From sidewalks to alleyways to back parking lots, a surge of patios have opened across LA this past year. What could once be considered a weak spot in our city’s dining culture has now become one of our strongest assets. Besides, this city has enough parking lots anyway. And considering the dependable weather we get on a year-round basis, it’s about time. From quiet backyard patios in Lincoln Heights to rowdy Arts District rooftops, here are the best new patios that you need to check out as summer sets in.
photo credit: Eugene Lee
While the food at Kodō wavers between “fine” and “mostly unremarkable,” a dinner here feels very cool and serious, like a goth social club held in a Zen garden. Architecturally, you won’t find a more stunning restaurant in the city: jet black walls frame a cement path leading you to the central courtyard, with billowing fabric hung above and concrete cubes that double as seats. Faint house music plays in the background and the staff struts around like models in a fashion show. If you have out-of-town guests who are wide-eyed and begging to see something “LA,” a.k.a. something that’ll rattle their small town souls, Kodō is that place.
photo credit: Canopy Club
Canopy Club is a rooftop bar for people who hate rooftop bars. The Culver City restaurant is pleasant, has a beautiful pool, and so far, has never played The Chainsmokers over the speakers. It’s a great place to snack on shrimp cocktails or crispy fish sandwiches while tanning in a lounge chair, peacefully snoozing under your sunglasses or reading a book your favorite comedian recommended on their Instagram. There’s rarely a huge crowd here, so you won’t have to worry about people spilling drinks or waiting like a vulture for your seat. Poolside service is offered all day.
Mother Tongue takes snoozy, eye roll-inducing stereotypes about “LA health food,” throws them in a blender, turns it on high, and then spits them back out. In other words, don’t expect to find Cafe Gratitude at this Hollywood rooftop. Fitness influencers and stylish locals bump elbows at the glossy patio bar which overlooks a members-only pool. And although it’s a scene-y restaurant inside of a high-end gym, Mother Tongue nails the restaurant part quite well. The rooftop patio has a bohemian, light pastel aesthetic. Spirulina cavatelli is tossed in fresh moringa pesto. Spring rolls come with a side of caramelized coconut sauce. And yes, we’ve genuinely debated paying the $300 a month gym membership fee. Maybe one day.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Next to the recently opened Bar Moruno is Causita—a new Silver Lake restaurant specializing in Nikkei, or Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. It’s run by the chef behind Rosaline and serves traditional ceviche, lobster dumplings, grilled octopus in goat cheese mousse, and seabass tamales. And the patio feels like a meditation retreat: it’s surrounded by cool stone walls, wooden benches are built right into the ground, and there are plants hanging from every inch of available air space. If you pop in an episode of the Headspace podcast during dinner, we’re sure it’d be celebrated.
The Westside is gravitating to this Southeast Asian spot in Santa Monica, packing into the maximalist space every night of the week. While the kitschy chandelier and wallpapered interior is cozy and loud, the open-air patio is a full-on garden party. The music is pumping, wine is flowing, and rose sculptures bigger than your head practically double as dining companions. Whether you come with a date or group, any of the curry-forward dishes (like curry puffs, whole branzino in yellow curry, and the devil chicken curry) are bright and fresh, even when frying or cream is involved.
From the thatched tunnel entrance and the ethereal club music to every server repeatedly reminding you that it’s “Tulum-themed,” there’s a lot going on at Ka’Teen. But if you’re looking to get dressed up and have a messy, over-the-top night out in Hollywood, Ka’Teen is where to be. The sprawling, mostly outdoor space is great for big groups, there’s a $495 bottle of Dom Perignon on the menu (if that’s your energy), and as for the food, the Yucatan-style menu has several bright spots. The ceviches and aguachiles are fresh and citrusy, the mushrooms in mole verde have a rich, spicy kick, and the lamb barbacoa is the perfect thing to put on the table, because everyone can build their own taco. Sure, this place is loud, crowded, and clubby, but it’s also filled with people who want it that way. Make sure you’re one of them before going.
