Let’s Take it Outside: Dining Outdoors

McCloone's Pier House patio at sunset.

McCloone’s Pier House patio at sunset. Photo by Dottie Cooper.

The nation’s capital has really lucked out with a temperate winter, and a rather cool spring, but as the thermometer rises from warm to warmer, some metro area restaurants scream summer! This Fabulous al Fresco Dining roundup is designed to serve as a source of information for DC area diners looking for Washington, DC area restaurants with outdoor or patio seating. For ease, the guide is divided by state (D.C., MD, VA) and locations are listed alphabetically.

If your favorite spot isn’t listed, feel free to comment below.

Washington, DC

701 Restaurant – In Penn Quarter, 701 has a dozen or more tables on their outdoor patio inviting patrons to linger over lunch or dinner prepared by the talented executive chef Ed Witt. Enjoy sweeping views of the Navy Memorial Fountain with a tranquil view in the heart of downtown DC. Outdoor tables may be reserved. 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202.393.0701

Acadiana – Part of the Passion Food Hospitality Group restaurants, Acadiana specializes in Cajun, Creole, and Southern flavors. The dishes represent various cooking techniques from the colorful ethnic areas spanning southern Louisiana, serving up the rich and complex flavors – the roux, the remoulades, the bisques, and the etouffees for which the region is known and savored. Dappled sunlight breaks through the shade on the quiet K Street side of this contemporary Louisiana fish house, as Cajun music plays softly in the background and a cheerful clinking announces the arrival of buckets of beer at your table. Whether at lunchtime or for the Friday afternoon seafood boils [not available inside!] any one of the tables gracing Acadiana’s northern sidewalk, accommodating 60, offers the most relaxing seat in the house. 901 New York Avenue, NW; 202.408.8848

Ardeo + BardeoArdeo+Bardeo is located in the historic neighborhood of Cleveland Park. This neighborhood gem, offers an intimate roof terrace. While it’s good for the overall sensation of eating outdoors; however, there is no view but enjoy being outdoors, none the less. Their Outdoor tables may be reserved. 3311 Connecticut Ave.,NW; 202. 244.6750 Link to Dining Review:

Aria Trattoria Fresca – One of Downtown D.C.’s largest outdoor patio bar and restaurants conveniently located at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, just steps away from the Federal Triangle Metro station. This spacious setting feels like a relaxed neighborhood hangout. Enjoy happy hour with nightly drink specials, full-service menu, and live entertainment. Aria Fresca is open Monday through Friday beginning at 4 p.m. *Their pizza is excellent! 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202.312.1250

Art and SoulRrecently named one of the Best New Restaurants in DC by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, this celebrated two-time James Beard Award winning Chef Art Smith as chef/owner serves up southern inspired regional cuisine while showcasing fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Executive Chef, Wes Morton works closely with Chef Art and with local purveyors, farmers and vendors to bring guests the finest and freshest foods available. The chefs’ mission is to provide patrons with Food for the Soul – food made with love and special attention with southern-style hospitality. Enjoy the large open outdoor dining including Crabs and Beer on Wednesday nights. My favorite dishes are the Chesapeak Bay Fry which is a plate of fried oysters, clams, calamari, shrimp, okra, with a duo of sauces; the PO’ OYSTER, which is not a sandwich, like most po boys, it’s a plate of fried oysters drizzled with a spicy remoulade on top of romaine. The cesar salad is also very good – I even ate the anchovy. The seasonal smoked rockfish with capers is delish. Their seasoned french fries are some of the best in the biz. Kid friendly! See Review here. 415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202.393.7777

Asia Nine Bar and LoungeLocated in the Penn Quarter Neighborhood with a view of downtown, Asia Nine’s design draws inspiration from different Asian cultures. Jewel tones and rich woods envelop guests with a warm and exotic atmosphere. Chef Rod (Boonrod Yotmanee) incorporates elements of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and Vietnamese including a full service sushi bar, bar & lounge. Enjoy their sidewalk cafe with bright red covered umbrellas for shade. 915 E St., NW; 202.629.4355

