HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Alfresco Dining

It's that time of year again - was wearing shorts today, have the windows open in the house and fans in the windows. Wooo hooo!

Apart from a couple of spots on Newbury St (and I see the other thread about that) - where are the best spots for alfresco dining in the area?

I'm into *comfortable* places to eat outside. Generally that means not being too cramped, not a lot of heavy road or pedestrian traffic going by inches from my table, maybe a place with some shade in case it's too sunny (wouldn't that be a nice problem to have).

Some thoughts off the top of my head -

Oleana's back garden
Outside tables at La Verdad (go during the game and you can feel like you're in the park?)
Cambridge Brewing Company (not the best food, but the courtyard is pretty nice)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Il Panino in the NE added a nice patio last year.

    Via Matta

    Kingfish Hall in Quincy Market

    Barking Crab..I know it's contoversial here..but I like the place if you stick to simple foods like steamers and beer..:)

    Ruth's Chris has a nice patio...again, has it's detractors.

    1. Off the top of my head;

      North End eateries.
      South End - I love Dish.
      Newbury - just remembered Piattinis. Also, i like 209 Boston. I've been going since they were Club Cafe and i really like the food and the ambiance (just don't use the restrooms).
      Davis Square - Orleans.

      1. Hamersley's has a lovely patio which I was told tonight won't be open until June 1. Another nice patio is Sibling Rivalry though I also noticed tonight, it's not set up yet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lissy

          I've noticed a few places that have yet to get their outdoor seating set up for the season. I would have thought it would be easy, but I guess staffing, etc plays into it.

          Fiore's in the North End has great roof top dining.

        2. It's too bad more places don't have outdoor eating, maybe this will change. Harvest has an outdoor patio, and Grendle's. Bukowski's in Inman Square opens their entire sounthern wall in nice weather, it's great for sitting in the sun (Miracle of Science also has great sun but it gets hot in the summer). I actually like sitting outside at the Salty Dog and McCormick and Smick's. Eastern Standard isn't bad despite the busy location, there are a number of places with outdoor seating on Peterborough St in the Fenway. Beacon Street Tavern has a big patio, is there outside seating at Taberna de Haro? In Newton Centre Sol Azteca, Sapporo, and Union Street Bar and Grill have outdoor patios (Union Street is just redone, inside and out, and is quite nice for late afternoon sun - the food is typically bad pub stuff).

          3 Replies
          1. re: steinpilz

            Ate outside at Eastern Standard last night - nice patio that's closed off from the street, but slightly miserable view of construction not to mention unmanageable tables. A girl can't cross her legs underneath them and the legs just get in the way when you try to sit anyway other than sideways. Otherwise, it was a perfectly enjoyable dinner.

            1. re: gini

              The construction is frustrating but the Sox crowds make for good people watching! Hadn't noticed that about the tables - sitting sideways at tables is one of my favorite ways to relax, in informal restaurants.

            2. re: steinpilz

              There is indeed an ourdoor seating area at Taberna de Haro. Beacon Street is a bit busy, but it is fairly well set back from the street.

            3. Petit Robert in Kenmore also has a small patio. It's set below street level so you aren't staring at the madness of the traffic.

              1. Ashmont Grill in Dorchester has a really nice enclosed back patio. Away from the street, umbrellas for shade, big heaters in case the temperature drops.

                In Roslindale there's that patio shared by Sophia's Grotto, Birch Street Bistro (haven't heard much about them lately, are they still open?) and the sushi place. Sort of a weird space, but not bad if you're in the area.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MichaelB

                  That's a great spot. I like Sophia's Grotto a lot, and love Village Sushi (one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in the Boston area). I hear nothing about the Birch Street Bistro these days, though I believe it is still open.

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    Birch St. is still going strong. A friend was just there on Sun. I like the place, something for everyone and done pretty well. Not extraordinary but nice room, good prices. And don' forget the new Geoffrey's has a patio.

                2. For dinner last night, I took my own advice from a thread from yesterday and sat on the patio at Atasca. Grilled sardines, shellfish stew, vinho verde...it's a terrific place to go in the good weather.

                  The patio is surprisingly quiet considering that it's only a few feet from Hampshire Street.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: finlero

                    Is Atasca's patio out back? I wouldn't think the sidewalk out front is wide enough for patio seating. (I love that place.)

