London’s Best Alfresco and Rooftop Restaurants
From street-side terraces to river views and gorgeous gardens, read our guide to our favourite outdoor restaurants in London.
River Café, Hammersmith
Widely regarded as London’s best Italian restaurant with great pedigree in the kitchen that has produced many successful alumni and imitations.
The River Café, with its minimalist, sleek design and light colour scheme that blend effortlessly with the riverside setting, creates an unforgettable dining experience.
The large outdoor terrace makes the River Cafe an excellent alfresco dining option in West London, and one of the best alfresco restaurants in London.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy Chelsea Garden is an all-day British brasserie serving dishes inspired by The Ivy restaurant in Covent Garden. While the restaurant interior oozes glamour, the exterior is equally charming.
The beautiful, large garden at the back for alfresco dining complete with a terrace and orangery is a perfect setting for breakfast, lunch or dinner in Chelsea.
A garden centre makes an unlikely setting for a restaurant, but sitting amongst the climbers and trailers, the restaurant is effortlessly romantic and serves seasonal, Italian-inspired cuisine.
The teahouse offers a perfect spot to get away from it all for a light lunch or afternoon tea.
Serving fine Italian food from the morning until the early hours, Cecconi’s is a perfect spot for all day dining in the sun, with a few sought after tables lining the street on the corner of Saville Row and Burlington Gardens.
Cecconi’s is one of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in London where you can watch the world pass you by in London’s most glamorous postcode.
The Garden Terrace at Amaranto at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane offers a rare alfresco spot in one of London’s most exclusive areas.
Amaranto offers a modern Italian menu for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner that can be enjoyed on the 30-seat split level terrace in the warmer months. The Garden Terrace offers a menu of Italian–inspired bar snacks to accompany your cocktails or you can retire to the terrace after dinner for a cigar and cognac.
Basque restaurant, Lurra, opened on Seymour Place, Marylebone in September 2015. The restaurant’s dishes are inspired by the charcoal and wood grills, or “Erretegias”, found throughout the Basque country.
Offering a peaceful outside space for lunch and dinner in the heart of Marylebone, Lurra’s dining room now opens up completely onto a beautifully enclosed courtyard surrounded by flowers and plants and offers a new brunch menu, cocktails and a selection of exclusive wines.
The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
Anna Hansen’s Clerkenwell restaurant The Modern Pantry has a large outdoor dining area on a beautiful square in Clerkenwell.
Tables are available on a first come, first served basis, but it’s really worth the wait as this is one of the best alfresco restaurants in London and also serves one of our favourite weekend brunches.
Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
Dean Street Townhouse serves classic British cuisine from first thing in the morning until the early hours.
Whilst the interiors are dark, cosy and seductive, the small but perfectly formed terrace is a delight in the warm weather, with the added benefit of being one of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in London right in the heart of Soho.
Antidote Wine Bar & Restaurant
If you’re looking for alfresco dining where you can book, try Antidote’s pavement dining option near Carnaby Street.
With an extensive list of organic and biodynamic wines, the restaurant offers small plates and a selection of cheese and charcuterie where the menu has been consulted on by Mikael Jonsson from Michelin-starred Hedone.
THE GARDENING SOCIETY at John Lewis
The Gardening Society’s pop-up restaurant on the rooftop of the John Lewis store on Oxford Street currently hosts B.O.B’s Lobster until 31st July. Visitors can expect signature lobster rolls, tuna tacos and Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, alongside cocktails created by Night Tales.
From 2nd August, Shotgun will bring its slow barbecue cooking to the roof, offering classic cuts of meat by the pound and snacks including Suckling pig stuffed pretzel rolls.
J Sheekey’s Terrace
One of our favourite Covent Garden restaurants, J Sheekey’s, has launched a terrace which runs along the outside of both the restaurant and the newly relaunched J Sheekey Atlantic Bar, serving 50 covers.
Open from midday onwards every day, the menu features a large shellfish platter and a range of seasonal fish, shellfish, meat and vegetarian dishes. Visit until 10 September to try the special lobster section.
Rivea London, Bulgari Hotel
Rivea London has launched a new rosé and aperitivo menu, which is available on Bulgari Hotel London’s discreet terrace.
The Bulgari’s hidden terrace offers light bites from Rivea’s Riviera-inspired menu, including a selection of new dishes exclusive to the terrace.
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
Boundary’s Provençal-style rooftop serves a light and fresh all-day menu, alongside a carefully curated coastal wine list and range of specialist gin and tonic cups.
The Mediterranean menu will run until the end of October and be served in Boundary’s heated Orangery. The Rooftop at The Boundary also features in our guide to the best rooftop bars in London.
Courtyard Terrace at the Holborn Dining Room
The Courtyard Terrace at the Rosewood London offers an oasis of calm and serenity. Set in the courtyard of the Edwardian Grade II-listed building, the easygoing terrace of Holborn Dining Room can be enjoyed all year round.
Ideal for a cocktail or two during the warmer months or for a charcuterie board with a glass of wine and a blanket during the winter months.
Boulestin, St James’s
The Georgian courtyard at Boulestin is surrounded by 17th century buildings where you can enjoy light summery dishes such as artichoke salad with fennel, tomatoes, preserved lemons and capers in a peaceful, traffic free area – alfresco dining at its finest.
Odette’s, Primrose Hill, NW1
Odette’s has been a Primrose Hill institution for decades, but is now under the reign of Bryn Williams, winner of the Great British Menu television series.
