Best Al Fresco Restaurant in Boston

2015 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Oleana

Cambridge

Oleana could serve its lush menu from the back of a pickup truck in a parking lot and the place would still draw crowds. Fortunately, Ana Sortun’s ode to all…Read More

2014 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Commonwealth

Cambridge

Commonwealth already had a lot going for it—Full-service market! Parking!—but this spring, the Kendall Square restaurant upped its game further with a sprawling, Broad Canal—facing patio. Anything you order—may we…Read More

2013 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Legal Harborside

Boston

This was a winner in our 2013 Best of Boston Readers’ Poll. See all the 2013 winners…Read More

2013 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Hamersley’s Bistro

Boston

Massive decks and skyline views have their charms, but for a truly romantic meal en plein air, nothing beats the secret-garden feel of the lantern-lit patio at Hamersley’s. Chef Gordon…Read More

2012 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Sam’s at Louis

Boston

We’ve been known, on those perfect 72-degree days, to work an “emergency” business lunch at Sam’s into our schedule. Neither Newbury Street’s sidewalk cafés nor Cambridge’s funky hidden patios can…Read More

2011 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Harvest

Cambridge

Like to eat while on display, with the entire passing world gawking at your menu choices? Pull up a sidewalk seat on Newbury. Prefer to dine discreetly en plein air,…Read More

2009 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

B&G Oysters

Boston

When summer finally arrives in Boston, every restaurant with a patch of sidewalk scurries to put out a few wrought iron tables and hang its ‘al fresco’ shingle. Sure, we’ll…Read More

2009 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Sophia’s Grotto

Roslindale

In a mere four years this precocious trattoria has grown up into an authentic Old World beauty, its cloistered brick courtyard now mature with ornamental trees and grasses and a…Read More

2007 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Tavern On the Water

Charlestown

The spectacular views and lengthy menu—casual staples like chicken fingers, grownup entrees like ahi tuna—at this dockside cafe easily trump any pretentious, cheek-by-jowl patios elsewhere in the city…Read More

2007 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Oleana

Cambridge

We were worried when we heard they were making over our beloved patio at Oleana. After all, it’s the drooping wisteria, fragrant herbs, and sparkling white lights that create the…Read More

2006 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Oleana

Cambridge

If Ana Sortun’s celebrated Mediterranean fare isn’t enough to transport you, her back patio will: Two dozen tables are surrounded by a fragrant garden that blazes with color and, on…Read More

2006 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Martha's Vineyard

Sweet Life Cafe

Oak Bluffs

Ten bucks says if you were asked to imagine your ideal evening of outdoor island dining, you’d pick something with a water view. Oh, naive soul: On the Vineyard, the…Read More

2006 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Casa Romero

Boston

Not many restaurants are willing to dedicate a chunk of valuable real estate for the few weeks that merit outdoor dining. But chef-owner Leo Romero’s mission is to let guests…Read More

2005 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Oleana

Cambridge

Oleana’s candelit garden feels a world away from the bustle of Cambridge. Tucked at a table under the vine-laden trellis, you could easily be in the Greek isles, Turkey, or…Read More

2005 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Croma

Boston

Croma’s patio provides the perfect portion of sun to shade—not to mention delectable thin-crust pizza and fruity cocktails—for everyone from hipsters to stroller-toting moms. The staff is amiable, and the…Read More

2004 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Oleana

Cambridge

Boston has no shortage of outdoor dining options, but for our money, none is as transporting as the backyard terrace at Oleana. It’s a fairyland of flora and fauna—swags of…Read More

2004 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Garden of Eden

Boston

Few summertime pleasures are greeted as enthusiastically in this town as the chance to dine outdoors. But even considering the growing abundance of patio cafés, Garden of Eden stands out…Read More

2003 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Armani Cafe

Boston

When it comes to sidewalk repasts, it’s been years since we felt the call of Newbury Street—too much pretense, not enough table space. But something is very back about the…Read More

2003 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Upscale

Oleana

Cambridge

The backyard patio of Oleana puts chef Ana Sortun’s superb North African- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine into context. Visually, the area is stunning. A weave of red brick is the canvas…Read More

2002 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Casa Romero

Boston

If you think outdoor dining in the Back Bay is only about people-watching, take a detour to this hidden enclave off Gloucester Street. The restaurant’s tiles are direct from Puebla,…Read More

2002 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Upscale

Oleana

Cambridge

Most outdoor dining in Boston consists of nothing more than a few cramped, wobbly tables set up hastily on the sidewalk along a traffic-choked street. But not at Oleana, a…Read More

2001 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Ben’s Café

Boston

The meal deal at Maison Robert is the prix fixe menu in Ben’s Café, which is most enjoyable eaten outside. Three courses of French classics are available for $18 or,…Read More

2001 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Harvest

Cambridge

With the doors at UpStairs at the Pudding closed, we’ve turned to another gem for outside dining. Just sitting in Harvest’s enclosed, shaded garden patio off Brattle Street provokes daydreams—and…Read More

2000 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Gourmet

Up Stairs at the Pudding

Cambridge

Cantabrigians had another reason to delight in the annual opening of the patio at Up Stairs at the Pudding this year: a makeover. But don’t worry, this Hall of Famer…Read More

1999 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Up-Stairs at the Pudding

Cambridge

Every springtime, Cantabrigians count the days until the Pudding’s gorgeous terrace opens, decked out as it is with pink table linens and fabulous flowers. Tiny, recessed Christmas lights add to…Read More

1998 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Casa Romera

Boston

Sure, there are sunnier sidewalks, lusher rooftops, more serene patios. But the courtyard of this legendary Mexican restaurant takes the prize for casting a magical spell over the evening. For…Read More

1997 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Upstairs at the Pudding

Cambridge

The minute you step out of the high-ceilinged dining hall and onto the lush green patio, you will be transported to another world. Sip a cappuccino amid roses and bougainvillea;…Read More

1996 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Upstairs at the Pudding

Cambridge

What could be more romantic, on a soft summer evening in Cambridge, than dining under the stars in a lovely rooftop garden, with flowers and herbs blooming all around? Of…Read More

1994 Best Al Fresco Restaurant, Chic

Emporio Armani Express

Boston

Armani has refined the alfresco lunch to high art. Simple but very good food served with panache, at prices that are astonishingly reasonable. So grab your Armani sunglasses (they’re de…Read More

1984 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Tigerlilies

Boston

The food here may not be the greatest, but the setting is so charming, you’ll think it is…Read More

1979 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Le Beau Geste

Cambridge

Enjoy the most elegant gourmet lunch around on the cozy outdoor terrace. Less than five dollars. Only in operation for a few months, Beau Geste offers nouvelle cuisine from Madeleine…Read More

Most Viewed Winners of Restaurants & Food

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  • Oleana, 2015 Best Al Fresco Restaurant

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