Posted Apr 17, 2015
10 Great Places to Eat Outdoors in San Francisco
San Francisco has some of the best weather in the country, so what better place to dine outdoors? Al fresco eating is so popular here that it can be difficult to choose from the abundant options. To help, Lovely has accumulated a list of 10 top eateries that offer outdoor seating.
Modern Neapolitan cuisine is the name of the game at Stable Cafe, located in Mission Square. The food is on the lighter side, and you can order from an impressive selection of tapas off the seasonal menu. Couple it with a cool drink off the beer and wine menu, or keep it simple with a cup of organic coffee.
The indoor seating can get pretty crowded, but outdoors is a rustic and inviting environment. The open patio is framed by the coffee shop built from an old horse stable, and trees provide shade in this sunny space.
El Techo de Lolinda
Another excellent Mission Square find is El Techo de Lolinda, where you’ll find some of the best rooftop seating in San Francisco. The atmosphere here is laid back– you’ll want to kick your feet up and enjoy the warm breeze as you look out at the amazing view of the city.
The kitchen serves up Latin American fare inspired by Argentinian street food. You’ll want to try the beloved chicharrones, and pair them with a margarita that has a reputation all its own.
At night, Zeitgeist may transform into SoMa’s busiest dive bar, but during the day its patio takes the spotlight. There’s a punk vibe to the place and a slight smell of stale beer, but once you step outdoors, you leave all that behind to take in some sunshine.
The food is the kind of greasy Sunday morning meal you need to soak up your drinks from the night before. Choose from burgers, kielbasa, grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade fries, or order something special straight off the in-kitchen grill.
The full bar with more than 40 beers on tap can also provide a little hair of the dog to ease your hangover, or order a pitcher of margaritas to enjoy with your outdoor seating.
Take a trip to Presidio Heights for a more upscale al fresco dining experience. The outdoor seating at Sociale is set among a mid-block courtyard filled with tables shaded by umbrellas. There’s a quaint European flair, which makes sense considering the eatery specializes in traditional Italian food.
The fare is certainly high-quality, and the wine list is almost unnecessarily vast. But keep in mind that the prices can be a bit lofty. Sociale is more of a special occasion spot– bring a date for a romantic evening meal in the courtyard.
The congestion can be an issue at Tipsy Pig, but the patio seating makes it well worth the wait. Arrive early and snag your seat before the brunch or dinner crowd rolls in and soon you’ll be enjoying American fare among a charming pastoral setting. The wood porch is dimly lit by strings of lights, and the deep mahogany tables are contrasted by the bright green ivy lining the perimeter.
The gastrotavern is an award-winning establishment, so you won’t have to worry about the quality of the food. The mac and cheese is exquisite, and the pork sliders are a go-to item here. There’s also a special patio menu for those who are lucky enough to score some outdoor seating.
The drink menu, though not expansive, is also worth noting. Along with house and traditional cocktails is a selection of beers that was clearly chosen with care and expertise. The draughts are nothing to write home about (the usuals such as Guinness and Stella Artois make the list), but the bottled beers include brews from Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Asia and all across the U.S.
B Star Bar
This Richmond bar and eatery is the sister establishment of nearby Burma Superstar– you know, that popular restaurant where you can never get a table. Some say B Star is even better, thanks to its excellent outdoor seating on the sun-soaked back deck. Sit under twisting vines and let the heat lamps warm you on a cool day.
The pan-Asian cuisine inspired by Burmese fare is nothing to scoff at either. The Japanese ochazuke is comfort food to revive the body (think green tea broth, grilled salmon and fried rice), while the kabob croquette contain the heat of curry spices and roasted peppers to sweat the hangover right out of you.
If you’re in the mood for a rooftop party, Jones is the place to be. You’ll be greeted by a narrow, almost camouflaged entrance, but don’t let that scare you away. Inside is a chic atmosphere, and the rooftop terrace is a romantically lit respite from the gritty city below. It’s open and spacious, letting in the warm breeze and offering plenty of outdoor seating.
As for food, the menu is mainly modern Italian. You can snack on charcuterie or cheese to start, then order a pasta plate, pizza or panini for your main course. When you’re done eating, kick back and mingle while enjoying an after-dinner drink, like a glass of Glenlivet or Hennessy.
Cafe de la Presse
Street-adjacent outdoor seating is generally something we avoid, but Cafe de la Presse is by and far the exception. The quaint coffee shop, located between Union Square and Chinatown, is nicely guarded from the foot traffic flowing by, which provides a great people-watching experience.
Trees and umbrellas protect you from the sun or a light drizzle, but you’ll barely notice the weather once you start eating. The cuisine is traditional French, offering items such as quiche and croque-monsieur, which is somewhat of a rarity due to the fusion craze that’s so popular these days.
Foreign Cinema is one of those spots that every San Franciscan must visit at least once purely for the experience. The California-Mediterranean food is revered as some of the best of its kind in the region, but the fare isn’t the big draw.
What’s so special about it? The outdoor seating is more than just a beautiful, candle-lit patio: It features foreign and independent films on a large-screen projection system. If you get a bit chilly, head inside to find an art gallery lining the walls.
Castro’s Starbelly has a quaint patio decorated with plush greenery, including succulents and herb planters provided by local nursery Flora Grubb Gardens. The space is lined with reclaimed wood, giving it a cozy, intimate feel. It’s perfect for a date night, as the bustle and chatter makes you want to lean in close.
The menu at Starbelly is largely seasonal and rotates regularly, but you might find homemade pate, roasted chicken and gourmet pizza. The restaurant also has fantastic homemade kombuchas. Before you leave, treat yourself to a local favorite, the salted caramel pot de creme, or if you’re lucky, Starbelly might be serving Dynamo Donuts.
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