Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

London’s best restaurants for al fresco dining

Al fresco dining at Scott's Richmond in London.

Johnny Stephens Photography

London’s best restaurants for al fresco dining

Discover where to eat outdoors in London with this Fine Dining Lovers guide.
22 May, 2024

When the weather is playing ball and it is sunny and splendid outside, be ready to take advantage and bask. These are among the very best of London’s restaurants for eating excellent food outside.


Potato rosti at Allegra in London.

Sam Harris

One of the most sophisticated, upscale al fresco spots in town, Allegra’s sheltered terrace on the seventh floor of The Stratford hotel is set among an elevated meadow of wildflowers, with water features and sculptures dotted around. Chef Patrick Powell excels in understated dishes of considerable finesse and creative complexity. Unmissable snacks include pistachio choux with liver parfait and preserved mandarin, while standout dishes include mackerel crudo with leche de tigre, preserved lime, tomato, and sea vegetables, and Welsh lamb with stracciatella, zucchini, lemon, and mint. Leave room for a spectacular seasonal mille-feuille or pavlova. There’s also a focaccia terrace menu—the porchetta sandwich is excellent.

Brunswick House

Al fresco at Brunswick House in London.

John Carey

Who would think this grand Georgian house in the middle of Vauxhall’s frenetic gyratory would have a bucolic, wisteria, and vine-covered terrace? Chef Jackson Boxer’s menus always surprise and intrigue whilst borrowing promiscuously. Current temptations include Trombetta zucchini, stracciatella, black olives, pistachio, or chalk stream trout crudo with macadamia, horseradish, and dill followed by wood-fried monkfish with suya butter, grapefruit, and brown shrimp or glazed pork jowl with smoked maple glaze, almond mole, and mojo rojo. The £28 set lunch menu is the perfect urban escape.

The Courtyard at The Corinthia

The Courtyard at the Corinthia in London.

Set among fragrant lemon trees and jasmine, the Corinthia’s Courtyard designed by David Collins Studio exudes a glamorous Cote d’Azur serenity. The deceptively simple Mediterranean menu by Executive Chef André Garrett includes vitello tonnato, pizzette, squid ink risotto with lobster, and halibut with white asparagus, samphire, and grapefruit. The seating is exceptionally comfortable, making for languorous dining.

The Culpeper

A gem in dusty, busy Spitalfields. The pretty, bohemian rooftop growing garden supplies, at the very least, herbal tinctures for cocktails and some salad or heritage vegetables for the menu every day in summer. The Culpepper offers urban gardening workshops and stargazing cocktail evenings; the produce-led menu is simple and gutsy with dishes including cuttlefish with romesco sauce, Ethical Butcher bavette with wild garlic butter and Swaledale lamb merguez with labneh and harissa.

The Laundry

The Laundry terrace in Brixton, London.

Jack Lewis Williams

This huge sunny terrace in the heart of Brixton takes its name from the building’s former occupant, Walton Lodge, an Edwardian steam press laundry. Owner and New Zealand wine specialist Melanie Brown has incorporated many of its original features. The Laundry is a great place for breakfast/brunch—whipped goat’s cheese, with Antipodean feijoa chutney and walnut sourdough is tangy and tasty. There are hearty and reasonably priced Sunday lunches such as classic prawn cocktail, roast pork belly with Yorkshires, apple sauce, and bottomless roast veg and gravy plus a vegan Wellington, always. The welcome is warm and encourages lingering.

Milk Beach Soho

Steak at Milk beach Soho.

Courtesy Milk Beach London

This hidden al fresco oasis in Soho is part of a contemporary redevelopment just off Greek Street. The Aussie influenced menu is eclectic enough to please all diners. Among the snacks, both chili prawn and coconut shallot, drizzled in burnt honey and tamarind dressing and wrapped up in a shiso leaf, and prawn toast with sesame and gochujang sweet n’ sour sauce are favorites. Much of the menu is cooked on the robata grill including juicy chicken yakitori with spring onion, cucumber salad, and goma dare (Japanese sesame sauce), and belted Galloway bone-in ribeye with oyster and tarragon butter. Be sure to order either chicken salt chips or crispy roast potatoes with miso butter, preferably both.

Sam’s Riverside

Parmesan churros at Sam' Riverside in London.

What could be more London than a Thames riverside terrace and a view of the elaborate and still defiantly closed Hammersmith Bridge? There’s a large terrace at Sam’s Riverside and much largesse in the welcome by consummate host, the eponymous Sam. Oysters and seafood platters are specialties besides the kind of dishes that are always welcome when so impeccably cooked, from mussels with lemongrass beurre blanc and Hereford beef tartare to buttermilk chicken schnitzel. There are excellent value set lunches and early dinner offers too.

Scott’s Richmond

The terrace at Scott's Richmond in London.

Johnny Stephens Photography

Enjoy expansive views of the most appealing stretch of the River Thames from the vast terrace of Scott’s Richmond outpost. It may not boast the A-list celebrities, though many do live this way and the menu is as expansive as in Mayfair. There’s seafood and crudo to start or more recherché offerings such as sautéed monkfish cheeks and snails with bacon and bone marrow Bordelaise. Mains range from posh fish and chips with minted peas to Dover sole meunière, and monkish and tiger prawn masala. Both Paris-Brest with pistachio ice cream and strawberry and elderflower semifreddo are perfect summer desserts.


The Seabird terrace in London.

There’s a real holiday, party vibe about The Hoxton’s Seabird terrace restaurant on the 14th floor with palm trees, enticing views towards the shimmering Shard and an awning, just in case. Visit mid-afternoon for decadent martinis and a definitive choice of oysters during happy hour. Otherwise, splurge on seafood and feast on Spanish- and Portuguese-inspired dishes such as octopus brioche roll with pickled red onions, excellent jamon Iberico croquetas, wood-fired XO scallops, lobster rice, and seabass with smoked honey butter and mojo verde, Finish with torrijas (Spanish-style French toast made with brioche) or burnt Basque cheesecake served here with Manchego. Open late.


A dish at Yasmin in London.

DFR Visuals

Originally for members only, the tucked-away, wraparound rooftop terrace at the top of 1 Warwick is an oasis in bustling Soho and a serendipitous spot for a Grand Bazaar sundowner cocktail. Chef Tom Cenci created the menu inspired by his time living and working in Istanbul. Highlights include sumac-smoked duck and grilled corn salad, lamb rump skewer with pomegranate molasses, and za’atar-spiced mushroom skewer with black garlic mayo. The baklava ice-cream sandwich is a must to finish.