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The 24 best restaurants for outdoor dining in L.A.

Dine alfresco by the ocean, up in the canyons and elsewhere in the city with our list of top L.A. outdoor dining spots.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
Stephanie Breijo
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There’s no official alfresco season in L.A., a city where outdoor dining is technically possible year-round, so of course it’s full of decidedly alfresco restaurants. You know the ones.These are the types of places where you can hear the waves crashing, watch the city lights sparkle from a rooftop or get lost in the greenery—or scenery—that surrounds your table.

While most Angelenos know by now that most meals can be enjoyed outside, whether you’re at a coffee shop, a taco truck or a fine-dining restaurant, there are still plenty of destination-worthy scenic spots worth visiting for the views (as well as the food). Without further ado: Here are the 24 best restaurants for outdoor dining in L.A.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in Los Angeles

Best patios and outdoor dining in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Malibu
  • price 4 of 4

Nobu Malibu is one of those places that’s so stunning, you may just hear yourself muttering, “Is this real life?” With a menu designed by celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the iconic restaurant—overlooking Surfrider Beach and Malibu Pier—is so close to the beach that you can overhear children playing on the sand. Its minimalist aesthetic complements its natural environment, and the sushi and modern Japanese food are just as disarmingly beautiful as the setting. Mini tacos are filled with deliciously creamy uni, and Nobu’s signature tiradito—thin slices of whitefish dotted with chili—are wonderful. Take note: Reservations here are a must. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Burbank

Burbank’s gem of a patio is hardly a secret. In fact, it’s been one of the San Fernando Valley’s special-occasion go-tos for decades. But the Castaway that native Angelenos might have gone to before prom has a whole new look: Today’s Castaway boasts a revamped food menu and sleeker, more modern décor, while its stellar, sweeping views of the Valley, Downtown and beyond still remain as gorgeous as ever. Steaks, whole roast fish, impressive charcuterie boards and luscious pastas are now the norm, and make for perfect snacky fare, full dinner or brunch on that spacious patio with one of L.A.’s most romantic views.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • West Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This vegan Mexican eatery in West Hollywood is home to one of our favorite patios in all of L.A. County. Despite its scene-y neighborhood, Gracias Madre’s beautiful patio manages to create a lively atmosphere that’s welcoming to all—chalk that up to its 80-year-old olive trees, umbrellas in the afternoon, and a fireplace and heat lamps on cooler winter evenings. To start, dip into a bowl of guacamole and order one of the bar’s phenomenal cocktails, and consider ordering one of our favorite entrées from Gracias Madre: the potato pimiento flautas.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Frog Town
  • price 2 of 4

Stepping into this mechanic shop turned Mexican restaurant in Frogtown, you’ll probably feel like you’ve left L.A. for a breezy town south of the border. It’s a world where cacti and bougainvilleas encompass you during a meal of tacos al pastor, chilaquiles and tart, salty margaritas. By day, plenty of trees and umbrellas offer shade, and the “lobby” open space allows kids to play while you await one of their many wooden tables paired with colorful chairs. By night, a romantic atmosphere takes hold of this place, but worry not: Salazar’s food and ambience are just as great after sundown.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

Even if you’re not a talent agent trying to woo an A-list client, you’ll probably find a meal at the Polo Lounge pretty glamorous anyway. Served by an impeccably trained staff, this Beverly Hills classic’s slightly dated menu comes to life when eaten on spotless white tablecloths amid its patio’s bright pink bougainvillea and cozy table nooks (once reserved for stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age)s. In the evenings, order the Polo Lounge’s signature chocolate soufflé for one of the city’s most iconic desserts.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4

Vibes: the only word that comes to mind after the elevator ride up to this Tulum-like, all-day rooftop restaurant and bar serving seasonal California Italian cuisine and top-notch cocktails. Located upstairs from the Laemmle movie theater, Elephante boasts one of Santa Monica’s best indoor-outdoor spaces, with resort-like interior design that feels ripped from the pages of Conde Nast Traveler, including chic modern wood furniture and a stunning view of the ocean from the aptly-named Sunset Room. Meet friends during the day for brunch and lunch, then bring a date at night for low-lit romance.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly
  • price 3 of 4

The French countryside meets Napa at A.O.C.’s Mid-City location, where the outdoor patio channels the best of both worlds. The restaurant and wine bar on West 3rd Street isn’t entirely outside, but the indoor dining room spills out onto a gorgeous open-air space, where a small balcony peeks out over diners and foliage creeps up the restaurant’s walls. Wide umbrellas shade visitors on sunny days, and heat lamps warm people up at night—though the wine does a good job of that, too. Suzanne Goin’s vibrant small plates and shareable (read: date night-worthy) dishes only make for an even more picturesque meal.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Topanga
  • price 1 of 4

