LA is fully open and down to party, and you’ll be the first to admit how exciting it all feels. That said, maybe you’re also needing a bit of a breather. After all, you just spent a year in relative solitude, the idea of hanging out on crowded patios and chatting with people you haven’t seen since 2019 is borderline social whiplash, and you’re perhaps not ready to commit to it full time yet.
Not to worry, these 15 patios offer quiet, comfortable settings where you can dip your toe in the social hot tub without the pressure of jumping all the way in.
Bianca Bakery is a solid all-day French/Italian restaurant at The Platform in Culver City, but our favorite time to come is in the early morning. It’s here when you get to take advantage of the tremendous pastry case that involves everything from coffee cake to empanadas to seven different kinds of croissants - and a front patio that’s largely deserted. Sipping coffee and snacking on moist Basque cake in complete solitude won't be something we partake in every morning, but when we do, it'll be at Bianca.
With unobstructed views of the Hollywood Sign and the surrounding hills, Kensho has arguably the most idyllic setting of any wine bar in town. It’s located on the grounds of the always-popular Yamashiro in Hollywood, but the tiny patio is quiet, low-key, and even when it’s full, you’ll still feel like you have the place to yourself. We love Thursday and Friday nights, when they set up a Yakitori grill right on the patio.
Mazal is an excellent Israeli restaurant in Lincoln Heights with a long side patio that feels like you’re eating dinner with friends on a side street in Tel Aviv. There certainly will be other people there, but even when it’s full (which is often), the whole space has a calm serenity to it that’ll make you instantly relaxed and ready for another bottle of wine and some more babaganoush.
Azay is a half-French, half-Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo where you’ll find simple dishes like sweet-and-savory Nagoya hitsumabushi and the only Japanese breakfast being served in LA proper. It’s an understated rendition - nothing but a tray of broiled eel, tamago, tofu, miso soup, a side of rice, plus a few pickles. That said, sitting on their serene front patio while going to town on the perfectly tender fish and sweet tamago is our ideal way to start a day.
Holcomb opened in late 2019, but this chilled-out Highland Park spot is still one of the most exciting natural wine bars in LA. Their list is always changing, but they concentrate on skin contact, unfiltered European varietals, plus a solid snack menu that will keep you nourished as you revel in the serenity of your solo date night. Their expanded front patio is open seven days a week from 5-10pm.
A meal at this high-end kaiseki spot in West Hollywood will certainly set you back (prix-fixe menus range from $80-260 per person), but if you’re good with that price point, Gozen delivers on its value. You’ll eat things like smoked duck with tapenade, sushi that was flown in from Japan that day, and strips of Kobe prime chuck cooked tableside. The intimate space also only has a handful of tables to go around, making the entire experience feel like you’re dining in your own private teahouse even though you’re at a restaurant on La Cienega.
Not only does Dudley Market serve some of our favorite seafood in Los Angeles, but this neighborhood spot also has a quiet, outdoor patio one block up from the beach. Sure, you’ll have to squint past the Venice boardwalk, but if eating fresh-caught seafood within earshot of the ocean isn’t on your Things I Enjoy In Life list, perhaps you need to reconsider some things. The menu changes daily based on what they caught, but just know that whether it’s oysters or whole fried sand dab, you’ll be in great hands. Plus, their mostly-biodynamic wine list is fantastic.
The Lincoln Heights Cambodian restaurant makes outdoor dining feel easy - just place your order at the window, then make your way to their beautiful, serene patio out back. There’s hardly a bad dish on the menu here, but our favorites include the grilled pork shoulder numpang sandwich, bright-pink Kmher salad filled with shredded chicken and fried shallots, and a simple braised tomato and sardine dish that comes with a properly crusty baguette. If you’re looking for a solo lunch spot on the Eastside that doesn’t involve squeezing between people on laptops, this is your spot.
The mantra at this Downtown seafood truck is essentially to serve whatever is fresh from the ocean that day. That includes an excellent ridgeback prawn bánh mì and a particularly meaty Nashville-style hot shark sandwich - all of which can be eaten at the few, cute little red tables on the sidewalk. It’s the perfect spot for a quick solo meal that isn’t inside of your car or in the bathroom at work.
With a slightly hidden location under the Gold Line tracks, entering this French bistro’s patio in Chinatown is like stepping into a New York film noir - everything has a muted pink tint to it and the romantic drama is palpable. It’s an ideal date night spot when you want to feel like the only two people on earth. In addition, all of the food is fantastic (get the bavette steak), and the wine list is full of interesting and well-priced selections that will certainly help break the ice.
Mantee is one of our favorite Armenian restaurants in Los Angeles. The family-run spot on Ventura has a lush, quiet patio that feels like you’re eating dinner in a backyard in the suburbs, and the food is excellent across-the-board. As its name suggests, mantee is the specialty here, and while the sumac and yogurt-covered dumpling dish is very good, don’t even think about leaving until you’ve tried both the dolma and sizzling hot feta.
This grocer/deli is located on an entirely residential street in Culver City, and if you didn’t look closely you’d probably assume it was just another house on the block. Order any of their tremendous sandwiches (we like the Italian sub or Jackson Club panini), head to the hidden back patio that comes with an actual pond, pull out a good book, and pretend you’re Diane Lane in a late-in-life romance movie.
This new neighborhood sushi bar debuted last summer in Highland Park and immediately became one of our go-to spots for adorable fish on the Eastside. The menu has everything from baked crab rolls to classic nigiri (the branzino is a standout) to vegan options as well, and almost everything costs under $10. Plus, there’s a peaceful back patio filled with large awnings, plenty of foliage, and socially-distant picnic tables, each adorned with its own bottle of hand sanitizer.
Otafuku is a family-run Japanese restaurant in Gardena that treats soba noodles like science. The three kinds of rare soba here vary in texture, size, and taste, but all are made in-house daily with special flour imported from Japan. The all-white seiro is our favorite, but whatever you choose will be served cold on a bamboo plate with a tiny dish of garlic soy sauce for dipping on the side. It’s the perfect treat on a hot day when all you want to do is sit alone on their back patio and eat your lunch in complete solitude.
Ascending up the escalator to Lao Tao’s location in the Far East Plaza is what we imagine entering heaven feels like - that is, if heaven just happens to serve incredible Taiwanese dishes. The restaurant has taken over the second floor of the Chinatown plaza, and there aren’t any other restaurants up there, so the space is surprisingly quiet and serene. You’ll be able to enjoy everything from beef ban mien noodle soup to extra-crispy popcorn chicken in a colorful, open-air space.