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Photo by Ash Daniel
The sights of Carytown are plentiful on the patio at The Daily.
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Photo by Sarah Walor
Mosaic’s egg white omelet topped with hollandaise and garnished with fresh mint
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Photo by Sarah Walor
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Photo by Sarah Walor
Patina Restaurant & Bar
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Photo by Ian Hurdle
Braised beef short ribs at The Rogue Gentlemen
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Photo by Ash Daniel
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Photo by Sarah Walor
Fresca’s Greek salad pizza with kalamata olives, pepperoncini, tomatoes, red onions, lettuce ribbons, feta and their homemade oregano dressing
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Photo by Jay Paul
Jennifer Minear (left) and Meghan Barger enjoy the big city vibe at Citizen.
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Photo by Jay Paul
Casa Del Barco
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Photo by Jay Paul
Beauregard's Thai Room
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Photo by James Dickinson
Pork dumplings at Foo Dog
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity — and even that doesn’t faze most Richmonders when they get a patio or deck that’s in the vicinity of food and drink in their sights. From urban bustle to bucolic countryside, our area offers as many diverse settings as there are restaurants. Local restaurateurs have taken advantage of any available nook or cranny to set up outdoors and bring your food to you under the wide sky. So, have a seat and order your favorite libation: We found the best outdoor spots for every occasion.
Plus: Check out our comprehensive list of all outdoor dining spots in Richmond.
Brunch: Sunday brunch at Mosaic Café is all about its casual vibe. Varied dishes satisfy, like “The 10K,” composed of cherry tomato hash, a buttermilk biscuit, gravy, housemade scrapple and two eggs over-easy — or if weekend indulgence is knocking on your conscience’s door, go for the “Fit Portobello Omelet,” with egg whites and pungent Gouda. The generous umbrellas and ultra-comfortable wicker chairs encourage you to take your time outdoors.
Brunch: Mezzanine’s small space is simple and honest, and the food could be described similarly. And, really, what more does one require with brunch? Well, there is the Bloody Mary bar (yes, you heard that right). Chef Todd Johnson’s menu, with dishes like crab or a fried oyster omelet, eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes,pork hash and eggs, and Carolina shrimp and grits, is succinct, confident and a love letter to the South.
Brunch: While I perused Arcadia’s Bellini list on a recent Sunday, a CSX train lumbered overhead a block away, and downtown Richmond bustled at street level. The metropolitan patio atmosphere transformed to New York City. You’ll leave satisfied — carnivorous options abound at brunch, from the homemade sage sausage gravy and biscuits to the indulgent beef filet eggs Benedict with black truffles.
42043 W. Broad St., Richmond, Virginia 23220
Brunch: A caffeinated cloud of porky aromas billows over the sultry saxophone. Bloodies with pickled green beans poke at Sunday morning. “The Savory Trash Plate” (bacon, eggs, sausage gravy, hash browns and Lucille’s Bakery biscuits) lacks the girlish looks of the carrot cake pancakes, but, like brunch and jazz, this coupling makes for a fine romance.
Brunch: Back when Millie’s first opened 25 years ago, that part of East Main Street was a pretty quiet place — except for all of the people making a racket while they cluttered the sidewalk waiting for tables. The owners added the patio in 1991, and although restaurants have come and gone, Millie’s has stood its ground. No matter how many times you order it, Millie’s spicy, avocado-laden Devil’s Mess refuses to back down, and the restaurant’s revolving dinner menu set the standard for seasonal, chef-driven cuisine in Richmond.
Wine: Contrary to the belief of some city dwellers, the Short Pump area is home to some fantastic independent restaurants, old and new. Patina was one of the first to blaze a culinary trail and does a steady business with neighborhood regulars. On a recent, cool summer Saturday night, the small patio hummed with couples enjoying Patina’s inspired farm-to-table fare. We took a table to grab a quick drink al fresco and were impressed with the wide selection of wines by the glass. While sipping our Renegade Rosé and Chateau Camplazens “La Garrigue,” the bar menu beckoned, specifically the crispy pork belly with poached local duck egg, pommes frites and hollandaise, a signature dish. Buh-bye ketchup: Runny egg yolk-covered frites with a side of pork are where it’s at. A gentle breeze, cool tunes and stellar service made a brief, one-hour date night all the sweeter.
