Where to Find the Best Patios and Outdoor Dining in Boston
Skin-Contact Wines to Sip This Summer
A Holiday Gift Guide for Boston Food Lovers: 2020 Edition
Here comes the sun. As much as things are looking up, 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, here are the best patios, roof decks, gardens, and sidewalks now offering outdoor dining.
*Last updated 4/14/2021
With a sprawling waterfront patio overlooking the Zakim Bridge, Alcove serves up an array of tempting plates inspired by the New England farm coast. Dishes like New England Lobster Dip with everything bagel chips; Blackened Fish Tacos with avocado crema; and Grilled Half Chicken with a green salad from Eva’s Garden in South Dartmouth pair perfectly with well-crafted cocktails. Reservations are available.
The South End’s self-described Coastal Italian restaurant has reopened its street-side 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.
The sunken backyard patio at B&G Oysters, shielded from the sun by a canopy of leaves, has long been a South End gem. It’s back with bubbles and bivalves, and all manner of classic New England seafood hits—think: everything from Fried Clams and a chive-dusted Maine Lobster Roll, to Saffron Shellfish Stew and Lobster Pot Pie.
Bisq has opened a heated sidewalk patio on Cambridge Street. Sip something from the well-curated wine list or cool cocktail menu while you select among dishes like Crispy Pork Chicharrón with Salsa Verde, House-Made Ravioli, and a Double Cheeseburger.
Reserve a table or fire pit at this Somerville courtyard to order a spread from an exciting mix of small restaurants. Bow Market is home to the Filipino-American cuisine of Tanám, shucked-to-order oysters from Hooked Fish Shop, bar pizza and roast beef sandwiches at Hot Box, and more local fare; plus the righteous natural wines of Rebel Rebel Wine Bar, Remnant Brewing beer and coffee, and cool cocktails from Variety Bar and Create Gallery.
The patio at this Watertown favorite is covered and heated, ensuring that Branch Line diners at can stay comfortable on blazingly sunny days and unseasonably chilly evenings alike. Once seated, we advocate ordering the Sugar Snap Pea Salad with almond vinaigrette, mint, and ricotta, before splitting a whole Branch Line Rotisserie Chicken. Reservations are available.
Brassica Kitchen + Cafe
Located behind this eclectic Jamaica Plain restaurant is a tented parking lot-patio lush with plants. Start things off at Brassica Kitchen with a funky wine or cocktail like Meguro #1, a rye whiskey drink tinted green with the superfood spirulina. The food options range from Grilled Duck Meatballs to Potato Gnocchi with peas, and you shouldn’t miss the BK Fried Chicken: a crunchy companion for Brassica’s house-fermented pickles and hot sauces. Reservations are available for brunch and dinner.
Garage-style doors open up onto this Charlestown patio, from which you can see the Bunker Hill Monument. Known for wood-fired pizza and other fare plus an awesome selection of craft beer and wine, Brewer’s Fork never takes reservations and it’s a popular spot, but there’s plenty of room: The team has expanded into an adjacent parking lot for even more outdoor dining. They also just opened a provisions shop and restaurant called Dovetail nearby in the Navy Yard.
The Butcher Shop
This meaty mainstay of chef Barbara Lynch’s South End empire has a heated deck on Waltham Street, where you may enjoy menu of The Butcher Shop favorites like Lasagne Bolognese, Crispy Duck with parsnip and prunes, Potato Gnocchi with mushrooms and peas, or the TBS Burger with special sauce and American cheese.
This Union Square favorite has added outdoor seating on Bow Street, as well as a few seats in a separate heated outdoor area. Settle in for a Pisco Sour or two and an array of vibrant Peruvian food, such as fresh fish Ceviches, Causas (mashed potato terrines), and Locro, a vegan-friendly stew featuring squash, lima beans, black mint (huacatay), and Peruvian peppers. Make a reservation via Resy.
The covered patio at this Seaport spot is available by reservation or for walk-in diners. It provides the perfect venue to enjoy Chickadee’s standout cocktails and a plate of assorted meze, including Black Bean Hummus with sesame tahini and Pimento Feta with harissa spice. Save room for substantial house-made pastas like Spiced Gemelli with braised lamb and tomato-brown butter.
