The Best Places To Eat Outside With Your Dog
13 alfresco restaurants that are perfect for a meal with your best friend, your dog.
Dogs are better than humans. We’re 99% sure we saw a corgi and a black lab discussing this in the park the other day while their humans did pathetic things like check the status of their ASOS delivery and complain about the weather. See, dogs, they’re just better. That’s why it’s important to find restaurants where you can bring your four-legged friend along to sit in the sunshine and appreciate their company while they spend two hours eyeing up your leftovers like they’ve never been fed. That’s true companionship. Onwards for great food and good times that both you and your dog can enjoy together.
Big Jo Bakery
Going on Big Jo’s tagged Instagram photos will not only please anyone who got very into sourdough during 2020 but also anyone who just really vibes watching a giant poodle eat baked goods. An all-day bakery on Holloway’s Hornsey Road with covered alfresco seating, Big Jo can always be relied upon for a mid-morning danish, a lunchtime serving of pizza fritta, and delicious things covered in pancetta come evening. The menu changes daily but you can always get a sneak peak of the day’s offerings on social media. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone that you’re actually there for the dogtent.
Brat @ Climpson’s Arch
At some point during the pandemic, realistically around the time we abandoned hairbrushes, Brat started a residency at Climpson’s Arch in London Fields. And they've stayed there since. You can expect all of the 10/10 signature dishes from the original Shoreditch restaurant including the must-order whole turbot, crab with hay butter, and That Bread. Just be aware that it’s an open kitchen so keep an eye on your dog or risk them running off with a turbot. Honestly, it’s so bloody good we wouldn’t even blame them.
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If you looked up ‘codependent’ in a dictionary there would be a picture of your rescue dog an inch from your face as you wake up. The morning breath, exquisite. Seeing as you’ve both spent a lot of time together—shoutout to them offering you their tennis ball while you attempt to have a bath alone—you might as well eat excellent seafood together too. Seafood specialist mini-chain Wright Brothers have a great spot overlooking the river in Battersea, and we know firsthand that having a round of oysters with some proper bubbles here is pretty idyllic. Riviera who?
A bite of octopus for you, a scrap of jamón ibérico for them. A swig of sherry for you, alright fine, another nibble of jamón ibérico for them. Can you see how dinner at Pizarro is going to play out very nicely for all involved? At this great little Spanish restaurant on Bermondsey Street—a.k.a the London road with the most concentrated number of adorable dogs—the simple pavement seating only adds to the budget trip to Seville mentality. Don’t skip the octopus and prepare for your dog to do a meet-and-greet with every passing SE1 dachshund.
Right so you’ve done the hard part—been interrogated by that nice woman at the RSPCA, adopted a puppy, not slept for 36 nights, cleaned up approximately 82,000 little accidents, told them to get off the sofa, accepted that they will never get off the sofa, regretted calling them Paw Hollywood, and spent your entire savings on a grape-eating incident at the vets. Now all you need to do is find somewhere to eat brunch. Easy. Look no further than Vardo, a striking all-day restaurant and coffee spot in Chelsea. Although dogs aren’t allowed on the roof terrace, they’re welcome on the spacious ground-floor terrace. Get the vanilla pancakes and the golden spiced milk.
There’s dog-friendly and then there’s freshly baked bone-shaped dog treats being hand-delivered from the kitchen. From the people behind The Wolseley and Brasserie Zédel, Bellanger is not only a charming all-day brasserie in Islington, it’s also the kind of place where dogs are treated just as well as the fur-free guests. On the right sunny day, the terrace out front has that sip-of-wine, nibble-of-gnocchi holiday feel and more power to you if you decide a round of oysters is in order.
We’re not joking when we say that we have seriously considered getting a miniature schnauzer and calling it Levan as an ode to our love for this Peckham restaurant. Why a miniature schnauzer? Well, because Levan is a kind of small, slightly moody all-day wine bar and we think the schnauzer would fit in with all the cool clientele you’ll find sipping natural wines here. But one bite into the comte fries with saffron aioli or caramelised celeriac ravioli and you’ll completely get why we think this place deserves the high accolade of being our pup’s name. Although Levan is serious about food, the feel is still laid-back. It’s a textbook date night restaurant but it’ll also work for a catch-up over a bottle of orange wine, while your pooch delivers some serious puppy dog eyes when the jambon de bayonne arrives.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Now that you and your little cutie have got past that point where you thought they were the canine answer to Freddy Krueger for methodically killing every pair of trainers you own, you can enjoy the very charming patio at Minnow together. A pastel neighbourhood spot serving modern British dishes, it’s opposite Clapham Common so it’s ideal for a lunch and walkies one-two punch.
When will the good investors of London give us dog-friendly clubs? No seriously, when? Until we’re finally blessed with XOYO 4 DOGGO, there’s The Landor. This huge—we mean huge— pub garden in Clapham is perfect for when you want to have a proper boozy laugh with your dog in tow. We’ve been here for countless birthdays over the years and even if it’s pissing it down, the pub garden always has the energy of a sunny bank holiday. Hungry? Get the buttermilk chicken burger.
Diogenes The Dog
You want wine, they want strangers to tell them they’re cute. To be honest, you also want strangers to tell you you’re cute but you’ll settle for a great bottle of Bordeaux. Both of you will find what you’re looking for at aptly named wine bar, Diogenes The Dog. This cosy little spot in Elephant and Castle has a few pavement-style tables outside where you can enjoy the terrine of the week or some quality cheese, and they’ll get plenty of compliments from passers-by, not to mention the ever-friendly servers.
If your pooch is one of those dogs that looks at a tennis ball and thinks ‘why would I bring that to you, what’s in it for me?’, then we have a strong suspicion that they’ll be into Colbert. A faux-Parisian restaurant with boulevard-style seating overlooking Sloane Square, this is a great spot for all the sophisticated dogs out there. Our game plan here is to always go for things on the menu that have an apostrophe, circumflex, or include the word ‘steak’. Follow it up with macarons, the rich chocolate and raspberry gateau, and some exquisite people watching.
40 Dean Street
A charming old-school Italian spot, this place has been serving pasta to the people of Soho since long before your dog’s feud with the Amazon delivery driver started. Whether you opt for a classic margherita, the chicken milanese, or a seafood linguini, know that all the food here is reliably good. It’s one of those places that have ‘dog-friendly’ in its Instagram bio so you can rest assured that there won’t be any side-eye from the servers if your dog offers up the odd pigeon-prompted bark on the terrace. Also, assuming you remember what it’s called, you’ll have no problem remembering where it is. Charming and practical.
La Poule au Pot
One of our all-time favourite dog-friendly restaurants is Maggie Jones’s, but unfortunately she is an inside-only situation. Luckily for humans and good boys everywhere, the equally charming, old-school sister restaurant in Belgravia has a terrace. The menu here is packed full of French classics like boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, coq au vin, and of course, escargots. It’s an especially good shout if your dog’s a little wary of traffic as the outdoor seating overlooks Orange Square with minimal noise from local streets.