The Best Patio Dining in Seattle

The warm weather months are here, so it’s sunglasses on at these al fresco dining spots
Marination Ma Kai in West Seattle

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; 206.397.4940;

Anthony’s HomePort Edmonds
[MARINA WORTH THE DRIVE] Why here: Four-course dinners are just $21.95 before 6 p.m. weekdays. There’s a sandbox near the patio to entertain kids at the more casual Beach Café downstairs, where lunch is served only. Best table: A corner spot on the deck upstairs affords views of the marina and Puget Sound beyond. What to order: Go for uncomplicated with the Chop Chop seafood salad, packed with fresh crab and bay shrimp, plus avocado, egg and tomatoes, and topped with basil vinaigrette. 456 Admiral Way; 425.771.4400;

The casual café and nearby sandpit at Anthony’s HomePort Edmonds and Beach Café

Hotel Sorrento [NEW KID ON THE BLOCK] Why here: The Sorrento’s revamp, completed this spring, added a new bar and stylish furniture to the Fireside Room, plus a revamped restaurant (good-bye, Hunt Club; hello, Dunbar Room). But it’s the new outdoor dining space built into the former circular driveway, with its imported French café chairs and gorgeous (and huge) magnolia planters, that beckons most this time of year. Eat: Oysters on the half shell, steamed mussels in a tomato and sausage broth, and avocado toast with fresh Dungeness crab. Drink: The Old Cuban, a bubbly summer sipper with prosecco, rum, bitters and mint. Extras: The fire pit area features custom bench seating made using reclaimed mahogany and built—as was the rest of the patio space—by Michael Marian of Marian Built. 900 Madison St.; 206.622.6400;

[BEACHY RETREAT WITHOUT THE SAND] Why here: The equation is ceviche plus rum drinks equal summer, which is exactly what’s on offer on Manolin’s pergola-shaded patio, just to the left of the front door. Eat: Yes, order the ceviche to start. But the dynamite dish here is the steak with caramel-like colatura (caramelized anchovy sauce). Trust us! Drink: The quaffable Columbus—tequila, apple and fizzy celery soda—is in the running for the drink of the summer. 3621 Stone Way N; 206.294.3331;

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] Why here: It’s a scene. First, drop by Revel’s adjoining bar, Quoin, for a cocktail by the fire pit as you wait for a table. And when it’s time for dinner, move to the back deck, which is lit with strings of white lights—still close, but slightly removed from the action. Best table: Any table along the side deck is nice, but for a quieter seat, sit farther away from the fire pit. What to order: The Lazy Gardener, with cucumber, gin, mint and Rachel’s ginger beer, goes perfectly with the savory creative Korean menu. (Don’t miss the corned lamb salad with spicy nuoc cham dressing.) 403 N 36th St.; 206.547.2040;

Uneeda Burger [BURGERS] Why here: Bring the kids and the grandparents. Everyone loves the hand-formed, Columbia River Reserve beef burgers at this upper Fremont hit, where a covered patio is open for lunch and dinner. Best table: There are picnic tables inside, but to bask in the sun, opt for one of the six tables outside the big garage doors (which are opened up in fair weather). What to order: We adore the lamb burger, truly original with its topping of Manchego, fried lemons and cilantro, but even the most basic burgers are stellar; they come with pickles, lettuce and tomatoes, and are a bargain at just $5. 4302 Fremont Ave. N; 206.547.2600;

Joule/the Whale Wins
[CROSSING BORDERS] Why here: The powerhouse patios at Joule and The Whale Wins are separated by a sidewalk leading to the shared entrance of the neighboring restaurants. But the overall feeling is happily communal, as patrons on both sides of the aisle take full advantage of the fresh air on a beautiful day. Eat: Start with the sardines on toast at The Whale Wins, continue with the tender octopus in bacon vinaigrette at Joule. Drink: Try the aperitif of the day at Whale Wins, then opt for the 35 Stone Buck bourbon cocktail at Joule. 3506 Stone Way N: Joule, 206.632.5685,;
and Whale Wins, 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]Why here: Georgetown’s best Mexican restaurant has a fun, funky and, thankfully, big backyard patio that’s shaded with sailcloth, lush with climbing vines and decorated with colorful tablecloths. In summertime, it’s margarita central. Best table: They’re all good and all very popular, so expect a line on a sunny day. What to order: The Fresca, a spicy cocktail of tequila, chiles, cilantro and pineapple juice, along with camarones al mojo de ajo (shrimp with garlic butter). Or anything with mole; this is one of the few places in Seattle that makes a good one. 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;