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Guests enjoy a meal on the outdoor patio space at Le Great Outdoor.
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

20 of the most picturesque restaurant patios in Los Angeles

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A certain magic sweeps over Los Angeles during the summer. With the days long, sunny and warm, we’re beckoned to bask outside, whether that’s on a sandy shore, a hilly park or by meandering through our local farmers markets.

For a few months, our usually brisk evenings turn balmy and breezy. Restaurant patios serve as scenic gathering spots with string lights, flickering tea candles and abundant greenery. Menus shift to showcase seasonal stone fruits, buttery corn on the cob and a rainbow of tomato varieties.

Alfresco dining emerged as a necessity during the pandemic, and many of the sidewalk and parking lot patios that debuted during that time are now permanent fixtures. As new restaurants open around the city, some are betting hard on our trademark sunshine by being entirely outdoors. You can sip on global wines paired with Spanish tapas as you watch the sunset over the Arts District from a backyard bistro or duck away from a bustling Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake into a cozy covered nook serving home-style Persian cuisine. In Santa Monica, a verdant shrine to open-fire cooking appears like a mirage in an industrial art complex.

Mild weather makes outdoor dining a popular year-round activity in Southern California, but there’s something about summer patio dining that feels like a seasonal rite of passage. From hidden, vine-wrapped enclaves to sprawling spaces engulfed in shade, here are 20 of the most stunning outdoor restaurant spaces across L.A., Malibu, Orange County and as far as Santa Clarita.

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The back patio at Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery in Old Pasadena.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery

Pasadena American Cheese Shop $$
Chef Thomas Tilaka Kalb’s Charred ‘Cobb’age (a take on a Cobb salad with grilled cabbage in place of lettuce) and melted leek and spinach dip with a mound of Kool-Ranch wontons would be enjoyable in any setting. As would the thoughtful cheese, charcuterie and tinned fish boards from his wife, co-owner and head cheesemonger Vanessa Tilaka Kalb. But the back patio at their Old Pasadena restaurant is the ideal place for all of the above. Designed by L.A.-based architectural studio Ora, the space feels bright and breezy with a retractable canopy. There’s also a private dining room that can be opened up onto the patio. Canopy fans gently bolster a cool breeze, ruffling the leaves of the trees that line the patio. The music coming from the speakers hidden in the greenery along the brick wall never feels too loud or distracting. And each table feels like it’s part of a lavish private garden party.
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Back patio at Alta Adams
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Alta Adams

West Adams Californian Soul Food $$
There’s no bad seat in the corner restaurant from chefs Keith Corbin and Daniel Patterson that anchors the West Adams neighborhood. The interior is warm and welcoming, with large windows that overlook the boulevard, blond wood accents and art curated by Band of Vices, the gallery across the street. The patio, though, with its climbing ivy that provides a canopy of shade and seating that spills into the neighboring cul-de-sac, is perfect for a twilight dinner or weekend brunch. The menu features ever-evolving California-influenced soul food, with standbys such as crispy black-eyed pea fritters, deviled eggs and oxtails and rice, plus worthwhile recent additions, including sweet potato dumplings in a cilantro-studded peanut sauce and a wood-grilled pork chop with Southern chow chow. The adjoining bottle shop places an emphasis on labels from makers who are Black, Indigenous or women of color and crafts rotating wine flights, while the bar gets creative with house-made infusions that make their way into cocktails that are often named after songs or albums by popular Black musicians, such as Cowboy Carter.
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A group of diners on the patio at Azizam
(Ethan Benavidez / For The Times)

Azizam

Silver Lake Persian $
After honing their culinary aesthetic as a pop-up for nearly three years, Cody Ma and Misha Sesar gave their project Azizam a stationary home in a Silver Lake space that is essentially carved into the side of a hill. The patio feels somewhere between a sunlit refuge and, in its farthest corners, a bunker. Its snug casualness fits the no-reservations cafe atmosphere, and the food has enough visual beauty to give the place character. Ma and Sesar combine their shared Iranian heritage into homestyle dishes that look beyond the familiar kebab-centric menu at many Persian restaurants. Most tables have kofteh Tabrizi — a giant, improbably light meatball filled out with rice and split peas, stuffed with dried fruits and walnuts — for good reason. Yogurt dips, as well as comforts like braised chicken over rice and the seasonal stews called khoresht, fill out the meal. An ever-busy stretch of Sunset Boulevard just beyond the sidewalk all but recedes as you disappear into Azizam’s feasts.
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The view of the patio at the Beachcomber Cafe
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove

Newport Beach Seafood American $$
The Beachcomber Cafe literally sits on sand at the edge of Crystal Cove State Park, a three-mile, mostly undeveloped idyllic beach dotted with rustic vintage cottages available for rent. Diners at these types of restaurants tend to pay just for the view. Not the case here. Not only does the Beachcomber offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean but it also serves up excellent dishes for the price. If you like artichokes, make sure to start with a side of the perennial vegetable, which comes steamed and grilled with lemon aioli on the side. Pair it with a cocktail from the adjacent Bootlegger Bar. I’m partial to the coconut mojito, but most of the libations are solid. If you’re there for lunch, the fish and chips are a good option and some of the best I’ve had this side of the English Channel. The dish remains on the kids menu for supper, which often forces me to cajole my 9-year-old daughter to order the plate so I can pilfer some. Back to the adult menu, you can’t go wrong with the carbonara — sometimes with lobster and other times with shrimp. The vibe is laid back, as it should be so near the waves. Except for a small space inside near the kitchen, the seating is primarily on an open-air patio covered in a heavy canvas tent to keep out some of the chill in fall and winter evenings. If you’re there for lunch, ask to be seated at the tables on the dirt boardwalk to the north of the restaurant. There are plenty of propane heaters for those who run cold.

Tip: Try to time your dinner for early evening to witness the regalia of the servers suddenly coming full stop at sunset to salute a flag with a martini glass motif while a military bugle blares “Le Réveil” — a longstanding tradition at the Beachcomber.
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Patio at Benchmark.
( Benchmark)

Benchmark

Santa Ana New American $$
Benchmark is like a backyard gathering with fine dining that includes a formidable wine list featuring stellar Paso Robles vintages. The restaurant, just east of downtown Santa Ana, is mostly outdoors, except for its banquet room for private events. In the evening, most of the seating is in a cozy, dreamy atrium with overhead patio lights strung from the many trees. There’s also an intimate covered patio to the side, but I prefer being nestled among the sycamores. Start with the Bavarian pretzel with the artichoke fondue that’s heavier on the cheese than the veggie. The ahi tuna with edamame, sesame, tamari, sriracha aioli and scallion partnered with a rice cracker is also a great option. On a balmy summer night, you can’t go wrong with pairing your food with a glass of Bodega de Edgar Albari?o from Paso Robles. The burger is always a good option, which you’ll want to chase with a Lone Madrone Zinfandel, also from Paso Robles. But the standout here is the tandoori-roasted carrots on a bed of tangy yogurt sauce with pistachio. Pickled cranberries top off the dish along with mustard seeds, chile honey, mint and cilantro. The vibe here is tony but relaxed. It’s the type of place where you can linger and enjoy an extra glass of wine, or perhaps a bottle with friends. The cocktails are fun but limited to spirit-infused sake. There’s also beer on draft.
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People work at tables on a patio overlooking a canyon.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Cafe on 27

Topanga Restaurant
The drive itself is one of the most breathtaking in the region. You’ll pass trees and mountain peaks and valleys as you snake up and into the heart of Topanga Canyon, home to a peaceful, artsy community flanked by wildlife. There are myriad boutiques, classes and restaurants also worth a visit, but one of the most breathtaking places to find a bite in Topanga is at Cafe on 27, where cliffside patios perch its patrons among the trees like a gourmet Swiss Family Robinson tree house. The all-day menu runs the global gamut with options such as tahdig-inspired Benedicts, where crispy rice replaces the standard English muffin; churro-and-chai-spiced pancakes that receive a side of vanilla glaze; lobster rolls dressed in peppercorn sauce; and kofta, which arrives in a clay pot brimming with tomato sauce and eggs. Cafe on 27 is nearly always abuzz with diners, but early mornings, on weekdays and in the afternoon when it’s closer to closing time, there’s a bit more serenity and a bit more magic — especially with the strings of bulb lights against the trees as the sun just barely begins to set.
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The patio area at Cento.
(Joseph Duarte)