This cute Shawmut Avenue patio has added street-side seats, providing more room to partake in Coppa classics like Spaghetti Carbonara with sea urchin, and white Soppressata Pizza with burrata. Don’t forget the Aperol Spritz! Reservations are available.
Located on the corner of Commonwealth and Massachusetts avenues—hence, “deux ave”—this upscale French-ish restaurant has one of the more enviable patios in Boston, with its unimpeded views of Back Bay brownstones. But more important than the scenery is the menu, which includes a set of Native Lobster and Spring Vegetables, Spiced Long Island Duck Breast, and gorgeously plated desserts. Reservations are available.
Dorchester Brewing Company
At the end of 2019, a roof deck with views of the Boston skyline debuted as part of a huge expansion for Dorchester Brewing Company. M&M BBQ also moved in around that time, taking over the gleaming new counter-service kitchen with the former food truck’s legendary ribs, brisket, mac and cheese, and more. DBCo.—which produces its own fresh brews, beers from partner brands, wines, cider, and seltzer—also has a street-level patio. Make a reservation to secure a rooftop spot.
The big picnic tables along Boylston Street offer quite a different experience from the celebrated Portland, Maine, original, Eventide Oyster Co., but the spacious Boston outpost is equally worthy of a visit. With New England snack shack-inspired fare with Asian-inspired flair, like the signature Brown Butter Lobster Roll on a steamed bun, and Soft Serve sundaes exclusive to this location, Eventide is right at home near Fenway Park.
Field & Vine
This Union Square restaurant has a lovely outdoor patio that’s coming to life again this spring, complete with cafe-style chairs, potted plants, and umbrellas. Stay tuned for reservations. The warmer months might just be the best time to try Field & Vine‘s farm-fresh fare, from Maplebrook Farm Burrata with fire-roasted peppers to Grilled Turmeric Leaf-Wrapped Monkfish.
Another pandemic-era entrant to the outdoor dining game, Forage now has a heated, paved back patio where you can enjoy locally sourced, vegetable-focused dining (and wine). The seasonal menu rotates frequently, but expect dishes like Roasted Carrots with pumpkin seeds and feta; preserved fish and pickles; and Vegetarian Mushroom Sausage with beach plum umeboshi.
Fox & the Knife
Located just outside the aperitivo bar’s wide-opening windows, Fox & the Knife’s Broadway patio is an al fresco venue for spritzes, salads, homemade pastas and entrees. We’re particularly partial to the Zafferano Spaghetti Con Vongole with saffron, clams, and tomato butter; and the crispy pork Milanese. Stay tuned for outdoor reservations, but the Foxy crew also reserves some room for walk-ins.
Cambridge Italian restaurant Giulia is known for house-made pasta and rustic antipasti. It has opened a small patio seating area available for reservations by calling the restaurant at 617.441.2800.
This bicycling themed bistro has an intimate garden-level patio along Newbury Street perfect for people-watching. After opening for the first time in January 2020 as the second Back Bay spot from Select restaurateur Michael Serpa, Grand Tour has added garden boxes and more street-side seating, so we can comfortably tuck into Parisian-inspired cuisine with a Boston soul. Try something new from the list of all-American wines, and choose among plates like Steak Tartare, Baby Artichokes with anchovy and caramelized onion dip, and Arctic Char with fennel-herb purée, roasted chanterelles, and pistachios.
A wine bar in Downtown Crossing, Haley.Henry has taken its natural wine list, impressive tinned fish selection, and snacky, charcuterie-focused menu outside onto a new patio. The tiny spot takes limited reservations, as well as accepts walk-ins. You can also catch patio seating at its Fenway sister establishment, Nathálie.
Head to Inman Square when you’re craving fried chicken or BBQ meats, or looking for a shady spot to stay cool with a tiki drink. Highland Fried, sister restaurant to Highland Kitchen, has set up umbrella-covered tables on Cambridge Street where you can enjoy Nashville Hot Chicken, Pulled Pork, and more. (HK is still hibernating, but they are trying to set up a patio, too.)
