Food & Drink

Where to Dine Outdoors in Los Angeles Right Now

Get back out there this spring, safely.

Eataly
Photo Courtesy of Eataly

It might not feel like it, but we have made meaningful progress in this pandemic. Thanks to a vast reduction in COVID numbers and expanded availability and distribution of vaccines, the city of Los Angeles—which just a few months ago represented the epicenter of a devastating COVID surge—has been able to gradually reopen (with accommodations, of course), including the permittance of limited capacity outdoor dining at restaurants.

And with an abundance of warm sunny days regardless of the season, many of LA’s restaurants were already prepared with patios and rooftops to welcome diners, while those that weren’t quickly revamped their sidewalks and parking lots to meet the new regulations. According to the latest restrictions, outdoor seating is limited to 50% capacity and tables must be spaced at least eight feet apart, but diners from up to three different households can now be sat at the same table. And now that indoor dining has been given the greenlight, outdoor operations that don’t meet the state’s criteria will be categorized as indoor settings and still allowed to operate at 25% capacity, where they would have been forced to shut down just a couple of weeks ago. See? Progress! 

And with so little to celebrate lately, what’s the harm in toasting to how far we’ve come? Here are 24 places where you can raise a glass (though an accompanying meal is still required!) to outdoor dining in LA:

Eataly brunch
Photo courtesy of Eataly

Terra

Century City 
Located on the third floor of Eataly LA, Terra’s wraparound rooftop provides 360-degree views of the nearby Hollywood Hills, with string lights draped throughout and plenty of heating lamps to counteract the ocean breeze. A wood-burning Italian grill adds a delicate char to seasonally driven dishes (the Alla Grigila, or “from the grill” section of the menu deserves your attention) that pair well with botanical cocktails as well as the restaurant’s extensive wine list. 
How to book: via OpenTable

Union

Pasadena
When outdoor dining reopened in late January, Union held off on an immediate relaunch to create a patio area that better aligned with their overall aesthetics. We’re happy to report that their new raised wood deck is well worth the wait, providing a view of Pasadena’s bustling Old Town district and mimicking the cozy vibes that diners have come to associate with this farm-to-table restaurant specializing in Northern Italian fare through a Cal-fresh lens. The team is busy preparing for the launch of U Street Pizza, a forthcoming pizzeria from Union restaurateur Marie Petulla that’s slated to open next door to Union this spring.
How to book: via Resy

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Tanqueray

Weekend plans change fast, so grab a drink that’s ready when you are. Tanqueray’s Crafted Gin Cocktails come ready to drink and are the perfect addition to any occasion. Made with real Tanqueray gin and natural flavors, they deliver premium, bar-quality cocktails whenever you want. Grab a can and enjoy.

great white dinner
Photo courtesy of Great White

Great White

Venice 
Shockingly, Venice’s favorite all-day cafe (from co-owners Sam Trude and Sam Cooper) has expanded since the beginning of the pandemic, last summer debuting a larger space on Pacific Ave, with more room for outdoor dining, and most recently expanding their menu that’s centered around coastal California cuisine. The pizzas, made from a sourdough starter that was born in Sicily over a decade ago, are the real stars of the show here, with innovative options like a breakfast pie that’s decorated with Salumeria Biellese guanciale, a fried egg, mozzarella, onion confiture, and tomato sauce; and a 55 degree-smoked salmon pizza with dill, red onion, capers, and a chive creme fraiche. For the bar program, there’s an impressive natural wine list and a small but mighty cocktail list.
How to book: via Resy

Jon & Vinny’s

Brentwood location only 
After consuming their fusilli alla vodka out of a takeout container on our couch in our pajamas for the last year, you’re damn right we’re ready to put on some real pants (not too tight though) and support Jon & Vinny’s newly built outdoor setup at their Brentwood location. Just opened in March, the patio is behind the restaurant, featuring Jon & Vinny’s signature grassy green signage with matching booth seating and plenty of umbrellas and heating lamps to keep diners comfortable throughout their meal. Order your favorite Nonna-approved dish for your main course, but make sure you save room for dessert—soft-serve ice cream is back (only at Brentwood), and bombolones in nutella, seasonal custard, and seasonal jam are available daily (weekends only at the Fairfax location).
How to book: via Resy

