The Top 10 Spots For Al Fresco Dining In Boston

Benjamin M. Smith

Eating al fresco on a cool night in midsummer is necessary to get the most from the Boston eating experience. We pick 10 of the best restaurants for dining in the fresh air in this lively city.

Boston 2010

1. Eastern Standard

Eastern Standard

This impressive Kenmore Square institution has some of the best al fresco seating in Boston. The outdoor patio at Eastern Standard is the most contested spot in the city for brunch, giving prime opportunities to people watch on the cobblestone of Commonwealth Ave. Try their Bloody Mary with quiche Florentine for brunch, or their whiskey smash and grilled flat iron steak for dinner.

Eastern Standard, 528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-532-9100

2. Fairsted Kitchen

Restaurant, American

Located in one of the best food destinations in Boston, Brookline’s Washington Square neighborhood, Fairsted Kitchen offers a sense of hospitality unmatched in the area. Featuring an outdoor patio with inviting festival lighting, this restaurant has pulled out all the stops to make you feel at home. Their menu inspires French and Mediterranean flavors.

3. Bronwyn


There are few places more welcoming than a German-style beer garden. Bronwyn, a new addition to Somerville’s Union Square, is one such place, where wheat beer, pretzels, and delicious tubular meat abound. Head to Bronwyn for an impressive list of central European beer, some of the best schnitzel and kraut in Boston, and an atmosphere no lighter than the food, yet just as fun and inviting.

Bronwyn, 255 Washington St, Somerville MA, USA, +1 617-776-9900

The Salty PigAngels on Horseback | © Lana/WikiCommons

4. The Salty Pig

Restaurant, Charcuterie, Market, Italian

Wedged between Boston’s Back Bay and South End neighborhoods, The Salty Pig offers some of the best charcuterie in the city. Everything is cured in house, with popular offerings including a 16-month aged prosciutto di parma, and a lamb neck merguez with harissa, sumac, and garlic. Don;t forget to try one of their pizzas too for that perfectly airy yet chewy crust. More importantly, take advantage of their spacious outdoor seating and grab some friends, as the social food of this restaurant makes for an enjoyable evening outdoors.

5. Commonwealth Market & Restaurant

Restaurant, Cafe, Market, American, Contemporary, Gluten-free, Vegetarian

With a recent patio addition facing the Broad Canal, the Commonwealth Market & Restaurant is fast becoming one of the best rest stops in Kendall Square for a bite to eat. Dishing up farm-inspired food from reputable vendors like Maine’s Pineland Farms, Commonwealth Market is known for sourcing some of the best meats and cheeses in the northeast.

6. Oleana

Restaurant, Mediterranean

Oleana deserves special mention for its outdoor scenery. Serving Turkish and Mediterranean food in an outdoor patio set with a fountain, an herb garden, a fig tree, heat lamps, and overhead festival lights, this restaurant promotes an outdoor dining experience close to none other in Boston. Grab a couple of small plate offerings from the vegetarian tasting menu, or opt for one of their many delicious shish plates for a hearty dish to satiate any hungry local or tourist.

7. Bistro du Midi

Bistro, Restaurant, French

Located in the Back Bay and offering some of the best views of the Public Garden in the city, Bistro du Midi is a great place to stop for the tastiest Provençal-style seafood in Boston. The cozy French bistro-style seating bordering the sidewal makes the outdoor dining experience all the more quaint, although the views of the Public Garden are far from it.

8. Harvest

Diner, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan

For a restaurant just off of Harvard Square, Harvest offers one of the best-hidden outdoor seating areas in Boston. Enjoy the fresh air at this Cambridge institution, where top quality French and American classics have been served for over 40 years. Local favorites include the garlic and lemon crusted tuna and the chicken roulade; and for desert, the taza chocolate cremeux is hard to beat.

9. Russell House Tavern

Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine, Beer, Cocktails

Russell House Tavern
Courtesy of Russell House Tavern

Comfortably set away in an alleyway beset by hanging flowers and overhead festival lights, the outdoor seating at Russell House Tavern offers an intimacy rare in urban restaurants. With a great view of Harvard Square, this restaurant dishes up some of the best contemporary American cuisine in the city. With small plates galore, look to split the steak tartare and pork trio with your carnivore buddy, and watch the world go by from one of the best vantage points in Boston.

10. Canary Square

Bar, Restaurant, American

Canary Square exterior
Courtesy of Canary Square
Canary Square is Jamaica Plain’s best place for outdoor eats. With both sheltered and unsheltered outdoor seating, this is a great place to come enjoy delicious re-imaginings of classic American food. This restaurant makes fantastic sandwiches and burgers, but be sure to try the mac and cheese with bacon and truffle oil as an essential side dish.

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