London's best outdoor dining

Discover London's best places to wine and dine outdoors

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London has plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants that let you take it outside. Though for every rose-trimmed terrace there's a caff with tables plonked next to traffic lights – so it helps to know where the good ones are. Here's our area-by-area outdoor guide. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Lola Rojo

Covered terrace plus confit of suckling pig: if that combination is your recipe for summer bliss, Lola Roja’s for you. Twenty or so people can squeeze around the tables on its narrow little terrace on Northcote Road (a heater protecting against the chill of late summer evenings) where you get to sample tapas from the modern Spanish menu. The exquisitely presented dishes might include cauliflower crudités with a raspberry sauce or roasted red peppers stuffed with oxtail, as well as more traditional options. The all-Spanish wine list is another selling point, with some brilliant bottles from up-and-coming wine regions. You can’t reserve the outdoor tables, more’s the pity.

  1. 78 Northcote Road, SW11 6QL
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Marco Polo

With 100-odd tables spread across a pair of decks right on the riverfront, this is a great place to let kids go free-range and watch the Thames flowing past. Around a third of the tables have heaters, while a further third have umbrellas, so arrive early and pick the best spot. The Italian menu stops off at most of the pizza and pasta options you’d anticipate, but with plenty of fish and meat too. Desserts are well-trodden trat classics, but there is also banoffee pie on the menu. And who was that striking woman walking by? Yes, it really was Grace Jones – she lives next door.

  1. 6-7 Riverside Quarter, (Eastfields Avenue), SW18 1LP
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Victoria

The Victoria's location, on the edge of Richmond Park, is enviable; this building was a popular spark for local park-life long before chef Paul Merrett and his business partner took it over in 2008.

  1. 10 West Temple Sheen, SW14 7RT
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4 comments
Terence Fane-Saunders
Terence Fane-Saunders

The Surrey Quays/ Canada Water patch is something of a wilderness for restaurant hunters. But tucked around the corner from Surrey Quays station, perched on the edge of Southwark Park is the Yellow House bar and restaurant. The food is exceptional - seriously good cooking , but not taking itself itself too seriously. So the Friday fish & chips offer just happens to be sea bass with handcut chips, the light, crispy batter made with hoegarden beer. More formal fish dishes include seared hake, or spiced crab risotto. Meats range through the usual grills and an impressively constructed house hamburger to new season lamb. But most locals understandably target the pizza range. For anyone used to the mass-produced offerings of the pizza chains it can come as a shock to discover just how good a properly made pizza can be. And here, the pizzas sit alongside the rest of the dishes as "serious food". The Yellow House loses points on decor, which is a touch drab and dreary, but friendly and professional staff provide compensation. But in the Summer the decor doesn't really matter, if you can secure one of the outdoor tables in the enchanting little secret courtyard , nesting under the shade of the trees of Southwark Park. One of London's most perfect outdoor eating spots.

Martina
Martina

This is great but where are the central london ones? Do they exist?

Michael
Michael

The Metro Garden Restaurant in Clapham is a great place for dining outdoors. The ambiance in the garden is fantastic in the evenings. They have a delicious Sunday Brunch as well.

Byron
Byron

The Water Poet, I think its called, near Brick Lane and Liverpool Street station. The best outdoor meal/environment. Sort of a gastro pub, they have barbeque's on the weekend in the sun. If I'm not mistaken there are some pictures signed by famous footballers there too.