De Buena Planta - Silver Lake
De Buena Planta, a plant-based Mexican restaurant on Abbot Kinney, now has a second location in Silver Lake. It’s in a huge 5,000-square-foot space on Sunset Blvd. (in that little strip mall between Same Same Thai and Ceci’s Gastronomia) and is equipped with a tiki bar, tropical plants, and colorful patio furniture. Respectfully, it feels nothing like the Eastside— a cross between a Malibu Barbie dreamhouse and the set from Jurassic Park: greenery everywhere you look, people are doing shots of rum in the corner, and yes, there’s enough room for you and everyone you know.
photo credit: Stan Lee
From Hollywood to the Arts District, new hotels seem to be opening every week in LA right now—and most of them have some form of a rooftop. If you’re wondering which one you should prioritize, head to Cabra. Located on top of The Hoxton Downtown, it has all the rooftop amenities—great skyline views, a semi-rowdy crowd full of questionable hat choices, and a pool that someone’s absolutely going to fall into—but what sets Cabra apart from the pack is the food. Run by the chef from nearby Girl & The Goat, Cabra’s Peruvian-leaning menu is filled with light, shareable small plates that are great for big groups and won’t fill you up to the point where you can’t go out afterwards.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Much like a 2003 romance/drama starring Diane Lane, Bacari Silver Lake is inspired by life in Tuscany. Its sprawling courtyard is shaded by a thicket of trees, there are large, rustic tables in every corner, plus plenty of firepits to keep you warm. It’s farmhouse chic, in the way we wish our shared backyard could be (we’re working on it). Bring a date who you’d like to see in warm, sensuous lighting, or come for brunch—it happens every weekend and, yes, it’s bottomless.
De La Nonna
De La Nonna used to be a roaming pizza pop-up at places like Employees Only and Melody Wine Bar. Now, the team has brought the same menu of airy square pies to a permanent location in the Arts District. The string-lit patio is full of big groups, laughter, clinking glasses, and the smell of crispy pepperoni cups. A DJ spins house tracks in the corner, and buttery, brown-edged Detroit-style pizzas are the centerpiece of every table. No matter how many people you’re with (or how many will stroll in late) the friendly staff will find a spot for your party. Without fail, this Detroit-style pie spot in the Arts District brings fun and ease back to pizza parties.
photo credit: Marie Buck
Benny Boy Brewing
Equal parts brewery, cider house, and beer garden, Benny Boy is the perfect place to wear a crisp white t-shirt and jeans. This new Lincoln Heights spot does it all—there’s a giant patio filled with wooden benches and tree stumps that feels like a grown-up overnight camp, pop-ups like La Prieta Mexicana and Big Lou’s BBQ operate most nights, and, of course, the beer is flowing. Expect IPAs, ice-cold Mexican lagers, bold farmhouse ales with fresh basil, and more.
Poppy + Rose is a casual Downtown daytime spot that serves brunch classics like brioche french toast and lox bagel sandwiches across the street from The Flower Market. And from Friday through Sunday, you can have it all on their turf-lined rooftop patio. There are picnic tables, great views of the DTLA skyline, and a bunch of friendly faces you can talk to after having one too many mimosas. If you’re planning a get-together Downtown with a bunch of your friends this summer, do it here with a plate of eggs benedict or fried chicken and waffles.
Not to be confused with other rooftop restaurants on this guide (you have to admit, the names start to blend together), Cara Cara sits at the top of the Proper Hotel in Downtown LA. Filled with chic, modern furniture, mosaiced fireplaces, and plants that toe the line between “well-groomed” and “slightly overgrown,” this bar/restaurant is as pretty as the views around it. Plus, the menu was created by the Lucques chef, and is packed with extremely “California” things, like chickpea fritters, halibut crudo, piri piri fried chicken, cara cara cobb salads.