From rooftop terraces and riverside balconies to hidden courtyards and outside restaurants in parks, there are plenty of places to eat outdoors in London. Find the best outdoor restaurants London has to offer in 2023 below.
Best London rooftop restaurants
Head up to the 14th floor of The Hoxton, Southwark hotel and gaze out at the stunning views from Seabird, a seafood restaurant with one of London's longest oyster lists. Enjoy the selection of sea-to-table offerings, including Mediterranean-inspired small plates plus treats from the plancha and charcoal grill.
Where: Southbank (14th Floor, 40 Blackfriars Rd, London SE1 8NY)
Enjoy views over the City of London from a different perspective at Coq d'Argent and its penthouse on top of No. 1 Poultry. The venue's stylish roof terrace and beautifully manicured gardens make it an ideal upmarket alfresco destination. Once you've taken a few photos, choose from a menu of classic French dishes with contemporary flavours.
Where: Bank (No.1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ)
You can see London landmarks for miles around from Sushisamba London's terrace with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Perched on the 39th floor of 110 Bishopsgate, it's one of the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe. Sample fusion cuisine combining flavours from Japan, Brazil and Peru at this stylish restaurant that has some of the best views in London.
Where: Bishopsgate (Heron Tower, Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY)
Step into the glass lifts at One New Change and head up to the rooftop at Madison to enjoy unrivalled views over St Paul's Cathedral. Snap away at stunning panoramas of London's skyline while feasting on sharing plates, burgers and more from the Manhattan-style eatery.
Where: St Paul's (Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, London EC4M 9AF)
Take in the cool vibes at Pergola Paddington, which changes its line-up of food traders, drinks and decor each season. Tucked away behind Paddington Station, this lively hangout is sure to be a hit again this summer. You can even order food straight to your table using its app.
Where: Paddington (5 Kingdom St, London W2 6PY)
Lost in Brixton
Have your fill of some of Brixton's best food at rooftop hotspot Lost in Brixton. Grab a Latin-inspired cocktail and take a spot among the jungle decor, while you pick from dishes at Brixton Market eateries such as Rudie's Jerk Shack, Jalisco and Okan –all delivered straight to your table via an app.
Where: Brixton (Brixton Village, Coldharbour Ln, SW9 8PS)
Boundary Rooftop boasts a large rooftop terrace, with an outdoor bar, grill restaurant, and designer garden with grape-producing vines. With 360-degree views over Canary Wharf, The Gherkin and the rooftops of east London, the terrace also has a weatherproof pergola, allowing it to stay open all year.
Where: Shoreditch (2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD)
Best London outdoor restaurants
Discover Hush tucked away in a quaint courtyard in Mayfair. Unwind in the restaurant's laid-back alfresco dining area – which is usually based around a theme each season – and while away an afternoon or evening with its seasonal food and drink specials.
Where: Mayfair (8 Lancashire Ct, London W1S 1EY)
Bleeding Heart Bistro
Soak up the sun as if you were in the south of France at Bleeding Heart Bistro in Farringdon. Choose from rustic French classics and daily specials to enjoy in the large courtyard, alongside a selection from the wine list – from predominantly French wineries, of course.
Where: Farringdon (Bleeding Heart Yard, London EC1N 8SJ)
Sprawling Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant & Castle comes complete with a micro-brewery and a huge outside area, where you can sit down to eat your selections gathered from the many stalls; from vegan delights to steaks, cakes and ice cream.
Where: Elephant and Castle (42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR)
Settle down for all-day, seasonal specials surrounded by flowers and foliage at Bloomsbury hangout Dalloway Terrace. A haven for Instagrammers due to the eye-catching displays on its outdoor terrace, this modern British restaurant is an alfresco hotspot year-round, thanks to blankets, furs and heaters during the cooler months.
Where: Bloomsbury (16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN)
Find a seat among the sprawling tables at Milk Beach. Brunch is served all day in this Aussie-themed spot, or enjoy seasonal sharing plates or speciality coffee. Choose from the organic and natural wines from independent winemakers while you unwind.
Where: Queen's Park (19-21 Lonsdale Rd, London NW6 6RD) and Soho (Ilona Rose House, Manette Street, W1D 4AL)
Experience private dining in a unique outdoor space at The Greenhouses in the grounds of One Marylebone. The collection of greenhouses are beautifully decorated and are ideal to hire for celebratory dinners, romantic occasions and family gatherings.
Where: Marylebone (One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, NW1 4AQ)
London waterside restaurants
OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie
Venture up to the top floor of The Oxo Tower and be treated to show-stopping views from the terrace of OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie. Indulge in afternoon tea, settle down to a laid-back lunch or make it a special occasion with a tasting menu as you gaze across the Thames at St Paul's Cathedral.
