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Food + Drink

London's Best Terrace And Rooftop Restaurants For Al Fresco Dining

The weather in London is finally warming up; spring is here and the skies are lighter for longer. Make the most of it with dinner and drinks at London’s best al fresco restaurants and bars. 

Including fresh, handmade pastas in Italian-style terraces and Iberian seafood restaurants perched atop hotel rooftops, here are our favourite al fresco dining spots in London to enjoy this weekend and all summer long.

©David Robson

Yasmin, 1 Warwick Soho

Opened in Spring 2023, 1 Warwick is Soho’s vibrant yet boutique new member’s house, where colourful velvets and sleek woods make for stylish interiors and a welcoming ambience. Climb six floors and you’ll find the newly opened Yasmin by executive chef Tom Cenci. Middle Eastern sharing plates take centre stage here, promising lots of flavour, colour, and a relaxed atmosphere – all you need for a slow afternoon of al fresco dining with friends. Menu highlights include sumac cured salmon with smoked yoghurt, a za’atar-spiced mushroom skewer and a baklava and pistachio ice cream ideal fod cooling down on a sunny day. Food aside, the panoramic views of London’s bustling Soho, are worth stopping by for a quick post-work aperitif or late-night cocktail.

Seabird, The Hoxton Southwark

With interiors just as beautiful as the panoramic views of London you’ll have access to from Seabird’s expansive terrace at the top of The Hoxton, this restaurant is a feast for the senses. Although firmly positioned amongst London’s iconic skyline, Seabird whisks you away to coastal dining with its seafood-focussed menu. You’ll find all the flavours of Southern Europe from Oyster Happy Hour serving a selection of fresh oysters with the cocktail of the month (currently a Bombay Sapphire or Grey Goose Martini), sea trout ceviche with blood orange and sweet potato, grilled octopus, and Lake District beef. However, there are delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes too including an asparagus paella and his cabbage with white beans – it’s set to be a crowd pleaser. The menu is served all day, though book a terrace table for early evening to watch the sun set over the horizon.

The Berkeley Rooftop Bar

The Berkeley’s rooftop, poolside bar made waves in London last summer for opening up a beautiful space usually only reserved for guests. Atop the chic five-star in the former 1700s coffee house building is the rooftop pool and bar, where seasonal spritzes and iced Granitas are served waterside for cooling aperitifs.  For food, try a selection of the seasonal Mediterranean small plates including mushroom and truffle maki rolls and yellowfin tuna tartare. With the vibrant parasols and striped sun lounges the colours of the French Riviera pierce through London’s horizon making The Berkeley one of the city’s most covetable al fresco summer spots.

© Rebecca Hope

JOIA, Battersea

Perched atop the incredibly chic art’otel in London’s new hotspot, Battersea Power Station, is JOIA, the Portuguese restaurant by chef Henrique Sá Pessoa. Daring flavours, colourful interiors involving lots of pinks – found on the seats and walls – mixed with oranges and greens, beautiful ceramic pieces, and even the hotel’s rooftop pool make for a bustling ambience regardless of the season, but especially when the sun appears. When it comes to the menu, the two-Michelin head chef is leading the way to the Iberian coast and back with his Seabass Crudo served with green oil vinaigrette and the very traditional Bacalhau à Brás which is a salted cod with shoestring potatoes. Spanish and Portuguese classic appear on the drinks menu too with signature wines and vermouths from lesser-known Iberian producers. JOIA, meaning ‘jewel’ in Portuguese, is a London gem shining bright in London’s al fresco dining scene.

© Milo Brown

Dovetale, Mayfair

On the ground floor of London’s chicest, sustainability-focussed 1 Hotel Mayfair, find Dovetale, the restaurant where two Michelin star chef Tom Sellers moves through the seasons with his menu. Focussing on market-sourced foods, the restaurant’s menu is customised to regional and seasonal ingredients to ensure a mindful approach to the environment but also optimal flavours, textures, and colours. Dishes are cooked over the grill – both fish and meat – and there is an extensive vegan menu too championing white asparagus, celeriac, and wild mushrooms. To trial a lovely range of the menu, try the two or three course set menu. For an after work or pre-diner aperitif, a couple of oysters and a cold cocktail at the raw bar are a perfect way to settle into a warm evening. Seating 36 guests and enshrouded with greenery, the terrace is an intimate affair, perfect for a quiet and romantic summer date night.

