Europe’s 10 Best Restaurants for Al Fresco Dining

Featuring casual beachside restaurants serving fresh seafood and off-the-wall cafés with fine-dining locavore menus, our favourite European restaurants with outdoor seating areas are ideal for sun-drenched lunches and al fresco dinners.

Dinner al fresco - if you pick the right time and place, there's nothing like it. We've eaten at friendly, family-run eateries that spill out onto mosaiced piazzas as well as petite, fine-dining restaurants where dinner is served with a psychedelic sunset, a wodge of tumbling greenery and just a dash of old-school formality, to put together this best-of-the-best list for outdoor eating in Europe. Bon appetit.

Eating al fresco: dine in Europe's best restaurants with outdoor seating


Es Raco de Teix

Deià, Mallorca

When it comes to outdoor dining, visitors to Deià are a little bit spoiled for choice. There's the wibbly-wobbly Ca's Patró March down by the water's edge, where the seafood is so fresh you literally watch the fishermen sail in; there's Nama, an Asian-fusion restaurant with heart, run by a tight unit of foodie experts; and there's the super-luxe Belmond La Residencia whose terraces are some of the prettiest in Mallorca. To us, Es Raco de Teix is a cut above. It might be Michelin-starred, but there'll be no pomp or unnecessary formalities here. Food is served on hand-painted crockery and eaten under the flicker of jaunty candelabras. We can't get enough.


Carrer Sa Viña Vieja 6 07179 Deià Mallorca, Spain



Rovinj, Croatia

Okay, Monte doesn't have a terrace or garden per se, but it's undoubtedly the chicest venue in Rovinj - the ideal spot for a special occasion - and feels al fresco thanks to a collapsible glass partition which opens out onto a leafy street-side. If you're looking for a lesson in traditional Croatian fare, you've come to the wrong place. Expect bubbling emulsions, zingy froths and other miscellaneous textures. It's the type of culinary wizardry that makes you want to have a tête-à-tête with the chef afterwards. You'll leave with more questions than answers, but a full stomach and an unforgettable meal.


Montalbano 75 52210 Rovinj Istria, Croatia



Sardinia, Italy

There are two big reasons that we keep returning here time after time. Firstly, the menu is a delectable mix of hearty Italian classics and fashionable seafood crudités, all of it sourced locally. Secondly, it has one of the most enviable terraces in Porto Cervo - one primped with dusty-coloured cushions which, on particularly spectacular evenings, are known to turn a pink-ish coral as the sun sets in the near distance. The only thing that needs improvement? The name. We love a pun, but this is almost too cringe to tolerate.


Via Aga Khan 1 07021 Porto Cervo


Signum Restaurant

Sicily, Italy

The idea that a destination is best uncovered through its food sits at the core of Hotel Signum's open-air restaurant. Designed by the outrageously talented chef Martina Caruso, the menu here changes with the seasons, depending on what fresh grub she and her team can get their hands on. Much like the food itself, the decor is honest and authentic - by which we mean, there isn't any. Signum Restaurant is blessed with a spot looking out over Panarea and Stromboli. Why ruin the view with flower-strewn trellises or garden lanterns? Hear hear.


Via Scalo 15 98050 Malfa Italy


Cala Masciola Restaurant

Puglia, Italy

This seafood restaurant is an outpost of Borgo Egnazia, Puglia's most exclusive luxury hotel which made headlines in 2012 when Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake reserved the entire place for their big, blow-out wedding. While its main restaurant, Due Camini, is exceedingly formal, Cala Masciola has more of a casual swagger about it - dressed with gauzy drapes which flutter in the sea breeze and soundtracked by tinkling glasses of rosé, undercut by gurgling waves. It goes without saying that everything on your plate was caught that day.


Strada Provinciale 90 72015 Savelletri BR Italy


O Dinis Restaurante dos Pescadores

Comporta, Portugal

It might not look like much, but O Dinis is the place to be if you're after a cracking fillet of fish. Given their prime location and captive audience, beachside restaurants can often slump into lazy habits and predictable menus, but the chefs at O Dinis take pride in their craft. Back in the day, this place used to be a humble canteen for local fishermen, the types who knew a good grilled fish when it passed their lips. Though this converted shack now attracts a more diverse crowd, it doesn't take its customers for fools.


Praia do Carvalhal Grândola, Portugal


The Giri Café

Ibiza, Spain

If you've holidayed in Ibiza without popping into The Giri, it's time for a return visit. Pronto. This place is about as charming as hotels come - a pared-back, cosy little boutique number, studded with modernist furniture and tucked away behind the sun-blanched walls of a 300-year-old townhouse. When they say "garden out back", they mean it; The Giri Café's kitchen garden is sprawling. Bamboo canes tangled with runner-beans, leafy troughs of veg and wicker lampshades provide ample distancing between tables so you can tattle away without worrying that your neighbours might be listening in.


Plaza España 5 07810 San Juan Ibiza, Spain


La Baleine Bleue

Île de Ré, France

Located slap-bang in the heart of the quay, La Baleine Bleue delivers sea views and then some. Wherever you're sat, you'll be lucky enough to feast upon an ocean panorama spiked with yacht masts. Food is seasonal and interesting, but not too fussy - think ceviche spliced with peach and watermelon, or roast quail with a smudge of chimichurri sauce and swirly duchess potatoes.


4 Quai Launay Razilly 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré France


Chezz Gerdi

Formentera, Spain

You'll know you're at the right place when you see the humongous, pillar-box-red VW camper van which looms over Chezz Gerdi's entrance. Dare we say it? We think this might be the most fun spot on the island to grab lunch. Expect to find the best bits of Italian and Spanish cuisine whisked into one irresistible menu. By day, this hippy restaurant pulses with DJs and cocktail-toting revellers. By night, the terrace assumes a more ambient feel, with a more grown-up crowd typically settling in for dinner.


Camí s'Abeuradeta, 40-45 07860 Es Pujols Formentera, Spain


La Colombe d’Or

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Forget the food, an afternoon at La Colombe d'Or is all about gorging on priceless works of art. From its garden terrace, you'll spot an Alexander Calder looming over the pool, a Léger mural peeping out from behind a tangle of vines and a Picasso painting or two dotted insouciantly on your way to the loo. Yes, taking lunch al fresco at this arty haven is really a fine-dining and gallery experience bundled into one. If you're not too incapacitated after lunch - which is like an Olympic display of culinary prowess, we should add - hop it to the Fondation Maeght just down the road for yet more modernist art set in beautiful grounds.


Place du Général de Gaulle 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence France

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