Wine: With a wine list that includes Virginia wines, a menu with filler-less crab cakes on it, plus a killer view of the river, The Boathouse slaps away the competition like so many flies. Sip a glass of White Hall Viognier on its sleek balcony and watch the boats and paddleboards go by.
83120 W. Cary St., Richmond, Virginia 23221
Wine: You might have to wait for it, but Can Can’s charming bloom-and-shade-laden patio is the quintessential Carytown experience. As you watch the city walk by, your table should be teeming with oysters and moules frites, and the wine list takes you all over the map (of France). It’s a calm,colorful bubble of French leisure in the city’s brisk current.
Wine: Doesn’t get much better than a glass of Rioja on the front porch at the end of the day. Head over to Rowland’s patio on Wednesdays for half-priced bottles of wine ($39 or less) and filling apps, like lamb sliders with curry yogurt or the daily spring roll.
People Watching: Look inside from the expansive patio. Owner Michelle Williams clears plates, and waiters traverse the open sliding glass door. Guests stop to look at the stem-y interior trees, their lean branches reminiscent of The Daily’s health-giving, dichotomous key of a menu. Vegan body builders fuel the day with shiitake tofu wraps; Paleo-diet bloggers find lots to write about over organic, sweet potato-crusted quiche. Carb-loadingrunning crews cram buckwheat pancakes bejeweled with pristine berries into their speedy maws. Outdoors, diners catch the eyes of Carytown — the delivery drivers, shoppers and smokers, not missing a beat in the busy city sidewalk hum. All types, the health-wise and otherwise, walk past (or into) The Daily for one thing: a slice of life.
People Watching: Vacation! Philippine chicken quenched with a frilly drink under an umbrella.Pass that smoked seafood platter around the sun-drenched sofa while lapping water softens girl-pack giggles. The patio entrance to chef Ed Blase’s latest global munchy menu lures joggers and lost tourists from passing canal boats.You’re in Richmond.
People Watching: Nestled in the Libbie and Grove neighborhood, The Continental Westhampton’s covered patio is a perfectly lovely spot to enjoy a midsummer night’s burger dinner with disco fries, local beer and a game with the throngs of college-age sports fans. Or try a midday lunch of lobster rolls and Sauvignon Blanc with, well, ladies who lunch.
People Watching: Deco offers a view of the neighborhood’s steady stream of the runners, dog walkers and bar-goers of Devil’s Triangle in the Museum District. The patio’s bright red seating and Art Deco-style gates echo the Sicilian restaurant’s interior, while lightly fried calamari and a creamy penne à la vodka complete an Italian night out.
Beer: Sedona’s beer list is for real — six dedicated pages tobottles of amber, brown, wheat, saison, dubbel, Trappist, lambic, gluten-free … the list of options goes on. And on. And then there’s another page listing draft beer with more than 40 handles to pick from. Excited?Overwhelmed? Happily, servers know their stuff. And it’s hard to get anxious here when you’re relaxing on the lovely wraparound patio. Sure, you’re in a shopping mall parking lot, but it’s a little sleepier this far south, the sun shines just right in the evening, and whoever’s controlling the music has great taste. Happy hour is the time to go for drink and small plate specials. The flatbreads are essentially pizza and satisfying, and just one fish taco will tide you over for an early dinner.
Beer: Legend’s deck is well-worn like your favorite jeans, and the postcard views are spectacular. For warm days, try the nectar-like hefeweizen with a feta-flecked hummus wrap. Stay late for the city lights, too: A hop-driven pale ale and golden IPA might set the night on fire.
