Food & Drink

The Best Patios for Eating and Drinking Outside in San Francisco

Get out there, already!

Outdoor dining in San Francisco has saved us all from going stir crazy, and it looks like such setups might be here to stay. That would be amazing, as all of the parklets and pop-up patios have added a vibrancy and sense of community to the city that most of us didn’t even realize was missing. But now that we’ve created it, it would be a shame to let it go. Take in these communal vibes by enjoying a meal at one of these restaurants with comfortable outdoor seating, and remind yourself how lovely it is to eat food someone else prepared off of a plate instead of out of a plastic container. Whether you’re looking for burgers and beer or a drag show brunch, there’s something for everyone on this list of just a few of our favorite restaurants offering outdoor dining. Just be sure to double-check the hours because, as you well know, everything is constantly changing and evolving these days. And don’t forget to wear your mask when you’re not eating or drinking, not that you ever would.

All Good Pizza’s expansive (7,000 feet) outdoor beer garden is a great spot for a socially distanced pizza feast. They’re currently open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 5 pm for  Neapolitan-style brick oven pizzas, organic salads, paninis grilled on fresh baked local bread, and beer and wine. And since Bayview is one of SF’s sunniest neighborhoods, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to dine jacket-free.

4505 Burgers & BBQ

Western Addition

4505’s Divisadero patio, long a go-to for warm days and barbecue cravings, is open daily from 10:30 am to 9 pm. The counter service model remains, and while diners are required to maintain six feet of distance while waiting to order, you can also order online for pick-up ahead of time. Bonus: They now have pitchers of beer available for dine-in, too.

Mario’s, a legendary all-day cafe and a go-to for in-the-know North Beach regulars, has been holding court on the corner of Columbus and Union since 1971. Now, you can grab a seat at one of their sidewalk tables for a cappuccino, pitchers of cold beer, and most importantly, their unbeatable, oven-baked focaccia sandwiches, made on green-onion flecked slabs of olive oil-rich glory from Liguria Bakery, located right across Washington Square Park. Mario’s is open from 11:30 am to 7 pm.

Da Flora

North Beach

This beloved North Beach Italian restaurant, helmed by husband-and-wife team Jen McMahon and Darren Lacey, has a parklet with a covered roof and heat lamps for dinner service Wednesday through Saturday. The dinner menu with seasonal dishes like pesce en brodo with Dungeness crab, jumbo prawns, PEI mussels, and lingcod is available from 4:30 to 8 pm for outdoor dining and takeaway. 
How to book: Call 415-981-4664 for more information or to make a reservation.

Violet’s

Outer Richmond

This cozy neighborhood bar, beloved for their thoughtful cocktails and bacon cheeseburger, is open for sidewalk dinner and drinks every evening from 4:30 to 9pm with last call at 9:45pm. We recommend nursing a warm San Francisco Night—with Four Roses Bourbon, Lairds Apple Jack, Leopold Brothers Sour Apple, Raynal Brandy, gum syrup, Bolivar bitters, and lemon—while you people watch and enjoy a foggy sunset.
How to book: Reserve your spot on OpenTable or by calling 415-682-4861; they have limited space for walk-ins, too.

Prubechu

Mission

Prubechu, a destination for Guamanian food and flavors, is open for outdoor dining in a plant-bedecked lot adjacent to the Mission Street restaurant. Satiate your cravings for Chamorro flavors, including Guam-style barbecue, empanadas, local beer, natural wine, and more, Wednesday through Saturday from 12pm to 3pm (lunch) and 5pm to 9pm (dinner) and Sunday from 11pm to 3pm. 
How to book: Walk-ins are available, but you can also make a reservation on Resy.

Sunset Reservoir, usually a neighborhood go-to for beers, burgers, and trivia might be best known for its sister company, Devil’s Teeth Baking Company, purveyor of one of San Francisco’s most justifiably famous breakfast sandwiches. Those are on offer, along with a limited dinner menu of snacks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and tacos, and can now be enjoyed alongside a cold one or three at one of their outdoor tables on Noriega Street. They’re open every day from 3 pm to 9p m (10 pm on Friday and Saturday), plus additional brunch hours on weekends from 11 am to 3 pm.
How to book: Walk-ins available on a first come, first served basis.