Cento

West Adams Italian $$
This Mediterranean-influenced pasta bar in West Adams is one of the best options for patio dining any time of year, with a retractable roof that protects you from the elements during cooler months but is opened to allow for an evening breeze during the summer. Partitioned from street traffic, the relaxing outdoor space is anchored by olive trees with string lights woven through their branches, and the sandy floor completes the coastal ambience. Every section of the menu is worth exploring — from raw items such as hamachi crudo and steak tartare to small plates that include meatballs atop polenta and charred octopus to the spicy pomodoro and carbonara pastas that you’ll see getting brought out to almost every table. Save room for the signature banana pudding tiramisu, or finish your meal with a seasonal dessert such as passionfruit tres leches. A small selection of wines by the glass is available, but a better option is the house cocktails, such as a take on the espresso martini with tequila, oat milk and aquafaba.
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Patio at Damian
(Shelby Moore )

Damian

Downtown L.A. Mexican $$$
Damian’s back patio is one of L.A.’s most design-forward outdoor dining spaces. Architect Alonso de Garay and designer Micaela de Bernardí turned the area, nestled between former warehouses in the Arts District, into something exhilarating: part art installation, part urban haven. Your eyes may fall first on a wall of rust-streaked, corrugated metal that frames one side of the outdoor space. Perpendicular is another building with an arched roof; its translucent windows with ribbed glass give it the air of an abandoned greenhouse. Young trees spring out of the patio’s concrete; planters built above winding banquettes create an instantly lush atmosphere. Hilda Palafox, who goes by the name Poni for her Mexican street art, painted a mural in which human figures float among birds and leaves. A retractable roof had been built for L.A.’s occasional rainy nights. The setting uplifts meals of tostadas mounded with Caesar salad, gently spiced duck carnitas and a dessert tamal given a bananas Foster makeover. Note that the restaurant recently discontinued its wonderful brunch service, but the patio is especially beautiful at dinner as the daylight fades on warm evenings.
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A table of diners laughing at Everson Royce Bar
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Everson Royce Bar

Downtown L.A. American Bar/Nightclub $$
One of the best bars in the city (with great food) is Everson Royce. People love this place for its excellent happy hour and outdoor patio. It’s like being in a friend’s backyard, with picnic tables, string lights and a vine-wrapped tree, except you’re in the middle of downtown. Where other Arts District bars might feel niche or scene-y, Everson Royce is a one-size-fits-all kind of a place. The patio accommodates large parties and you can order platters of burgers and fried chicken with flaky buttermilk biscuits and pitchers of cocktails. And if you’re solo, the bar inside is welcoming, whether you want dinner, snacks or drinks (or all of the above). Cocktails are thoughtful, with combinations of fresh ingredients in flavor profiles that keep the list interesting but lean fairly fruity. The wine list is smart, and the beers won’t disappoint aficionados either. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the bar is open until 2 a.m. Sometimes there’s a dance party.
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The sign for Jackson Market hangs among trees and plants.
(Jackson Market & Deli)

Jackson Market & Deli

Culver City Restaurant
You’ll find this unassuming oasis on a residential street in Culver City, serving up breakfast items and customizable salads, wraps and sandwiches, with pizza pop-ups Thursday through Sunday. The neighborhood deli has been around since 1925, and it also features a market with grab-and-go items, pastries and picnic provisions including well-priced bottles of wine and fresh-baked loaves of bread. Whatever you decide to order, set aside some time to relax on the sprawling patio with its twinkling lights, palm trees, babbling koi pond, fountain and ivy-trellised roof.
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The patio at Julienne Fine Foods in San Marino.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations

San Marino American French $$
The patio at Julienne in San Marino is one of the coziest, most comfortable places to spend your morning or afternoon. And with the start of her summer dinner series, owner Julie Campoy is now hosting Friday evening dinners under the stars. Her mother, Susan, opened Julienne in 1985. It was one of the first businesses to introduce the gourmet market and cafe model to Los Angeles. The vines that hug the walls, the rustic decor and lush greenery evoke the French countryside, with a quiet, relaxed ambience that’s endlessly calming. You order at the counter inside, then choose your favorite table. Or grab a salad, sandwich or sweets from the market. In the morning, there’s a full breakfast menu. In the afternoon, there’s tea service and a trio of terrines. Whenever you visit, settle in for a welcome respite from whatever is on your mind or your to-do list.
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A plate with pan con tomate and the string-lighted patio at Le Champ.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times )

