Dine Outside at LA’s Best Outdoor Restaurants Right Now
Enjoy scenic rooftops, private patios, and stunning terraces at these outdoor hotspots.
Unlike many other parts of the country, where the thermometer dictates dining alfresco and other recreational activities, Los Angeles is a city where you can almost always savor the outdoors. Even before the pandemic, the year-round balmy climate and sunny skies were a boon to alfresco dining on rooftops and terraces across the city, but COVID-19 forced even more restaurants to expand, offering diners a chance to eat safely outdoors with a proliferation of sidewalk tables, tented patios, and converted parklets. With spring here and the weather about to get even more gorgeous, we’ve compiled a list of 20 stellar outdoor restaurants in LA where you can soak up the sun and enjoy a fantastic meal outside.
This striking concept from chef Michael Mina is located on the fourth floor of the private fitness club Heimat, so it’s fitting that Mother Tongue highlights ingredients designed to optimize your lifestyle, with a key at the bottom of the menu identifying each dish’s health benefits. The globally-influenced menu runs the gamut from Lumpiang Sariwa, a Filipino crepe filled with shaved vegetables; Shiitake Mushroom Larb, a Laotian dish with toasted rice and crispy tofu; and Feijoada, a Brazilian black bean stew that’s part of the recently launched brunch menu. Swathed in a palette of coral, ochre, and turquoise, the colorful, eclectic-looking restaurant is an Instagram photo op waiting to happen, and the covered terrace, with its fantastic views and fire pit, is no exception.
How to book: Reservations are available through SevenRooms.
Conceived with the legendary Alice Waters and led by chef David Tanis, Lulu is nestled in the center of the Hammer Museum with a serene outdoor patio. The restaurant is committed to sustainability, sourcing food from local regenerative farms that use methods to combat the climate crisis. The menu offerings change daily based on what’s available from their purveyors; lunch is a three-course market menu that often includes a veggie-driven starter, entree, and dessert, while dinner is composed of à la carte dishes that showcase seasonal ingredients in an unfussy yet refined way, from housemade pastas to beautifully executed fish specials. Even the cocktail list is driven by fresh market produce, shifting depending on what's on the market and showcasing the fruits of the moment.
San Pedro Fish Market
San Pedro Fish Market first opened its doors in 1956, but while the original San Pedro location is in the midst of a move, the waterfront Long Beach outpost has all the charm of its predecessor, including excellent views of the marina from its patio. Mackey Ungaro and his son and nephew founded this family-run restaurant, which is famous for its Original Shrimp Tray—a massive platter piled with juicy crustaceans and veggies that over 30,000 are served each week. You can also build your own tray for up to six people with whole lobsters, snow crabs, salmon, spicy sausage, and more, choosing between cooking styles, including seared a la plancha or crisp-fried and flavors, including a savory and zesty spice, garlic buttery mojo de ajo, and spicy diablo sauce.
How to book: Only Walk-ins are accepted.
Michelin-starred chef John Fraser, who built his reputation on redefining how vegetables are prepared, helms this stunning restaurant at The West Hollywood Edition hotel. This jungle-like sanctuary serves as his showcase for vegetable-centric cuisine that incorporates organic, hyperlocal, seasonal produce, such as raw cauliflower made like cacio e pepe pasta with spicy black pepper and salty cheese or Middle-Eastern-inspired tandoor carrots—although you’ll also find meat and seafood options on the menu too. Ardor recently launched Sunday brunch, where $85 per person gets you an array of sweet and savory items for the table to share and your choice of entree, such as Waffle Fried Chicken or a Brie & Truffle Omelet. Don’t sleep on beverage director Amy Racine’s cocktail program either, which includes a customizable Bloody Mary Set and a boozy latte made with Japanese whiskey, turmeric, and oat milk.
Whether you need date-night plans or a place to impress out-of-towners, Paloma’s the ticket. This highly photogenic Mediterranean oasis is a masterpiece of design, boasting three distinct dining spaces, including an indoor area with velvet banquettes, a bougainvillea-framed patio with a retractable roof, and a sweeping deck with a fire pit bordered by lush greenery. The Italian-leaning menu is helmed by Chef Raul Cerritos, who’s got frittatas and French toast on deck for breakfast and palate-pleasing salads, crudos, pastas, and mains for lunch and dinner.
You’d never guess that an upscale shopping mall on Rodeo Drive conceals this clubby Mexican steakhouse (a literal hideaway!), centered around a tile patio with cabanas, wrought-iron tables, and a stucco fireplace and made as an homage to 1970s Baja California. A retractable roof makes it perfect for dining on steaks, seafood, and craveable sides, such as Papas Bravas dunked in black garlic crema or Esquites sprinkled with smoked cotija cheese, no matter the weather. And if you don’t get seated at one of the tables with a “Push for Tequila” button, have no fear; take your pick from a potent cocktail list full of tequila- and mezcal-based libations.
