London restaurants are reopening. We repeat. London restaurants are reopening. This is not a drill. For the first time in three months you’ll be able to eat, drink, and socialise (read: actually see your mates) inside restaurants. But if the idea of actually sitting inside a restaurant still feels a bit strange or uncomfortable to you, we totally get it. Luckily, there are lots of seriously great London restaurants with outdoor seating options. From a French brasserie with boulevard-style pavement tables to a legendary handmade pasta spot with outdoor seating for the very first time, here are the al fresco dining options that have opened since July 4th.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to know what eating out looks like now you can check out our reopening FAQ.
Facts: We have never had a bad meal at Rochelle Canteen. This British restaurant in Shoreditch is one of our all-time favourite spots and their garden also happens to be one of our all-time favourite outdoor dining situations. For the moment, they’re outdoor only so keep an eye on the weather for your booking.
Great name, right? This super popular Clapton dim sum spot has a few tables out front. You should know that they go quick, but you should also know it’s worth implementing a little table strategy to eat their shu mai and cucumber salad al fresco. Their Victoria Park location also has a lovely veranda situation.
Mao Chow, a tiny 12-seater in Hackney, has set up a few tables out on the street. This BYOB, all-vegan, Chinese-inspired spot, so if you want some punchy dumplings, noodles, or greens, email email@example.com or just stop by to see if they can seat you.
Get the pie. We repeat, get the pie. The Marksman is a seriously great restaurant hidden beyond the assumption that it’s just another local Hackney boozer. It isn’t. They serve excellent British food - including a shed-a-tear-of-joy pies - and their little roof terrace is arguably one of London’s best outdoor seating options.
Alongside pork tequeños, ceviches, and pisco sours, the Soho branch of the Peruvian mini-chain has taken advantage of the Soho road closures to add outdoor seating to their offering.
Rovi does cook fish and meat, but it’s the things they do with flames and vegetables that will keep you coming back. Their new terrace stretching up Wells Street in Fitzrovia is yet another reason why this place should be near the top of your list if you’re eating out in the West End.
A really nice restaurant serving really nice tapas, Copita is one of those London restaurants you run to when you want to feel like you’re on holiday and therefore drink a whole lot of Rioja before the sun goes down. There’s always a few tables out front and it’s perfect for a little Soho people watching.
This kind-of-classic feeling Notting Hill farm-to-table neighbourhood spot has taken over the pavement outside and is operating on a casual walk-up basis Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings until mid-August. The restaurant (i.e. inside) will fully reopen in September.
We’d write a sonnet to Emilia’s pasta, but sadly burrata is kind of tricky to rhyme with. Instead of poetry head to this super-useful spot on St Katherine’s Dock to enjoy the views of the boats from their terrace.
Hoppers is a Sri Lankan restaurant that introduced us to the most god-damn beautiful, beast of a prawn we’ve ever met. Seriously, it was huge. And the terrace at their King’s Cross branch is pretty big too.
Fish, Wings & Tings
The popular Caribbean spot in Brixton Village will be open with lots of seating out front. It’s first come, first served, so be sure to head there early if you want a decent chance of eating their jerk chicken wings.
Look, we’re not astronauts but we’re pretty certain that The Golden Hind’s huge portions of cod can be seen from space. This slightly upmarket chippie serves haddock so big that it’ll hang off your plate and there’s some really nice rattan seating out front.
This converted stables in South Kensington is a great spot for a small group meal or a fun date. There are tapas options, as well as lamb, pork, and beef chargrilled on the robata. We tend to go for their sushi. It’s served without soy sauce. Instead, each piece of fish is topped with something that enhances its natural flavours, like a sliver of truffle, or a tiny mound of caviar.
The outdoor seating at The Builder’s Arms makes it perfect for summer days and drunken evenings. And it’s just one of the things that makes this such a great pub. They also have a pretty exciting menu of updated British classics that all come in at under twenty quid, a hefty wine list, and local craft beer tap takeovers.
Or as we call it, Tasty Dumpling, is a great little Soho spot that specialises in fun takes on your dim sum classics. We’re talking cheeseburger, summer salsa, and Nutella dumplings. Unsure? Just give them a try, although heads up they only have a couple tables out front and we imagine they’ll go quick.
Hello sambol. Hello hot butter cuttlefish. Hello hoppers. Sri-Lankan spot Kolamba are serving all of the above on their terrace. Plus, there’s a brand new brunch menu.
Eat oysters, crab, and other things from the sea at The Oystermen in Covent Garden. It’s a small restaurant, but their summer terrace means you can socially-distance in style. They’ll also be serving champagne and oysters in the Apple Market intermittently throughout the summer, so check their Instagram to find out what’s going on.