Red's Java House

Embarcadero

The patio at Red’s is as essential to summer in San Francisco as Giants baseball and an unbeatable choice for a pre- or post-game beer. The best part? We will actually be watching baseball in-person this year as long as we stay in the red or orange tier. The patio, jutting over the water in the shadow of the Bay Bridge, is open from 7 am to 6 pm on Monday through Friday and 9 am to 6 pm on the weekends, and is as fine a place as ever for a cold one and one of the most affordable burgers (served on sourdough) in town.
How to book: Walk-ins available on a first come, first served basis.

The Vault

Financial District

Opening a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic is no small feat, but opening a restaurant concept specifically designed to fit our pandemic moment is an exercise of true agility. Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, the team behind Trestle and Corridor, did just that with The Vault Garden, a 100-seat, fully outdoor restaurant. In addition to a roster of built-in safety protocols, there's a tailored-for-the-elements food menu from chef Robin Song, along with wine, beer, and cocktails. The Vault Garden is also hosting all kinds of special events, including caviar dinners, drag show brunches, wine dinners, and more. The Vault Garden is open on Tuesday through Sunday (hours vary).
How to book: Reservations are available, and recommended, though 30% of tables will be held for walk-ins. 

Zeitgeist

Mission

This iconic SF beer garden is open for food and drinks and toned-down debauchery. The space looks a little different than before—the picnic tables have been divided by plexiglass into “booths”—but the vibe is mostly the same and so is the grub: burgers, grilled cheese, etc. with one fantastic addition: a Burma Love lunch pop-up during the week. Pair whatever you order with one of 20+ beers on tap, a cocktail, or Zeitgeist’s famous Bloody. Weekday hours are 11:30am to 9pm and on the weekend, the doors open a little later at 1pm.
How to book: Walk-ins available on a first come, first served basis.

Izzy’s new covered and heated patio, complete with foliage and twinkle lights, was the place to be seen before outdoor dining came to a halt, but even if you don’t care about that stuff, it’s also a great place for a satisfying steak dinner and local seafood. Izzy’s also started offering lunch during COVID on Wednesday through Sunday, which we hope will stick around even when things go back to “normal.” 
How to book: Reservations highly encouraged for lunch and dinner.

Pacific Catch is offering outdoor dining at both locations, but if you’re worried about snagging a table, the Inner Sunset spot is a good bet since it has one of the biggest outdoor dining situations in SF with both sidewalk seating and a “Tiki Terrace.” Both locations serve as excellent spots to enjoy coconut shrimp, a poke bowl, and lots of delicious cocktails, and are open for all of that Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 8 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm.
How to book: Choose your location and make a reservation on their website.

Del Popolo

Union Square

Neapolitan pizza is one of those things that needs to be eaten straight out of the (wood-fired) oven. Del Popolo, which does arguably the best Neapolitan pies in the city, does have flash-frozen pies you can heat up at home and even though they’re tasty, they still taste better when enjoyed on the restaurant’s pop-up rooftop patio.
How to book: Reservations can be made on Resy.

Palette Tea House

Ghirardelli Square

Indulge in delicious pork siu mai, steamed pork buns, and garlic butter crab at this dim sum palace with a spacious patio that comes with Bay Views. The restaurant is open from 11 am or 11:30 am every day and if you prefer dining in the sun, your best chance is around lunchtime.  If you manage to leave enough room, you can grab a sundae from the namesake ice cream and chocolate shop before you go home. 
How to book: Reservations can be made on Yelp.

Total Meltdown
Courtesy of Total Meltdown

If there’s anything we need now more than ever, it’s comfort food, and what’s better comfort food than carbs and cheese? Total Meltdown popped up inside of Mission Picnic a couple of months ago and is satisfying everyone’s carb and cheese cravings with seven versions of grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and cheesy tater tots, including a “build your own masterpiece” option and—if you dar—“The Total Meltdown,” a “three-way” of mac and cheese inside of a grilled cheese sandwich and topped with melty cheese sauce. There are a couple of wines, ciders, and beer to wash that goodness down, all of which can be enjoyed at the outdoor tables, some of which are three-sided vestibules to protect you from SF’s notorious winds. Outdoor dining and delivery starts at 4 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
How to book: Walk-ins available on a first come, first served basis.

