Here are Bon Vivant‘s suggestions for the best alfresco restaurants in London – updated Summer 2012.
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 terrace makes the River Cafe an excellent alfresco dining option in West London, and one of the best alfresco restaurants in London.
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.
You can sit at one of the best alfresco restaurants in London watching the world pass you by in London’s most glamorous postcode.
The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
Anna Hansen’s acclaimed Clerkenwell restaurant The Modern Pantry has a large terrace 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.
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 right in the heart of Soho.
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 Best Alfresco Restaurants in 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 earlier this year.
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 Alfresco Restaurants 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.
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.
The Albion, Islington
The Albion is a traditional English country pub in the heart of London, 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.
In the summer months, the outdoor barbeque is a real draw, as well as the whole roast suckling pig for 10 to share, making this one of the Best Alfresco Restaurants in London
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.
The Engineer, Primrose Hill
A Primrose Hill institution, although now under new management. 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.
Rooftop at the Boundary, Shoreditch
One of the latest venture from Prescott & Conran, the rooftop restaurant at the boundary, a 48-seat grill, has 360° views of London and includes a designer garden, a large bar, an open fireplace and luxury blankets for the chillier evenings.
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.
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 pub menu. In the summer, be sure to visit A Grelha at The Gun, an al fresco Portuguese BBQ of fresh fish and meats on the decked terrace.
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.
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