West End restaurants have reopened. We repeat. West End restaurants have reopened. This is not a drill. 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 restaurants with outdoor seating options throughout Soho, Covent Garden, Mayfair, Marylebone, Fitzrovia, and Bloomsbury.
the outdoor spots
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.