Asian SpiceThis colorful modern dining room decorated in bright jewel tones, offers Asian inspired dishes that the restaurant insists is produced with only the freshest and finest ingredients on their artfully crafted menu. Relax and enjoy fresh sushi and an array of Asian cuisine on their seasonal outdoor patio. 717 H St., NW; 202.589.0900

Beacon Bar and Grill – Located in Washington, DCs bustling Dupont Circle, the restaurant combines a festive, high energy two story high lounge, an open air patio, as well as an elegant dining room reminiscent of a 1930′s ocean liner providing a sense of upscale casual dining. One of the summer’s seasonal attractions available at the Beacon Bar & Grill is it popular roof-top Beacon’s Sky Bar. The popular alfresco cocktail lounge features spectacular views of the Dupont Circle neighborhood, Embassy Row and expanses of the city skyline in the heart of Washington, DC. The lounge features creative and unique martinis and cocktails with innovative light fare. Open Wednesdays to Saturdays: 1615 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202.872.1126

Belga CafeCredited as the original Belgian restaurant in Washington, DC. Belga is a great place for authentic Belgian food and Beer. Combining an intriguing atmosphere with excellent, light & healthy interesting food, Belga Cafe is a little bit of Brussels on the Hill, with an open kitchen and sidewalk cafe. Enjoy a delicious lunch, weekend brunch or dinner on our sun-soaked terrace. They have 7 tables available on a first come first served basis. Saturdays and Sundays brunch is served with a Belgian waffles and chocolate theme. Located near the Barracks row neighborhood: 514 8th St., SE.; 202.544.0100

Blue Duck TavernDine al fresco on Blue Duck Tavern’s glorius terrace. Escape into the outdoor oasis while enjoying wholesome American fare prepared through simple, time-honored cooking methods such as roasting, braising, preserving and smoking. This contemporary neighborhood tavern evokes the warmth and convivial setting of a residential kitchen and gathering place. The restaurant welcomes guests with an open staff pantry and kitchen, complete with a wood-burning oven, as well as the showpiece custom-designed commercial Molteni range, crafted in France and the first of its kind in Washington, D.C. Handcrafted furnishings and heavy, uncovered wood tables keep the restaurant warm and contemporary, offering a welcoming dining experience. Loacted in West End at 1201 24 St., NW; 202.419.6755

Bombay ClubThis gourmet Indian restaurant offers authentic Indian cuisine in an adaptation of the Ayurvedic tradition. The elegant environment with pale pastels, ceiling fans, and a profusion of greenery is designed to create a warm and inviting gathering place for relaxation and regeneration. The cuisine is the finest of India, utilizing only the best quality ingredients to create a harmony of subtle flavors. Specialties prepared by Executive Chef Nilesh Singhvi, include tandoori salmon and green chili chicken. Also a great option for Vegetarians. The sophisticated cuisine is enhanced by refine service and live piano music. Enjoy al fresco dining in an elegantly casual atmosphere. Outdoor tables may be reserved. 815 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202.659.3727

Brasserie Beck- A cheerful canopy of massive blue umbrellas and woven bistro seating brings a distinctly European joie de vivre to the corner of 11th and K. Belgium is the bold-faced theme of the stylish casual hot-spot seating 70, with tempting charcuterie and shellfish signatures such as Wild Mushroom Mussels, and new-comers, Whole Roasted Boneless Trout and Salmon en papillotte. With its own bar featuring four dedicated beers on tap, you can plan on staying on the sidewalk for a while. 1101 K Street, NW; 202.408.1717

Burger, Tap & Shake - At the bustling Washington Circle location of BTS, the newest member of the Passion Food Hospitality family, guests can get their people-watching fix in the thick of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Enjoy handcrafted Burgers and Milkshakes, boozy Shaketails, and select American beers in retro orange chairs at stainless steel tabletops. 2200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202.587.6258