Le Champ

Downtown L.A. French $$
European bistro culture is alive and well at this clandestine Arts District bar that feels like you’re dining in the backyard of an artist who moonlights as a winemaker. Take a seat at one of the wrought-iron tables below the draping lights and next to one of the gurgling fountains and check out the daily specials on the chalkboard menu. Fresh oysters, a Spanish tortilla and a handful of pinxtos are mainstays, but many of the specials rotate depending on what’s in season. Browse the global wine list with more than 80 bottles available, including several by-the-glass options. Take note that the portions are small, but you can easily pile on enough plates to make a filling meal.
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Guests enjoy dinner on the outdoor patio space at Le Great Outdoor.
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Le Great Outdoor

Santa Monica American $$
In the Bergamot Station complex with plenty of parking is this completely alfresco restaurant where all of the dishes are cooked over live fire and garnished with flowers. The atmosphere is casual and convivial, even after the switch from counter to table service. Picnic tables sprawl across two levels, with potted plants dotted throughout and string lights casting a romantic amber glow as the sun sets. The menu changes based on what’s available at the local farmers market, but you’ll want to add a couple of flame-kissed proteins from the Terre & Mer section. Pair them with produce of the moment — char-spotted corn on the cob and a beet salad dashed with cherry vinegar were available at my last visit. Ask your server for a recommendation from the natural-leaning wine list and settle in as a core summer memory is solidified.
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The shady patio at Za Za Zá and Loreto
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Loreto

Elysian Valley Seafood
During the day, this Frogtown restaurant is completely alfresco and operates under the name Mariscos Za Za Zá, with Baja California cuisine such as aguachile, seafood-topped tostadas and ceviche, in addition to a couple of queso-griddled tacos and fries topped with shrimp and lobster mayo. For dinner, the space flips to Loreto, and indoor dining (including a gorgeous L-shaped bar) opens alongside the seating on the sand-strewn patio. With drooping trees and creeping monstera plants, the outdoor space will whisk you far away from the residential neighborhood with limited parking to a quaint marisqueria south of the border. Dinner entrees include a selection of zarandeados and chicharrón-style rockfish, as well as a couple skewer options for sharing. The beverage menu features a brew list with local and Mexican labels, a global wine selection and cocktails spiked with agave spirits.
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The patio area at Madre Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria
(Madre Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria)

Madre Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria

Santa Clarita Oaxacan $$
The newest and largest location of Madre Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria is convenient to the California Institute of the Arts and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, and the patio is set up to withstand the region’s sweltering heat with a slatted wood ceiling and overhead fans. The comfortable blush couches are plentiful enough to accommodate large groups, perfect for settling in with a mezcal flight, ceviche or mole-topped branzino filet. Owner Ivan Vasquez is a champion of small-batch mezcals made with ancestral and artisanal techniques — his restaurants boast one of the world’s largest collections.
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A vertical photo of umbrellas and bulb lights on the patio of Malibu Seafood overlooking PCH and the ocean.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Malibu Seafood

Malibu Seafood
The coastline is full of restaurants with scenic views, but there’s almost no more quintessential Malibu dining destination than Malibu Seafood, where bright red picnic tables spread across multiple levels offer a glimpse of the ocean. This beachy, no-frills restaurant has been a mainstay along Pacific Coast Highway since 1972, and given its owners’ profession of commercial fishermen, it contains both a small fish market and a restaurant. Order at the counter for fried oysters, grilled filets, fish and chips, chowders and ceviches, then hunt for a table — ideally on the top level — to watch the surf that crashes against the rocks across the highway. At the walk-up window, claim your plastic tray piled with seafood; one bite of whatever you’ve picked reveals the fresh quality of the day’s menu, but the restaurant’s motto, “The reason we don’t serve breakfast is we’re out catching lunch,” is nearly as convincing. For best results visit weekdays; Malibu Seafood, especially on sunny weekends, can draw lines that wrap around the building, and the hunt for the seats with the best view can become a competitive sport.
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Manuela's expansive covered patio is a tiered space with hanging light fixtures and blooming plant life.
(Manuela)