Sessions Arts Club, Clerkenwell

Perhaps one of London’s most Instagrammed restaurants – and rightly so – the stunning and wonderfully romantic Sessions Arts Club has been the centre of London chatter since it opened in 2021. With its pastel hued, fading walls and tall arching, the Grade II listed building is at once a restaurant, bar, and art gallery with regularly changing artworks. While the interiors capture the hearts (and cameras) of all visitors, the rooftop bar and garden is equally as elegant with green seating and crisp white parasols. Previously headed up by former head chef Florence Knight, the restaurant has just re-opened with their new spring menu with dishes and flavours just as elegant and enchanting as always. From mammal artichoke and verjus to duck rillette served with pear, this restaurant doesn’t wait for a special occasion but makes one when you dine there.

Bacchanalia Mayfair

While Bacchanalia may boast one of London’s most exciting restaurant interiors (Martin Brudnizki, of course), you’ll want to grab a spot on the terrace of this fine Mayfair establishment, inspired by the ancient wonders of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Semi-enclosed with potted plants, you can still peek out to stylish passersby walking from Berkeley Square towards London’s stylish Mount Street. All whilst feasting on the Greek-Mediterranean menu set over several courses of sharing options from the new Spring a la carte menu. Kick off with the tzatziki and babaganush with crudités as you sip on a Meteroa (Patrón Silver & Reposado Tequila, The Lost Explorer Espadín Mezcal, grapefruit, vanilla, spices, milk whey, Prosecco). Move onto the Keftedes (greek-style meatballs, tomato relish, smoked yoghurt), a small sharing plate of the devon crab linguini, perfectly refreshing and citrusy, and finish with the salt-crust sea bass. We’re just not sure you’ll have room for dessert. This is one for the gram. Inside, outside, plus the food.

Luca, Clerkenwell

Luca, the incredible (and now Michelin-starred) Italian restaurant in London’s Clerkenwell borough dishes up the best of both worlds: British seasonal ingredients including high-quality turbot from Cornwall and lamb from the Hebrides served with an Italian lens. Each ingredient shines in these dishes, especially the olive oil, produced by La Fornace for Luca, so much so that you’ll want to leave with a bottle and will be happy to hear that you can in fact do so. Just ask the waiter at the end of your meal.  If you’re struggling to decide between the antipasti, prime, and second – each as delicious sounding as the next – we suggest The Chef’s Tasting Menu for a six-course journey through the dishes starting with parmesan fries and ending with a perfectly-whipped tiramisu to enjoy either inside under candlelight or at Luca’s beautifully tiled outdoor terrace for the summertime al fresco experience. 

Flute in Broadwick Soho

For a sunny respite from bustling Soho head seven floors up in the independent hotel Broadwick Soho to Flute where you’ll find a colourful terrace just like the jovial interpretation of a traditional, British lounge Broadwick offers inside. This wraparound rooftop terrace is a hidden paradise in central London, with sweeping views across London and a very friendly, relaxed environment.  The menu exhumes a similar vibe with indulgent takes on classic dishes including charred hisbi cabbage with salsa rossa and Hereford rib eye steak with brown butter Bearnaise and fries. Just like the interior designs, the cocktail menus caricature the classic with black fig margaritas and vodka palomas. The list of cocktails is never ending and is changed regularly by the dynamic bar staff meaning you’ll always have an excuse to return. There are lots of non-alcoholic options too, sure to satisfy everyone’s sunny day tastes.

Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

Welcome to floral court, where a quick turn down a narrow street in one of London’s busiest shopping districts, Covent Garden, leads you to the peaceful Petersham Nurseries Floral Court. An elegant outdoor courtyard which connects the florist, the deli and the cellar – and only when the weather clears up and starts to warm do they bring out the tables from the restaurant and offer their dining al fresco. Combining both British and Italian elegance the courtyard is an oasis of calm, connecting you to nature and a beautiful place to sit outside, stay for a while and enjoy the weather – while it lasts. From pastries to pasta or indulge in a cheese board with a bottle of wine from the cellar. Pretend it’s your own private back garden, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Nic Crilly-Hargrave

TT, Shoreditch

Formerly an ex-Oren (Eastern Mediterranean sharing-plates) head chef, Sam Lone leads Shoreditch’s new restaurant TT which, previously known as TT Liquor now welcomes its new permanent restaurant. Here, pickled produce and wood-fired dishes from the outdoor kitchen’s Asado-style grill and wood fired oven form the menu of sharing plates. While there is enough excitement in the dishes to keep you entertained, the retractable roof welcomes the warmer weather heading our way and elegantly frames the sweeping views of London’s edgy eastern borough, perfect for a sunny weekend dining.

Lead image credit: Luca, Clerkenwell.

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