Those afraid of heights may not want to take the barstools overlooking the canyons at Topanga’s Cafe on 27, a charming breakfast and lunch spot tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains. Here, you’ll find breathtaking views of nature, classic American breakfast dishes and L.A. brunch favorites like avocado toast and grain bowls—all made with organic ingredients. For best results, make a reservation ahead of time, particularly on weekends; the team at Cafe on 27 now lets you pick which part of the restaurant you’d like to sit in.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West Hollywood
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A post shared by Catch Restaurants (@catch)

While its slightly above average food might be expensive, the views simply can’t be beat at Catch LA. At the New York City-based chain's West Hollywood location, you’ll find an open-air dining room with a retractable rooftop and sweeping views of the hills that are particularly gorgeous at sunset—although the restaurant also offers weekend brunch. Mind the traffic jam around its charming flower-lined walk-up area near the elevator and host stand, often crowded due to Instagram photoshoots, and you’ll find special occasion-worthy cocktails, an excellent lobster mac and cheese and whimsical desserts, like their iconic “Hit Me” chocolate cake and Ferris wheel of donut bites. An excellent spicy mayo crispy cauliflower and king oyster mushroom sushi roll ensure vegans and vegetarians aren’t left out of the dinnertime spectacle.

  • Restaurants
  • Malibu
  • price 2 of 4

Waterfront? This spot’s water-on. The dual-concept restaurant bookends the famous Malibu Pier, serving fresh California fare at both the full-service Malibu Farm restaurant (located at the entrance) and a more casual counterpart, Malibu Farm Cafe (all the way at the end). There's even a patio for making the most of the breezy setting, and healthful, produce-forward dishes such as cauliflower pizza as well as some serious grass-fed burgers at both. Enjoy organic veggies, farm-fresh eggs and more all while perching over the Pacific. Not bad, not bad at all.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 3 of 4

Wouldn’t it be great to hop on a plane to Mexico City next weekend? While you might still be on U.S. soil at this palm and cacti-lined restaurant in the Arts District, the elegant, seafood-focused take on Mexican cuisine and general vibe at LA Cha Cha Chá are more than capable of whisking diners away to the tonier streets of CDMX, the location of its original outpost. Order a tuna tostada and a cocktail or two (or three, if you’re headed to its late-night indoor bar, La Barra) and you’ll feel as though you’ve slipped away to paradise.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

If a restaurant could make you weak in the knees, Il Cielo would have diners dropping left and right. Serving lunch and dinner under a canopy of twinkling lights, the romantic Italian family-owned spot aims to be a “country restaurant in the city,” where bubbling fountains and white tablecloths create a darling ambiance evoking a Tuscan trattoria. Sample the risottos, pastas and carpaccios before diving into surf-and-turf entrées. And because dolce really is the most romantic course of all, we advise sharing a plate of tiramisu before Il Cielo completely sweeps you off your feet.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Thai Town
  • price 3 of 4

Surrounded by century-old olive trees, flattering Instagram lighting and the hotel’s pool, the eponymous restaurant at the Cara Hotel in Los Feliz offers an extremely L.A. outdoor dining scene that can’t be beat on date nights, birthdays and other special occasions. Serving seasonal, locally sourced California-Italian cuisine in a capital-A aesthetic setting, Cara features poolside tables that bring whitewashed Mediterranean villas to mind, albeit with sleeker design flourishes and a decidedly upscale urbanite crowd.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

At this Eastside outpost of this Mediterranean-leaning local mini-chain, you’ll find shareable small plates, an excellent happy hour and one of L.A.’s best patios in the city. Lined with huge trees, plants and wrought-iron fencing, Bacari Silver Lake’s patio invokes a more romantic, grown-up Rainforest Café without the overpriced, humdrum food and scores of gleeful children running around.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Venice
  • price 2 of 4

Chef Jason Neroni helped build the Rose into the all-day Venice café of our dreams, which comes complete with multiple gorgeous patios. Stepping into the Rose is a little like a choose-your-own-adventure experience: fresh pastries and expertly brewed coffee during the day and an Italian-leaning New American menu at dinner that’s full of surprises. Come evening, the restaurant’s industrial chic patios come alive with diners dining on Neroni’s seasonal Californian fare, including a drool-worthy pasta carbonara and its excellent Hawaiian kampachi crudo.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Studio City
  • price 3 of 4

