Summertime and the Eatin’ is Al Fresco in San Francisco

Here's our top 5 picks for the best spots to enjoy the weather while you dine

The patio at Starbelly has an all-American sterling star décor and dark wood finishes giving it a rustic, industrial vibe.

“Will you be eating inside or outside?”

Warmer days and nights provide the perfect excuse to eat on the patio on your next dining adventure! Summer is approaching and that means more outdoor adventures like sailing in Sausalito, hiking at Twin Peaks, and of course, more “al fresco” style dining in the city.

“Al fresco” is an Italian term referring to dining outdoors. San Francisco is full of some of the most renowned and trendiest restaurants, most of which feature a picturesque patio with vibrant umbrellas, floral arrangements, and hanging lights. San Francisco may not have the warmest weather but hey, heat lamps exist for a reason.

Here is a list of the Top 5 al fresco dining hot spots in San Francisco to check out this summer:

1) Starbelly – 3583 16th St (Castro)

Starbelly embodies a sense of camaraderie mixed with a hint of casual comfort. It has a modern, laid-back, yet friendly ambiance. It features a year-round patio along with a large communal table. In fact, if you have a large party, the entire patio is all yours. There's something for everyone with its locally sourced menu which offers brunch, lunch, and dinner. This eatery's Californian comfort food pairs well with its outdoor simplicity. Not to mention, Starbelly’s thirst-quenching sangria is a must. Did someone say summer birthday bash?

2) Foreign Cinema – 2534 Mission St (Mission)

Foreign Cinema is more than just a restaurant, it is truly an experience to cherish. Yeah sure, it’s got the aesthetically pleasing open courtyard, dim hanging lights, and a scrumptious selection of cocktails and grub, but Foreign Cinema even projects a classic movie every night as you eat, drink, and be merry. Movie critics are especially welcome. Fun fact: Foreign Cinema makes its own homemade specialty pop tarts so do not miss out on brunch in the patio either!

3) Water Bar – 399 The Embarcadero (Embarcadero, South Beach)

Tucked beneath the breathtaking view of the Bay Bridge, Water Bar is a must go for seafood lovers who also enjoy waterfront and Bay Bridge views. Can it get any better than this? Yup — think daily $1 oyster happy hours paired with a glass of chardonnay — don’t mind if we do. You can even see Treasure Island from the upper deck patio (it’s a 2 story patio), but it is not really necessary when you’ve already discovered the treasure of Water Bar itself. You’re welcome.

Check out the top 100 best places to dine al fresco.

4) Dirty Habit – 12 4th St (SoMa, Union Square)

Dirty Habit features a heated year-round rooftop along with a toasty outdoor fireplace, water fountain, and plenty of booty space with its contemporary couches and sophisticated seating arrangements. It has that modern charm to it with its wooden finishes and sleek black couches. The food choices pair perfectly with the vibes, varying from charcuterie to foie gras to thick cut fries and unique desserts. Next time you’re staying at Hotel Zelos, be sure to check out the 5th floor of the hotel (aka Dirty Habit) before stepping out for a night in the city. Gotta pregame the pregame!

5) Biergarten – 424 Octavia St (Hayes Valley)

Still saving up for this year’s Oktoberfest in Germany? Have no fear, Biergarten SF is here! It is like having Germany in your very own backyard. Biergarten is not your ordinary beer garden. From delicious German goodies, beer, hanging lights, and communal picnic tables, Biergarten even offers blankets for those chilly nights. What more could you possibly need? Imagine getting bundled up with a warm blanket with an ice-cold beer in one hand and a large pretzel in the other enjoying the outdoors… Auf Wiedersehen, Germany!


For more must-try foodie hot spots, dining, and travel news in San Francisco, click here.