When the weather plays ball, al fresco dining in London is a real treat. Many of the capital’s restaurants have open-air terraces – from riverside retreats to botanical greenhouses and rooftop hotspots overlooking the city skyline. Here we round up the best outdoor restaurants in London, where you can soak up the sunshine while tucking into everything from Mexican to Italian and Peruvian.
Al Fresco Dining: Best Outdoor Restaurants in London
The Garden at Corinthia London
Take a trip to the Med without leaving London by booking a table in Corinthia London’s dreamy Italianate garden. Housed in a courtyard hidden away within the glamorous hotel, the restaurant is decked out with lemon and olive trees, herbs and pink bougainvillea, with orange and white striped cushions dotted on seats. A suitably chic menu curated by chef André Garrett features starters of yellowtail tartare, beef carpaccio and burrata, ahead of mains of baked sea bream, cacio e pepe and lemon rubbed spatchcock chicken – plus an array of pizzettes. Dishes are made with the finest ingredients and presented beautifully on colourful plates, and an overhead canopy ensures you can dine al fresco no matter what the weather. Enjoy alongside summery cocktails such as the Limoncello Spritz, a blend of champagne, limoncello and elderflower syrup. Delightful.
10a Northumberland Ave, London SW1A 2BD, corinthia.com
Chic Notting Hill hotel The Laslett has reopened its terrace for the summer season. Set up camp beneath the striped canopy and enjoy classic dishes with a twist, made using ingredients from local hotspots like Natoora and HG Walter. Alongside this, sip special cocktails such as the Honey Spritz, made with London-based bitter Beesou, and ice cream sundaes from Hackney Gelato. Watch out for live music performances too.
8 Pembridge Gardens, London W2 4DU, living-rooms.co.uk
Beaverbrook Town House
With just five tables, it won’t be easy to get a spot on the brand-new terrace at Beaverbrook Town House. The stylish space is decked out in tones of pastel pink, turquoise blue and sunshine yellow, overlooking pretty Cadogan Gardens. An extension of the hotel’s Sir Frank’s Bar and The Fuji Grill, the exclusive space serves breakfast, plus sushi and Japanese-inspired small plates, paired with rose and cocktails (the Sloane Martini is a must). Dogs are also welcome.
115-116 Sloane St, London SW1X 9PJ, beaverbrooktownhouse.co.uk
Pretend you’re on holiday in Sicily on the new terrace at Norma, a charming Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia. It features vibrant colours inspired by southern Italy: think parasols, lemons and lush foliage – a beautiful setting from which diners can tuck into small plates and cocktails. The aperitivo terrace menu, curated by head chef Giovann Attard, includes the likes of burrata with broad beans, cured egg yolk and garlic croutons; tomato salad with black olives and pecorino; and beech-smoked anchovies with crostini. Enjoy alongside pitchers of punch – perfect for lunch in the sunshine with friends.
8 Charlotte St., London W1T 2LS, normalondon.com
The new waterside terrace at King’s Cross restaurant Rotunda channels Tulum, with tropical greenery and a Mexican-inspired summer menu. Feast on small plates of tuna tartare tacos, beef croquettes with habanero, chargrilled lamb and chimichurri spatchcock poussin, alongside tequila-based cocktails. Large groups, meanwhile, can choose from BBQ and grill party menus – and watch out for special tastings and events taking place there this summer.
90 York Wy, London N1 9AG, rotundabarandrestaurant.co.uk
Sitting on a corner of a bustling street in Fitzrovia you’ll find Cin Cin, a modern Italian neighbourhood restaurant which promises a slice of calm – and delicious food – away from the hustle and bustle of central London. Just a short walk from the prime surrounding shopping district, and theatreland of Soho – it makes for a perfect spot to grab a pre-theatre dinner or a post-shopping beverage. The menus, which change seasonally, offer an array of delicious Italian dishes made with fresh and well-sourced ingredients.
21A Foley St, London W1W 6DS, cincin.co.uk
The Hari Garden Terrace
Come summer time, The Hari’s Garden Terrace transforms into a Mediterranean-inspired suntrap oasis, surrounded by crawling ivy. This year it features a beach bar-style set-up created in partnership with Malfy Gin, complete with gin cocktails inspired by the Amalfi coast. Set under a retractable glass roof, it’s suitable for all weathers, though naturally it’s particularly idyllic for long lunches in the sunshine.
20 Chesham Pl, London SW1X 8HQ, thehari.com
Whatever the season, us Londoners can’t seem to get enough of Coppa Club’s riverside igloos. They’re back with a new spring look – think woven wicker chairs, bamboo lanterns and linen throws beneath suspended botanicals. Fitting six people, the igloos offer an à la carte menu with a selection of seasonal European dishes: sharing platters of seared garlic king prawns, fresh pasta and sourdough pizzas all feature.
3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames St, London EC3R 6AH, coppaclub.co.uk
With its wicker chairs, black and white striped sofas and beautiful greenery, the courtyard of Chiltern Firehouse has long been the place to see and be seen in London. Head over for a boozy lunch as you soak up the ever-buzzy atmosphere. Nothing beats Chiltern’s fresh oysters paired with a few glasses of champagne.
1 Chiltern St, London W1U 7PA, chilternfirehouse.com
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, London SW10 0LP, chicamalondon.com
Dine beneath a canopy of bougainvillea, vines and jasmine at Petersham Nurseries Cafe, a greenhouse-style restaurant in Richmond. Since it was founded in 2004, it has led the way in eco-friendly dining, with much of the produce coming from the organic family farm in Devon. Seasonal menus are inspired by Italian cuisine, focusing on simple, fresh dishes presented beautifully.
Off Church Ln, Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10 7AB, petershamnurseries.com
Angler, South Place Hotel
Perched atop South Place Hotel, Angler’s 40-seat west-facing roof terrace boasts lovely views of the city. Chef Gary Foulkes heads up the Michelin-starred kitchen, which serves up a fish-focused menu of dishes like Cornish turbot with scallop stuffed courgette and Dorset crab with bouillabaisse sauce. anglerrestaurant.com
The River Café
A true London stalwart, The River Cafe has remained largely unchanged since Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray launched it back in 1987. Perched beside the Thames in Hammersmith, it’s an endlessly glamorous spot serving Italian fare, with its own dreamy riverside terrace. The menu is seasonal, though some signature dishes remain constant, such as the chargrilled squid with chili and rocket, and the Chocolate Nemesis dessert. Easily one of the best outdoor restaurants in town.
Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London W6 9HA, rivercafe.co.uk
Rail House Cafe
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, this terrace is an ideal al fresco dining spot whether you’re after brunch, lunch or dinner; healthy or indulgent.
8 Sir Simon Milton Sq, London SW1E 5DJ, railhouse.cafe
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
It would be wrong not to include this ever-popular Chelsea haunt, one of the prettiest outdoor restaurants in town. Come rain or shine, few places beat The Ivy’s idyllic English garden, a spacious botanical haven decked out with flowers and foliage, plus a glasshouse available for private dining. Enjoy Ivy classics like the shepherd’s pie, chicken milanese and traditional fish and chips, or pick from the plant-based menu (think Malaysian curry and spicy jackfruit salad), alongside a wide array of wines and cocktails.
195 197 King’s Rd, London SW3 5EQ, theivychelseagarden.com