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  • Writer's pictureThe Bone Guys

39 Places to Enjoy Outdoor Dining in L.A. and O.C. Today

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Because It’s Still Summer, Damn It

There are countless things we miss from the last 43 months—or however long it’s been since the pandemic shut us in—and high on the list is the experience of going out to restaurants with people we love.

With sadly necessary on-again, off-again shutters of indoor dining, many restaurants we revere, or are eager to try, have opened outdoor restaurant spaces to accommodate you and your trusted hive while eating inside is off limits.

And since it’s summer time and the sun is typically shining in Southern California, what better time than to get back into the habit of eating out, while eating outside?

Here The Bone Guys offers its recommendations for al fresco experiences for you to enjoy right now. So... enjoy!

L.A. Hits

Amacita: Josef Centeno’s Tex-Mex favorite Amacita sports a margarita-friendly patio open Tuesdays-Sundays just waiting to see you and your table full of Mexican sriracha fried chicken, super nachos, and tacos dorados.

Bestia and Bavel: These Arts District sisters remains two of L.A.’s most in-demand reservations. And now they’re back, each with limited outdoor patio seats... that you can continue to struggle to reserve.

Connie & Ted’s: Michael Cimarusti’s New England seafood powerhouse now has a vastly expanded patio to bring you back to the vibes of eating chowder, crab cakes, stuffies, lobsters by the pound, and steamers in the season’s hottest months.

Guelaguetza: The beloved Oaxacan representative now has a patio set-up called Corredor in the back for your mezcal, micheladas, and memelas, complete with a vintage green van (aka the miche mobile) blasting tunes.

Della Terra: This eleven-year-old Hollywood Italian just turned their back alley into a patio, giving your wood-fired pizzas, calzones, daily-made pastas, and filet mignon skewers all the feel of a Gotham night out, complete with a replica of Manhattan’s skyline.

Osteria Mamma: The Hollywood bastion of handmade pasta transformed its parking lot into an outdoor dining area with canopies and heaters, and also has sidewalk seating in front, taking customers on a first-come, first-served basis.

Manuela: Opened in 2016 at Downtown’s Hauser & Wirth galley, we quickly became fans of this American heritage restaurant and the chickens it raises on sire. Reopen for patio and terrace dining, the Gulf pink shrimp bruschetta, venison burger, and cream biscuits with country ham are officially back.

Republique: La Brea’s champion of French dining has returned with a new enclosed patio on its flank bearing moody string lights and a full dinner menu bearing its renowned bread with pan drippings, summer corn agnolotti, 155-day dry-aged ribeye, and Sonoma duck with oven-dried peaches and blackberry-hibiscus jus. Go there and be happy.

Rustic Canyon: Give this Michelin-starred Santa Monica restaurant lemons and they’ll make lemonade. More correctly, give them a back parking lot and they’ll turn it into an outdoor patio with wall dividers, potted plants, heat lamps, and murals by Ruben Rojas. Its sidewalk tables remain the same.

Spago: Wolfgang Puck’s Beverly Hill’s legend has gone even more European, now offering sidewalk dining along Canon, in the form of 18 al fresco tables that join its famous patio.

Spartina: One of our all-time favorite Italian restaurants has an expansive front patio on Melrose perfect for Roman speck pizza, Sicilian shrimp with pistachio pesto, pork Milanese with figs, and Calabrian chile fried chicken. Writing that makes us hungry.

Orange County

4th Street Market: Santa Ana’s glorious multi-concept dining hall recently added an 800-square-feet outdoor parklet with planters, shade coverings, and vigorous cleaning measures for people to safely gather together over concepts like Michelin-awarded Burritos La Palma, Banh Xeo Boys, and Munchies Vegan Deli.

A Restaurant: Some restaurants are hard-to-kill. Especially 96-year-old places that named themselves way before Google searches were important to their success. All of which is to say Newport’s A Restaurant has reopened its patio for steak tartar, meatballs, ridiculously indulgent Japanese beef, and Negronis.

Descanso: Costa Mesa’s “modern taqueria” expanded its own patio to 1,500 feet, in order to accommodate 50 diners at a time over margaritas, nopal soup, al pastor tacos, Mexican poke, and agave-glazed salmon.

Khan Saab: We recently covered Imran Ali Mookhi’s extraordinary halal restaurant in Fullerton that merges playful Southeast Asian plating with bold flavors and pronounced heat. Now it’s reopen with sidewalk dining, complete with string lights and candles for a touch of extra enchantment.