Chef Tim and Nancy Cushman’s offbeat izakaya Hojoko is a Fenway-side spot for sushi, ramen, sake, and cocktails. It boasts a poolside patio thanks to its location at The Verb Hotel, and lately it has also taken over the property’s parking lot for expanded outdoor seating. Reservations are available.
Vaccinated and ready to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen off-screen in a year? Consider Kava Neo-Taverna, where you can share mezedakia, or an array of Greek-style small plates, at a quaint patio in the South End. It’s first-come, first-served, but if you have to wait, no on will mind taking a stroll around the neighborhood.
It’s not exactly the cobbled streets of Mykonos, but this Back Bay wine bar certainly evokes Greek hospitality. Krasi’s outdoor patio on Gloucester Street is a lively spot to order up a selection of unique house-baked breads and charcuterie, dips, and other meze, like Sea-Salt Roasted Beets with black garlic skordalia; Cretan Pasta and pork apaki” and pistachios; and whatever is grilling that day on the souvla. Reservations are available.
While also debuting outdoor dining at Puritan & Company, chef-owner Will Gilson opened three new restaurant concepts in the past year, including The Lexington, at a new East Cambridge development. This spacious place is serving up the satisfying kind of food Gilson is known for, like a Crab Cake with za’atar remoulade, a Dry-Aged Pork Chop with Brussels sprouts and polenta, and an Onion Soup Grilled Cheese with mushroom jus; and offers rooftop seating overlooking Cambridge Crossing’s common outdoor area. Stay tuned for reservations.
The eclectic Cambridge sister restaurant to Toro and Coppa, Little Donkey returns from hibernation on April 12 with heated patio seating among the offerings. Get ready to indulge in favorites like the Caviar Sandwich with whipped butter on a Martin’s Potato Roll, the sublime Burger with foie gras and onion soup mayo, and of course, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for dessert.
Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar
Situated along F Street in South Boston, Loco has and expansive deck with picnic tables set up for the enjoyment of oysters (still $1 all day on Mondays!), Braised Short Rib, Shrimp Diablo, or Avocado tacos, and hard-to-top margaritas.
Lone Star Taco Bar
The Allston location of Lone Star Taco Bar has taken over a hidden, back-deck patio (pour one out for Deep Ellum, its sister bar lost to the pandemic), and also added new sidewalk seating out front. Meanwhile, the Cambridge location’s street-side patio is also back in business. Visit either location for plenty of Lone Star Margaritas, Queso, 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 street-side patio operated by the innovative South End Italian restaurant Mida. Call day-of for reservations.
Nautilus Pier 4
With a spacious patio overlooking Boston Harbor, a favorite Nantucket restaurant has docked in Boston. Nautilus Pier 4 opened April 1 as a larger, swankier version of the island original, with a local chef’s fresh take on the globe-yachting menu (think: Tempura East Coast Oyster Tacos, signature Blue Crab Fried Rice, and Charcoal Prawns). Glass doors lead out from the bar to the 1,000-square foot deck, awash in a sea monster mural that goes swimmingly with the new spot’s retro-chic submarine theme inside. Stay tuned for reservations.
The backyard garden at Cambridge jewel Oleana is a serious contender for Greater Boston’s prettiest patio. Of course, it’s not all about looks: Just as important is the menu, streamlined for the moment to include meze like Spinach Falafel with beet tzatziki, Za’atar Bread with goat’s milk labne and tomato jam, and the classic Sultan’s Delight (tamarind beef with smoky eggplant purée and basil). Reservations are available.
Pammy’s debuted a patio for the first time in 2020 and never looked back: The dreamy deck along Mass. Ave. in Cambridge stayed open (and heated) all winter. Reservations continue to be available outside for a three-course meal (a la carte on Sundays)—choose from options like Hiramasa Crudo with citrus and hazelnut; Spaghetti Square with Maplebrook Farm burrata and curry leaf crostini; and the signature Lumache pasta with gochujang Bolognese.
