Where to Dine Outside in Boston While Social Distancing
A Sommelier's Favorite Takeout Food-and-Wine Pairings
Where to Dine Outside in Boston While Social Distancing
As the Boston restaurant industry adapts to the realities of pandemic dining, it’s clear that patios will play an outsize role in our going-out plans for the near future. (Which is just as well, because summer.) Drawing from our carefully curated list of Boston’s top restaurants, we’ve figured out which spots are now offering outdoor dining; read on to find out what’s open.
*Last updated 7/30/20
Area Four’s wonderfully charred, wood-fired pizzas are available al fresco at the Cambridge location, which is offering patio seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
The self-described Coastal Italian restaurant has reopened its streetside patio just in time for spritz season. Sip the titular Mezzana Spritz or a Basil Gimlet alongside a plate of fresh crudo before diving into one of their pasta dishes; we love the Orecchiette with sausage, fennel, and radicchio.
Giulia’s Harvard Square sister restaurant has a covered patio where you can enjoy Strozzapretti in tomato sauce with house-cured pork belly and pecorino, or Wild Striped Bass Ravioli with sweet corn. The patio also features heat lamps, so keep them in mind when evenings cool down.
B&G’s sunken backyard patio, shielded from the sun by a canopy of leaves, has long been a South End gem—and at this moment, we appreciate it more than ever. The seafood spot is currently serving a truncated patio menu, but it covers all the hits, from Fried Oysters and Fried Clams to the chive-dusted Maine Lobster Roll.
Branch Line’s patio is covered and heated, ensuring that diners can stay comfortable amid blazingly sunny days and unseasonably chilly evenings. While seated, we advocate getting a Sugar Snap Pea Salad with almond vinaigrette, mint, and ricotta, before splitting a whole Branch Line Rotisserie Chicken.
The Butcher Shop
Barbara Lynch’s South End eatery has opened a patio on Waltham Street, where you may enjoy a patio-specific menu that includes Chilled Tomato Soup with caraway grilled cheese, a Confit Corned Beef Sandwich with apple fennel slaw on a croissant, or the TBS Patio Burger with special sauce, pickles, and American cheese.
Café Du Pays (now Vincent’s Corner Grocery)
Café du Pays is on pause for now—but the same team has reimagined the space as Vincent’s Corner Grocery, paying homage to the business that once occupied the building. The new concept includes a number of patio tables available on a first-come-first-serve basis, where hearty sandwiches including a Fried Chicken Sandwich with dijonaise or the beef-and-pork Vinnie’s Meatball Sub are served. And for nostalgia’s sake, you can still order a plate of near-perfect Poutine with chicken gravy, or snack on a charcuterie + cheese menu that includes cretons and foie terrine.
The Union Square Pervuian favorite has added outdoor seating for the very first time. Fortunately, its chilled ceviches and expertly made Pisco Sours are perfect for riding out a hot and humid summer. Make a reservation via Resy.
Chickadee’s covered patio is available by reservation or walk-in. It provides the perfect venue to enjoy a plate of assorted mezze, including Black Bean Hummus with sesame tahini or Pimento Feta with harissa spice, plus substantial house-made pastas like Truffle Cavatelli in a 12-hour Wagyu Bolognese.
Coppa’s cute Shawmut Ave. patio has been expanded, providing more room to partake in Coppa classics like Spaghetti Vongole and white Soppressata Pizza. There’s also a list of daily specials that includes Meatball Subs on Mondays, Burgers on Tuesdays, and Chicken Parm subs on Thursdays.
The upscale French restaurant possesses one of the more enviable patios in the Boston area, with unimpeded views of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and Back Bay brownstones. But more important than the scenery is the menu, which includes Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with burrata and Spiced Long Island Duck Breast with wild rice and peaches.
Field & Vine
This Union Square restaurant has set up a lovely outdoor patio complete with cafe-style chairs, potted plants, and umbrellas. Summer is the right time to try this spot’s farm-fresh fare, from Maplebrook Farm Burrata with snow peas and strawberries to Grilled Little Gem Lettuces to Crispy Fried Soft Shell Crab.
