The Best Al Fresco Dining in LA
Los Angeles provides the perfect year-round climate for outdoor dining. Al fresco meals can be romantic and provide the perfect setting for stargazing. Here are some options the next time you find yourself in the City of Angels.
Located in the heart of Beverly Hills in the Four Seasons Hotel, the modern Culina offers guests the option of dining at the authentic crudo bar, inside in the urban rustic spacious dining room or outside on the garden patio. The al fresco dining area features beige and yellow low chairs and comfy banquettes amidst a living wall of succulents and a modern fire and water fountain. The crudo bar serves a variety of raw seafood. Pastas range from a decadent carbonara or hearty rigatoni with fennel sausage and roasted garlic and pizzas include mozzarella and tomato sauce or proscuitto burrata and heirloom tomatoes over a thin wheat crust. Main courses include branzino, monkfish, lamb, veal and steaks.
The Polo Lounge
Home to Hollywood royalty and the world’s rich and famous, the 73-year-old Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel recently re-opened after a two-month restoration. Inside, the design reflects California’s relaxed lifestyle with green and white stripes, dark paneled walls and historic photos. The outdoor patio space houses hundreds of draped twinkling lights, round cozy booths circling intimate tables with new heat lamps, a new sound system and vintage lamps. Diners can still enjoy classic menu items including the famous McCarthy Salad, steak tartar, spaghetti carbonara, Sonoma lamb chops, poached turbot and their signature chocolate soufflé as well as seasonal special.
The Little Door
Past two large non-descript wooden doors lies the enchanted indoor/outdoor restaurant, The Little Door. The patio is the largest of four adjacent dining areas and houses a Koi pond, eucalyptus and bougainvillea trees, rustic iron chandeliers, a tiled fountain and a dark wood bar. The neighboring winter room features a retractable bamboo ceiling which opens for stargazing on clear spring and summer evenings. The piano and blue rooms provide smaller indoor intimate dining areas with stained glass, wood floors, fireplaces, and orange and blue walls. The French-Mediterranean inspired menu includes duck liver and port wine mousse, spicy tuna tartar, filo wrapped pork tenderloin stuffed with figs and green almonds, lamb stew, and roasted monkfish wrapped in pancetta.
Head to the beach for a laid back romantic al fresco atmosphere and classic contemporary cuisine at the legendary Michael’s. Ask for a patio table to enjoy lush landscaping under the Santa Monica sky. Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto creates seasonal dishes from the neighboring farmer’s market along with special farm to table cocktails including the French Revolver with grapefruit, fennel, absinthe, gin, sage and dill and the Kari Kari with Meyer lemon, grapefruit, red pepper, basil, jalapeno and whiskey. Menu highlights include raw oysters, wild mushroom and black truffle pizza, Michael’s burger with duck fat onions and wild Alaskan halibut.
At Coast, diners can enjoy al fresco eating and a view of the Pacific Ocean. Located on the bottom level of the Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica, the beachside patio area houses a dozen tables and a few cozy booths surrounded by twinkling overhead lights and crawling ivy. On Wednesdays, Coast offers a $29 special farmers market dinner highlighting the best ingredients from that day's local market. Highlights include the roast beet and goat cheese salad, lobster roll on potato bun with aioli, San Francisco Cioppino, and fish and chips.