Gigi’s 

Hollywood 
We’ve been salivating over this French-inspired bistro (with a wine list to match thanks to director Kristin Olszewski) since they first opened in November, and finally, after limited-quantity to-go meals offered throughout the winter season, their patio is open for dinner Wednesdays through Sundays, with highlights that include a raw bar with kuushi oysters in cucumber mignonette sauce and an extravagant seafood tower, caviar service, and ricotta agnolotti with morels and snap peas, all courtesy of chef Matt Bollinger (Trois Familia). Fingers crossed that we’ll soon be breaking French bread in their elegant, emerald-hued dining room.
How to book: via Resy

Playa Provisions

Playa Del Rey
Though the pandemic has forced chef/owner Brooke Williamson to close three of her four LA restaurants, Playa Provisions has held on, perhaps due to its versatility of bridging four unique food concepts under one roof. King Beach Cafe sits at the front of the building, offering coffee drinks, pastries, casual breakfast and lunch fare, plus beer, wine, and canned cocktails. Head to Dockside for a fine dining experience that explores the Top Chef winner’s love of seasonal, coastal California ingredients, complete with a full bar and dreamy beach views from their patio. Small Batch is an obvious choice for dessert with homemade ice cream and desserts, while Grain Whiskey Bar boasts an extensive whiskey collection and cocktail menu for capping off your night.
How to book: via Resy.

Salazar 

Frogtown 
Head to Salazar for a spacious outdoor patio that will transport you to a Southwestern oasis, with plenty of cacti and other desert plants, shade coverings, and cobalt blue accents throughout. Chef Jonathan Aviles’ menu is similarly inspired, with a smokiness that comes through in all of their tacos, but also in dishes like their mesquite-grilled Caesar salad and whole branzino. Salazar’s carne asada fries are the perfect way to coat your stomach before knocking back a few of their famous prickly pear margaritas.
How to book: via Resy.

Felix

Venice
Exacting pasta traditionalist Evan Funke and business partner Janet Zuccarini are still serving diners outdoors with Felix Al Fresco on Abbot Kinney. Pasta, made in an exhibition kitchen that’s currently out of sight, includes tonarelli tossed with definitive cacio e pepe and umami-rich spaghettone alla puttanesca. The restaurant also serves six different pizzas, a handful of antipasti, and sfincione, their exquisite Sicilian-style focaccia. 
How to book: via Opentable

Madre

West Hollywood, Palms and Torrance
Outdoor dining is now open at all three LA locations of Madre, Oaxaca native Ivan Vasquez’s modern Mexican tribute to his mother. The restaurant boasts the city’s best mezcal collection and uses regional Mexican ingredients like tiny but potent piquin peppers that provide a jolt to octopus and shrimp ceviche. For a truly special experience, order mole palenquero, made using fruits roasted during Mezcal Real Minero distillation, which adds to a beguiling blend of chiles, herbs, nuts, and spices before being blanketed over chicken. Madre also offers tlayudas and tacos, a huevo-powered weekend brunch, and a sizeable happy hour menu.
How to book: Walk-ins are welcome.

Republique

Mid-City
LA’s favorite brunch spot is back and busier than ever—which these days means that you should arrive sooner rather than later to avoid a seriously long wait time, but once seated, you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with other diners. And a glance at the brunch menu, with standouts like wood-fired shakshuka, kimchi fried rice with tender short rib chunks, and a croque madame made with house-cured ham and house-baked bread, proves that good things truly do come to those who wait. If you prefer a firm meal time, book a dinner reservation. Regardless of when you choose to stop by, Republique’s airy parklet, complete with shade coverings and twinkling lights, will be ready for you. Make sure to raid the pastry case for chef Margarita Manzke’s latest creations. 
How to book: Walk-ins accepted on a first come, first served basis for brunch. Dinner reservations can be made via Opentable.