J Sheekey’s street-side patio, is, even though you’re in a touristy part of London, relatively sheltered from the crowds. If you’re going to splurge on a fancy seafood tower, it should be here. But even if you’re not looking to flash the cash, it’s great for a few oysters and a glass of champagne before heading elsewhere.
Everyone’s favourite place to eat steak hache and pretend you’re in Le Marais is back, and the upstairs Brasserie Zedel pavement café is open too.
The food at Kitty Fisher’s might sound simple, but it’s some of the tastiest in London. Their wild strawberry and hay ice cream is not only the perfect summer dessert, but the kind of dessert that ruins all other desserts. Eating it on one of their handful of outdoor tables in Mayfair, is the kind of thing you’ll tell your grandchildren about.
Ceru is one of the sunniest restaurants in this part of town, and along with the modern Levantine dishes, their new and expanded -for-2020 al fresco dining area gives this South Ken spot proper vacay feels. The all-day menu is full of seafood, fritters, halloumi and spiced meats. Basically, if it goes with mint yoghurt, it’s on the menu.
The terrace at Le Petit Sud might not be the spot for fine dining and mind-blowing French food, but it is the spot for making your way through the wine list and eating excellent charcuterie on a romantic first date.
Every time we’ve casually strolled past Pastaio Soho’s terrace it’s been absolutely buzzing. This handmade pasta spot is back and although it’s walk-ins only, you can make use of their virtual queue system.
Brindisa in South Kensington really comes into its own when the sun is out, the windows are open, and the outside seating is laid out. The usual standard tapas classics are all on the menu, so if you’re in need of a half-decent meal near the museums, this isn’t a bad shout.
If you’re partial to excellent cooked meats, melted lardon butter, and a cute courtyard, you’ll be into Kudu. This sophisticated South African spot in Peckham not only has a courtyard area out back that’s perfect for drinking whilst picking at their biltong croquettes, they now have a bar up the road with a full outdoor terrace too.
Lina in Piazza is the Lina Stores we know and love, transferred across to the piazza opposite their pastel-toned King’s Cross restaurant. There are umbrellas that make it look like Umbria, all the usual handmade pasta, and a gelato cart.
Melabes only have a couple of tables outside, but grabbing one of them when the sun is shining over Kensington High Street would not be a mistake. Their huge Mediterranean menu has everything from salads, to a schnitzel pita that is a true feat of engineering. But the small plates. Oh, the small plates. The hummus with pita ‘small plate’ (lies), is basically a creamy chickpea pond. With every new dish, another gravy boat of greek yoghurt or aioli will appear with it. This is the perfect spot to share a beer with a friend.
Master Wei ties with sister restaurant Xi’an Impression as the best place to eat Xi’an cuisine in London. And if you want to eat Xi’an cuisine outside, Master Wei, with its small terrace on a quiet pedestrian street in Bloomsbury, wins hands down.
Uli must have one of the nicest outdoor situations in Notting Hill. It’s a great spot for a peaceful bowl of Singapore Noodles and a glass of something boozy and fizzy.
Henrietta Bistro has always been a great spot for a last-minute catch-up, or a quick, chilled bite with friends. Now they’ve spread the tables out on to this pretty, pedestrianised stretch of Henrietta Street, you can grab your hispi cabbage with almond and black garlic, and a beef tartare with harissa and tahini, outside too.
We once described La Goccia at Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden as ‘the beautiful lovechild of a spa and a florists’. With tables set up outside on Floral Court this summer, it makes for a peaceful spot to enjoy a few Italian small plates and a bottle of wine.
Snackbar’s kimchi and stichelton toastie makes a regular appearance in our cheese dreams. Yes, we have cheese dreams. And now, for the first you can eat their Asian-influenced breakfast-brunch-lunch food out on their new outdoor seating. DM them to book a table indoors or out.
When it comes to plant-based restaurants in London, Mildred’s in Soho has to be the OG. This summer they’re taking advantage of Soho’s road closures and rolling out a lawn on Lexington Street so that customers can eat outdoors.
Lardo’s pavement seating options just got bigger and better. Adapting to the current situation, this Hackney spot has made their front terrace larger, with the same menu of pizza, smoked burrata, and spritz cocktails.
Another spot taking advantage of the Soho road closures is Koya Bar. This udon specialist on Frith Street has just six tables set up out on the pavement, but it’s always worth getting your name on the list for their excellent food.
Greyhound does some of the best classic Thai food in central. It also has one of the best outside seating areas anywhere in London, and you’re bound to have a good time here when you come with a few friends.
Ever contemplated downing an entire cup of chilli sauce? Well, you’re about to. Theo’s is not only home to some of London’s best homemade chilli sauce but London’s best pizza too. Their little back garden will be open for full-throttle chilli sauce glugging from the 4th.
This huge trattoria in Fitzrovia is a right laugh and they have a fun little back garden situation. Heads up, they get pretty booked up, but you might be able to bag a last minute spot at off-peak times.