Beer: The reinvented patio at 23rd & Main Taproom at Sette, with its small garden and fire pit, is a quiet retreat from the city. With 12 rotating taps, all half price during happy hour (apps too!), celebrate patio season by ordering a generous Mediterranean mezza platter and a Brooklyn Summer ale.
Beer: After work and before the bar crowd arrives, Postbellum’s rooftop deck is a mosquito-less oasis in the trees. Peruse the extensive beer list while crunching down on shrimp cracklins and smoky rosemary peanuts. Draft beers rotate on and off, but any will cool down the evening and the kimchi burger you’ll order when you decide to stick around just a little bit longer.
Vegetarian/Pescetarian: Fresca specializes in vivid vegetarian food, and the staff will recommend the house favorite, a spicy lentil burger with baked-to-order bun. Look for scene-stealing supporting actors, like lemony orzo salad and roasted local asparagus. The tidy and minimalist patio is a summertime oasis where you can expect to hear urban ambiance instead of hit songs. Watch as neighborhood patrons arrive on foot or bicycle, in search of inspired vittles. This is Fan District dining, where both clientele and cuisine can be unconventional.
Vegetarian/Pescetarian: Open every night until 11 p.m., Ipanema provides the lower Fan ample patio time — but the cozy, bench-wrapped, tree-shaded spot fills up quick. Enjoy its inventive take on vegetarian and vegan eats, like the savory carrot cake appetizer, chickpea cauliflower tikka masala, or a grilled tofu sandwich that could turn even the most committed of carnivores.
201228 Alverser Plaza, Midlothian, Virginia 23113
Vegetarian/Pescetarian: Pull up a chair and catch the breeze. Order cold, then hot. Cucumber matchsticks strike seaweed and ignite ginger, glistening with roe, in the chilled squid salad. Fried Sakura shrimp, iced with sneaky-heat aïoli, is greaseless to the touch but leaves a creamy trail. Edamame, that pea-versus-popcorn snack, teases spinach-fried rice for having Parmesan.
Vegetarian/Pescetarian: The front patio is set a few feet higher than the sidewalk and it almost feels like you’re eating on the deck of an ocean liner. Rightly so. The focus here is seafood, and Southern and Asian influences create interest. Magical menu item: mussels in coconut–curry broth. Vegetarians won’t be bummed, either.The options are all thoughtful blends of grains, cheeses and fresh produce.
22909 E. Main St., Richmond, Virginia 23219
Lunch: Sitting in the concrete courtyard of Citizen at lunchtime with your dill tuna salad and Dr. Brown’s cream soda, surrounded by the tall buildings, wrought iron, food carts and suits, you could be in any big city, really. But it’s pretty cool that you’re here in Richmond, right? It almost seems like a secret, unexpectedly tucked away in the bottom of the Mutual Building and yet smack in the heart of downtown’s financial district. Serving breakfast and lunch only, Citizen and its menu of season-appropriate dishes (with 99 percent of its ingredients locally sourced) can satisfy all of the carnivorous, vegetarian, vegan and even gluten-free people of our fair city.
Lunch: From a jerk pork Cubano panini to curry goat burritos, owner Carena Ives riffs on Jamaican cuisine while also offering the classics like oxtail or shrimp in a curry coconut sauce. Order a Ting soda and close your eyes while the sun filters through your table’s umbrella. You can almost hear the waves hitting the shore in Jamaica.
2412506 River Road, Richmond, Virginia 23238
Lunch: Way out River Road, Portico’s flagstone patio, lush grounds and massive stacked stone fireplace redefines “lovely” and “charming” as you eat a leisurely lunch behind this country cottage. Italy is the menu inspiration, with pasta dishes and pizzas, as well as basic sandwich fare. A glass of sparkling water or Chardonnay is a must.
Lunch: Café Caturra’s plant-studded patios are ideal spots to relax into a few flights of chilly white wine. Sit out front or retire to the back for some peace, quiet and a char-grilled romaine salad. Shaded and cool, the patios are overhung with a grape trellis and umbrellas, and you can enjoy them longer than lunchtime — from morning (7:30 a.m.!) to night.