Park’s BBQ

Koreatown
Jenee Kim created an iconic Korean barbecue restaurant in 2003, with photos of Korean and American celebrity diners lining the walls. They’re currently out of sight indoors, but Kim created an inspired open-air structure in the parking lot with tabletop grills and propane tanks at each table. Prime beef and American Wagyu are the biggest draws, and prized cuts like Wagyu ribeye cap would be hard to find at other KBBQ spots. Combos, called “A Taste of Park’s BBQ” and “Taste of Wagyu,” are great to share. Jjigaes (stews) and savory pancakes also stand out. 
How to book: Via Yelp.

Picalilli
Photo courtesy of Picalilli

Piccalilli

Culver City
Freewheeling food truck grads Macks Collins and Bryan Kidwell once again fire up the patio at their downtown Culver restaurant to serve Asian-influenced comfort food. Their Thai-inspired chicken katsu is reason enough to visit, featuring pounded, panko-coated thigh meat showered with potent pickled bird’s eye chiles. The duo has punctuated their streamlined menu with even more treasures and the five-spice pork is a fun riff on Peking duck served with classic duck accompaniments and pan-fried roti.
How to book: Via Resy.

Perch

DTLA
One of our essential dining experiences in LA, 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 bouillabaisse, though they do delve into other cuisines. Weekend brunch may be the most popular time to visit Perch for Bellinis and Benedicts topped with smoked salmon or Maryland blue crab.
How to book: Book a table by calling 213-802-1770 or through OpenTable.

Fia

Santa Monica
Chef Brendan Collins and Michael Greco took over Wilshire Restaurant in 2019, revamping a longtime Westside favorite with their seasonal Cal-Italian menu. Fia’s charming plant-lined garden patio is romantic enough for a date but casual enough for any occasion. Dishes like chicken “Parmesan” with buffalo mozza, and handmade capellini with lobster Bolognese provide much-needed comfort. Collins also makes occasional nods to his British roots like beef Wellington with bacon-wrapped asparagus. 
How to book: Via OpenTable.

Margot

Culver City
Even before the pandemic hit, this stylish restaurant already provided one of LA’s best outdoor dining experiences. Their 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 from Michael Williams and his team includes grilled focaccia with a choice of accompaniments, house-made pasta, and bone-in pork chops. Sunday brunch offerings include French toast with cinnamon ricotta and fried chicken with Calabrian chile infused honey. Bonus: IB Hospitality’s sister restaurant Norah now has a sidewalk counter and backyard patio to accommodate WeHo diners during the crisis.
How to book: Via Resy.

Hinoki & the Bird

Century City
Power lunches with lawyers and Hollywood agents may be on hiatus during the pandemic, but this restaurant patio at the base of a luxury condo remains a work of art. A living plant wall complete with mesh fencing,  interconnected “rafters” and curved wood banquettes make it uniquely stylish. Hinoki’s streamlined menu includes buttered lobster ramen and their signature lobster roll with green curry and Thai basil nestled in a striking black charcoal bun. Yes, Hinoki also serves dishes without lobster. Chef Brandon Kida launched his delivery-only Go Go Gyoza concept during the pandemic and he’s got a deluxe pan-fried version on Hinoki’s menu co-starring pork belly, Dungeness crab, and chile oil.
How to book: Call the restaurant directly at 310-552-1200 or via Yelp.

Redbird

DTLA
Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser have plentiful space to work with in the former St. Vibiana’s cathedral, and since they’re currently unable to utilize their space for large-scale events, they’ve peeled back Redbird Coutyard’s retractable roof to offer additional seating in the Redbird Garden and Vibiana Courtyard with towering palm trees. As always, they continue to serve refined high-end comfort food, dishes like bacon-wrapped rabbit saddle over Anson Mills polenta and whole-grilled Basque turbot. Happy hour features creative riffs on a lobster roll and Buffalo chicken wings (made with duck).
How to book: Specify your preferred seating area on Tock. Redbird outlines reservations and protocols on their outdoor seating webpage.

