Eating outside under the stars with fresh air filling your lungs makes food taste better. (Pretty sure that’s science or something.) Luckily for visitors and locals alike, LA’s mostly agreeable weather has led many restaurants to create alfresco opportunities to enjoy mouthwatering wares. The following patios, gardens, and rooftops offer the best combination of views, vibes, and food.
With a name derived from Fiacre (the patron saint of gardens), high expectations for this Santa Monica restaurant's alfresco areas are only natural and we're happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint. The loose gravel underfoot, towering trees, crisscrossing bulb strands overhead, and ginger Calabrian chili kampachi and braised rabbit on a rustic wooden table waiting to be eaten all make this multi-level patio and bar the enchanting backyard you wish you had.
Neighbor's unassuming stoop doesn’t tip passersby off to the incredible patio hiding out back. Set inside an old house with wainscoting on Venice’s main drag, there’s a shabby chic grouping of ottomans and plush couches perfect for kicking back with coffee, Cake Monkey pastries, and a laptop as soft rays of light filter through a vine-covered slat ceiling. Mismatched chairs, striped umbrellas, mosaic tables, and funky painted flamingo welcome guests to the beachy-boho backyard that benefits from the lush garden next door.
It can be tricky to find the elevator that transports you from Platform’s ground level to its classy rooftop retreat, but the Culver City patio with a Restoration Hardware-meets-big city feel is worth the hunt. It’s large enough to accommodate big groups and a live band simultaneously and romantic enough for date nights courtesy of the sunset views and market-driven shareable plates of coastal Mediterranean-meets-Californian cuisine. Collapse into a sofa with a flowery drink or four to shake off bad days.
Cattle & Claw
Named after two things it serves in spades (burgers and lobster), this restaurant in the Sofitel Los Angeles across from the Beverly Center is a splendid shabby chic setting accented with mismatched glass lanterns, distressed furniture, patterned pillows, and framed mirrors. The pergolas, sound system, and dense vegetation crawling up the walls help block out noise so nothing gets in the way of enjoying creative shellfish dishes (tacos, paella, ravioli, or pizza). Check out the lobby's pop art collection before you head up.
The 1 Hotel West Hollywood has created such a serene oasis that you’ll forget you’re eating heirloom beet salad and chicken paillard mere feet from the rowdy Sunset Strip. A pretty, pink-accented dining room’s glass sliders open out to an equally adorable dining deck dressed with navy and white decor, hurricane lanterns, and wicker. It’s bursting with bucolic splendor with planters and fencing made from stacked raw logs and wild greenery. The parkway just beyond provides a verdant backdrop and another natural space to nibble marketplace finds.
Perched atop the new Proper Hotel in Santa Monica, this Mediterranean-meets-Californian restaurant from chef Kaleo Adams has all the makings of a great night out from cooling sea breezes and live entertainment to seasonal cocktails served from a circular center bar and an indoor-outdoor floor plan designed by star designer Kelly Wearstler. Dressed in neutral tones and natural materials, the rooftop also happens to be a fantastic vantage point from which to view the ocean, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the sunset. The sights are even better when you have a plate of Spanish chorizo and clams or a meze platter in front of you and a glass of fizzy rosé in your hand. Many of the table-and-chair groupings are low and deep and not entirely suited for a full dinner.
This Sunset Strip spot reminds diners how rural West Hollywood used to be with its unpretentious historic orchard home setting, unfussy ambiance, quality comfort food (ham with savory doughnuts, lamb meatballs, and still-bubbling fruit crumbles), and two options for open-air degustation. Brunch is best taken in the sunny front garden with its trendy tile floor, Instagram-approved mural, and easy people watching. The patio out back has big booths, belt fans, a reclaimed bar, retractable ceiling panels, and city basin views.
West Hollywood’s new multi-tiered complex offers a variety of ways to dine-a-dew. Chat over cappuccinos or work with overnight oats at a marble round in the casual street-level café. Head upstairs to enjoy halibut en papillote, korma cauliflower, and rich chocolate budino at high-tops on a sliver-sized front patio or beyond the fire wall in a rattan chair on the pillow-adorned back deck. Fold-up shutters, thriving greenery, and retractable “walls” bring the outside into the wood-ceilinged main room and bar.
The Culver City blast to the past has been plating perfect hot pastrami and pickles (plus French dips and burgers) since 1952 and have the original countertop jukeboxes to prove it. But why slide into a sweaty booth when you can relax on retro patios—one covered by a pergola, one with vintage metal umbrellas—that flank both sides of the diner. Both have old school picnic tables, waxy floral tablecloths, rock planters, and fire pits. Car collectors often roll up in antique rides adding to the vintage vibes.
