By Francesca Gilberti, Vogue
En plein air, al fresco: It even sounds refreshing. With the advent of summer comes the culinary experience we eagerly await each spring—dining outside. And yet, whether on the East or West coast, the concrete jungles many of us inhabit rarely serve up opportunities for a Provencal picnic or Tuscan garden party. So, where to go for a whiff of fresh air, a cocktail, and a bite of seasonal sustenance? From rooftop terraces complete with urban gardens to spaces that flow from inside to out, here are Vogue’s top five destinations for dining outdoors in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. No jackets required.
In the Golden State, dining outside is a year-round affair, so we’re always eager to find spots that do it best. Easily the most highly anticipated opening in San Francisco this year, Central Kitchen is the latest from the brains behind it-pizzeria Flour + Water. With a dining room that is half indoors, half outdoors, the restaurant is quintessentially Northern Californian: simple, fresh cuisine, like a raw halibut, fennel juice, Meyer lemon, mint, and poppy-seed appetizer to start, and small details, like candles wrapped in clippings from an old California cookbook that dot the communal tables, gesture at that larger theme. Under rustic beams and strings of Edison bulbs, dining on the patio is the ideal way to eat under the stars.