Is there a nicer way to enjoy a summer dinner than out on the patio overlooking a beautiful view, with a breeze in the air and a cocktail in your hand?
Al fresco season is finally here. After months of being cooped up indoors, enjoying a meal outside has never sounded better. (Let’s face it: We’re all itching to get out of our house right now!)
Local leaders in Massachusetts have given the go-ahead on outdoor dining for this unusual summer, which means restaurants are dusting off their patio furniture and making room to serve guests on sunny sidewalks, patios and decks.
Whether you’re looking for secluded romance or prime street-side people watching, here are the top places currently open for dining outside.
Check out these spots to get fresh air while you dine — at socially distanced tables, of course.
- Menotomy Grill, 25 Massachusetts Avenue. Tavern fare with live music every Thursday night. (No cover fare!)
- Twyrl Pasta Bistro, 315 Broadway. Relaxed spot for homestyle Italian comfort foods with beer, wine, and dog-friendly outdoor seating.
- Blue Ribbon BBQ, 908 Massachusetts Avenue. Casual space with a vintage vibe dishing up Southern BBQ farem like finger-licking ribs with all the southern fixins’.
- Border Cafe, 128 Middlesex Turnpike. Festive spot with a lively bar scene serving Mexican specialties, margaritas, beer and wine.
- Burtons Grill, 43 Middlesex Turnpike. Upscale bar & grill with seasonally-inspired dishes and a large cocktail area.
- Osteria Nino, 19 3rd Avenue. Casual Italian restaurant serving locally sourced, handmade dishes.
- L’Andana, 86 Cambridge Street. Industrial-chic spot offering steaks and Tuscan-inspired Italian plates.
- Il Casale Cucina, 1727 Massachusetts Avenue. Upscale, southern Italian specialties with an open kitchen.
- Tres Petite Creperie, 1707 Massachusetts Avenue. Hip spot serving breakfast all day.
- Assembly Row, 100 Foley Road, Somerville. Outdoor shopping and entertainment complex including eateries like Legal On The Mystic, Papagayo and River Bar. Located on Mystic River featuring a scenic walkway and children’s outdoor play area.
- Station Landing, located just before Assembly Row in Medford. Station Landing is an upscale strip mall featuring several restaurants with summer al fresco seating, such as Margaritas, LongCross Bar + Kitchen, Not Your Average Joe’s and Yoki Japanese eatery.
- Mexico Lindo, 44 Main Street. Located in Melrose’s town center with a hidden patio behind the restaurant. Features Mexican specialities and festive cocktails.
- The Spot, 14 Thompson Street. Formerly known as The Waterfield Kitchen (TWK), The Spot is centrally located in Winchester’s town center. Known for its casual vibe, fun cocktails and eclectic menu, the restaurant features an expanded bar on the upper level, sushi bar on the lower level, and cozy outdoor patio complete with bistro lights.
- Black Horse Tavern, 32 Waterfield Road. Pub-style tavern with an inviting atmosphere, booth seating, central fireplace, and diverse menu.
- The Brickyard, 371 Main Street. Stylish spot offering a menu of upscale pub grub, thin-crust pizzas and a full-service lounge.
- Strega Prime, 100 Sylvan Road. High-end Italian steakhouse featuring prime cuts of meat, pastas and cocktails in swanky surrounds.
- On The Border, 19 Commerce Way. Casual Mexican cantina featuring a partially covered bar/seating area and Mexican favorites like mesquite-grilled fajitas, tacos, and famous margaritas.
Willing to venture a little further? Boston restaurants offer some of the best water views in their outdoor locations. Cambridge has several wonderful al fresco choices, including spots with river views and secluded garden patios. Here are some of the best outdoor dining spots in the city:
- Pier 6, 1 8th Street, Charlestown. Dine in full view of the historic Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution on the roof deck, or on the spacious first-floor patio. Offering one of the best panoramic views of the city skyline and Boston Harbor, Pier 6 features classic New England seafood dishes and an outdoor bar.
- Sarma, 249 Pearl St, Somerville. A local favorite featuring outdoor dining for the first time this summer. The modern Mediterranean menu features mezze and authentic Middle Eastern dishes.
- Commonwealth, 11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge. Trendy market and eatery adorned with raw-wood walls serving upscale, locally sourced American fare.
- Oleana Restaurant, 134 Hampshire Street, Cambridge. Inventive Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with a peaceful garden patio, complete with herb garden and fig tree.
- Naco Taco, 297 Mass. Ave, Central Square, Cambridge. Bright and lively patio with a permanently parked food truck dishing out spit-roasted al pastor and smoked chicken thigh tacos, plantains con queso, and more. Prime for people-watching while enjoying rounds of margaritas and micheladas in the sunshine!
- Tia’s on the Waterfront, 200 Atlantic Avenue, Boston. Touted as “Boston’s heartbeat on the harbor,” Tia’s is a famous outdoor cafe and bar in the heart of Boston. Its outdoor seating area can accommodate up to 400 people.
- 75 on Liberty Wharf, 220 Northern Avenue, Boston. Sleek, modern restaurant with expansive harbor views, offering classic New England seafood and an elaborate bar menu. Outdoor deck seats 60.
- Buttermilk & Bourbon, 160 Commonwealth Ave, Boston. Quirky New Orleans-inspired dishes by a local star chef. Lounge seating, bar, heat towers and shade umbrellas make this patio an ideal spot for after-work drinks and dinner. Did we mention there are rotating flavors of house-made soft serve?
Outdoor dining isn’t exclusive to these areas — you can find lovely outdoor dining spots in your own town or surrounding neighborhoods! Check out one of these options the next time the sun is shining late and you’re not yet ready to go inside.
Of course, before you head out to dinner, check to see if the restaurant requires a reservation. Don’t forget to wear your mask and respect social distancing guidelines. Stay safe, be kind, tip well, and have a nice summer!