clandestine outdoor space at The Pink Door, accessible through an unmarked door on the Post Alley promenade, is the perfect dining spot for classic Italian food and well-crafted cocktails. A full view of Elliot Bay serves as the backdrop to a whimsical, properly-shaded patio, featuring fairy lights and multi-colored tablecloths. A reservation is almost always necessary—despite the low-key entrance, locals and in-the-know visitors swarm this spot, especially on those rare sunny Seattle days. 

Westward (Wallingford) 

Credit: Eric Tra

Pick an Adirondack chair and take in houseboat and skyline views from Renee Erickson’s iconic ocean-inspired spot, best known for its stellar oyster selection. Firepits, string lights, and beach umbrellas fuel a casual ambiance, while the seafood-centric menu is a mix of simple and elegant bites such as marinated mussels and heartier plates, like the fire-roasted pork chop and an impressive seafood tower. 

STELLA. (Capitol Hill/First Hill)

This revamped restaurant is helmed by Carolynn Spence—a chef who has previously worked alongside culinary heavyweights such as Bobby Flay and April Bloomfield—and nested in the Hotel Sorrento. Its garden, a tented al fresco setup, sits at the entrance of the historic hotel, and makes for an excellent setting for expertly crafted cocktails and coastal Italian fare. Woven rattan chairs, twinkling lights, and flowers adorn a secluded plaza. Aside from regular menu offerings, the garden offers a three-course prix fixe fondue and s’mores experience, complete with a chic gas burner for roasting marshmallows at the table. 

Meesha (Fremont)

The cozy outdoor patio at this celebrated Indian restaurant is lined with pillows and plush seats, perfect for an evening meal or post-dinner drinks and desserts. The menu features chef Preeti Agarwal’s modern Indian plates that rely on local seasonal ingredients to highlight traditional South Asian flavors; they come together in inventive curries such as charcoal-smoked chicken with fenugreek and spiced tomato cashew sauce, and cheese curd dumplings in a roasted bell pepper gravy.

Marjorie Restaurant (Capitol Hill) 

The vibe at this warm neighborhood restaurant, decked with rainbow-colored chairs and an abundance of foliage, evokes a backyard get-together. But the menu, courtesy of chef Donna Moodie, who was born in Jamaica, is all about globally-inspired comfort food, ranging from jalapeno hushpuppies to chicken tikka masala. Garage doors open into the jewel-toned dining room, creating the perfect setup for a laidback night out. 

San Fermo (Ballard) 

Credit: Andrea Petruccelli

Located inside a historically preserved home from the 1800s, this romantic dinner spot may be known for its cozy indoor dining room, but the better place is on its vine-covered, tree-shaded wraparound porch. Wicker chairs, a striped awning, and warm lights make for an inviting atmosphere to enjoy some of Seattle’s best pasta and wine. The menu is small and changes regularly to accommodate seasonal produce, though staples such as the bolognese or farinata (chickpea flatbread) never get old. 

 

Cafe Campagne (Belltown/Pike Place)

Despite its market location, dining at chef Daisley Gordon’s bistro feels like tucking into a meal at a Parisian cafe. The side patio, though petite, is great for people watching while feasting on the best steak frites in the city and sipping a French 75. Located in Post Alley, the patio is shaded and away from direct market traffic, making it intimate enough for a drinks date or catching up with friends. 

The White Swan Public House (Eastlake)

Credit: Nick Jurich

This dockside haven, from the team behind Matt’s in the Market and Radiator Whiskey, is synonymous with stunning waterfront views. Perched on Lake Union, its larger patio is made for slurping down on oysters and watching seaplanes land. Though crowds tend to swarm the patio all summer long, it’s worth putting up with them for the White Swan’s succulent array of seafood, which includes chowder-style poutine and charred baby octopus. 

Surrell (Capitol Hill/First Hill)

Chef Aaron Tekulve, who steers this fine-dining restaurant, has previously worked at some of Seattle’s swankiest spots, including Canlis and Lark—and it certainly shows at Surrell, where he celebrates Pacific Northwestern ingredients. Experience his multi-course micro seasonal tasting menu and an extensive collection of Washington wines outdoors in the secret garden patio—it’s enclosed and heated— filled with beautiful foliage and wooden accents.

Willmott’s Ghost (South Lake Union)

Credit: Eric Tra

Nestled in the Amazon Spheres, this Italian restaurant—chef Renee Erickson’s first Italian endeavor—is a beautiful refuge amidst a tech office jungle. Shrouded in foliage, with light pink accents and large overhead umbrellas, this spot is great for a late afternoon aperitivo, featuring a refreshing cocktail list heavy on the shrubs, bitters, bubbles, and spritzes. Sardines, burrata, and chicken liver mousse are delectable antipasti while over half a dozen flavors of fluffy square pizza round out the menu; whole pies are brought with scissors for slicing and sharing. 

Stoup Kenmore (Kenmore)

The sprawling family-friendly patio at this brewery is perfect for groups and casual dining. Choose from 22 rotating beers on tap, plus cocktails; the food menu by chef Jason Stoneburner pays homage to classic bar bites, serving up inventive spins on pizza, nachos, and even a veggie-forward take on buffalo wings, in addition to superlative soft serve.  

Alana Al-Hatlani is a baker by morning and a food writer by night, based in Seattle. 

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

 

 

Related