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

Loretta’s Northwesterner [PUB] A logging tavern from the 1930s, this treasure south of Seattle has maintained a loyal following of adoring fans since before it was considered cool to drink Rainier, Hamm’s and Lucky Lager. With a high roof made of clear tiles, wood paneling and local brewery relics keep this place rooted in history, and the Airstream on the back patio continually draws in new customers looking for a bar that’s full of character (and characters). Order the classic Tavern burger (a pint-size cheeseburger) for $3 and settle in for a while.South Park, 8617 14th Ave. S; 206.327.9649;

[WATERFRONT] [HAPPY HOUR] With an expansive northward view over the entirety of Lake Union, the cement deck at Daniel’s is a go-to for summer boaters and water lovers. New-this-June wicker-style chairs and a couch and custom-made tables with ceramic tile and wood trim offer views of yachts and sailboats, making it all the more pleasant to dine on Daniel’s signature surf-and-turf offerings. The deck wraps around the back of the restaurant, has tall glass walls for wind protection and is open to all ages—all the better for partaking in happy hour prices with the kids on a sunny afternoon. And Eastsiders take note: the Bellevue Daniel’s also has a new, glassed-in perch attached to their 21st floor restaurant in the Bank of America Building (10500 NE 8th, 21st Floor) which is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of just how green this “City in a Park” is. South Lake Union, 809 Fairview Place N; 206.621.8262;

Row House Cafe [LUNCH OASIS] Why here: You’d never guess from looking at it, but this sweet, ramshackle house turned café in South Lake Union boasts one of the sunniest and most relaxing (and biggest!) back decks in the neighborhood. Best table: Choose any table with a red umbrella, for shade.  What to order: The panzanella salad, with fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, garbanzo beans and lots of torn basil is perfect for hot weather. 1170 Republican St.; 206.682.7632; 

[PUB] This U District fixture is best known for its sports bar vibe, stellar lineup of micros and outstanding sausages served in its expansive space, but there’s a deck out back with a dozen tables and a soothing gazebo-like feel that falls into hideaway territory. If you subscribe to the school of thought that eating something spicy cools you down on a sizzling afternoon, try a bowl of the fabulously fiery gumbo, made from scratch, and chill. Lunch and dinner daily. 4114 University Way NE; 206.548.9461;

Liam's [AMERICAN] One of the newer restaurants in U Village from the man who brought us Beecher’s, this corner spot, which is kitty-corner from QFC (and just down the block from Din Tai Fung), has one of the cutest and most functional indoor patios around. During the colder months, the logs are stacked and the gas fire is roaring. But when the weather turns warm, the electric walls are raised to create a gazebo-type environment that includes a wood floor and party lights strung overhead. Order one of the incredibly fresh salads, such as the Dungeness crab cob, for a full dose of vitamin D. University Village, 2685 NE 46th St.; 206.527.6089;

Agua Verde Paddle Club & Cafe [WATERFRONT] [MEXICAN] Why here: It puts the quintessential Seattle summer spin on dinner, preferably eaten on the popular patio, though even the indoor seats at this homey restaurant are breezy. Eat: Bacalao tacos (beer-batter-dipped Alaskan cod with cabbage and avocado sauce) get a delicious boost from the selection of house-made salsas. Turn your night into a scene from a rom-com, with a paddle around Portage Bay in a kayak built for two (rentals downstairs). Drink: You can’t go wrong with a classic margarita on the rocks. Extras: Much of the patio is covered, though a recently expanded alfresco dining area sits 30 to 40 with full sun exposure. University District, 1303 NE Boat St.; 206.545.8570;

[NORTHWEST] Shaded by umbrellas and surrounded by shrubs and potted herbs, this space has a hidden-garden feel even as traffic whizzes by on North 45th. Sip a glass of rosé while considering Maria Hines’ organic, locally focused menu—it will be a challenge to choose. Fortunately, there are tasting menus of different shapes and sizes, including a sophisticated lineup of vegan fare and gluten-free apps and entrées. Be part of the brunch bunch and you’ll be rewarded by the fluffiest French omelet this side of Paris. Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. 1411 N 45th St.; 206.633.0801;

La Rustica
[ITALIAN] A destination restaurant for most, this stalwart West Seattle restaurant has been turning out Italian dishes made by a husband-and-wife kitchen collaboration for years. In summer, the patio—bedecked with white, wrought-iron Italianate furniture and homey plants—is a quiet spot to linger over authentic pasta and hearty entrée offerings while taking in the view of the Olympics and both Blake and Vashon islands. Dinner Tue.–Sun. 4100 Beach Drive SW; 206.932.3020;

Salty’s [WATERFRONT] [AMERICAN] The deck here maintains its legendary status once the sun shows its face during the warmer months. Here’s a chance to sit on a sun-drenched wraparound deck and take in a cold beverage and a seriously stunning, picture-perfect view of the Seattle skyline. The sea breezes and warm evenings make nibbles such as blackened fish tacos, oven-roasted nachos and beer-batter-dipped steak fries taste even better. West Seattle, 1936 Harbor Ave. SW; 206.937.1600;

Marination Ma Kai
[WATERFRONT] [HAWAIIAN-KOREN] Why here: We’re addicted to Hawaiian-Korean food—think Spam musubi and kimchi rice bowls with fried eggs. Marination’s everyday prices belie the million-dollar Seattle skyline view across Elliott Bay. Plus, the roomy, casual patio with orange umbrellas is open all day. Eat: Extra-crisp fish ’n’ chips with crave-worthy miso tartar sauce. Drink: The sweet-tart lychee margarita goes down easy in high summer. Insider tip: Stop by for breakfast (daily, starting at 9 a.m.): Loco moco, the Hawaiian classic rice/fried egg/hamburger/gravy mash-up, is on the menu! 1660 Harbor Ave.; 206.328.8226;

Fireside at Willows Lodge
[NORTHWEST] [GARDEN PATIO] Even if you’re not a guest at Willows Lodge and just want to partake in a glass of wine (some of the smaller wineries in Woodinville are represented here), you will be welcomed with open arms. Nibbles such as an artisan cheese flight and other snacky things are on offer, courtesy of Barking Frog across the way, and best enjoyed on one of the most beautiful backyard patios on the Eastside, complete with fire pit, couches, Adirondack chairs and the sound of a trickling waterfall. Woodinville, 14580 NE 145th St.; 425.424.3900;

The Hollywood Tavern [EASTSIDE COOL] Why here: When Woodinville wine tasting calls for sustenance, there’s no better outdoor pit stop than an Adirondack seat at the stone-lined fire pit (similar to the brilliant pit at Westward) between The Hollywood Tavern and neighboring Woodinville Whiskey. Eat: Mabel’s fried chicken sandwich, an ultra-crispy, well-seasoned, unpretentious nod to the previous longtime tenant, Mabel’s Tavern  Drink: Stick with anything brown from the next-door distillery, even something as simple as one of the house-infused whiskey shots and a schooner. Extras: Lawn games 14508 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE; 425.610.7730;

This story has been edited since its original publication.