Another new entrant to the outdoor dining game, Forage has set up a “secret garden” backyard patio where you can enjoy locally sourced, vegetable-focused fare. The seasonal menu rotates frequently, but expect dishes like Roasted Hakurei Turnips with White Fir Tips and cilantro salsa verde, or a Spring Flower Brined Pork Chop with pickled shiitake mushrooms.
Fox & the Knife
Fox & the Knife’s Broadway patio provides an al fresco venue to partake in homemade pastas including Zafferano Spaghetti Con Vongole with saffron, clams, and tomato butter, or the Paglia e Fieno with fresh peas, asparagus, and pecorino.
The downtown wine bar has taken its naturally focused wine list, impressive tinned fish selection, and snacky, charcuterie-focused menu outside onto a new patio. You can also catch patio seating at its Fenway sister establishment, Nathálie.
The fried chicken-focused sibling restaurant to Highland Kitchen has set up umbrella-covered tables on Cambridge Street. Find a shady spot and stay cool with a tiki dram as you wait for your Nashville Hot Chicken to arrive.
Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar
Loco’s patio features picnic table-seating for the enjoyment of oysters (still $1 on Mondays!), Braised Short Rib Tacos, and hard-to-top Margaritas.
Lone Star Taco Bar
The Allston location of Lone Star has reopened its back patio while adding new seating along its front sidewalk. Meanwhile, the Cambridge location’s front patio is also back in business. Visit either for plenty of Lone Star Margaritas and Beef Barbacoa or Carnitas Pork tacos.
Bucatini all’Amatriciana with guanciale and pecorino; Eggplant Parmesan; Roasted Chicken with smoked orzo and shiitake mushrooms: You can now try any of these dishes on the streetside patio operated by the innovative South End Italian restaurant Mida.
Myers + Chang
Myers + Chang’s trellis-lined Washington Street patio is open for outdoor dining, so make room in your meal plans for Mama Chang’s Pork + Chive Dumplings and dim sum brunch.
The famously petite North End seafood gem has expanded onto Salem Street thanks to its new patio. That’s where you can catch Neptune favorites including Fried Ipswich Clams; the Neptune Johnnycake with honey butter, smoked bluefish, and sturgeon caviar; and, of course, the hot or cold Maine Lobster Roll.
Oleana’s garden-like backyard dining space is a serious contender for Boston’s prettiest patio. Of course, it’s not all about looks: Just as important are the classics on its truncated menu, including Lamb Lamejun with hot pepper labne and shishitos, or Lemon Chicken with za’atar and Turkish cheese pancakes.
Tiffani Faison’s elevated-old-school Italian spot has opened a fresh new patio in Fenway. Sit in a Campari-red chair beneath a Campari-branded umbrella to enjoy house-made pastas with your favorite sauces, Meatball Subs with fontina and “Sunday gravy,” or hearty mains like Chicken Milanese and Prime Grilled Hanger Steak.
The eclectic Japanese-Spanish tapas spot features one of the more generous patios in Central Square. All the better for enjoying Squid Ink Oyster Bao and Pagu Sangria.
Picco has opened a larger patio on the corner of Berkeley and Tremont in the South End. It’s also serving a new patio-specific menu that includes the stellar four-cheese Macaroni & Cheese, Beef & Pork Meatballs, and classic Picco pizzas like the Alsatian topped with sauteed onions, garlic, shallots, crème fraîche, bacon, and Gruyère.
Puritan & Company
Puritan now has a charming, faux-suburban patio on Cambridge Street complete with artificial turf and a white picket fence. It’s a fine background for enjoying Parker House Rolls, Lobster Cavatelli, and Grilled Peach with sweet corn cream and sheep’s milk frozen yogurt for dessert.
Take your sipping outside thanks to the courtyard seating at this natural wine bar in Union Square’s Bow Market.
You can once again sit down to Island Creek oysters by the dozen and Creamy Lobster Rolls on Row 34’s Fort Point patio, or catch New England seafood shack classics to-go from its adjacent The Window at Row 34.
