15 Quiet Patios Because This Is All A Bit MuchThe world has fully reopened, but maybe you’re taking things a bit slower.
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 spent the last few years 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 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.
Lulu is a giant, serene patio at the Hammer Museum in Westwood that's the perfect place to lounge around on a sunny afternoon and pretend you’re deeply embedded in Alice Waters’ inner circle. There’s an approachable a la carte menu full of fresh focaccia sandwiches, vegetable soups, and rainbow-colored salads, but the restaurant also offers a three-course prix-fixe option that changes every day. Nothing on the menu blew us away, but Lulu’s simple dishes are made with top-notch local ingredients that taste good.
Thanks to the never-ending hordes of sneaker and bespoke sweatpant enthusiasts, Fairfax is one of the most chaotic stretches of LA. In the thick of it is Slammers, a tiny cafe inside Brain Dead Studios open from 12-8pm with a secret back patio that feels worlds away from the chaos. The lush and leafy space has tons of shade and various tables scattered about, making it a great option for posting up during the day and hiding from people. The smallish menu is filled with delicious rice bowls (the grilled steak with spicy miso is a standout), a pork banh mi on a perfectly crunchy baguette, and Vietnamese iced coffee for when you’re in need of a midday jolt.
Woon is a family-run Chinese restaurant in Historic Filipinotown that’s great for almost any situation, but really great when all you want is to eat some delicious food and be left alone for 45 minutes. The order-at-the-counter spot has a fairly condensed menu (there are about 10 items total), but whether it’s tofu fishcakes, pork belly bao, or beef noodles, know that everything is going to be delicious. Also, the most expensive thing is $13, so if you can’t decide what to order, just get a few things to try.
Tranquil patios in Hollywood are about as rare as an actual celebrity walking down Hollywood Blvd., but Superba is here to change that. Taking over the old Cat & The Fiddle space, this all-day spot has a big menu filled with salads, hulking sandwiches, pastas, and meatier things—most of which come with generous sides. But it’s the space that makes this place a knock-out. There are enough citrus trees and yellow-striped umbrellas to provide the illusion that you’re deep into a Mediterranean holiday—-not right on Sunset.
Cento is one of the most popular restaurants in the city right now, so under no circumstance should you come to this West Adams pasta bar expecting to have the place to yourself. That said, even at capacity, Cento’s front patio is incredibly serene. Rows of string lights twinkle overhead and all the tables are nicely spread out, allowing you and your date to kick back, relax, and eat spicy pomodoro and beet spaghetti in peace.
Wolfie’s is a 100% plant-based option in LA’s continually overcrowded hot chicken scene. While their chicken sandwiches are very good and reason enough to head to their Highland Park location, we also love hanging out in their spacious beer garden. Located right on York Blvd., the beautiful space is quiet, well-shaded, and the perfect spot to sneak in a quick pint of beer during lunch.
Mazal is an excellent Israeli restaurant in Lincoln Heights with a long side patio that feels like you’re eating dinner on a friend's back patio. 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 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.
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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.
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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 sanddab, you’ll be in great hands. Plus, their mostly-biodynamic wine list is fantastic.
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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.
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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 in 2020 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.
If you like the idea of scooping hummus in the shadows of a yellow cottage in Silverlake, head to Bowery Bungalow. The charming patio at this Middle Eastern restaurant looks like it's always ready to host an intimate wedding reception. Leafy vines climb up the walls, candles glow on every table, and a string-lit gazebo is waiting for something corny and wholesome to happen. So take a date here when you want to look like you’re trying, but not too hard. Have some tahini toast with toasted sukkah, baby back ribs with grape molasses, and drink a little too much wine before asking about your date’s insecurities.