The mood is dark and seductive in the downstairs restaurant and the tables that open out on to the streets of Primrose Hill are ideal for an alfresco lunch and one of the best outdoor dining options in North London.
The Ledbury, Notting Hill
The Ledbury, with its Notting Hill location and neighbourhood restaurant feel, had been quietly making its mark on London’s dining scene until its second Michelin star catapulted it into the mainstream.
As expected, Brett Graham’s cooking is now in huge demand, but as the terrace does not accept reservations, it’s a great way to skip the long wait list and try one of London’s best restaurants whilst enjoying the sun.
The terrace makes The Ledbury one of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in London.
Scott’s is glamorous, exciting and makes a great night out, specialising in seafood and shellfish.
Scott’s is located on Mount Street, one of the beautiful streets in London, and with a small selection of tables lining the street outside, it is easy to see why Scott’s is one of London’s most popular restaurants.
If you can’t get a table on the terrace or inside in the main restaurant, you may be lucky to get a seat at the oyster bar.
Keep reading for more suggestions of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in London…
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, West End
Bentley’s terrace holds up to 24 people, surrounded by glass panels to allow views up and down Swallow Street. They host events on the Terrace including Cigar evenings and they plan to set up some mini tennis courts in time for Wimbledon.
Inn The Park, St James’s
Inn The Park is celebrated its 10th birthday in 2014, marking the occasion with a fresh new look and menu. With a stunning location in the middle of St James’s park, this might be the ultimate alfresco setting in London
The restaurant can seat 120 people, there is a self service option to take away to sit in the park or there’s a terrace that can accommodate 120 for private parties.
A neighbourhood Italian restaurant on a quiet street in Knightsbridge, Toto’s is elegantly modern with copper, bronze and black colours and oak parquet flooring and marble finishes.
The terrace is a beautiful spot to enjoy alfresco dining in London, and the restaurant has a dog-friendly policy.
The Ritz Restaurant Terrace, St James’s
The Ritz Restaurant is widely thought of as one of the most beautiful grand dining rooms in the world, but a little known fact is that the restaurant also has a secluded terrace with views on to Green Park.
Guests can combine the grandeur of The Ritz with a beautiful outdoor dining option in central London.
The Albion, Islington
The Albion is a traditional English country pub in Islington, with the main attraction being its garden.
The French windows in the restaurant area open onto a terrace of over 450 sq metres, which can seat over 120 people for dining and drinking surrounded by herb beds, fruit trees and an original Georgian walled garden.
Known for its brunch menu and excellent coffee, Caravan is a relaxed and effortlessly cool restaurant on Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell. If you can’t secure one of the tables outside, the open windows and doors will make you feel like you’re outside, even when you’re not.
Caravan King’s Cross, King’s Cross
Caravan opened its second outpost, Caravan King’s Cross in 2012 on Granary square behind King’s Cross station. The outside dining area will be made up of a combination of high and low tables, with a take away station at weekends selling coffee and pastries.
The Garden Lounge at The Corinthia
The Corinthia Hotel has a central courtyard where guests can enjoy a light all day menu, afternoon tea or evening drinks.
The Courtyard has under floor heating and two fireplaces on either side, in case the weather turns a little chilly, as well as a bespoke humidor and terrarium style bar.
The Engineer, Primrose Hill
A Primrose Hill institution, The Engineer has a gorgeous terrace at the back of the restaurant.
Despite the ample dining space, the bar area is on the small side, but there is respite in the form of a back garden, which is an ideal spot for long summer lunches at one of the Best Alfresco Restaurants in London.
Tom’s Terrace at Somerset House
The River Terrace Cafe at Somerset House has been taken over by Tom Aikens for the summer, with an informal menu, including mini burgers and triple cooked chips, to accompany the evening drinks and splendid views of the Thames.
Tom’s Terrace is only open during the summer month, so please always check that it is open.
Le Pont de La Tour, Tower Bridge
Le Pont de la Tour has a beautiful riverside setting from which to enjoy its modern French menu, with a focus on seafood, and vast wine list.
The outside terrace is very popular in the summer as it has a superb view of Tower Bridge. Le Pont de la Tour is currently closed for renovation but will re-open later this year (2015).
The Gun, Docklands
With a beautiful riverside setting and a large decked terrace to embrace the British summer, The Gun is one of the best dining experience in the Docklands offering a great British gastropub menu.
In the summer, be sure to visit the seasonal pop-up on the decked terrace, which this year takes the form of an Aperol Spritz Shack.
Bleeding Heart, Clerkenwell
With a rustic look to match its location and history, the Bleeding Heart offers traditional French fare in a welcoming and intimate setting, but the real attraction in the summer is the large terrace, which brings a bit of Paris to the streets of Farringdon.
At the top of South Place Hotel in Moorgate, Michelin-starred Angler offers the perfect spot for guests to enjoy bar snacks and drinks while soaking up the afternoon sun.
In high summer the west-facing terrace features gourmet BBQs and live DJs, whilst the retractable roof ensures guests stay dry on rainy days.
This summer guests at Grade II listed restaurant, German Gymnasium, will offer dishes and a terrace transformed by flowers.
Featuring edible blooms throughout, the specially-designed menu offers fresh and floral dishes and a range of cocktails comprising edible flowers, fresh fruits and floral infusions.
Alfresco and Rooftop Restaurants in London
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