With most businesses closing due to the pandemic, restaurants were sadly hit hard. The future of the culinary industry seemed dim after learning the virus is more easily spread indoors, but there was one saving grace: outdoor dining. In Boston, restaurants were allowed to enroll in a “Temporary Outdoor Dining Program.” Under strict social distancing guidelines, restaurants could extend seating onto public sidewalks and create their own makeshift patio.
Now you may be thinking, “what will happen when the weather gets colder?” Well, Mayor Walsh recently extended the program through December 1, so you have plenty of time to get some outdoor dining in before it closes, just make sure to wear layers!
After spending the summer in Boston, I have been on an outdoor dining streak, both at permanent patios and the temporary ones. With thorough research tried and tested, I’m here to share a complete guide to the hottest (and most delicious!) outdoor dining spots.
Lulu’s Allston offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week on their patio behind the restaurant, but where they really shine is in their brunch menu. With a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, it satisfies anyone’s preference. From their Breakfast Cereal Shooters to their Tomato Basil Benedict, it’s the perfect spot for brunch with the girls or a nice breakfast with your parents.
It seems that almost every restaurant on Newbury St. has jumped at the opportunity to extend onto the sidewalks (making it extremely hard to find parking, but that’s a whole other story). With plenty of options to choose from, Saltie Girl won my top pick. Everything on the menu is delicious, but my personal favorite is their oyster selection. Upon receiving the menu, the waiter also presents a list of the daily fresh oysters from all over North America. The restaurant has taken over their sister restaurant, Met Back Bay’s, outdoor space as well as their new sidewalk terrace, so there’s plenty of space to spread out, eat, and people watch.
Eataly has been a staple in the Prudential Center since 2016. This summer, Il Patio di Eataly joined the four other very popular restaurants and marketplace. Although the restaurant may be small and right in front of the most iconic building in Boston, it truly is a portal straight to Italy. Il Patio di Eataly has recently made their transition to their fall menu with beautiful decorations to match. It is the perfect late-night romantic date spot!
Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria opened their new rooftop before the pandemic hit. Luckily for them (and for us!) it was the perfect size for social distancing and dining. If you’re looking for fun casual dinner and drinks, look no further! With Chipotle-style service, quickly create your own dish, or pick one off the menu, and head upstairs to try one of their famous margaritas and enjoy the great vibes.
Cisco Brewers is originally a brewery in Nantucket, but they have pop-up locations throughout New England, one of them being smack in the middle of Seaport. Cisco Brewers Seaport has created a beautiful outdoor environment that almost makes you forget you’re in the city. They have partnered with Oath to offer delicious pizza and salads that partner perfectly with Cisco’s own craft beers and wine. Oh, and they also welcome your furry friends!
Similar to Newbury St., all over the North End, restaurants have added a huge amount of outdoor terraces. Walking down Hanover St. now feels like strolling through Europe. With or without outdoor seating, my absolute favorite restaurant in this area is Trattoria Il Panino. Coined “Boston First Original’s Trattoria,” it truly lives up to the title. No matter what you order, you are sure to receive a delicious meal. They probably have the largest outdoor extension in the North End as their street terrace extends all the way around the corner restaurant, so if you’re hungry and looking for a quick bite, you’ll definitely find a seat.
Unlike Trattoria Il Panino, Mare Oyster Bar’s outdoor section has been a part of the restaurant for quite some time now. With low lighting and multiple firepits, it’s a great fit if you’re looking for a chic spot in the North End. Although they specialize in seafood, everything they offer will blow you away!
Don’t forget, you only have until December 1st to take in all the outdoor dining Boston has to offer. We all know Fall passes with the blink of an eye, so you better get there before it begins snowing!