Firefly may be the closest thing to a modern-day secret garden in L.A., walls of tangled ivy included. Found on a more popular stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, the fine-dining restaurant offers modern-American cuisine in a romantic, cozy setting: The heated patio is decorated in candles and twinkling lights—it’s almost as pretty as the carefully constructed dishes you’ll be digging into, like Firefly’s truffle cream mushroom pappardelle or their porterhouse-cut pork chop served with roasted brussels sprouts, bacon, anchovies and mustard cream.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Century City
  • price 3 of 4

Are you in a trattoria, or are you on the roof of the Westfield Century City mall? Perched high above Santa Monica Boulevard, Eataly’s wood-fired rooftop restaurant and bar offers a gorgeous patio under string lights and olive trees. Here, you’ll likely find yourself feasting on wood-fired Italian dishes such as house-made pastas, grilled meats, charred fish and vegetables, and ample gin cocktails—just be sure to end your romantic evening on a sweet note with dessert from the roving gelato cart.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Los Feliz
  • price 2 of 4

Housed in historic bungalows, this combination cottage-like café and cocktail bar serves large plates of gourmet American classics. Breakfast items are served all day long, and you can expect to find diners filling up the beautiful garden patio at all hours—and especially for weekend brunch—whether they’re here for a stack of pancakes, a meaty, flavorful burger or one of the fantastic cocktails at Big Bar later in the evening. At night, twinkling lights line the patio, and in the warmer months, Alcove turns its outdoor space into a theater, hosting dinner and a movie under the stars.

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  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • West Adams
  • price 2 of 4
With vines draping from the fence, bulb lights hanging overhead, and plenty of chef Keith Corbin’s California soul food, the back patio at Alta Adams is an ideal space for lounging and dining for hours on end at any point of the day or night. There’s ample seating back here and the space feels a bit more quiet than the main dining room or the chef’s counter, which is perfect for those of us who’d rather sit in a scenic corner to hide how many bowls of that garlicky, breadcrumb-topped mac and cheese we can eat.
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Los Feliz
  • price 2 of 4
Home is, as the name implies, all about making visitors feel like they’re lounging on their own outdoor patio with friends. Comfortable, welcoming and, well, homey, the charming Los Feliz spot is shrouded in trees that provide shade on sunny mornings when you’re here for comfort food like mac and cheese, a turkey Reuben and fried chicken and waffles. Tip: Arrive early to beat the lines for weekend brunch.
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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

Let’s be frank: Most restaurants on the Sunset Strip don’t have to try very hard—they have a built-in tourist market thanks to the neighborhood—so it’s refreshing when a restaurant in the area is actually quite good. The Eveleigh is that restaurant, with lamb meatballs, dungeness crab pasta and hanger steak with romesco sauce; the kitchen keeps it simple and gets it right, and the space, especially so. Most of the seating is outside, either on the front patio, or the stellar enclosed back terrace, which offers views of the city and feels a bit like you've been invited to a cozy but exclusive dinner party.

  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Redondo Beach
Put your name in at the front desk for an outdoor table at this Redondo Beach pierside spot—trust us, it’s worth the wait. You’ll be dining on delicious food from a seafood-heavy menu with the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing along the shore below you. Kincaid’s is a great spot for a sunny-day brunch, especially if you love bloody Marys—they have an epic bloody Mary bar—or, grab an early dinner to watch the sunset in one of the South Bay’s most beautiful settings.
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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Studio City
  • price 2 of 4
Formerly a private home, Studio City’s Aroma Coffee & Tea transformed itself into a restaurant and café where you can grab a coffee to-go or order a full meal to enjoy at one of its charming bistro chair and marble table setups. The inside of the restaurant boasts a homey, library-like ambience, but the wraparound patio holds the best seats in the house: Calming fountains trickle in the background, while at night, the outdoor space ignites with fairy lights—the perfect setting as you tuck into that giant piece of chocolate cake.
  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

A retractable roof, two outdoor fireplaces, olive trees and white tablecloths make the original patio at this Wolfgang Puck stalwart one of the most coveted fine-dining places to dine in all of L.A. Now, its expanded Covid-19 era dining setup full of ornamental plants and heatlamps in the winter is worth a visit as well. While it’s also a place where you’ll probably see the odd celebrity, you’ll be too involved with your salmon flatbread or plate of handmade agnolotti to notice—not a bad problem to have.

Take your outdoor experience to new heights

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