You already know about LA’s weather. Mega-drought and El Niño aside, it’s godd*mn perfect 12 months out of the year. And the obvious result of that is a patio scene that no one else in the country can even come close to rivaling. Patios in LA aren’t just a fun feature for two months during the summer. They're an expected part of pretty much any spot, and a quick way for a restaurant to get ahead of the pack.
But how do you make sense of it all? For every game-changing outdoor space, there’s a sad, shadowy side alley with plastic furniture in it. You deserve better - and we’ve done the dirty work for you. Here is the UPDATED list of the 26 best patios in LA, based solely on scientific research on just how f*cking great they are. Salazar, Mama Shelter, Ivory On Sunset, Plant Food And Wine, Rose Cafe, and Cassia have all been added to the list.
To say it's been a tumultuous couple of months for the Hollywood icon is an understatement. But after essentially being served it's death sentence, a big fancy restaurant group swooped in at the last second and saved the day. Now, this LA historical landmark lives to see another day, and we're all able to live our best lives on the best patio in the city. And that's reason enough to celebrate.
S-E-X. That’s the actual acronym of this longtime Weho/Beverly Hills go-to. The French restaurant is definitely a see and be seen crowd, but that’s the pretty much the point. The food is excellent, the back courtyard is everything your sex life has ever wanted, and look, there’s Mila Kunis getting flirty in the corner. You’re welcome.
For the kind of year-round weather LA has, our beer garden situation is embarrassing. Thank god for Red Lion Tavern. If you’re looking to get a little rowdy, The Silver Lake spot’s back patio is perhaps your best bet in the city, because the place is quite large and fills up quickly. What’s one boot of beer when you can have two?
When it comes to knock-out patios, nobody can really come close to what Nobu Malibu has to offer. Located on the most prime real estate in Malibu, Nobu’s unobstructed ocean views and legendary sushi make this one of LA’s most iconic patios. You’re going to spend a lot of money, and you’re going to be perfectly ok with it.
It still bears repeating that Los Angeles has a downtown. With skyscrapers and everything. And while DTLA’s rooftop patio game is rapidly increasing, the best is still Perch. The massive wrap-around outdoor space offers a view of LA you kind of forgot existed. Come for dinner, or drinks, or to enjoy the nightly live music.
There are few places as polarizing as Gracias Madre, but no one will deny that patio being amongst the finest in LA. Regardless of whether you prefer to have real cheese in your quesadillas or not, sitting out there with a well-made cocktail after work in the evening or on a Saturday afternoon with friends is never a bad thing.
Have you been to Hollywood lately? There's construction cranes on every block. And those cranes are building hotels. A lot of hotels. Mama Shelter was among the first to get in on the fun, and their colorful space is as good as we've seen in awhile. The whole place feels like a pimped out Real World house, and their casual rooftop patio is the icing on the cake. Part restaurant, part yoga studio, part get-yourself-drunk-on-a-Sunday, this patio is where our summer weekends begin and end.
Salazar is easily the newest spot on the list, but the Frogtown Mexican BBQ spot is revolutionary on so many fronts, we couldn't keep it off. First of all, it brought a legitimate food destination to an area of town most people didn't even know existed a few months ago, and secondly, the almost entirely outdoor space is perfect, and the kind of restaurant we're used to seeing in Austin, not LA. Grab a mesquite-grilled steak and a boozy horchata and go enjoy this not-so-quiet oasis.
There's few places that rival Cliff's Edge rainforest of a back patio during a sexy date, but this Eastside staple takes a bit of a tumble down the rankings because of the food. Recent outings here have ended in disappointment, and after hearing their head chef has moved on to a new big project downtown, it's not difficult to connect the dots. Here's to hoping one of our all-time favorites can get it figured out quickly.
The fact of the matter is you do not come to The Castaway for the food. You come here for the vibes, the view, and because it’s probably your boss’ birthday. But the Burbank staple is special because its vantage point up on the Verdugo Mountains is the only one of its kind. So grab a glass (or three) of wine, and enjoy an amazing night out by the fire pits.
LA loves itself a commune, and few areas are more woven into that culture than Topanga Canyon. Though its 1970’s heyday is long gone, there’s enough roadside stops and weird sh*t to make it worthy of a day trip. Just be sure one of those stops is at Inn at The Seventh Ray for lunch. The upscale restaurant has a patio straight out of a Narnia fever dream, and you want all of it.