CabanasOffering upscale, authentic Latin American flavors on the scenic Georgetown Harbour. Coupled with the option of dining inside the handsome restaurant or outdoors overlooking the fountains, Cabanas cuisine features savory Ceviche, Spanish Paella, and several specialty cocktails including Frozen Mango Margaritas. Enjoy sitting in a private “cabana” overlooking the fountains of Georgetown’s popular, Washington Harbour. Outdoor tables are offered on a first come, first served basis. 3050 K St., NW; 202.944.4242

Cafe Du Parc Just footsteps from the White House, you’ll be instantly transported to Paris with authentic wrought-iron furniture and bright blue umbrellas. Start the day off right with a cafe au lait and pain au chocolat. During the warmer months enjoy the use of 2 separate seating areas, our terrace located on Pennsylvania Avenue & our Courtyard located between the Willard Hotel & the Willard Business Center. Bon Apetit! 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202.942.7000

Cafe Dupont – Sit, relax, and enjoy the colorful Dupont Circle scene while indulging in the palate-pleasing bistro-style menu of Cafe Dupont. After the senses are satisfied, boogie next door to Bar Dupont and hop onto one of the bright orange comfy outdoor couches. With space for over 70 outside, Bar Dupont is the most coveted neighborhood gathering place on the Circle. Great for people watching and mingling with the young hipster crowd. 1500 New Hampshire Ave., NW; 202.797.0169

Cantina Marina, a place that you’d expect to find in Miami, a fun waterside bar with draft beers in plastic cups and Jimmy Buffett playing on the speakers. It’s a place to go and have a margarita and watch the sun move over the water. Enjoy authentic Cajun dishes, such as, the gumbo, catfish, and po’ boys or try the Baja-California-style tacos. Their Crab balls, which are a cross between croquettes and crab cakes are a must have. 600 Water St., SW; 202.554.8396

Equinox - Enjoy contemporary fine dining with a view of DC landmarks from an outdoor patio or glass-walled atrium while enjoying some of the seasons best flavors from the mid-atlantic region. Restaurateurs Todd & Ellen Gray have offered the very best of local, seasonal and sustainable food to Washington, DC area diners for more than a decade. 818 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-331-8118

Hank’s Oyster Bar - The popular outdoor patio, which seats 22 for weekend brunch and dinner, is often filled with patrons feasting on Chef Leeds’ selection of freshly shucked oysters, clams and her famous Lobster Roll. Hank’s Oyster Bar also offers a variety of hand-crafted cocktails. 1624 Q St., NW; 202.462-HANK (4265)

J&G Steakhouse - Located in the W Hotel, J&G Steakhouse’s outdoor patio is now open for al fresco dining and cocktails featuring new lunch, afternoon, and dinner menus. The 90-seat patio with expanded seating, and lounge areas with elegantly modern fire pit cocktail tables is open noon to 10:00pm, Sunday through Thursday, and noon to 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday. 515 15th Street, NW; 202.661.2440

Johnny’s Half Shell – This award-winning seafood restaurant located on Capitol Hill, walking distance from Union Station, has an open-air, roof-covered terrace with a large bar and comfortable seating for 125 people. Using organic produce, poultry, meat and sustainable seafood, Johnny’s continues to delight Washington, DC area diners with its seafood specialties and strong drinks. With lively jazz and blues playing in the background, three happy hours Monday through Friday and free validated parking nightly (Hall of States Lot-E Street entrance, between N.Capitol Street and New Jersey Ave.), the Half Shell is rocking the Hill. 400 North Capitol St. NW; 202.737.0400.

Marcel’s - Elegant yet relaxed, the patio space flanking the entrance to one of the city’s most beloved special occasion restaurants transports you to a seat along the bustling sidewalks of Le Champs Elysee. Seated along Pennsylvania Avenue, in fact, you’ll be offered the bar menu – but make an evening of it and exercise your option to order from the complete dinner menu of Robert Wiedmaier’s award winning cuisine – a secret cherished by locals in-the-know. 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW;202.296.1166

Masa 14 rooftop at night. Photo by Michael Palmer.