Old Vine Kitchen + Bar: Reopening in early July, the Costa Mesa Italian has tripled its allotment of outdoor spaces, adding a rooftop and stairway patio for people to chow down on porcini mac-and-cheese and Indonesian seared octopus curry upon.

Orange: Old Town Orange is closing a network of streets to accommodate outdoor dining at restaurants including Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar, Smoqued California BBQ and Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen.

The Promenade on Forest: Laguna Beach is blocking car traffic from entering Forest Avenue off PCH for a safely spaced dining zone for restaurants such as Brussels Bistro, 230 Forest, and Moulin.

Rooftop Lounge: This looker of a Laguna rooftop at La Casa del Camino hotel just had a huge renovation, resulting in a more “Golden Age of Hollywood” feel including wood tables, Spanish tile, greenery, and rattan furniture to compliment its ocean views, beachside branzino, and drinks from veteran bartender Billy Ray, like the Laguna Sunset with tequila, spicy rum, Ancho Verde, lime and watermelon juice.

The Blind Pig: The Yorba Linda location has expanded its patio space for your bacon burger, pork banh mi and IPA-downing pleasure.

“Walk on Wilshire”: Fullerton is designating a traffic-free half block between Malden Avenue and Harbor to create outdoor seating for restaurants including Green Bliss Café, Fullerton Brew Co., and Rialto Café, in addition to helping add al fresco seating to restaurants including Revolución 1910, Les Amis, Stubrik’s Steakhouse, and Vino Nostra through parking lot spaces and breezeways.

L.A.’s New Guard

Harlowe: While restaurants may see occasional rays of hope, bars are still pretty much S.O.L. in the era of social distancing. Which might explain why this vintage cocktail bar is now leaning more towards meal service. First step: Giving Little Door vet Chef T. Nicolas Peter the reigns to the menu, which now includes Moroccan-influenced items like a grilled merguez sandwich, grilled chickpea flatbread, and lamb stew, all of which can be served in one of two new indoor spaces, including a newly refurbished front patio.

Hotel Figueroa: We’ve been hanging out here since it was not as cool as it is today. Nonetheless, the cacti-adjacent, poolside dining options of its new Veranda al Fresco restaurant are calling us back for esquites, squash blossom quesadillas, Baja fish tacos, and guava margaritas.

Mírame: This new Beverly Hills restaurant comes from Baja-raised Joshua Gil, a Michelin-awarded chef we came to love at Tacos Punta Cabras. You can try his lamb barbacoa quesadilla on heirloom Sonoran flour tortillas, salmon skin chicharrónes, activated charcoal masa gnocchi, and beef ceviche with key lime on a gathering of sidewalk seats and an open-air patio with indigenous plants and a fireplace. And you shall.

Perle: This greatly anticipated Pasadena-based restaurant is the first solo project from Daniel Boulud veteran Dean Yasharian. His internationally-influenced French restaurant, which has a mirrored vegan menu, was initially delayed by the first shutdown then days after opening, later had to close during the second one. Refusing to let anything else slow down, Perle now offers outdoor dining in a space across from the restaurant to enjoy your coq au vin, moules-frites, and mushroom escargot in the evenings.

Sugar Factory: Like Wu-Tang, The Bone Guys is for the children. And we know you need to get the little munchkins out of the house every now and then. Sugar Factory is a new family-friendly outlet of the sweet-stuff chain now operating with a large patio in Century City. It’s the kind of place you can share popcorn shrimp, burgers that use donuts as buns, and “Insane” milkshakes topped with unholy amounts of candy before letting them loose in a carnival-themed game room that includes water-gun races, Skeeball, and other diversions while you drown your pain in a strawberry margarita that’s bigger than your own head. That kind of place.

The Forthcoming

Nueva: Taking over the former site of Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot in Marina del Rey, Nueva is a Mexican cantina from chef Vartan Abgaryan and Guerrilla Tacos veteran Mesraim Llanez. The place is mostly patio and will be an agave wonderland of different sotol, bacanora, raicilla, and mezcal when it debuts in August.

Wood & Salt Tavern: This new place comes to Bixby Hills in Long Beach in early August from the owners of L.A.’s German strongholds Wirtshaus and Rasselbock and yes, they will have a patio out front. So you can start with dinner here, pairing your Pacific swordfish meatballs, grilled head-on Santa Barbara prawns, wood-fired pork chops, and Tehachapi rye-potato gnocchi with international beers and wine.

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