Where: Southbank (Barge House St, London SE1 9PH)
Taste some of the most authentic Michelin-starred Italian food in London at River Cafe. The menu at this Hammersmith icon changes daily, but don't miss the here-to-stay decadent chocolate nemesis cake. This pretty riverside garden restaurant in London gives a real flavour of the Mediterranean.
Where: Hammersmith (Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London W6 9HA)
Serpentine Bar & Kitchen
Watch the world go by from the banks of the Serpentine in Hyde Park at Serpentine Bar & Kitchen. Sit out on the waterside terrace and enjoy an outdoor brunch, wood-fired pizza and British classics such as fish and chips; or simply pick up sandwiches or ice creams for a picnic.
Where: Hyde Park (Serpentine Rd, London W2 2UH)
Alfresco restaurants in London by area
Eat in the shadows of one of London's most iconic landmarks at new outdoor food hall BattersEats. Merging with the existing outdoor dining terraces at Battesea Power Station, the lively food hall covers two alfresco spaces, with table service from the likes of Cinnamon Kitchen, Tonkotsu and Megan's.
Where: Battersea Power Station (Circus Rd W, SW11 8AL)
St Christopher's Place and Oxford Street
Head just off Oxford Street and you'll find an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and coffee shops at St Christopher's Place. The area boasts one of London's largest concentrations of pavement dining, from pizza at Homeslice and ramen at Bone Daddies to Italian fare at Harry's Bar.
On Oxford Street itself, take a break from shopping at Selfridges to fuel up on Italian fare in top-floor terrace restaurant .
Heddon Street and Regent Street
Explore peaceful Heddon Street, a hidden gem just off iconic shopping spot Regent Street in London's West End. This pedestrianised foodie hub is home to a range of outdoor restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay's Heddon Street Kitchen and Italian eatery Piccolino.
If you still have room for dessert, reserve a spot on the Cakes & Bubbles terrace at nearby Hotel Café Royal. Albert Adrià's Insta-worthy creations can be paired with a glass of champagne for an extra-special treat.
Carnaby and Soho
Get a bite to eat from one of Kingly Court’s eateries and sit in its charming courtyard off Carnaby Street. Venues with outdoor seating include brunch spot The Good Egg, ramen gurus Shoryu Carnaby and mezze marvels Imad's Syrian Kitchenn.
Covent Garden and The Yards
Relax and refuel between shopping in one of the many Covent Garden outdoor restaurants. Spoilt for choice, choose from multiple alfresco seating areas spread across seven streets, including Japanese-Brazilian fusion at Sushisamba, modern French fare at Frenchie and Italian cicchetti at La Goccia at Petersham Nurseries.
Explore more options in the pedestrianised Piazza and don't miss The Yards, a collection of open-air courtyards home to mouth-watering mezze at Maison Bab and must-try signature corn tacos by Temper.
St James's and Leicester Square
Historic St James's is renowned for its stylish fashion, but it also applies to its foodie hangouts. Swanky all-day restaurant 45 Jermyn Street is a great place to people-watch from its outdoor tables. Or soak up the buzzing atmosphere of nearby Leicester Square, where Mexico meets Peru in the form of small plates at Leicester Square Kitchen's covered terrace.
If it's views you're after, order European-inspired summer small plates including cider poached chorizo and crispy prawns, or sharing platters and vegan dishes, and gaze out over Trafalgar Square from The Rooftop at The Trafalgar St James.
Mayfair and Belgravia
The South Bank has plenty of places to watch the world go by on the river. Tuck into award-winning Mexican street food served from recycled shipping containers at Wahaca at Southbank Centre. Or head up a few levels for panoramic views from Skylon, which serves modern British dishes on its suntrap of a terrace.
A short walk away, 12th Knot at Sea Containers London offers relaxed light bites and cocktails with views over the Thames.
Greenwich and the Docklands
Riverside Greenwich is a great place to relax outdoors. As well as pubs with beer gardens, many of its restaurants have outside areas. Lose yourself on Greenwich Kitchen's leafy terrace with views of The O2.
Just across the river, Scoff & Banter, Royal China and Gaucho steakhouse are among the alfresco options in Canary Wharf; while Browns and Manhattan Grill await in West India Quay.
Dine among former Victorian coal stores at Coal Drops Yard, with its glut of outdoor dining spaces. Find views of Regent's Canal on the terrace at Spanish-style Parrillan, or watch the sun set as you nibble on wood-fired fare at Hicce.
Pair seasonal dishes with panoramic canal views at The Lighterman on nearby Granary Square, or head to Lewis Cubitt Square to sample Italian delicacies at Lina in Piazza.