The Publick House
If you’ve been missing draft beer, head to this Brookline bar, which has upgraded its outdoor situation with a heated, backyard beer garden, plus a covered, open-walled structure for the street-side patio in Washington Square. Reservations are available for all options, and there’s plenty of fresh beer pouring to accompany your Monk’s Frites with dipping sauces; orecchiette Mac and Cheese; and Ahi Tuna Nachos.
Puritan & Company
Cambridge spot Puritan & Co. debuted a charming, faux-suburban patio on Cambridge Street last year, complete with artificial turf and a white picket fence. Sources say a more permanent patio is forthcoming, but for now, the outdoor area is back and it’s a fine setting for enjoying Parker House Rolls, Shredded Phyllo-Wrapped Cod, and Citrus and Buttermilk Sherbet for dessert.
The Quiet Few
The Quiet Few is East Boston’s neighborhood bar with dim lighting, impressive lists of whiskey and wines, and hangover-preventing food like Smash Patty Burgers and waffle fries, pickle-brined Nashville Hot Chicken on Texas Toast, and house-fried Luda Crisps with French onion dip and an optional add-on of Caviar from East Boston Oysters. The small bar remains closed for dining in, but the “top shelf, low brow” vibes have taken to Sumner Street with TQF’s plant-lined patio out front. Seats are first-come, first-served.
You can once again sit down on the Fort Point patio to enjoy the impeccable draft beer list at Row 34, Island Creek oysters by the dozen, and Ethel’s Creamy Lobster Rolls (there are pickles in the lobster salad!).
This Chinatown favorite returns April 7 with outdoor dining in the heart of the neighborhood. Shōjō has tables on the sidewalk and into Tyler Street, where you can enjoy a Mai Tai or a Cold Tea for Two, and a couple rounds of plates like Karaage Chicken Bao, Shadowless Duck Fat Fries, and Ruckus Noodle Soup. Reservations are available.
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. Requires them, in fact. Securing a plate of Fried Lobster & Waffles with spicy maple syrup, or a tray of imported tinned fish, has never been so easy.
Somerville stunner Sarma has spread out across a paved lot next door with colorful murals and patio umbrellas. Sit outside and sample a 10-meze tasting menu featuring flavors like like Scallops Dolmades with salsa verde; Sesame Fried Chicken with tahini remoulade; and Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. Reservations are required.
Select Oyster Bar
The Mediterranean vibe at this Back Bay bar is now enhanced with a new patio on Gloucester Street. The chic Select Oyster Bar is open for lunch and dinner with plenty of fresh Fruits de Mer like Dressed Maine Lobster, Faroe Islands Salmon Crudo, and Gloucester Swordfish—with plenty of Champagne to keep cool. Reservations are available.
Sofra Bakery & Cafe
Sofra in Cambridge has set up a handful of cafe-style tables outside to enjoy its Middle Eastern-inspired pastries and sandwiches. Seats are first-come, first-serve, but you can preorder ahead of time.
A smattering of white tables and chairs constitutes the Congress Street patio at Sportello, where you can sit down to your favorite Italian dishes (ours include the Spicy Tomato Soup and Tagliatelle Bolognese). Reservations are available.
This Venetian-style bacaro has a cute street patio, but its courtyard-like back patio—a wooden deck with twinkling lights, abutting ivy-adorned brick walls—is pure South End charm. It’s also where you can enjoy the SRV’s snacky cicchetti (small plates) and stellar pasta. You can never go wrong starting with an SRV Negroni and the Polpette (meatballs). Reservations are available.
Steel & Rye
This American restaurant in Lower Mills is a bakery by day with walkup outdoor seating at lunch, and reservations available for dinner. The expansive patio at Steel & Rye has umbrella-covered picnic tables for enjoying dishes like 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 Q has a spacious 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. Reservations are available.
Taberna de Haro
Classic tapas dishes—along with a selection of over 300 Spanish wines and sherries—can be sampled on the patio of this longtime Brookline favorite. The patio on Beacon Street opens whenever the weather is above 50 degrees. Call or email to make reservations.