Masa 14 - Check out Masa 14′s brand new rooftop, with lots of chic dark wood, and elegant lighting fixtures. It even has its own kitchen, menu, and bar. Masa 14 is a unique restaurant that marries Latin and Asian flavors. The Crunchy Rooftop Handroll resemble ice cream cones, but packs in the flavor with pico de gallo, shrimp, a tangy lemony aioli, and is finished with crunchy chili tortilla strips. Or try the delicious Rising Sun, a plump Kobe beef hotdog, glazed with teriyaki. and topped with wasabi, furikake (sushi sprinkle), and finely-diced pickles. Wash it down with a lighter version of the mojito using half of the normal sugar, Mojito Modesto. 1825 14th St., NW; 202.328.1414

Poste Modern Brasserie - In the heart of Penn Quarter, located in the luxurious Hotel Monaco, Poste offers guests an opportunity to dine in the outdoor courtyard within their own garden. About 20% of what the restaurant uses is grown in the garden, including heirloom tomatoes, herbs and strawberries. 555 8th St., NW; 202.783.6060

POV Atop of the swanky W Hotel, Point of View (POV) offers excellent bites and sips with a remarkable view of the White House, Washington Monument, and many other beautiful DC landmarks. Shout out to one of DC’s best and brightest mixologists, Joseph Ambrose! 515 15th St., NW; 202.661.2400

J&G Steakhouse Patio.

PS 7’s - Chef Peter Smith’s irrepressible creativity spills out into the courtyard of his elegant Penn Quarter restaurant. Outdoor seating for 50 is surrounded by potted herbal plants and other foliage to seclude diners from the bustling neighborhood. In good weather, it is sure to fill up fast – especially at lunchtime, when it offers both shade and the very best [house-made] People’s Choice Half-Smokes and the most creative libations in town. Now that Anthony Rivera is shaking and stirring his good stuff behind the bar, it’s another great reason to visit! 777 I Street, NW; 202.742.8550

Quill Step out from the elegant lounge and onto the refined outdoor terrace at The Jefferson, DC, and feel free to puff away on a robust cigar while sipping a hand crafted cocktail or hundred-year-old Madeira. Known for expertly poured drink and fine conversation, Quill is the place to chill as the day comes to a close at one of the patio tables with an exclusive view of the home of our Commander-in-Chief. 1200 16th Street, NW; 202.448.2300

Sequoia: Their three-tier outdoor terrace offers stunning views of the waterfront and the flotilla of boats and kayaks passing by along with panoramic views of the Kennedy Center, the Watergate, Memorial and Key Bridges. If you prefer to stay out of the humidity, the rear facade of two-level restaurant is nearly all glass, allowing diners to enjoy the view of the river without suffering from the heat or the crowds. Enjoy modern American cuisine, a formidable wine list, and renowned River Bar. Don’t miss out on the fresh oysters! Be aware, all of Sequoia’s reservations are for inside only, while dining on the patio is seated on a first come first serve basis. In the summertime, happy hour along the Georgetown waterfront is a place to see and be seen. 3000 K St., NW; 202.944.4200


Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery – In Arlington, VA, the Louisiana vintage vibe bursts out-of-doors. Black iron gates forming an enclosure between dividers of wood and weathered tin planters, and a cozy couch that has sneaked outside, create casual seating for up to 24 along the Eatery’s breezy 15th street side. Authentic Louisiana fare oozes with authenticity from the crawfish boils and signature causal bites like the Catahoula [spiced hot-dog,] creamy Black and Blue Dip, delicate Beignets and buckets of Abita Beer. 1515 North Courthouse Rd., Arlington, VA; 703.243.2410

Bistrot LafayetteOld Town Alexandria’s authentic French Bistro, offers al fresco dining for a few lucky guests. Enjoy Bistrot Lafayette’s chef Keo Koumtakoun’s signature style of artistically presented French cuisine and a French wines and warm hospitality. Outdoor tables may be reserved. 1118 King Street Alexandria, VA; 703.548.2525