Yes, C&O’s is cheesy as f*ck and no, we don’t care. The family-run Italian joint steps from the Marina Del Rey beach has a familiar menu that never disappoints and an outdoor patio straight out of a Drew Barrymore rom-com. The waiters just sang “That’s Amore!” to you and your parents, and will do it again in an hour. Welcome to heaven.
While Nobu down the street has the exclusivity factor covered, Malibu Farm Pier Cafe is all about accessibility, with just as good of views. Located at the end of the Malibu Pier, you can have an absolutely delicious lunch for under $20 completely surrounded by water. And that just doesn’t happen anywhere else in Malibu.
Special points awarded to Maré for not just having a fantastic patio, but for only being a patio. Maré is 100% outside and also completely hidden from the street. One has to walk through the back kitchen of a grilled cheese store on Melrose to get to this tiny spot, but once you do, you’ll be treated to an excellent coastal mediterranean dinner, while feeling like you’re the only one in LA who knows about it.
The 75-year-old NoHo icon had fallen on some pretty hard times over the years, but after a lengthy gut job, it’s safe to say the kitschy drinking spot is back and probably better than it ever was before. The menu has your typical bar food standards, but everything is good. And that massive back patio with grumpy pipe dog is the perfect spot to eat and drink your way through a lazy Saturday afternoon.
We'll be honest - Ivory does not have the best food on this list. That said, it's still pretty decent and accessible and if you roll in deep to this Sunset Strip hot spot, everyone in the group will find something they like. But let's talk about that patio though - it's amazing. With insane views and everything from couches to bar stools to a sexy table-for-two in the corner, Ivory's patio has your Saturday night on lock.
You could argue that the Alcove patio is THE patio of LA, and you’d probably be right. The Los Feliz cafe has turned into an all-out scene with everyone from last Friday’s Tinder hook-up to Emily Blunt hovering around to snag a table. Skip the weekend brunch rush and mozy in on a weekday night for some dessert and a night cap, and understand why this place is THE patio of LA.
Speaking of hotel restaurant pools, does anyone even realize that Tart is one? It doesn’t matter. This Beverly Grove brunch staple is a full-on party, with the kind of alcoholic punch bowls that cause interesting life choices. Such as a jump in the pool with all your clothes on to get 50% off your entire meal. Because that’s absolutely a thing.
The South Bay has never had any trouble throwing a party, and Abigaile is playing full-time host. The Hermosa Beach nightlife spot is part restaurant, part brewery, part nightclub. And somehow, it all works. The beer is great, the food is stellar, and there’s no better way to soak up that Hermosa Beach who-gives-a-sh*t vibes than out on that fantastic patio.
Adding another vegetarian option to Abbot Kinney feels like overkill at this point, but when you have a back patio like Plant's, there will always be room. The enormous space is great all day, but the real magic happens when the sun goes down and the twinkling tree lights turn it all into a meatless Ferngully with date night glory written all over it.
EP & LP pretty much went right from being open to being packed at all times. It’s no secret this place is a nighttime must for young Hollywood types, but no one can deny that rooftop patio being among the best views in West Hollywood. The second floor is a full-scale restaurant serving decent asian fusion, but our move is always the top floor. (If we can get in.)
A few people who complain about everything continue to bemoan the loss of their old Rose Cafe, but take one glance inside the newly refurbished space and tell us they didn't get it completely right. It's basically 14 different concepts put into one restaurant and somehow it all works seamlessly. The food is solid and their two separate patios are the ideal spots to enjoy another sunny day on the beach.
mar'sel100 Terranea Way
It’s not everyday you wake up craving a meal in Palos Verdes, but when you do, there’s no better place than Mar’sel. Located in the truly impressive Terranea Resort, Mar’sel has very good (and very expensive) food, but you’re obviously here for that view. Located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific with Catalina Island off in the distance, there’s not much else to say except “more wine spritzer please.”
Seemingly overnight, Highland Park’s York Blvd. went from sleepy neighborhood thoroughfare to a major restaurant row. And while Block Party might not be a full-fledged restaurant, it has one of our favorite new patios in the city. The expansive back space has full-sized shuffleboards, a retro hot dog stand, and all the tables in the world to enjoy that tremendous craft beer stock.
Few Santa Monica restaurants have caused more of a stir in the last few years than Cassia. The upscale, Southeast Asian-inspired menu is excellent and a refreshing break from the typical tourist fluff that usually bombards the area. But the most enduring takeaway? The space. Cassia's industrial patio isn't the biggest or most jaw-dropping on the list, but it's festive vibe is one that can't be matched.