Not content with being one of London’s most aesthetically pleasing areas, Notting Hill also has plenty of great places to eat. But when the sun’s out and you actually crave the idea of al fresco dining once again, these are the restaurants with outdoor seating you should be heading to.
THE OUTDOOR SPOTS
Cha Cha Sister Jane
Tasseled bar stools, velvet pink sofas, and some excellent chargrilled boneless baby chicken is what you can expect to find at this restaurant near the northern end of Portobello Road. Inside the Sister Jane showroom and shop, this all-day ground floor restaurant has a very cute second floor terrace garden that has some serious hot girl summer energy. With a menu of things like tuna tiraditos and pulled short rib and truffle ricotta on a cachapa corn pancake, the Latin American-influenced food here is big on flavour so long as you pick the right thing. We’re fans of their chicken dishes - including the caesar salad which comes with chargrilled chicken and bacon, but if you come for brunch, sit outside on the terrace, and just make sure you order the French toast with rhubarb and vanilla chantilly - it’s excellent.
There are some restaurants that you walk into and, whether it’s a Saturday night or a Tuesday lunchtime, you think ‘right, a bottle of wine is in order’. Mazi is one of those restaurants. This Greek spot just behind Notting Hill Gate station has plenty of rustic wooden tables, faux shutters on the walls, and a stupidly cute outdoor terrace. It’s the perfect place for dinner with the family, the most romantic outdoor date this side of Santorini, or for a laidback birthday involving a whole lot of tzatziki.
If you’re looking for some high quality sushi, you should head to Sumi. The second restaurant by chef Endo, this Westbourne Grove spot is more down-to-earth than his eighth-floor omakase counter in White City, with a calming interior and a covered front terrace offering a mix of big sharing tables and tables for two. Despite being a lot more lowkey, the sushi is still the same sky-high standard, and with a small-ish à la carte menu of main dishes like mushroom gohan, and a sushi menu of nigiri, sashimi, and hand rolls, you can’t really go wrong. The nigiri is exceptional, and if you’re not in the mood to spend £100+ on lunch, then stick to the raw fish and steer clear of the ‘main’ section. The sushi is more than enough to leave you feeling satisfied anyway.
This is one of the liveliest restaurants in the area, and it serves some of our favourite tacos in town. The servings are small-plate size so you’ll need three for two people, plus a couple of sides and/or nibbles (because who doesn’t want nibbles?). Plus a small bathtub’s worth of margaritas and beer. A venue for all-out embarrassing behaviour rather than a quiet date, the outdoor set-up here is a pretty straightforward table and chairs out front situation. Go with a gang, and don’t miss the fish tacos.
The Notting Hill location of this all-day Australian mini-chain may be the smallest of them all, but its menu has the same fresh salads, sandwiches, small plates, and mains that you’ll find at their other spots. Think shrimp burgers, ricotta hotcakes, and a lot of avocado. They have a limited outdoor set-up, and the great food means it’s usually packed out. Head here with a whole lotta patience and an empty stomach.
Beach Blanket Babylon
This stalwart spot on Ledbury Road has been serving vaguely European dishes since 1990, and might be better known for having about 56 fireplaces. Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration, but what you should know is that this was a very popular spot for celebs and the cast of Made In Chelsea about 10 years ago, and while the food is not going to blow your socks off, the whole experience of sitting on their quiet Notting Hill street-facing front terrace on a sunny day is something special. Head here for a couple of cocktails and some food - they do a decent job with the classics.
If you’ve ever walked past this huge three-storey pub and dining room in Notting Hill, you’ll know it’s a serious spot. And although you’re looking at bigger prices than your average pub situation, dishes like wood-roasted whole sea bream and chargrilled squid are worth the extra spend. The downstairs area with its palm trees and glass ceiling (which doubles as an open roof) is where you really want to be, but they also have a buzzy terrace out front. Heads up, they’re open late on the weekend.
Where do you go when you find yourself in Notting Hill with a serious craving for Singapore vermicelli noodles? Uli, that’s where. The food here isn’t going to change your life, but it’s the kind of bright, modern spot close to a station that’s always worth having in your back pocket. Serving a mix of Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian, you can expect crispy aromatic duck, dim sum, lots of seafood, and a big (covered) outdoor terrace complete with blankets, cushions, and candles. Just in case it wasn’t clear enough, the terrace is where you want to be, so much so that whenever we’ve been there - come rain or shine - the terrace is what we ask for.
Farm Girl goes all in on the Australian healthy-eating thing, right down to the coconut ‘bacon’, macadamia butter, and optional sprinklings of superfoods. If you want to roll your eyes, by all means, go for it. But you should also know that the whole health thing here actually comes with some very good food attached. Sandwiches and salads are great, and so are the drinks. ‘Liquid Gold’ - lime juice, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, astragalus, and honey - would be worth drinking even if it weren’t allegedly good for you. The location guarantees a mob scene on Saturdays, but you’re just as likely to queue on Monday.
Books for Cooks is a cookbook shop that also runs a café at lunchtime. The dishes all come from recipes in books they’re testing, so the no-choice menu changes every day. Check their Twitter feed to find out what’s cooking, and bring a bottle – because it’s BYOB. They’ve got very limited outdoor seating out front, and book-buying is optional but recommended: you should know they have the biggest selection in the country.