There’s a lot more Saltie Girl these days, as the pint-sized seafood restaurant has expanded to the Newbury Street patio formerly used by sister restaurant Met Back Bay. Even better: the spot now accepts reservations. Securing Saltie Girl’s Fried Lobster & Waffles with spicy maple syrup or a plate of imported tinned fish has never been so easy.
Sarma has spread out across the former parking lot adjacent to its space and now offers a pre-set, family-style patio menu featuring 11 or so Sarma favorites plus dessert. It’s available vegetarian at $65 per person or non-vegetarian at $75 per person.
Select Oyster Bar
Select’s Mediterranean vibe is now enhanced with a new patio on Gloucester Street. Head toward the striped umbrellas and enjoy Select classics like the Dressed Maine Lobster and Faroe Islands Salmon Crudo, with plenty of Champagne to keep cool.
Sofra Bakery & Cafe
Sofra has set up a handful of cafe-style tables outdoors to enjoy its Middle Eastern-inspired pastries and sandwiches.
Spoke Wine Bar
The Davis Square wine bar now has outdoor seating thanks to a “parklet patio oasis” that’s accessible by reservation only. Make yours to try Spoke’s eclectic, vegetable-focused small plates and thoughtfully curated wine selection.
A smattering of white tables and chairs constitutes Sportello’s Congress Street patio, where you can sit down to your favorite Italian dishes (ours include the Spicy Tomato Soup and Tagliatelle Bolognese).
SRV’s courtyard-like back patio, a wooden deck abutting ivy-adorned brick walls, is pure South End charm. But more importantly, it’s where you can enjoy the Venetian-style bacaro’s snacky cicchetti (small plates). You’ll never go wrong with an SRV Negroni, the Polpette, or any of the house-made pastas.
Steel & Rye
A patio composed of umbrella-covered picnic tables provides the outdoor seating for this Americana-focused restaurant in Lower Mills. Make use of it to enjoy Ricotta Gnocchi with ramp pesto or a Griddled Double Cheeseburger with black pepper mayo.
Sweet Cheeks Q
Something about eating barbecue outdoors just feels right. Thankfully, Sweet Cheeks has opened its patio so you can enjoy trays of Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Heritage Breed Pulled Pork, and—naturally—the crumbly, almost-a-meal-in-itself Biscuits in the open air.
Taberna de Haro
Classic tapas dishes—and a selection of over 300 Spanish wines and sherries—can be sampled on the patio of this longtime Brookline favorite.
Tallula has opened a garden-style patio terrace. Visit to try Radish Toast with homemade cheese and chamomile honey; Chilled Spaghetti with uni mayonnaise and toasted sesame; Wagyu Bavette with romesco sauce and onion marmalade; and other creative, seasonally focused dishes from the Cambridge restaurant’s husband-and-wife team.
Tiger Mama’s Boylston Street patio is serving a condensed menu of Southeast Asian favorites, including Papaya Salad with peanuts and hot hot chilis; the highly shareable Bun Cha Hanoi with crispy pork rolls, sour broth, and grilled pork patties; and the ever-satisfying Coconut Sticky Rice.
Trina’s Starlite Lounge
Trina’s has opened a backyard patio that manages to capture much of the beloved quasi-dive’s retro appeal. There you can enjoy comforting favorites like Mac & Cheese with crunchy Ritz cracker topping; Fried Chicken with hot pepper syrup;and the Starlite-Style Burger that tops two beef patties with cheese, fries, coleslaw, and aioli.
There’s much more patio to be had at Toro these days, now that tables have been set up in its backyard. Also at Toro: all-time favorites including the Maíz Asado (Grilled Corn) with aioli, lime, and aged cheese; Dátiles con Jamón; and the ever-satisfying Paella Valenciana with rice, shrimp, chorizo, and chicken.
Uni’s Commonwealth Avenue Patio includes views of one of Boston’s most beautiful neighborhoods and some of the very best sushi the city has to offer. From 12 to 4 p.m. daily, its outdoor area now operates as the Uni Clam Shack, applying the restaurant’s high-end touch to simple New England classics like Fried Clams and Lobster Rolls.