How to book: Reservations are available through the website.
Not to be confused with the clubby Lavo in Las Vegas, this Sunset Strip spot is also owned by the nightlife impresarios behind Tao Group Hospitality. But don’t expect any bottle service or table dancing here. Instead, this restaurant offers sophisticated coastal Italian fare in one of the most glamorous spaces in West Hollywood in a sun-dappled dining room filled with olive trees and shaded by a retractable roof. On the menu, you’ll find fresh pastas made in-house, pizzas, and wood-fired steaks and chops, while the beverage program highlights over 230 wines and twists on classic cocktails, like a passionfruit-infused sidecar and an espresso martini dusted with tiramisu powder.
This Parisian brasserie in Culver City recently opened for all-day dining with a French-inspired menu that stars seasonal ingredients and seafood from Southern California, such as a mushroom and truffle tartine for breakfast or wild sea bream with ratatouille for dinner. Dishes are thoughtfully and beautifully presented, but perhaps that comes as no surprise in this stunning, design-forward space, which weaves in French elements, including large iron French doors that open up to a shaded 1,500-square-foot outdoor terrace with rattan seating. The cocktail list curates French wine producers, classic drinks, and an interactive barside cart dedicated to Champagne and martinis.
Fans of Ray Garcia’s beloved Broken Spanish, which closed indefinitely in 2020, will want to flock to the award-winning chef’s latest concept, Asterid. Installed in the former Patina space on The Music Center campus, the minimalist restaurant’s patio offers an unparalleled view of busy Grand Avenue and the sweeping lines and bold angles of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Although the menu is a decided shift from what he offered at Broken Spanish, Garcia continues to bring his perspective as a native Angeleno, celebrating local, seasonal ingredients and the city’s diverse culinary heritage with dishes like Risotto and Lamb Shank for dinner and Bibimbap and Fried Chicken for brunch.
Situated on the rooftop of Eataly, which offers plenty of grab-and-go food options, Terra is the mammoth Italian emporium’s best place for a nice sit-down meal. Meaning “earth” in Italian, Terra’s menu is built around a wood-fired grill with dishes like whole branzino, bone-in ribeye, and Pugliese-style skewers cooked over an open flame. The restaurant recently added Grigliata Di Pesce to the mix as well—a plate of marinated swordfish, calamari, prawns, and local razor clams that captures the spirit of traditional Italian grilling and allows the seafood’s simple flavors to shine. Along with excellent Italian fare, you’ll get panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills into the bargain from this sprawling 11,000-square-foot space, decked out with a 20-year-old olive tree and botanical garden that inspires some of the hand-crafted cocktails on the drink list.
Situated in Hollywood’s buzzy Vinyl District, this hotspot from the crew behind E.P. & L.P. and Strings of Life is a massive mix of spaces spread across three floors within a former recording studio. There’s the main restaurant, offering Italian-meets-Australian-inspired fare; the groovy cocktail bar and lounge Studio 71 Bar with a huge disco ball in the center; and, last but not least, a stunning 4,000-square-foot rooftop deck that stays open into the wee hours. The rooftop, flanked by views of the Hollywood Hills, has its own food menu, with bites including Fried Chicken Tenders with Calabrian chili and smoked hot honey, a Meatball Panini, and pizzas by the slice. Also, look for whimsical cocktails on tap and a handful of wines by the glass.
Guerrilla Tacos founder Wes Avila’s sexy new spot at the Tommie Hollywood hotel is set almost entirely outdoors and is ultra-heavy on the Tulum vibes, with leather-and-wood barrel chairs, dozens of rattan-covered lights hanging overhead, and lush greenery everywhere. The look matches the Yucatan-inspired fare that ranges from simple chips and guac to various cold seafood dishes like Tuna Aguachile and a Striped Bass Ceviche to heftier entrees of Cochinita Pibil and Mushroom Birria. A slew of mezcal-driven cocktails, crafted with ingredients like serrano peppers, tamarindo, and red mole, rounds out the coastal Mexican menu.
Caravan Swim Club
Yes, it’s a stone’s throw from LAX, but the open-air restaurant above the pool at the Hotel June will give you that vacation vibe without ever having to set foot on a nearby plane. The space is flanked by potted greenery, firepits, and rattan-covered hanging lights, and its menu skews California coastal with Baja Mexican influences. New executive chef Manuel Portillo has punched up the menu with a slew of new dishes, including the Tri Tip Torta (his take on a Mexican meets French dip sandwich served with a side of jus) and Baja Fish Tacos (inspired by the ones he’d order from a truck on a corner of East LA, where he grew up), plus plenty of mezcal cocktails and biodynamic wines.