Mayfair tapas spot Sabor has reopened for the summer as an outdoor venue only. Sabor Al Fresco from lunch till 9pm Tuesday through Thursday, and from noon till 10pm on Friday and Saturdays. It’s a casual setup so just drop by for a glass (or jug) of sangria and some tapas.
Elliot’s is a proper class act and you’ll want to get involved in everything from their cheeseburgers to their mussels to their biodynamic wines. This Borough Market spot has even launched a summer alfresco pop-up with a £29 set menu - you can book your outdoor table here.
The Caribbean classics at Negril are reason enough to head up Brixton Hill when you want somewhere away from the hubbub of Brixton’s main strip. Eating your saltfish fritters or jerk chicken with rice and peas on their calm, plant filled terrace is another reason this place is a destination.
The food at Sager and Wilde is limited to snacks. It’s all about cheese, charcuterie, and wine, but if you manage to bag a table out on their Hackney Road terrace, it would be rude not to get one of their excellent toasties as well.
Like puppies and Timothée Chalamet’s hair, Lemonia never fails to put a smile on our face. This old school Greek restaurant in Primrose Hill usually has several tables out front and importantly, some of the biggest portions of baklava we’ve ever seen.
We could plan on going to this London Fields spot’s front patio for a couple small plates and accidentally spend the next decade there drinking excellent wines. Open from Saturday night.
Whether you love patisserie, rattan seating, or living your best Amelie fantasies, Colbert has got you covered. This classic all-day brasserie’s boulevard-style pavement tables will be open and we anticipate a bit of a battle for a seat.
Sager + Wilde
The Bethnal Green branch of Sagar and Wilde has got that whole railway arch, cool summer hang thing going on. And importantly, there’s wine, negronis, and rigatoni too.
The Anchor & Hope
Few pubs in London can compete with The Anchor And Hope’s food. There’s only a couple of outdoor benches at this Southwark spot and they’re strictly first come first served, but it’s grand if you manage to nab one.
We’d like to give a special shoutout to Mazi’s seafood manti dumplings and tzatziki. We’d also like to give a shoutout to their seriously nice, modern back garden. To book a table at this Notting Hill spot call 020 7229 3794.
Unlike those caravans you see driving up the M3 with curtains that look like they saw both wars, Caravan the restaurant is actually pretty cool. It’s got that whole industrial look going on, an eclectic menu of different cuisines, and a pretty roomy terrace out front.
Not only is Wet Fish Café in West Hampstead an excellent spot to get chatting to friendly locals, it also serves some of the most delicious and homely food on this side of NW6. The outdoor seating stretching along West End Lane maximises your chances of spotting a future friend.
Nothing says summer like one too many cocktails at Pergola. This huge open air terrace in Paddington is now taking bookings.
The Coal Office
The Coal Office know bread. Whether you go here for lunch, dinner, or a grab-and-go, you should absolutely their kubalah. It’s available with tahini and grated tomatoes if you’re eating in, or as part of a variety of sandwiches for takeaway. If you do choose to stay, try and get one of their tables out on the terrace overlooking the rest of Coal Drops Yard.
Zeret Kitchen is a traditional Ethiopian restaurant in Camberwell that always has a bit of a buzz come 7pm. That’s thanks to their enormous silver platters of injera bread with any number of lentil or chickpea stews and some truly massive solo portions. You’ll find some simple table and chairs out front.
Oh Llewelyn’s. Lovely, lovely Llewelyn’s. This idyllic little Herne Hill restaurant will be making good use of their terrace and will even be extending it. Reserve here.
We love Phat Phuc’s name. We love their affordable pho. And given the current situation, we really love that this entire restaurant is open-air in a cute little Chelsea courtyard. Weather looking terrible? Of course it is, thanks England. Don’t worry, they have a gazebo and the laksa will keep you toasty.
Casa Do Frango
Three words. Piri piri chicken. This Portuguese spot in Shoreditch is back and for the first time ever they’ll even have an outdoor terrace.
Scott’s is one of London’s oldest seafood restaurants. Scott’s is expensive. And most importantly, Scott’s front terrace has been open since July 4th. Hello oysters.
Barrafina’s back, baby. More specifically, their Coal Drops Yard spot is back with pavement style seating out front and their classic must-order tortilla on the menu.
Picking at tapas from a bar stool in Bermondsey is a good idea if you choose José. Everything here from the croquetas to the jamon or anchovies are of the highest quality. Picking at tapas from a spacious terrace on Bermondsey Street on a summers day is an even better idea.
When we think of Padella we think of their cacio e pepe. And their notorious queues. But mostly, cacio e pepe. The second branch of this famous handmade pasta spot, Padella Shoreditch will have outdoor seating for the first time and you’ll be able to join a virtual queue to help with social distancing. Details here.
