As COVID-19 hospitalizations appear to slow and the region shows signs of inching toward recovery, more and more Angelenos are deciding they feel comfortable experimenting with outdoor dining, served on-site at local restaurants.
Many restaurants have gotten creative to adapt to the situation, from rearranging existing patio spaces to allow for greater distancing between tables, to creating entirely new outdoor dining areas out of what used to be parking lots, alleys, or stretches of sidewalk. It’s a sign of the resilience of hospitality industry professionals–and creates a vibrant al fresco experience for long-cooped-up customers.
Just remember when you go out to eat that the servers, bussers, cooks, dishwashers, and everyone else involved in your experience are very literally putting themselves at risk to provide you a luxury experience–and the vast majority of them aren’t getting any type of hazard pay (or even health benefits) for doing it. Show them that you value their lives and those of their families and communities by always wearing a mask when you are interacting with them—and tip generously.
L.A.’s Best Outdoor Dining
Situated atop the Eataly complex in Century City, Terra’s expansive, twinkle-light-lit terrace offers ample space to spread out, take in the city views, sip a cocktail (guest bartenders from some of L.A.’s best pandemic-paused bars are popping up weekly) and dine on wood-oven Italian fare. After your big meal out, Eataly is open to stock up on groceries for more cooking at home. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City.
The Eagle Rock location of Blair’s is temporarily closed due to the pandemic, but the Silver Lake shop is open and serving on-premises. For a romantic date night, a small group of two-top tables, spaced comfortably apart from one another, dot the sidewalk outside the corner restaurant. 2901 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake.
The parking lot at Tallula’s is now a full-service patio with tables spread out from one another. You can almost hear the ocean waves as you down your margaritas and entire sheet pans of nachos. The restaurant’s health procedures have earned it the new GTHR SAFE certification, indicating they’re upholding standards set by safety experts. 118 Entrada Dr., Pacific Palisades.
Tidbits by Dialogue
Not just an outdoor space at the elegant Dialogue, Tidbits is a new concept unto itself. The pop-up offers small plates and wine bar fare with French flair–and an elevated view out over the Third Street Promenade. 1315 3rd St., Santa Monica.
Veranda Al Fresco
The Mexico City-inspired Veranda Al Fresco spills out to the pool deck at the historic Hotel Figueroa in downtown. Chef Adrian Garcia aims to create an “urban oasis” with the cooking and ambiance, which is about as close to a vacation as we’re getting these days. 939 S. Figueroa St., downtown.
Opening a brand-new restaurant mid-pandemic might be risky, but the team at Nueva are giving it a shot. Outdoors, you’ll find a cheery and colorful patio; indoors the staff preps modern Mexican dishes in a kitchen large enough to allow for some distancing, and outfitted with a state-of-the-art indoor air filtration system. 822 Washington Blvd., Venice.
The Waterfront Venice
This beachy-chic spot has has reopened its sunny patio so you can nibble on relaxed all-day bites and sip a glass of rosé (or CBD-infused kombucha, if you prefer). Guests will have their temperature checked upon arrival, and must agree to provide info for contact tracing, just in case it comes up. 205 Ocean Front Walk, Venice.
Alcove Cafe & Big Bar
The most popular patio restaurant in Los Feliz (maybe the world?) has spaced out its tables and welcomed back eager guests. Enjoy casual fare from breakfast through late night, along with inventive cocktails from bar star Cari Hah. 1927 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz.
Bar Restaurant had only officially opened in the former Malo space a handful of months before the pandemic arrived, but they’ve quickly adapted to changing times. Now the attached parking lot has become one of the larger dining patio spaces in the neighborhood. 4326 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake.
BOA’s Sunset Strip location has adapted an outdoor space into “BOA Garden,” a super-elegant dining patio, with full-height hedges, large-scale florals, and real tables and chairs (nothing folding or plastic in sight). This is where you go for a meal after getting married on Zoom, we would assume. 9200 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood.
Located on the main plaza of open-air shopping center Platform, Roberta’s has a sizable patio for sharing some pizzas and glasses of wine with your bubble-mates. If you’re more committed to staying home, you can pick-up DIY pizza kits, too. 8820 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
The Bamboo Club
A tiki bar with far-above-average food, the Bamboo Club has moved its tropical party outside to a large, disco-ball-decked, open-sided tent that can accommodate spaced-out tables. 3522 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach.
Anajak Thai Cuisine
On weekends, Anajak Thai Cuisine puts out just a single table for on-premise service, so groups of two to six can enjoy the space without interacting with other customers, you just have to commit to buy at least two bottles from their interesting natural wine list along with your food order. Book ahead via Instagram. 14704 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Luckily for this Italian import, a twinkling, tree-dotted patio has been the centerpiece of its dining area since opening in 2019, complete with a window that allows the pizzaiolos to serve outdoor guests straight from the wood oven. 1534 N. McCadden Pl., Hollywood.
Blue Streak at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Enjoy a meal with a view of the beach, gathered around your personal fire pit on the terrace at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s restaurant, Blue Streak. Currently, the restaurant is operating only at limited capacity to keep diners spaced, so be sure to reserve in advance. 1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica.
Dan Tana’s knows it just wouldn’t be the same without the checkered tablecloths and kitschy red booths–so they literally rolled out some carpet and dragged the whole operation outdoors, booths and all. Old Hollywood, pandemic style. 9071 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
Inn of the Seventh Ray
This classic, landmark L.A. restaurant wasn’t going to let a little pandemic stop it. Conveniently, the whimsical garden setting has been a signature selling point since it opened nearly a half-century ago. 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd., Topanga.
You’re probably not eating out all that often these days, so maybe you’re trying to go big when you do. If that sounds like you, Nobu Malibu and its incomparable, rap-lyric-inspiring waterfront setting are ready to welcome you back. 22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.
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