Manuela

Downtown L.A. Southern Californian $$$
The patio at Manuela affords a prime view of the courtyard at international art gallery Hauser & Wirth, a cornerstone of the Arts District since it opened several years ago. Walk through the gallery’s breezeway, which connects a neoclassical former bank building with a complex of warehouses that once served as a flour mill, to the open-air dining area that overlooks a 25-foot-tall coastal live oak and the courtyard’s central sculpture (a rotating exhibit that has included work by Louise Bourgeois). You’ll find a garden with native plants, herbs, vegetables and chickens — a certified wildlife habitat recognized by the National Wildlife Federation. It’s also a nod to chef Kris Tominaga’s seasonally driven menu abundant in seafood, salads and market vegetables. You can also order drinks at the garden’s bar.
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Patio at 惭í谤补迟别 restaurant in Los Feliz.
(Matt Egan)

惭í谤补迟别

Los Feliz Mexican $$$
With hidden nooks, winding stairways and a massive tree stretching in all directions from the ground floor, 惭í谤补迟别 affords a different dining experience every time you visit. Maybe you’ll be seated along the rim of the second floor, overlooking diners below. Perhaps you’ll get a table at the base of the tree or under one of the wicker light fixtures at the bar. Ask your server nicely and you could be one of the lucky diners seated among hanging plants with a view of Griffith Observatory.

The open-air tree house is popular during brunch and dinner, with the former bringing Mexican-inflected takes on the usual specials, such as eggs Benedict topped with cochinita pibil and a croque se?ora with lamb barbacoa and quesillo on telera bread. Dinner offers shareable dips, salads and seasonal veggie dishes, plus a pair of tacos and large-format plates such as bone-in short rib birria and whole-fried snapper. The beverage menu that exclusively features spirits and wines sourced from Mexico — including sake, gin and rum — is not to be missed and represents one of two L.A. programs to be recognized on the 2024 World’s 50 Best Bars list. Ask for a recommendation or get an education in agave with a curated flight. Newly installed misters help stave off the heat.
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A feta cheese plate on the patio at Olive & Grill in Studio City.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Olive & Grill

Studio City Mediterranean $$
Tucked away down a long driveway off Ventura Boulevard, Olive & Grill is one spacious, shaded patio. Though there’s a private room in the back, the patio serves as the main dining room. Enter through an archway that looks like it’s meant for a secret garden and find a tree-lined space with twinkling lights. The color scheme is almost exclusively black and white, with a striped retractable roof, black and white furniture and a black and white tile floor. Roomy booths line one wall, with a cozy banquette with pillows along another. There’s a full bar with specialty cocktails, and most of the food menu is meant for sharing. Order some cold mezze, hot mezze and large platters of grilled kebabs for the table. The lamb chops are a favorite, cooked to your liking and served over warm pita bread. In the evenings, there’s hookah, and live music Thursday through Sunday.
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Diners sitting on patio at Saltie Girl
(Oscar Mendoza / For The Times)

Saltie Girl

West Hollywood Seafood Restaurant $$
Boston-based Saltie Girl entered L.A.’s competitive tinned-seafood arena in late 2022 with a collection of more than 130 conservas, as well as seafood towers and such New England keystones as clam chowder and lobster rolls. Inside, the wood-lined aesthetic oozes Art Deco yacht vibes, but in beautiful West Hollywood the canopy-covered wraparound patio is the place to be. Its languid appeal, with a palette of whites and powder blues, transcends the restaurant’s location on a heavily trafficked corner of Sunset Plaza. Alongside a martini or a shochu-gin-cucumber cocktail, tins of smoked oysters, lemony sardines and tuna belly in pesto (served with bread, butter and piquillo pepper relish) could comprise the whole meal. But you probably also want a lobster roll — I prefer the warmed buttery version — or the spicy lobster spaghetti, a feel-good heap of tomato, basil and fried garlic that doesn’t overpower the star ingredient. They’re available at lunch, brunch and dinner.
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