This tiny North African-inspired tapas spot is taking advantage of the continued closure of Moro, its nextdoor sister restaurant, to offer a handful of outdoor tables on Exmouth Market.
If you’re looking for a pub meal in Shoreditch, The George and Vulture is out of the way enough to be relatively peaceful and, more importantly, Sodo make the pizzas here. At around a tenner a go, the pizzas are great value, as crispy as you like, and make for a social and sensible pub lunch spread out on the sizeable pavement area outside.
Stockwell’s beloved foie gras toastie making boozer, Canton Arms, is opening, along with their front garden.
Home to a particularly sexy beef brisket bun, Smokestak and their pavement seating will be open from Saturday. The menu will be a little different due to all the adjustments, but the important thing is the barbecue will be up and running.
This Chelsea restaurant sort of looks like a spaceship designed by Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen. And you know what, we’re into it. Their big curved terrace will be open from July 4th and it’s a great all-day spot that’ll suit a coffee catch-up as much as some pan-fried sea bass over wine in the evening.
Radici is one of those big, crowd pleaser restaurants that’s got your back whether you’re looking for dinner with the kids or lunch with friends, or even a cheeky outdoor table in the midst of, you know, all this. They don’t have a great deal of outdoor seating so we’d suggest calling ahead to book.
Huge, big, massive. Whichever word you want to use, it describes Vinegar Yard’s outdoor space. Expect food traders, group tables, and a brand new mezzanine cocktail bar from this market-style space in Bermondsey.
When other people have said they’re looking forward to going back to ‘the gym’ we’re pretty sure they’re not referencing this schnitzel serving charmer, but we are. They’ve got plenty of outdoor seating and you can book on their website.
This huge converted pub situation has a big garden and big summer hang potential. Pimms, prosecco, spritzes, and bookings encouraged.
Ten minutes from Chelsea’s Sloane Square, Villa Mammas is a tasty Bahraini spot that makes a mean mathrooba (a chicken stew situation). It can be a little pricey, but their outdoor seating is rustic, homely, and perfect for groups of four.
King’s Cross restaurant Parillan has one of best terraces in town, and the grill-it-yourself concept of the place makes it a decent shout for a low-contact outdoor meal.
We once ate a serious amount of Keralan fried chicken, drank cocktails, and people-watched at Kricket White City. And you know what, we had a great time. Book a table here.
Located in a former garage down an alley off Upper Street, the Islington branch of Meatliquor has a garden where diners can enjoy their huge burgers, salads, and side dishes, outdoors this summer. Don’t forget to order buffalo wings and Hippie Fries.
Dishoom is taking reservations for the first time, and the verandah at the Shoreditch branch makes it the perfect spot for a lazy weekend lunch or early evening meal. Order-wise you can’t go wrong here, but just make sure the chicken ruby curry and the lamb chops are on your table.
Over-ordering can be a problem at Oklava, a Shoreditch restaurant cooking modern Turkish food in a stylish setting. All things considered, their dining room is one of the nicest in London, but on a warm evening, grabbing a stool outside at the window counter is straight up one of the best places you can eat. Anywhere. And since much of the menu is absurdly good, having too much of it is what we call “a good problem.”
Calling all oyster lovers. Slick Irish-meets-American spot Darby’s is reopening, and their covered front terrace is available for bookings too.
Chicama in Chelsea has a rustic, foliage filled terrace where you can eat things like grilled prawns, charred sweet potato, and aji panca marinated squid.
If you can find a seat, it’s imperative that you always take advantage of The Drapers Arms’ back garden. This proper neighbourhood boozer in Islington is open for pints, roasts, and general merriment.
Despite ‘laundry’ being something of a trigger word for our messy selves, we’re still very into this all-day Brixton bistro. Their south-facing terrace is unreservable, so if you’re hoping to walk-in, better get there early.
This bright, colourful restaurant in London Bridge is basically a smile in restaurant form. They have a few pavement tables out front where you can eat tacos, guacamole, and churros.
A King’s Cross classic, The Lighterman is a big British restaurant that’s perfect for sitting on the canal with a drink and a snack. Their upstairs and downstairs terraces are big. But they’re also popular, so probably best to book ahead.
When we think of Abd El Wahab, we think ‘fancy’ and we think ‘pass the halloumi’. This Lebanese restaurant in Belgravia has a few tables out front and you can book here.
As above, except at Westfield White City. Cacio e pepe, tiramisu, 8-hour beef bolognese, and a whole lot more.
This Marylebone spot has a Mediterranean meets modern European style menu and some casual pavement seating out front. Bookings here.
If you’ve missed bottomless brunch more than your own family during lockdown (sorry sis), then we have good news. The Angel branch of Brother Marcus will be serving their £35 bottomless brunch along with plenty of mezze from Saturday, and their usual few al fresco tables are available too.