Venice’s favorite all-day cafe has expanded since the pandemic's beginning, most recently debuting in West Hollywood with its most impressive patio yet. With three locations, the new Melrose outpost offers 3,000 square feet of plastered walls, clay wall lights, and zellige tiles within a pink facade that was color-matched to the Australian childhood home of one of the founders. The wood-fired pizzas, made from a sourdough starter that was born in Sicily over a decade ago, are the real stars of the show, with innovative options like Smoked Salmon Pizza with dill, red onion, capers, and a chive creme fraiche sauce or Truffle Fungi accompanied by lemon crema and roasted garlic. There are also plenty of sandwiches, pastas, and salads, as well as a breakfast menu with a killer burrito. For the bar program, there’s an impressive natural wine list and a small but mighty cocktail list.
How to book: Only walk-ins are accepted from 8 am to 4 pm. Reservations are available through the website for seating after 4 pm.
Head to Salazar for a spacious alfresco patio that will transport you to a Sonoran oasis, with plenty of cacti and other desert plants, shade coverings, and cobalt blue accents throughout. This former auto repair shop turned fully outdoor restaurant has a laid-back ambiance that makes it easy to while away an afternoon, noshing on chips and salsa or tacos, burritos, and quesadillas made with house-made tortillas. Salazar’s loaded carne asada fries are the perfect way to coat your stomach before knocking back a few of the famous margaritas (we recommend getting a flight, which lets you try the prickly pear, watermelon, and ginger flavors).
Freewheeling food truck grad Macks Collins serves adventurous Southeast Asian-influenced comfort food at this downtown Culver restaurant with a vibrant, plant-filled patio. The streamlined menu is punctuated with treasures, such as a Thai-inspired chicken katsu, which features pounded, panko-coated thigh meat showered with potent pickled bird’s eye chiles, that are reason enough to visit. There’s also crispy squid dressed in Japanese curry vinaigrette. Led by Mattie Hanson, Piccalilli’s mixologists whip up some of the city’s most innovative cocktails and mocktails with house-made, seasonal ingredients, like salt-preserved persimmon and five-spice chocolate syrup.
This open-air restaurant spans two floors atop a historic building that overlooks surrounding office towers and adjacent Pershing Square. The plant-lined 15th-floor dining area features vintage-looking tile floors, and the 16th-floor rooftop is dotted with potted plants and fire pits. Perch is ostensibly a modern French bistro with date-friendly vibes and dishes like French Onion Soup, Filet Mignon Au Poivre, and Little Bunny Frou Frou, which is rabbit ravioli accompanied by a parsnip-brioche crumble. Weekend brunch may be the most popular time to visit Perch for bellinis and Benedicts topped with smoked salmon or Maryland blue crab.
Chef Brendan Collins and Michael Greco took over Wilshire Restaurant in 2019, revamping a longtime Westside favorite with a seasonal Cal-Italian menu. Fia’s charming plant-lined garden patio is romantic enough for a date but casual enough for any occasion. Farmers-market-driven dishes like brown-butter-grilled corn and sauteed wild mushrooms celebrate seasonal ingredients, while dishes like chicken “Parmesan” with buffalo mozza and handmade capellini with lobster provide much-needed comfort.
Since its opening, this stylish restaurant has provided one of LA’s best outdoor dining experiences. The sprawling patio atop the mixed-use Platform complex delivers 360-degree city views from tables and lounge seating amidst potted plants and rustic flourishes. The dinner menu includes grilled focaccia with your choice of accompaniments, house-made pastas that will have you licking your plate clean, and bone-in pork chops with black garlic miso. Brunch and lunch offerings include French toast with cinnamon ricotta and fried chicken with Calabrian chile-infused honey. Bonus: IB Hospitality’s sister restaurant Norah in West Hollywood is another contender for best outdoor dining, with two lush patios and excellent food to boot.
Forget the cocktails, craft beer, and better-than-average bar food; the main reason to visit Idle Hour is definitely the setting. The 1933 Group revived this legendary North Hollywood bar, which dates back to 1941 and last served as an apartment. The primary structure is barrel-shaped, which is a sight to behold, and the back patio is undoubtedly inviting, with standard tables and shady trees. The patio even hosts a replica of Culver City’s bygone, dog-shaped Bulldog Café (which now wears a mask), where you can enjoy Tuesday Trivia nights and the newly launched burlesque brunch called Foodies and Boobies with $16 bottomless mimosas.
How to Book: Walk-ins only. Reservations are available through the website on a limited basis for parties of eight or more.
Lizbeth Scordo is a food and lifestyle writer. Follow her on Instagram @modlizbeth and Twitter @lalizbeth.
Danielle Dorsey is the Los Angeles Editor at Thrillist.