Brabo – Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier offers a beautiful outdoor patio, creating the ideal atmosphere for a relaxing breakfast, lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch in a courtyard setting. The new oasis for BRABO diners features 28-seats complete with umbrellas and is located adjacent to property’s custom-made clock tower and fountain. The restaurant’s Belgian-inspired brunch menu is a great way to start the day before strolling down to the waterfront and visiting the area’s abundant antique shops. Served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday brunch patrons can enjoy Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Belgian Waffle with Crème Fraiche, Lemon Zest, Apple Butter and Pennsylvania Maple Syrup; Roasted Farmhouse Chicken with Gruyère Cheese Potato Cake, or the Randall Lineback Burger with Bacon, Cheddar and Brioche served with Belgian Frites. A complete menu is available below. Link to Dining Review. 1600 King Street, Alexandria, VA; 703.894.3440

The Chart House, located on the historic Potomac River at the foot of King Street, the area’s only waterfront dining location boasts panoramic views of the river, as well as, other DC landmarks. With nightly entertainment, enjoy a relaxing evening with while watching the sunset on the water. 1 Cameron St., Alexandria, VA; 703.684.5080

Indigo Landing, situated on Daingerfield Island, adjacent to the Washington Marina, diners can enjoy watching the boats set sail on the Potomac from their 100-seat outdoor deck and location along the water: the perfect setting for a night out. Find refuge from your long day of museum hopping in the bustling city and enjoy the tranquility of the naturalistic setting while viewing the monuments from your relaxing chair. Instead of waiting in line, you can enjoy the views of DC over your favorite cocktail, specialty drink, or a glass of fine wine from our international wine list. 1 Marina Dr., Alexandria, VA; 703.548.0001

Madigan’s Waterfront, located right on the Occoquan River. Their expansive partially covered deck and tiki bar is especially attractive on summer evenings, where you can enjoy live entertainment, drinks and fresh seafood, and watch for Ospreys flying down the Occoquan River. 201 Mill St. Occoquan, VA; 703.494.6373

PassionFish - Now that the warm weather is upon us, the patios are shaking off their winter dust and the global seafood selections are making their seasonal debut in abundance. Chefs Jeff Tunks and Chris Clime are known as the master seafood mongers of DC, hooking you up with the best catch of the day. The hip vibe of the restaurant flows outdoors, where comfortable lounge chairs and chic tables grace a 46-seat patio, allowing diners to enjoy signature dishes and clever cocktails. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly restaurant with style, this is your place. The kid’s menu is one of the very best in the area. 11960 Democracy Boulevard Reston, VA 20190– 703.230.3474


McLoone’s Pier House, (pictured above) part of the new emerging development, just outside of DC, the National Harbor, rising from the banks of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, MD, the National Harbor offers a wide array of restaurants ranging from elegant waterfront dining to family-friendly and casual eating establishments. At McCloone’s, counting down to sunset is cause for celebration, literally. Enjoy a very lively happy hour spot with live music daily starting at 7 p.m., you can watch the sun set over the flotilla of sails and masts, while sipping on your specialty cocktail and enjoying bowls of their peel-and-eat shrimp. Dine al fresco on their patio with a breathtaking sunset view while enjoying a fresh zesty salad or pasta, savory crab dip, fresh sushi, mouth-watering burger, or steak – you’ll have a hard time choosing! 141 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, MD; 301.839.0815

Mussel Bar– The big ol’ picnic tables and umbrellas outside Bethesda’s Mussel Bar reflect the extreme casual essence of Robert Wiedmaier’s upscale ’dive.’ Indulge in the fresh local breakfast, lunch, and dinner served up with a side of fresh air. Besides the delectable Mussels, flat savoryBelgian Tartes and Pizzas are hard to resist. 7262 Woodmont Avenue Bethesda, MD; 301.215.7817

Rosa Mexicano, also located at the National Harbor, enjoy a pomegranate margarita and bowl of made-to-order guacamole on the outdoor patio overlooking the water. 153 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill, MD; 301.567.1005


  1. Foodie Itinerary: Delicious To-Do Events May 29 – June 9 « Dining In Dc – Food and Restaurant Blog - May 29, 2012

    [...] This Fabulous al Fresco Dining roundup is designed to serve as a source of information for DC area diners looking for Washington, DC area restaurants with outdoor or patio seating. Enjoy! [...]

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