From the moment the temperatures even hint at warming up, to the time when all the leaves turn to a kaleidoscope of colors, Boston’s outdoor dining scene thrives. There is a certain electricity in the air when you walk down Newbury Street or the South End’s Tremont Street and see patio after patio filled with happy and hungry restaurant goers. I love dining out, and even more so, I love al fresco dining. While the weather allows for it, we try to enjoy our city’s restaurant patios as much as we can! This list could go on and on, but these are my tried and true favorites. Oh, and if you’re like me and always get cold after the sun goes down in the summer, don’t forget a sweater!
The A-Lyst for Boston’s Best Al Fresco Dining
Coppa sits on a quiet, unassuming neighborhood corner in the South End, so when you stroll down Shawmut Avenue and stumble upon it, you’ll instantly be transported to what it feels like to discover a hidden sidewalk bistro in Europe. Brought to life with bright turquoise blue tables and offering ample sun and shade, the patio provides the perfect place to enjoy a summer night in the city. The restaurant is led by two of Boston’s culinary stars, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, and offers diners Italian small plates alongside charcuterie and house-made pizzas and pastas. I love trying as many different dishes on a menu as possible, so when we go to Coppa, we usually pick a bunch of smaller items as well as one pizza and one pasta. Don’t miss the sangria and arrive early to avoid a long wait! 253 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118
As one of my favorite Barbara Lynch restaurants, B&G Oysters always exceeds my expectations, and its sunken garden patio is no different. When you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, top notch hospitality, and a quiet patio that’s perfectly decorated with string lights, this South End gem should be on the top of your list. The restaurant is famous for its lobster rolls, but I would also recommend trying an assortment of other menu items including the mussels, fried clams, fried oysters, and the brussels sprouts as a side! This restaurant, especially the patio, draws a long wait list, so arrive on the early side, or skip dinner, and try it for lunch! 550 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
A dining staple in the city, Eastern Standard and its patio are perfect for so many different eating out scenarios…before or after a Red Sox game, date night, brunch with friends, and late night eats, to name a few. With a stellar cocktail program (ask the bartender a lot of questions and you will find the perfect drink for your taste!), diverse menu with items at a variety of price points (think halibut entree alongside a grilled cheese), and friendly service, there’s a reason why Eastern Standard has been in business for over 10 years. On Red Sox home game nights, arrive right when the game starts to miss the crowds! 528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
On a beautiful summer day, this Back Bay mainstay is your answer to a mid-shopping trip fuel-up. While this eatery does attract many tourists because of its central location, the food is classic and reliable, and offers a prime spot to do some serious people watching. Don’t miss the fresh salads and generous martinis! 190 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
The Boston Public Garden is one of my favorite places in the city, and the patio of Bistro du Midi provides a front row seat to its beautiful scenery. While the patio is very small, if you come at an off-time, you’ll have no trouble grabbing a seat outside or at one of the tables situated in the cafe’s open windows. This French-inspired eatery offers brunch, lunch, and dinner, and because of its proximity to the Boston Public Garden, is one of my go-to spots to bring out-of-towners for an afternoon snack. 272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
Before Boston’s Seaport District became the dining mecca that it is today, restaurateur Nick Varano took a chance and introduced the up and coming neighborhood to its first Italian restaurant. Beyond serving up flavor-packed homemade pastas, like my favorite, the Papparedella Funghi Selvatici, Strega Waterfront offers its guests a sleek patio with views of the Boston Harbor. I love coming here right after work to enjoy the water views before the sun goes down…oh, and keep your eyes peeled, as the restaurant is a fan-favorite of celebrities and athletes. 1 Marina Park Drive, Boston, MA 02210
This is easily one of the best patios and restaurants in Cambridge. Serving Arabic-inspired Mediterranean-style fare since 2001, Oleana has garnered rave reviews for years and its patio, like its food, is on a whole different level. With a tranquil fountain, lush flowers, and greenery, upon entering the patio, you really feel like you are in a midsummer night’s dream. This is another restaurant patio that fills up quickly, so come early to put your name on the list, and whatever you do, don’t skip dessert!
134 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
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