The Best Patio Dining in Seattle

The warm weather months are here, so it’s sunglasses on at these al fresco dining spots
Twilight at Westward on the shore of North Lake Union

Serafina/Cicchetti [TAPAS] [GARDEN PATIO] On a secluded patio in a sleepy section of Eastlake, Serafina’s linen-topped tables are surrounded by overzealous plants and glowing white lights. While the chairs are typical patio-style folding chairs (thus, not the most comfortable), this romantic escape can’t be beat for special occasions or an intimate dinner for two. The patio for sister restaurant Cicchetti, which offers a shared-plates menu, sits adjacent to the ivy-covered building and looks out over the neighborhood sidewalk and a sliver of Lake Union. This is a cozy cement patio that feels private and open at the same time. Eastlake, 2043 Eastlake Ave. E; 206.323.0807;

Little Water Cantina [MEXICAN] [WATERFRONT] This is arguably the best cement patio the Lake Union waterfront has to offer—all-day sunlight, affordable Mexican-inspired nibbles (such as the popular carnitas tacos braised in coconut milk and cola), and fresh juice in the margaritas all but ensure cocktails will be free-flowin’ well after dusk. Communal picnic tables offer plenty of seating, which isn’t entirely comfortable (are such benches ever?), but works well for socializing. Eastlake, 2865 Eastlake Ave. E;

Ponti Seafood Grill
[SEAFOOD] [HAPPY HOUR] Overlooking the Ship Canal and Fremont, this secluded patio is well suited for an intimate meal. Surrounded by flowers in bloom and a literal hillside of greenery, the wide patio boasts linen-covered tables that are comfortable enough for long meals and allow for excellent views of the boaters passing below. Try the Hawaiian albacore tartare or a plate of fish and chips for less than $10. Dinner daily. 3014 Third Ave. N; 206.284.3000;

Revel [KOREAN] When the “grill shack”—the outdoor wood-fired barbecue—gets rolling during the summer months, the focus is on the whole beast. Lucky us, as the crackerjack crew turns those nose-to-tail parts into spectacularly savory stuff. It’s like being at the coolest cookout ever. The restaurant’s full menu is available on this long, narrow, elevated deck overlooking a parking lot. Yeah, that part isn’t so cool, but the firepit just outside the lounge kind of balances out the lack of view. This might be just the ticket for those who cannot abide the joyous noise inside. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch and dinner daily. 403 N 36th St.; 206.547.2040;

Uneeda Burger [BURGERS] Picnic tables facing Fremont Avenue are packed with fans of the juicy ground beef patties wearing all manner of topping combos. There’s something magical about the No. 2: blue cheese, caramelized onions and watercress. And those shakes! The dark chocolate and salted caramel is as rich and complex as a vintage Bordeaux. Well, maybe not exactly, but close. Lunch and dinner daily. 4302 Fremont Ave. N; 206.547.2600;

The Whale Wins
[NORTHWEST] The stylish patio facing Stone Way between Fremont and Wallingford flows seamlessly from the light-filled dining room, an extension of Renee Erickson’s newest place. The menu is driven by fire, as most of the cooking is done in the beautiful wood-fired oven. We’re hooked on the whole trout, roasted crisp and cozied up to a citrusy walnut sauce that’ll make you cry for seconds. If you’re in the mood for something fresh, this Whale puts out some satisfying Local Roots Farm veggies, roasted until those natural sugars start to sing. Lunch and dinner daily. 3506 Stone Way N; 206.632.9425;

RockCreek [OYSTERS] [SIDEWALK PATIO] You know you’ve stumbled upon a sunny deck when the staff dips into a communal well of sunglasses just to wait on tables. When the large, Fremont Avenue–facing wall rolls up to let in the sun, the sun takes note and says, “Game on!” You will definitely get your dose of sunshine here, whether you’re inside or out. But outside is a pleasure not to be missed when it’s warm—especially at night when the gas fire pit, which doubles as a communal table, is lit. The ingenious creation comes courtesy of Mike Marian of Marian Built, who is also responsible for much of RockCreek’s interior fixtures. There is also a long wood banquette, wooden tables and metal chairs, which all reflect the restaurant’s rustic, woodsy interior. Fremont, 4300 Fremont Ave. N; 206.557.7532;


Via Tribunali
[PIZZA] [HIDDEN PATIO] The often overlooked back patio at this Georgetown pizzeria is hidden by a very tall, narrow wooden door next to the pizza oven. Outside is a stone courtyard with a communal reclaimed-wood table that seats about 14. Shade and privacy are secured with a wall of plants and branches—that means nobody will notice if you eat two personal pizzas and a plate of caprese all by yourself. Georgetown, 6009 12th Ave. S; 206.464.2880;

Fonda La Catrina [MEXICAN] [SIDEWALK PATIO] This place, in the heart of hipster Georgetown, is usually packed from lunch to dinner, when folks looking for really good Mexican food come to grab a few tacos, cold brews and eat while enjoying the view of the open kitchen, where the tortillas are made by hand and gluten-free. The energy level is palpable. The two-tiered patio is a big one (seats as many as 30), with brightly colored tablecloths covering the wooden tables and appropriate overhead cover from the wind (and low-flying aircraft heading to Boeing Field). Georgetown, 5905 Airport Way S; 206.767.2787;

Le Grand Bistro Américain
[FRENCH] Serving up a thrilling view well worth the cost of crossing the 520 bridge, the two decks of this French bistro are set above Kirkland’s Carillon Point, where white yachts bob on sparkling Lake Washington. At sunset, the Seattle city skyline glimmers. And it serves the best niçoise salad in the city, to boot. Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 2220 Carillon Point; 425.828.7778;