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Believe it or not, it's right out front. It's not large, perhaps a half dozen tables, but they make it work.

                  2. My favorites:

                    Shay's in Harvard Sqaure
                    Tremont 647 in the South End
                    Otherside Cafe in Back Bay

                    1. Should also put the Blue Room on the radar. Their sunken patio is even nice when it's windy.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: finlero

                        Casa Romero has a nice outdoor patio and great Sangria. I also like the Terrace at Oceana at the Long Wharf Marriot.

                        1. re: finlero

                          224 Boston has a few tables out front (Dorchester)
                          Garden of Eden - Tremont St. - maybe too city/traffic & crowds (S. End)
                          Stella - Washington St (S.End)
                          Red Fez - Washinton St. (S. End) (mixed reviews here)
                          Joe V's - Union Park (S. End)
                          Orinoco - Shawmut Ave (S.End)

                          1. re: lmarkarian11

                            Good South End list.
                            Couple more...
                            Picco - Tremont (nice lunches, bustling location)
                            Petite Robert Bistro - Columbus
                            Claremont Cafe - Columbus
                            Toro - Washington (brunch or dinner)
                            Rocca - Harrison (big back courtyard patio)

                        2. Parish Cafe downtown isn't bad. The view just before the construction on Boylston can be fun, and the location can't be beat.

                          1. Cambridge changed its rules on serving liquor outdoors, so many places should start having street tables this summer. Upstairs on the Sq added a few last year. Grafton St expanded their outdoor seating. There's a patio next to Z Square. For lunch, the patio at the Brattle St outpost of High Rise is a perfect spot, tho their salads are overpriced IMHO.

                            1. Bar Lola on Comm Ave. and Dartmouth. The patio is probably the best reason for going.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: wontonton

                                Goody Glovers in the North End now has outdoor seating and a very economical menu.

                                1. re: phatchris

                                  I'm not the biggest fan of the menus at Dante, but they have a great patio overlooking the Charles River and Boston. Especially nice at night. Same view at the Gallery Cafe in the Sonesta as well, but again the high point is the location more than the food.

                                  1. re: highnoon

                                    I would definitely recommend Dante over Gallery Cafe. Although I'm not a huge fan of either, but I work in the area so it is convenient. I have been to Gallery Cafe a couple of times, and each time I'm not sure why I return...the service is slow, the food is unimpressive, and most of the patio is in the shade. The water view is nice though, and on those unbearably hot days I guess shade can be a nice touch.

                                    For my money (in the area) I'd recommend the patio at Bambara...better food, better atmosphere, and better service.

                                    1. re: italyinmind

                                      I haven't been to Bambara's patio yet. I'll have to try it.
                                      Does it look out on the canal?
                                      I hope i qualified my Gallery rec enough. It's definitely about the view there.
                                      Nice spot to have a drink at night without the Dante prices, though.

                                      1. re: highnoon

                                        No, it technically looks out on the street, although it's tucked around the side of the building and has some tall trees blocking the perimeter. I walked by today and think the trees are taller than I remember since there didn't seem to be much sun peeking through. Went to Dante instead and had a decent chicken sandwich and salad.

                              2. Although the food's not my favorite, I'll add that Orleans in Davis has added a very nice deck with maybe a dozen tables. This is much better than the bamboo wall style setup they've had in the parking lot in past years. Nice place to have a drink at least.

                                1. Add B&G Oysters to the list. It's a nice, uncramped, sunken patio, with heaters if it gets chilly. No views though.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Blumie

                                    Dbar on Dorchester Ave is opening the new patio this weekend. The chef was in yesterday's Herald and called "Boston's wonder boy." He worked with Chef Patrick O'Connell of "The Inn at Little Washington", one of the greatest chefs in this country. His Soft Shell Crab is outrageous. I just hope they will be serving brunch outside.

                                    1. re: frenchmojito

                                      Also in Dot is the Blarney Stone whose patio is really an oasis in Fields Corner.
                                      Food's been a bit hit or miss when i've been there, but you could do worse.

                                  2. Intrigue Cafe & Terrace - Rowes Wharf, Boston

                                    The Neighborhood Restaurant - Union Sq., Somerville

                                    The Red House - Harvard Sq., Cambridge