When the sun makes an appearance in the UK, it’s only natural for the masses to flock to any restaurant with an outdoor space. After all, why shouldn’t we also have a little Mediterranean moment? Our sun-kissed continental neighbours can’t have all the fun. With a recent influx of modern, stylish eateries with their own terraces, our summers are no longer confined to the pub garden.
We’ve put together a selection of some of the finest establishments offering al fresco dining, in our opinion. With this list, you’ll be enjoying a delicious dinner in the sunshine quicker than you can say ‘parasol’.
20 Stories, Manchester
Situated on the 19th floor of No.1 Spinningfields in the bustling Spinningfields district of Manchester is 20 Stories, a glamorous restaurant with a sleek bar and a spacious rooftop terrace offering 360-degree panoramic views of Manchester’s skyline. The menu focuses on local ingredients sourced in the Northwest. Developed by D&D London, who have a collection of over 45 diverse restaurants worldwide, the restaurant’s rooftop garden terrace features an outdoor lounge which sits underneath a canopy of trees – some of which are two stories high – a barbeque and fireplaces perfect for al fresco dining.
No 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB
Hockley Social Club, Birmingham
Brought to you by the team behind Birmingham’s iconic Digbeth Dining Club, Hockley Social Club is a food hall, bar, events space and casual neighbourhood hangout. Housed within a 10,000 sq ft former printing factory, the venue offers a full calendar of events including live music every Friday, classical music with the CBSO, monthly comedy nights, and a lifestyle market every Sunday morning. Hockley Social Club has three permanent kitchens on-site plus a rotating monthly resident, two bars and its very own record store.
60 Hampton St, Birmingham B19 3LU
Issho – meaning ‘together’ in Japanese – is a contemporary rooftop restaurant, bar and terrace in Leeds. Found inside the beautiful Victoria Gate centre in the city’s Victoria shopping district, Issho is super modern, with wood-panelled walls and trailings of blossom flowers suspended from the ceiling. The menu was designed by Ben Orpwood of London’s Sexy Fish and draws inspiration from the Japanese word for sharing, as the dishes are designed to be eaten together. Their outside terrace is the ideal spot for summer dining, lined with trees and plush sofas and surrounded by long stretches of city views.
Victoria Gate 3rd Floor Leeds LS2 7AU
The team behind Bombay café, Dishoom, opened their Birmingham site in 2021. Set within the city’s £700 million Paradise development, the restaurant holds 330 covers across its dining room, bar and outdoor terrace area, which overlooks the impressive Birmingham Town Hall. Dishoom’s menu pays homage to the traditional Irani cafés of Bombay, which were known for their warm welcome and ability to bring people together over food and drink. Their outdoor dining area features ‘summer houses’ alongside regular tables. Seating up to six people, the wooden houses are the ideal choice for year-round outdoor dining, and are kitted out with comfy pillows, greenery and a roof to keep the rain away.
One Chamberlain Sq, Birmingham B3 3AX
Petersham Nurseries, Richmond-upon-Thames
Set within an elegant glasshouse a mere stone’s throw from Richmond Park sits Petersham Nurseries Café. With a menu focused on seasonal Italian food and a room filled with lush greenery, Indian blinds and antique furniture and paintings, it is the ideal spot for a refined al fresco lunch.
Church Lane, Petersham Rd, Church Lane TW10 7AB
Ruin Beach Café, Isles of Scilly
Set overlooking Raven’s Porth Beach on the island of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, Ruin Beach Café brings Mediterranean beachfront dining to the UK’s shores with ease. Located less than 30 miles from the Cornish coast and inside a former smuggler’s cottage, the café uses local island produce and a wood-fired oven to create delicious pizzas, alongside roasting succulent meat, fish and vegetables, including top-quality Tresco beef and island-caught fish.
The café has so far been awarded two AA Rosettes, and Conde Nast Traveller magazine included it in their listing of favourite hotels, restaurants, bars and beach clubs from around the world.
Tresco, Isles of Scilly TR24 0PU
Located in the leafy Edgbaston Village suburb of Birmingham, Chapter is a neighbourhood restaurant fronted by Chef Director Ben Tennant. The menu is rooted in seasonality and focuses on using the very best British produce. Their front terrace overlooks the quaint Greenfield Crescent, lined with a newly-placed but thriving independent shopping scene. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, including 5-course tasting menus on a Saturday evening, a mid-morning Saturday brunch and a tasty Sunday roast.
5-6 Greenfield Crescent Edgbaston Birmingham B15 3BE
Parrillan, King’s Cross, London
Parrillan is a terrace restaurant, bar and table-top grill with a stunning view of the Regent’s Canal. Headed up by the team behind Barrafina, the restaurant takes its name from the Spanish ‘parrilla’, meaning grill. With a terrace shaded by olive trees and scattered with striped cushions and chairs, the concept takes DIY dining to a new level, relying on diners using mini tabletop parrilla to chargrill prawns, chicken wings and lamb pintxos. The menu also offers para picar, arroces, soups and stews, and a choice of meat, seafood and vegetables.
Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, London N1C 4AB