The small, Huron Village restaurant Talulla expanded with a garden-style patio terrace, including some coveted covered greenhouse tables. Make a reservation to try White Asparagus Soup with smoked crème fraîche and lobster; Mushroom Risotto; Veal Loin with parsnip, asparagus, and kumquat; and other creative, seasonally focused dishes from the Talulla’s husband-and-wife team.
Thistle & Leek
Spring 2021 is the first patio season for this London-inspired gastropub, which debuted from a married pair of chefs in early September. Located in Newton Centre, Thistle & Leek serves elevated pub plates like a crispy Potato Rosti with clam dip; Smoked Mackerel Rillettes with cauliflower piccalilli and seeded crackers; and Pork Schnitzel with fingerlings, cucumber, and cherry mustard. Reservations are available.
Getting a table on the small garden patio out front at Tres Gatos makes for a memorable evening in Jamaica Plain, where you can tuck into tapas like Tortilla Española with pimentón aioli, Lamb Bocadillo on a house-baked roll, and Paella; then browse an eclectic book-and-record store after paying the tab. Tres Gatos has added additional outdoor seats along adjacent Roseway Street. Reservations are available.
Trillium Brewing Company
Popular Boston beer makers Trillium Brewing Company have three local locations, which all have food and outdoor seating. At the restaurant in Fort Point, snag a seat on the roof deck and pair your draft-poured Fort Point Pale Ale with farm-to-table fare like Composed Moon Shoal Oysters with shallot mignonette and chili crisp; Wood-Fired Half Chicken with parmesan polenta; or the Trillium Burger. In the Fenway neighborhood, chef-next-door Alex Saenz—who’s behind the Time Out Market menus at Taqueria El Barrio and Bisq Sandos—is slinging rotating dining options like Tortilla Chips with avocado ranch and salsa macha, Pimento Cheese & Crackers, Lobster Rolls, and more. Trillium’s flagship Canton taproom has Naco Taco on-site Tuesdays and Fridays; and Keane’s Wood-Fired BBQ on the weekends. Reservations are possible everywhere.
Trina’s Starlite Lounge
The backyard patio at Trina’s Starlite Lounge manages to capture much of the beloved quasi-dive’s retro appeal. There are plenty of cocktails, of course, and 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. Seats are first-come, first-served.
There is plenty of patio to be had at Toro these days, since the treasured tapas joint added a whole section of backyard tables to its small South End footprint. Reservations are an option, and so are all-time favorites including the Maíz Asado (Grilled Corn) with aioli, lime, and aged cheese; sweet and salty Dátiles con Jamón; and the ever-satisfying Paella Valenciana with rice, shrimp, chorizo, and chicken.
Spread out along Commonwealth Avenue, the patio at Uni features views of one of Boston’s most beautiful neighborhoods—and some of the very best sushi in the city. Enjoy selections like pristine nigiri and beautifully plated sashimi, such as Sea Bream dress with yuzu and miso and Maguro (Tuna) with avocado mousse, shallot, and nasturtium; as well dishes from the kitchen, like Shrimp Lumpia, Korean Ricecakes with kalbi oxtail and kimchee, and Ramen Noodle Cacio e Pepe. Reservations are available.
Vincent’s Corner Grocery
A new concept paying homage to the retail business that once occupied its Cambridge corner, Vincent’s Corner Grocery has replaced the cozy bistro Café du Pays from the same team. Vincent’s is takeout-focused with provisions for the neighborhood, but also boasts a number of sidewalk tables available on a first-come, first-served basis. It opens with “Bodega Brunch” hours and a menu of breakfast tacos and egg sandwiches. For lunch and dinner, expect hearty sandwiches like Fried Chicken or Vincent’s Cold Cut Trio; colorful salads and entrees; and shaken-to-order cocktails served in plastic cups. Now that’s how you pivot.
Yellow Door Taqueria (South End)
Bright sun-colored umbrellas and picnic tables populate the sidewalk on Harrison Avenue around Yellow Door Taqueria. It’s a lively place to convene with friends for an array of colorful tacos, including a fun take on New England’s fried seafood with Frito Scallop with pickled jalapeño and celery mayonesa and pico slaw; and tequila-soaked drinks like a Spicy Pineapple Margarita. Reservations are available.