London’s 12 best outdoor dining spots

There is a different vibe to the city during the warmer months, with Londoners quick to embrace a spot of alfresco dining. But sizzling days are few and far between in the capital, and restaurants have adjusted accordingly. From rooftops to winter gardens, London has an outdoor dining scene fit for all seasons and occasions. 

Whether you’re after a terrace bar when the sun’s out or dinner with a view cosied up next to the outdoor heater, the following spots have you covered when it comes to outdoor dining and top-notch food.

 

The Churchill Bar & Terrace (Marylebone)

The Churchill Bar & Terrace London

Credit: The Churchill Bar & Terrace

The Churchill Bar and Terrace (which is named after Winston Churchill) sits inside a Hyatt Regency and is just a stone’s throw away from Oxford Street. Its terrace area puts diners right in the heart of the action, offering a front-row seat to central London while serving a mixture of nibbles and small plates, such as manzanilla olives, sweetcorn ribs, charcuterie and crispy halloumi. A team of skilled mixologists is on hand to shake up cocktails such as the be hive with gin, pollen, hibiscus mead and honey. 

 

Caravan (King’s Cross)

Caravan Kings Cross

Credit: Caravan Kings Cross

Housed in a Grade-II listed Victorian grain store, Caravan Kings x was the first restaurant to open as part of the King’s Cross partnership development just behind St Pancras. Diners can visit for any occasion, including right before trips to Paris via the Eurostar. The outdoor terrace is one of the highlights with its fountain installation and outdoor heating for the colder months. Go for breakfast on a Sunday morning and indulge in vanilla pancakes, bacon chop with bubble and squeak or hot-smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. 

 

Big Easy (Canary Wharf)

Big Easy London Outdoor

Credit: Big Easy

Big Easy is often the first option for diners craving some good old-fashioned southern food from the States, thanks to its now-iconic barbecue offering. There are five Big Easy locations in the capital, including Canary Wharf. Here, outdoor dining offers sweeping views of the London skyline while you tuck into home-smoked meats such as brisket and pulled pork. There’s also blues music playing in the background, serving diners with a slice of southern Americana. 

 

The Rooftop (St James’s)

Set on the seventh floor of Trafalgar St. James’s, The Rooftop is one of the few restaurants in London designed around outdoor dining. Sure, indoor dining is available, but diners come here to sit outside and are happy to pay the higher price (£50 per head as opposed to £35 for indoor dining) for the experience. An outdoor table at The Rooftop offers views of Trafalgar Square alongside a European-inspired menu that changes seasonally with dishes like chicken Caesar salad and a rib of beef burger served on a brioche bun. 

 

La Goccia (Covent Garden)

La Goccia London Restaurant Outdoor

Credit: La Goccia

La Goccia — owned by the Boglione family of Petersham Nurseries fame — is located in Central London and known for its al fresco dining. Small sharing plates are on the agenda, with baby squid, wood-fired chicken with butter, and honey-glazed carrots and parsley all featuring prominently on the menu. The outdoor terrace is tucked away from the bustle of central London, offering diners their own little peaceful oasis right in the heart of the capital.

 

Madison (St Paul’s)

Madison has quickly established itself as one of the best outdoor dining spots in London, thanks to impressive views across The City and an American menu heavily influenced by the food scene in New York. The New York brunch comes in two or three courses and serves dishes like chicken and waffles alongside champagne. Expect a wide variety of dishes at Madison, such as barbecue monkfish, spicy duck and ‘nduja meatballs and a selection of steaks. And let’s not forget the Instagrammable views, which cover landmarks such as St Paul’s and The London Eye. 

 

Emilia’s Crafted Pasta (St Katherine Dock)

Emilia's Restaurant London

Credit: Emilia’s Crafted Pasta

St Katherine’s Dock is a unique area in London, where restaurants and shops meet against the backdrop of a marina featuring quaint boats and luxury yachts. One such restaurant is Emilia’s Crafted Pasta, where you can grab a table outdoors and take in views of the dock while choosing from a wide variety of pasta options such as the smoked salmon carbonara, the slow-cooked béchamel bolognese or the homemade ravioli. 

 

Radio Rooftop (Covent Garden)

From the Shard and St Paul’s to the London Eye and Big Ben, sights stretch far at Radio Rooftop. Located in the ME London building in Covent Garden, this spot offers a seasonal, locally-sourced menu with dishes such as grilled prawns with an herb sauce, aubergine rigatoni and Chilean sea bass with white miso. It’s a popular joint after working hours: diners often end up dancing between tables to an upbeat playlist while bartenders pop a bottle or two of champagne. 

 

8 at The Londoner (Soho)

8 at the Londoner London Restaurant Outdoor

Credit: 8 at the Londoner

8 at the Londoner is an elegant izakaya in Soho serving up modern Japanese fare on the Londoner Hotel’s rooftop. The a la carte menu has dishes such as beef tataki and lobster tempura, while the Shima Garden menu has gyoza tacos with wagyu and spicy avocado options. Diners looking to take advantage of the 8’s extensive drinks menu can choose from Japanese whiskies, sake and cocktails, such as the vanilla Manhattan. 

 

Grow (Hackney)

Hidden away in Hackney Wick, Grow serves a menu inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. With its views of the River Lea, the outdoor area is one of the main reasons diners come to this spot in a converted sausage factory. Dishes like roast garlic hummus, chicken shish kebab and a lamb mince kebab are all served alongside live music and spoken word performances. 

 

Kinkao (Isle of Dogs)

A riverside location in the Isle of Dogs makes Kinkao the ideal spot for a bite to eat outdoors. This Thai restaurant has a menu with options like sua rong hai, a seared beef dish that’s served on a hot stone plate. Impressive views mean diners can enjoy meals with a front-row seat to the River Thames. 

 

SUSHISAMBA, (Bishopsgate)

Sushi Samba London Restaurant Outdoor

Credit: SUSHISAMBA

With the highest outdoor dining area in Europe, SUSHISAMBA features 360 degree views of London. Located on the 38th and 39th floor of The Heron building, the outdoor space offers a tranquil setting with a photo-worthy structural orange tree on the west terrace that illuminates at night. The menu is a fusion of Brazilian, Peruvian and Japanese dishes, and diners can expect small plates including grilled meats like churrasco and pork belly Peruvian skewers with butterscotch miso, as well as nigiri, sashimi and sushi options.