7 al fresco restaurants in London to book now
Restaurants are opening up again, and what better way to see friends than to book an al fresco dining experience? Here’s our guide to London’s best outdoor terraces.
After months of lockdown, there’s a lot of excitement around the re-opening of outdoor restaurant spaces. Once again we’ll have a place to meet friends, eat, drink and be merry.
While this is cause for celebration, safety is still at the forefront of our minds. This means swatting up on the restaurants with spacious outside areas, with plenty of room where we know we can social distance.
If you’ve been looking forward to booking yourself a dinner date with your best friends but are now unsure of where is open, welcoming customers and, most importantly, is safe – we’ve created a nifty guide of the best al fresco restaurants in London for outdoor dining.
We’ve been careful to include a mix of locations, from a hip bistro in Brixton to a secret garden in Chelsea, these venues are not only stylish with great menus, but will allow you to dine out safely.
From 13 April, Mayfair Spanish restaurant and tapas bar, El Pirata will be hosting guests in an intimate 20-cover outdoor heated seating area.
Tucked away in one of the area’s quieter streets, it offers a neighbourhood feed just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly and Hyde Park.
Expect tasty plates of croquetas de jamón Ibérico, gambas al pil-pil; jamón Ibérico and chorizo al vino and a great drinks selection, too.
Ombra is a canalside restaurant in Hackney which will have a covered and heated terrace, perfect for al fresco dining in, ready for April.
The word ombra means a small glass of wine, or an aperitif, within the Venetian dialect, denoting the beginning of an evening and inspires the idea of conviviality of food.
Ombra continues to bring the essence of the word to life with delicious plates of fresh pasta, cured meats, homemade focaccia and a lively group of east London fans.
The Mitre Hampton Court
The Mitre is a historic hotel with a beautiful spot right on the river Thames, looking out over the water. The outdoor seating area has a Parisian feel and there’s plenty of twinkly lights to ensure a romantic atmosphere after dusk.
From 21 April the terrace will be open from 11am until 10pm every day complete with open fire BBQ. There will be a live jazz singer performing on the terrace for light entertainment, and the option to book boat rides from the hotel’s private jetty with the option to add a picnic.
Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden
Petersham Nurseries’ Covent Garden branch, known as the vibrant Italian restaurant La Goccia, already has plenty of outdoor and open plan space which has no doubt made its re-opening easier.
Guests are invited to dine inside or out in the secluded courtyard hidden between King and Floral Street. Here, you can sit in the middle of one of London’s busiest areas surrounded by lemon trees and fairy lights in a tranquil haven.
The restaurant has always been inspired by Italy’s al fresco dining scene, inviting guests to enjoy a scoop of homemade sorbet, ice cream or a glass of granita in the sunshine. Come evening, you could sip on limoncello spritz and campari soda and pick some small plates for the table, such as anchovies with garlic, chilli and parsley and fried zucchini flowers.
The Laundry, Brixton
The Laundry is Brixton’s ultra cool neighbourhood bistro, coffee and wine place, which has launched its new terrace so diners can eat outside and social distance.
It’s a south-facing sun trap, with Parisian-style rattan chairs and chic marble tabes, perfect for taking shots of the grazing and sharing dishes.
There’s also a great wine list which has been carefully curated to include refreshing rose and white wines for the warmer months. Please note, there are no bookings on the terrace, so be mindful that you might want to ring ahead or refrain from coming with a large group.
Vinegar Yard, London Bridge
Vinegar Yard is an open-air street food hub located just by London Bridge, tucked away from the usual hustle and bustle.
A great place for grabbing a casual bite to eat, the space is populated by six street food vendors serving up a mix of Indian inspired burgers and pachos, authentic Italian street food, hand-pressed burgers and croquettes and much more.
As tables have traditionally been shared by all guests, Vinegar Yard has made a lot of changes to ensure that the venue is Covid-19 safe. For example, you must obtain a track and trace ticket from the website to enter, no more than six people in a group will be admitted and you must stay sat at your table at all times.
This secret garden sits in the middle of Chelsea and is inspired by the character and charm of historic English country houses. Like a breath of fresh air, it’s hidden from the busyness of King’s Road and the shopping district, as a relaxed, comfortable place to share some food and drinks.
The outdoor space has been redesigned to ensure it’s social distancing safe, with plenty of room and big, plump seats to sink into and while away the afternoon.
Stanley’s menu is about finding the beauty in simplicity and serving quality, honest food with the best possible ingredients. We like the sound of the Westcombe cheddar doughnuts with burnt leek or sourdough crumpet with Cornish crab and potted shrimp, both of which sound tastier than anything we’ve made at home over the last few months!
Images: The Nest / courtesy of venues
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