Atop the historic Los Angeles Railway Building, now the home of The Hoxton hotel, sits Broadway's newest up-high hang. It's divided into three sections: the bar, the restaurant, and the pool, which has a more casual menu of its own. The ivory, blue, and beige dining room, with its retractable ceiling and giant windows, gets great sun and also offers protection from the elements while you take in the killer soundtrack and skyline sightlines. Its concept is Mediterranean, leaning heavily on seafood, with tableside preparations, live-fire cooking, and large format plates like a whole fish. There is also a build-your-own raw bar tower, and be sure to order the crudité with Moroccan flatbread and saffron aioli. Happy hour has $1 oysters and the corn three ways (which actually involves five preparations of the vegetable in one outstanding bowl) is a must.
This new blue Malibu cantina beckons passersby from its Pacific Ocean-adjacent address on PCH. Once lured there, they’re given plenty of reasons to stay a while including a whole host of tacos, some Cal-exican experiments (like chicken and kale nachos or vegan ceviche with beets), and a front patio for drinking frozé and foosball-ing. In warmer months, there’s also an open-roofed dining patio with adorable decor like black basket pendant lights, pineapple wallpaper, mismatched patterned throw pillows, tile mosaics, and macramé planters. You’d be missing out if you skipped the street corn or the pork belly al pastor.
Burbank's hillside haunt has been hosting celebratory dinners and weddings since 1962. The restaurant and its expansive deck got a $10 million midcentury modern makeover in 2018. While customers now eat salt-room aged steaks and well-curated charcuterie plates in woven bucket chairs and sip craft cocktails next to fire features, the priceless panoramic view across the San Fernando Valley and straight on until sunset remains the same. They also added a speakeasy with an alfresco lounge that peers all the way to downtown.
Located on the pier of the swanky seaside community, this summertime stunner is a living embodiment of hygge thanks to its soft color palette, weathered wood furnishings, furry seat covers, pendant lights with basket shades, swaying light strings, metal chairs, tabletop flowers, and ocean views. It’s even likely you’ll encounter dolphin sightings. The simple all-day eats like kale caesars, skirt steak, crab cakes, and falafel are locally sourced, seasonally inspired, and organic when possible.
Good things come in small passages. Such is the case with this Los Feliz restaurant whose owners made the most of the narrow alley between two brick buildings that leads to the main dining room’s entrance. It’s set far enough from busy Vermont Avenue to achieve some semblance of tranquility at the line of simple wood and metal bistro sets. String lights, terracotta tabletop vases, and a variety of greenery including trailing succulents dangling over the doorway add visual appeal.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar
This East Coast transplant lures patrons to its remodeled warehouse in the ever-improving ROW DTLA development deep in downtown with plump Chesapeake Bay-farmed bivalves, burgers slathered in secret sauce, brunch, and almost a dozen beers on tap. The grade-A people-watching from the two-piece corner patio, especially during the Sunday Smorgasburg market, is an added draw. Low blackened steel and wire fences partition off diners from the general public while umbrellas and trees provide heat relief, which allows lookie-loos to linger longer.
L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Find your inner Julia Roberts at the first U.S. location of the Neapolitan pizza joint featured in "Eat Pray Love." The streamlined interior opens to a quaint red-bricked courtyard dotted with mature trees in massive wood planters. Part of the fun is peering into the centerpiece glass box kitchen to admire an Italian in a denim apron shaping dough rounds, adding toppings, and sliding margherita and bianca pizzas into the signature stone oven.
Watch crew teams practice and docked boats bob peacefully over a balmy breakfast with some of the city’s best fresh-squeezed juices on not one, but two open-air marina-side terraces. Or wash down a bucket of fried chicken with bottle service in a poolside cabana, which also looks out over the harbor. All three unfussy spaces are managed by the Marina Del Rey Hotel’s seafood-forward restaurant and cooled by nature’s air conditioning.
This dive had seen better days until a group of friends who had been going there for cheap convenient eats took it over and remodeled it into a split-level, multi-section, retro surf shack-inspired bar and restaurant serving casual fare all day. Kick it in the south patio for seriously good people-watching on the Venice Boardwalk, cold beers by the pint or the pitcher, and heated ping-pong and shuffleboard tournaments. A few tables are set out front in the sun if you’re looking to gobble down crispy fish tacos, acai bowls, or peel-and-eat shrimp. A more leisurely and formal dine can be had on the deck out back where dappled rays shine through the loosely covered pergola to highlight the custom mural, raw-edged wood tabletops, and the abundance of hanging plants.