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.

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


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


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


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


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

Discover More
The Platinum List: The Restaurants Worth Travelling For