Cocktails: Casa Del Barco’s blood orange whiskey sour is a juicy cannonball, and complex margaritas make a splash. For slow sipping, try the Oaxacan old fashioned with smoky mezcal. The softly lit patio will keep you floating along, and you can always order hearty tacos if you need an anchor.
Cocktails: Outdoor dining at Amuse is to patios as Manolo Blahniks are to shoes. But don’t be intimidated. Try a “Gilded Glass” made with coriander vodka, yellow chartreuse, Dolin dry vermouth and lemon or a “Baroque Float” concocted out of Cruzan aged rum, Licor 43, ginger, citrus and white peach meringue — they make cocktails into art, rivaled only by one of the best views in town of the setting sun. That’s a bucket-list experience everyone can enjoy.
Cocktails: Pasture’s patio hugs the sidewalk in a setting that I’d call city-serene. It’s urban, sure — buses rumble by from time to time, and sometimes people, too. But you’re sitting at a lime-green bistro table under a canopy of a towering tree; there’s a church directly across the street, quiet storefronts on either side, and you have one of mixologist Beth Dixon’s bright cocktails in hand (don’t miss the zesty orange Tangier), the charm of your server and fried pickles under your nose. All shall be well.
Cocktails: Is the buzz from a passing Vespa or the rooftop apiary? Honey-sweetened Buffalo Trace bourbon melds with lemon juice in a“Jefferson’s Gold Rush” cocktail, tasting like a gentlemanly second cousin to the sidecar.Mix in cushy, mustard-color pillows, screens of boxwoods and smoked peanuts for a refined, but buzzy vibe at this Franklin Street watering hole.
30618 N. 1st Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
Cocktails: Only 3 weeks old as of the beginning of June, The Rogue Gentlemen’s back patio has a “just moved in” feel. Situated along East Jackson Street in Jackson Ward, it’s not exactly hidden, but neither is it in a highfoot-traffic area. That makes for a quiet, low-key experience, at least in the early evening. Sip cocktails like the herby Sage’s Sling or an intensely fruity wild-berry Caipirinha and munch on a colorful spring vegetable crostini, freshly baked Parkerhouse rolls and some pork rilletes. Rogue holds a monthly cookout on the patio with barbecued chicken and ribs, mac ’n’ cheese, coleslaw and potato salad. Owner John Maher says they’re also planning a Tiki Night, during which they’ll roast a whole pig, at the end of July.
Unexpected: The back patio at Beauregard’s Thai Room (“Beau Thai”) is one of the most spacious in the city, as well as one of the prettiest. Koi pond? Check. Fountain? Check. And the shadowy coolness of the ferns and flowers lends a garden-dining feel to your Crying Tiger Beef. Painstaking care was taken to create a space recalling the design of the Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans — a destination known for its lush, verdant environs. The front patio’s leaf-veiled settings invite quiet conversation and an ideal dinner-for-two feel. And, of course, they serve up all the Thai classics: The noodles are good, but the roasted crispy duck is better.
Unexpected: You might just jet on by the patio when you walk into Acacia mid-town, but the sleek strip of tables out front is more than dress-up for the building’s façade and worth the scenery change on a balmy night. Order a bottle of wine and James Beard-nominated Dale Reitzer’s four-course prix fixe dinner ($24), and watch the world walk by.
Unexpected: Sit out on the back porch where Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom intersect. Irish pub grub like bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie sits next to decidedly American dishes like the PBR-marinated grilled chicken sandwich and a plethora of burgers. While listening to the wheels rattle down cobblestones, slake your thirst with frothing pints that come mostly from Ireland, with a couple of cousins from Europe and the States.
Unexpected: Hello world! Now that Richmond can boast its very own ramen house, Foo Dog doubles down with a patio tucked behind the restaurant on the Lombardy side of the building, where you can more peacefully slurp umami-packed noodles and down craft beer in a quieter environment than the buzzy, pulsing interior.