Scenic Spots for Outdoor Dining in the West

Long summer days and warm nights call for outdoor dining as often as possible.

the Portland, Oregon, cityscape is the backdrop to the spacious patio at Altabira City Tavern, picture
Soak up the sun at these spots across the West.
Courtesy Altabira City Tavern

There’s something about dining outdoors that makes food taste better. Maybe it’s the warmth of the sun. Or the breeze on your back. Or the sight of glimmering stars on a moonless night. At these five unforgettable al fresco spots in the West, food and drink are served with a healthy whiff of fresh air.

the patio at Waterbar in San Francisco, California, set against the Bay Bridge's Bay Lights, picture

Day or night, the patio at Waterbar on San Francisco's Embarcadero provides a stunning backdrop.

Courtesy Waterbar

Waterbar, San Francisco

It’s easy to understand why a table on the heated patio at Waterbar is always in high demand. By day, it provides a breezy perch on the picturesque Embarcadero. By night, it affords a front-row seat to the spectacle of the Bay Bridge illuminated by nearly 12,000 flickering LED lights. “The view is phenomenal and elevated even more by the ambiance of the Bay Lights,’’ says Pete Sittnick, managing partner. The watery view is made for enjoying the seafood-centric restaurant’s bacon-wrapped monkfish or Maine lobster salad with tarragon aioli.

Striped awnings and flower boxes at Poggio's patio in Sausalito, California, picture

Striped awnings and flower boxes add a European feel to the patio at Poggio in Sausalito. 

Courtesy Poggio Trattoria

Poggio Trattoria, Sausalito

Poggio's patio brings European flair to Marin County. With blue-and-white striped awnings, bistro tables, and flower boxes, the patio may not boast a water view, but it’s a cozy people-watching spot. “When the weather warms, the bayside walls at Poggio disappear and the entire restaurant opens onto the patio along bustling Bridgeway Boulevard and Richardson Bay,’’ says restaurant partner Michael Mindel. With a glass of wine and a seasonal pizza—such as the corn and buffalo mozzarella pie with spicy cured Italian meat, gypsy peppers, and basil—it’s mangia at its best.

the plate of brisket with cole slaw and mac and cheese at the Hotel Becket's Ten Crows in South Lake Tahoe, California, picture

In South Lake Tahoe, dig into pit-cooking favorites such as tender slices of brisket with creamy mac and cheese at Hotel Becket's Ten Crows. 

Courtesy Hotel Becket

Ten Crows at Hotel Becket, South Lake Tahoe

Hotel Becket, which recently underwent a major overhaul, is just blocks from Stateline, making it easy walking distance to casinos. After wagering with Lady Luck, take a load off on the patio outside its new Ten Crows restaurant, which faces Heavenly Mountain Resort’s gondola. Alabama-born Executive Chef Trent Bissell, who specializes in Southern fire pit-cooking, turns out St. Louis ribs, smoked pimento cheese, and classic brisket with all the best sides. In the summer, relax with live music and a game of corn hole or ping-pong. “Whether you’re in ski boots or going to a meeting, you can dress as you want—and even bring your pet,’’ says General Manager Gregg Harper.

diners enjoy dinner on the cozy patio at Log Haven in Salt Lake City, Utah, picture

The forest towers above the patio at Log Haven in Salt Lake City. 

Courtesy Log Haven

Log Haven, Salt Lake City

Situated in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and surrounded by wildflowers and waterfalls, this historic log mansion is a sight to behold. Built in 1920 by steel baron L. F. Rains as a summer retreat for his wife, Log Haven is now a favorite restaurant and sought-after wedding venue. “We specialize in romance,’’ says owner Margo Provost. The restaurant is open nightly to serve juniper-smoked elk carpaccio and forest mushroom bourguignon. Patio seating, May through October, offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.