The Best Restaurants in London With Outdoor Seating

Find the best places in the capital for al fresco eating
Find the best places in the capital for al fresco eating | © Imageplotter / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nicholas Grantham
11 November 2020

There’s no better way to take in the atmosphere of London than by eating al fresco amid the hustle and bustle of the city. From canal-side cuisine on the River Lea in Hackney Wick, to dining on the rooftop of the South Place Hotel, the capital has no shortage of excellent outdoor options. Here are some of the best.

Barge East

Restaurant, British, $$$
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Offering a truly unique experience, Barge East can be found on the River Lea in Hackney Wick. Built into a Dutch barge that’s over a hundred years old, the restaurant was one of the country’s best-rated restaurants in 2019 and continues to build its impressive reputation. The outdoor seating is decorated with atmospheric festoon lighting and with beautiful views over the water, offers a very romantic setting. The moderately priced menu is a mix of modern British and European flavours, but for the best experience, head down on a Sunday to try their traditional roast.

Eat of Eden

Restaurant, Caribbean
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Found in the bustling Brixton Village, as well as various other locations around the city, Eat of Eden is an excellent choice for al fresco dining south of the river. With an entirely vegan menu inspired by Caribbean and European flavours, the restaurant is passionate about offering food made with love. A great spot to visit with friends, the seating can be found both inside and outside the market space. With delicious individual meals also available, be sure to try the sharing platter, which gives you the chance to try a little bit of everything.

Duke of Edinburgh

Gastropub, British, $$$
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Boasting one of the biggest beer gardens in South London, the Duke of Edinburgh, between Brixton and Clapham, is a huge hit during the summer. With tables spread out across a large outside area and the train line running just overhead, this is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon with a group of friends. Instead of the usual pub food offering, you’ll find the extremely popular White Men Can’t Jerk pop-up, cooking up their take on traditional jerk recipes and even a weekly jerk-inspired Sunday lunch.

Smokestak

Restaurant, BBQ
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An east London staple, Smokestak is a mouth-watering barbecue joint with an ample outside area, offering a huge selection of grilled and wood-smoked meats. The restaurant also offers a selection of four dishes for a very reasonable price, meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunity to try the whole menu.

The Angler

Restaurant, British, Seafood, $$$
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This Michelin-star restaurant on the rooftop of the South Place Hotel offers guests unparalleled views of the city as well as excellent locally sourced seafood. With a menu put together by the lauded executive chef Gary Foulkes, it makes the most of seasonal offerings and specially selected produce. From the outside terrace you’ll be treated to an excellent look at the city’s skyline, with a retractable roof and heaters meaning you can have an amazing experience all year round.

The Greenhouse

Restaurant, French, $$$
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One of the best dining spots in London, the Greenhouse, in the heart of Mayfair, gives guests an upmarket outdoor experience. Currently holding two Michelin stars, the restaurant serves a selection of exquisite French cuisine put together by some of the best chefs in the city. As the name suggests, the outdoor seating is set amongst an impeccable green space; it also features original artworks by acclaimed sculptor Emily Young. This restaurant is definitely one of the pricer options on our list, but is a great choice if you’re looking for something special.

These recommendations were updated on November 11, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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