Ashland Hill in L.A.
Ashland Hill | Ashland Hill

Ashland Hill

Santa Monica
This gastropub from On The Verge Hospitality (the group behind Santa Monica restaurants like Margo’s, The Golden Bull and Art’s Table) might not look like much from the front. The surprise comes after you order at a window and retreat to the back patio. A mural of Humphrey Bogart from “The Big Sleep” sets the tone, complete with a quote from Raymond Chandler: "It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in." Two of Ashland Hill’s primary vices are the ambitious craft beer program and its burger, a behemoth with sharp white cheddar, caramelized onions, and special sauce, served with herb & Parmesan fries.
How to book: Via Resy.

The Patio at Idle Hour
Idle Hour | William Bradford

Idle Hour

North Hollywood
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 certainly 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. They’ve also launched a mule menu for cocktails featuring house-made ginger beer.
How to Book: Via Resy.

Gjusta

Venice
This gorgeous Cal-Italian bakery/deli/cafe, and sibling to legendary outdoor dining destination, Gjelina (now reopened!), was owner Fran Camaj’s final triumph with former partner Travis Lett. Scan their pristine display cases for baklava croissants, fresh-baked breads, cured fish, pizza, rotisserie chicken, and a Sightglass coffee bar. Continue to the back patio and find a bohemian wonderland with mismatched tables, strings of lights, sail-shaped shades, and ‘gram-worthy plant life. For the pandemic, Gjusta added a host station off the parking lot and full-service dining out back.
How to book: Via OpenTable.

Malibu Farm Restaurant and Malibu Farm Pier Cafe

Malibu
Chef Helene Henderson runs two restaurants on Malibu Pier, including a casual breakfast and lunch destination with Malibu Farm Pier Cafe and a fine dining destination with Malibu Farm Restaurant. Both eateries are beloved for using farm-fresh ingredients prepared with simple techniques that bring flavors to the forefront. Pass by casting fishermen to reach the rustic cafe and attached restaurant at the end of the dock. At the restaurant, a white wood awning provides shade, while umbrellas cast shadows over tables at the cafe, and both spots provide uninterrupted views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
How to book: Malibu Farm Pier Cafe only allows walk-ins for breakfast and lunch; make reservations via Yelp for Malibu Farm Restaurant.

momed
Courtesy of Momed

Momed

Atwater Village
Alex Sarkissian’s modern Mediterranean concept rests along railroad tracks, which means you’ll get the occasional horn blast in your ear. It’s worth it to experience the outdoor setting at the creative Atwater Crossing compound. A concrete patio with wood front gives way to coffee and wine bars, both fronted by stylish white and grey tiles. Marble communal seating adjoins a covered patio with blonde wood tables and white wicker chairs. Foodwise, expect creative, sometimes non-traditional Mediterranean food, like avocado hummus and duck shawarma.
How to book: via OpenTable.

Spartina

West Hollywood
In 2015, native New Yorker Stephen Kalt revived a well-regarded New York City concept he commanded in the ‘90s—Spartina—named after a John Casey novel. The chef’s Melrose Ave restaurant features a big patio out front where white walls frame wood tables illuminated with moody string lights. Kalt’s seasonal Cal-Italian menu runs deep. Pasta is a particular strength, with options like honeynut squash agnolotti and rigatoni with Sicilian shrimp and pistachio pesto. Stop by between 4–6 pm to take advantage of a daily happy hour that features their most popular antipasto and pizzas at a discount.
How to book: via OpenTable.

Lunetta

Santa Monica
Raphael Lunetta operates twin concepts near Santa Monica College: the more casual Lunetta All Day and the more ambitious Lunetta At Night, but for now, you can visit both on their pleasant back patio. Diners can now sit at tables amidst olive trees and potted succulents under shaded AstroTurf “lawns.” Their seasonal dinner menu yields hits like herb-roasted filet mignon with morel mushrooms and madeira-braised brick chicken with fingerlings, haricot verts, dates, and cipollini onions. The restaurant also added a three-course “Taste of Lunetta” for dinner that changes weekly and recently included a cast-iron pizza with herb Jidori chicken, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, and fresh black truffle, and a braised New Zealand lamb osso buco with milanese risotto.
How to book: via OpenTable.

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Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS.com, a Los Angeles based company that showcases the best-tasting food & drink through online coverage and custom culinary tours. Follow him on Instagram.

Danielle Dorsey is the Los Angeles Editor at Thrillist.
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