Al Fresco Dining: London’s Best Outdoor Restaurants
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This summer is going to be all about al fresco dining. Popular dining districts in London are being transformed into outdoor dining hubs, while Soho’s Dean Street and Old Compton Street are closed to traffic all together. Read on for our pick of the best outdoor restaurants in London.
Al Fresco Dining: Best Outdoor Restaurants in London
Toad on the Road
Adam Handling has added another London outpost to his ever-expanding collection: Toad on the Road, sitting outside Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden. The new terrace offers the opportunity to enjoy zero waste dishes al fresco, made using offcuts of prime produce from the Frog by Adam Handling tasting menu. There are lobster rolls made from offcuts of Adam’s lobster wagyu dish, fried chicken made using the thighs not needed for the restaurant’s chicken main course, and fish finger sandwiches made from turbot trim. For dessert, dine on ice cream sandwiches, created using foraged ingredients from in and around Hackney. The drinks menu is equally waste-savvy, featuring negronis made from coffee grounds steeped in gin – left over from the Nespresso coffee pods in the restaurant. Better still: Toad on the Road is participating in Eat Out To Help Out, meaning you can get 50 percent off food (up to £10 per person) from Monday to Wednesday throughout August.
The second restaurant from the Pachamama group, Chelsea’s Chicama is a charming seafood restaurant named after a coastal town in Peru – not the word chic, although that does describe it well. If you can pry yourself away from the pretty beach-inspired indoors, the outdoor terrace is an equally lovely dining spot for sunny days: a petite plant-filled space overflowing onto the pavement on a quiet section of the Kings Road. From here, tuck into a meat-free menu of vibrant seafood and vegetarian small plates alongside colourful cocktails. 383 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0LP.
Named after the eponymous character created by Virginia Woolf, forever a Bloomsbury association, Dalloway Terrace is similarly elegant, poetic and quintessentially English – and its flower-covered (and highly Instagrammable) outdoor space makes it one of the city’s most sought-after alfresco drinking spots. Home to 1,000 flowers, the restaurant is currently embracing the warmer weather with a tropical jungle inspired by Leonard Wolf’s novel, The Village in the Jungle and a botanical cocktail menu with Sri Lankan influence. 16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NN.
It would be wrong not to include this ever-popular Chelsea haunt, one of the prettiest outdoor restaurants in town. When the sun’s out, few places beat The Ivy’s garden. 197 King’s Rd, London, SW3 5EQ.
As its name might suggest, Aviary is bird-themed, but you won’t need wings to see the London skyline here as iconic buildings such as The Gherkin and The Cheese Grater are within sight from their amazing roof terrace. Soak up the sights while tucking into a selection of small and large plates, like miso roast cauliflower, beef tartare, and feta and watermelon salad. 10th Floor Montcalm Royal, London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1DX.
Nestled in between the foliage, plant pots and greenhouses is a restaurant at Petersham Nurseries, a dreamy spot even when the sun hasn’t got its hat on. Their second venue on Covent Garden’s Floral Street is also an idyllic lunch location, featuring a delicatessen, wine cellar and florist, as well as two restaurants. Petersham Rd, Richmond, TW10 7AB and 31 King St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JD.
While in the past Victoria hasn’t been much of a foodie destination, these days it’s brimming with great places to eat. This is mainly thanks to the new Nova development at Sir Simon Milton Square, a culinary hub with an array of outdoor restaurants and bars which flood onto the central promenade. One of these is Rail House Cafe, the younger sibling of Fitzrovia’s Riding House Cafe. With cosy cushions and a mix of small and large tables, their terrace is an ideal al fresco dining spot whether you’re after brunch, lunch or dinner; healthy or indulgent. Their summer menu features everything from bulgur wheat salads to smoked Applewood cheeseburgers, alongside a selection of small plates including sea bass ceviche and mac & cheese. 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, Victoria, London SW1E 5DJ.
Enjoy glorious views of the River Thames at this buzzy South Bank eatery, located on the bottom floor of the Sea Containers London (formerly Mondrian). Designed by maverick Tom Dixon, the restaurant exudes elegance, with nautical-inspired interiors drawing on the famous Sea Containers House: think copper-clad walls, leather chairs and bright yellow upholstery. This opens onto a brightly coloured terrace, running in partnership with Laurent Perrier. From here, guests can choose from an all-day menu of European dishes such as pappardelle with rabbit ragu, crab on sourdough and cod loin with baby gems, peas and bacon. 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD.
There’s long been a huge buzz around Angler, the Michelin-starred British seafood restaurant perched atop the South Place Hotel. On summer evenings their rooftop terrace functions as a delightful suntrap, away from the noise and heat of the city below. 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF.
The ultimate London spot for a long lunch in the sun with sublime Italian food and a perfect atmosphere. Guaranteed great food amid charming riverside surroundings. Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA.
Chiltern Firehouse has long been the place to see and be seen in London – and never more so than in the summer, when the sun-trap courtyard fills with the well-heeled Marylebone crowd. With its wicker chairs, black and white striped sofas and beautiful plants and greenery, head over for a delicious breakfast and stay for lunch and drinks as you soak up the sun in the ever-buzzy atmosphere. Nothing beats the heat like Chiltern’s fresh oysters paired with a few glasses of champagne…1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA.
With temperatures rising in the capital, now’s the time to book a table at the chic, ’70s-inspired Standard Hotel for a drink on their shady outdoor terrace – think Aperol slushies and a Moët vending machine. To accompany, guests can enjoy favourites from Double Standard, the hotel’s dive-bar style eatery, outdoors; chef Adam Rawson serves up comforting classics like burgers, vegan hot dogs and southern fried cauliflower. 10 Argyle Street, London, WC1H 8EG.