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Gaucho - Richmond
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10 restaurants that offer the best al fresco dining experience

The weather is finally warming up (or, at least should be). And you know what that means... al fresco dining!

Written by Lola Christina Alao in association with Quandoo
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The weather is finally hotting up (and man, have we been waiting). And you know what that means – it's time for drinks in the sun. There’s nothing better than settling down at a streetside table and feeling like you’re in Rome with an Aperol spritz to hand. You know, the term “al fresco” is loosely translated to “in fresh air”, and often involves comfortable seating and a party-like atmosphere. So do as the Italians do. Whether you’re in the mood for a bottomless brunch or some light evening bites, we’ve got you covered. Take a scroll through our top al fresco dining recommendations, slap on the factor 50 and enjoy a meal outdoors for a change.

This is a restaurant guaranteed to give you that feel-good experience. It offers al fresco dining on its terrace, which is perfect for sunnier days (but it’s also covered in case you get unexpectedly caught out by the rain or are sensitive to too much light). If you’re in the brunching mood, order the wake n’ waffle. Or, there’s even an option to make your own mac n' cheese. Plus, there's a daily happy hour (except Saturdays), where you can nab 2-4-1 cocktails.

Come to Terra Terra for a laid-back Italian vibe. Located on Finchley Road, it's got a kind of neighbourhood feel to it, kicked up a notch by a huge terrace styled as a garden oasis. Fancy a taste of la dolce vita? Cash in on the bottomless menu dedicated to just prosecco and pizza (it will only set you back £19.99 for free-flowing 'secco and £39.99 for both). They also have set menus available, so make sure to try the vegan crispy polenta and caponata or the pipette alla bolognese with beef and lamb if you’re a meat lover.

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It’s tapas tapas tapas over here. At Hugs and Bites, you’ll find traditional decor, whitewashed brick walls and Victorian tiles. From the 'hugs' section, you've got calamari, alaturco (slow-cooked lamb with pesto) and delicious zucchini fritters. And if you’re after something light, the 'bites' menu offers just that – including olives, pastrami, pita bread and more. Located a short walk away from Warren Street Station, it has a couple of spaces out front for you to enjoy small plates in the London sunshine.

An authentic Italian restaurant based in Fitzrovia, Da Paolo is great for al fresco dining with the family. It was founded back in 1990 and has managed to keep a pretty good reputation since. Stop by the open-front terrace to get your fill of greenery and all-around good vibes. On the menu, you can look forward to crab meat and prawn salad, risotto salsiccia and barolo, pappardelle with duck and sage, whole grilled sea bass, and a must-try: a traditional tiramisu. There's also a set menu if you simply can't choose. 

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With the average dish priced at around £17, Primavera doesn’t come cheap. But the quality of the food makes it all worth it. You’ll find it on New Kings Road in Fulham, in what some call 'Little Italy'. It may be run by a young couple, but it's positioned as a family restaurant for everyone. Here, you can expect seasonal fresh ingredients and beautiful dishes like baked portobello mushroom stuffed with goat cheese or pan-fried tiger prawns. And tiramisu, of course, because what’s an authentic Italian restaurant without that on the menu?

If you've not heard of Guacho, get outta here. We're kidding, of course. This place has a whole load of branches around London, but this one is special. Offering a spacious terrace overlooking the River Thames, this place will have you soaking up views all the way to Richmond Bridge and Petersham Meadows. In the middle, you’ll find one of London’s oldest Plane trees which is truly striking. And as for the food? You’ll be able to choose between a whole host of supremely cooked steaks, British seafood and wine.

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There’s something for everyone at Il Sugo. Their experienced chefs have put together a menu that fuses together tons of different ingredients to create vibrant, mouth watering dishes. Such as freshly baked focaccia, arancini balls, and more. Plus plenty of 12 inch pizzas and pasta to choose from, like their napoletana or gnocchi quatro formaggi. Get a real taste of Italy at Il Sugo, so authentic you’ll forget you’re in Camden. And after, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to take a walk round the markets of Camden once you’re done.

Exmouth Market is home to an impressive array of street food and is one of London’s most charming spots. At Macellaio RC, you’ll see the butchers preparing the meat right in front of you, seasoning and treating it with finesse. Tuck into dishes like beef tongue, heart, and 'tiny' chicken wings. If you’re looking for options on the more conventional side, opt for ravioli stuffed with beef or tuna rigatoni. And if you still have space, there are plenty of desserts to choose from, including homemade gelato and chocolate cake. 

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Craving tapas in the sun? Brio Clapham is the place for you. Just a stone's throw away from Clapham Common Station, it serves a whole load of tapas. From gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) to four different types of paella. And if you’ve got space for more, go ahead and end with some delicious homemade brownies. Whether you're booking a casual night out or full-blown event, it's a pretty decent space for it.

You’ll find Il Trillo right in the middle of Chelsea, and though the menu might not be the cheapest, the ambience sure does make up for it. Head here for a beautiful courtyard at the back of the restaurant, so you can experience al fresco dining to the fullest. With a selection of dishes inspired by the Tuscan hills, this place will have your tastebuds dancing with joy. Menu highlights include crema di zucca gialla al tartufo nero e porcini fritti (organic pumpkin soup) and a dark chocolate cake with aniseed liquor syrup and refreshing raspberry sorbet.

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