Zazie

Cole Valley

Zazie has long been beloved for its charming back patio—not to mention sizeable brunch menu with options changing daily and “magic” mimosas served over ice with grapefruit juice instead of OJ and elderflower syrup. It’s now open for daily brunch and dinner service along with additional tables in a partially covered and heated parklet. 
How to book: Zazie is not taking reservations, but is using Yelp Waitlist (in the restaurant only), so you can wait elsewhere (please do, so as not to crowd the sidewalk) and receive an alert when your table is ready.

Balboa Cafe
Courtesy of Balboa Cafe

Balboa Cafe

Cow Hollow

Balboa’s corner location means there’s even more room for heated parklets, which are bustling all day long with loyal patrons meeting up for a leisurely lunch and groups of friends out for dinner (especially on Wednesdays, aka chicken paillard night). Balboa is also doing a weekend brunch with benedicts and its signature  “Balboa Mary.” 
How to book: Reservations aren’t available right now, so you’ll have to take your chances walking in, but with so many tables, the odds are in your favor.

Fable
Courtesy of Fable

Fable

Castro

Fable’s recently renovated “storybook” garden (complete with three decks, awnings, heat lamps, and plenty of charm) is open for its famous brunch, weekday lunch, a “charcuterie and wine time” happy hour, and dinner. Stop by for a meal to shake up your quaran-routine and you’ll quickly find yourself transported into a living nursery rhyme where beer and wine are readily available—I wish I may, I wish I might!
How to book: You can try your luck walking in, but reservations are highly recommended.

Scopo Divino
Courtesy of Scopo Divino

Scopo Divino

Pacific Heights

This charming wine-centric restaurant is pulling out all of the stops with a daily happy hour (3 pm to 6 pm), live music five days a week, and, wait for it: a bottomless New Orleans-inspired brunch on the weekends. And it’s not just the drinks that are bottomless (although they are and you don’t have to stick with the same one the entire meal); the food is also bottomless, which means as many beignets, deviled eggs, chicken and waffles, burgers, etc. that you can gracefully handle. 
How to book: Make reservations here.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Merchant Roots
Courtesy of Merchant Roots

Merchant Roots

The Fillmore

Celebrating special occasions has been somewhat difficult recently, but if you’re looking for a memorable meal for a birthday, anniversary, or just because, then look no further than Merchant Roots. There are only two outdoor booths, each very private and decorated according to the tasting menu’s theme. The meal promises to be extraordinary with whimsical touches and delightful surprises throughout. The theme rotates quarterly, so every time you go back, you’ll have a completely new experience. There are just two seatings a night, Wednesday through Saturday. 
How to book: Reservations are required.

Causwells
Courtesy of Causwells

Causwells

Marina

Causwells has one of the best burgers in the city and now it also has fantastic cocktails to sip along with it thanks to a recently acquired liquor license. The outdoor setup is spacious and heated with a new, “loungier” setup in the works. 
How to book: Make dinner reservations here.

Monk’s Kettle
Courtesy of Monk’s Kettle

One of the best neighborhood taverns in the Mission, Monk’s Kettle’s outdoor seating situation has doubled in size since last year. This means more space for people to enjoy their from-scratch, seasonally driven menu with stars like a Korean BBQ jackfruit sandwich that vegans and meat eaters will love, plus plenty of hearty sandwiches for those feeling a little carnivorous. Choose from dozens of specialty/craft beers to wash it all down. 
How to book: Reservation aren’t required, but are available.

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who only went to Florida for spring break once. It rained the entire time. There was a lot of bowling. Follow her on Instgram @daisysf to see some of her more successful adventures.
Lauren Sloss is a contributor for Thrillist
Our Newsletter
By Signing Up, I Agree to the Terms and Privacy Policy.