Where Is the World’s Best Al Fresco Dining?

Outdoor dining options abound all over the world. Where do you think is the world's best place for al fresco dining?

Jul 18, 2011
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Le Café de la Paix in Paris
Le Café de la Paix in Place de L'Opéra in Paris offers a taste of al fresco dining in the city.
Photography Rob Lawson/VisualMedia
Sky Terrace at Cielo in St. Louis, Missouri
Try a stateside al fresco dining experience at Sky Terrace at Cielo in St. Louis, Missouri.
Photography Peter Vitale
Canary Wharf's Quadrato Restaurant
Go "wharf-side" at Canary Wharf's Quadrato Restaurant in London.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The Gazebo in Carmelo, Uruguay
Dine out at The Gazebo in the exotic Carmelo, Uruguay.
Photography Peter Vitale
Kannel in the Seychelles
Try Creole al fresco dining at Kannel in the Seychelles.
Photography Peter Vitale

A favourite pastime of cultures around the world, al fresco (a term with origins in the 18th century meaning “in the fresh air”) dining isn’t difficult to come by. However, some spots are better than others. Whether the deciding factor is ambience, views, service or food, where do you think is the best place to dine in the open air?

The City

Paris is the crème de la crème for many al fresco–dining enthusiasts. The City of Lights is famous for outdoor dining in places like Le Café de la Paix in Place de l’Opéra, spots along the Champs-Élysées and the quieter Boulevard St. Germain. Near the cobblestone streets of Montmartre is Le Moulin de la Galette, where you can dine al fresco in a garden setting at the renowned windmill van Gogh, Pissaro and Renoir immortalised.

Cities stateside also adore the outdoors. Sky Terrace at Cielo in St. Louis boasts spectacular views of the Gateway Arch and skyline, and authentic Italian food in a comfortable setting. In New York, Riverpark, A Tom Colicchio Restaurant, offers beautiful river and skyline views as well as great modern American cuisine.

Enjoy wharf-side dining at San Francisco’s Waterbar, Sydney’s Fish Market or Canary Wharf’s Quadrato Restaurant in London.

Exotic Lands

Perhaps you find more rustic al fresco dining appealing. In Thailand, break bread at the Elephant Camp in the Golden Triangle. Glimpse silhouettes of pachyderms as they mosey by during this unforgettable outdoor dining experience. Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok‘s lush, open-air lounge Aqua has a rain forest ambience. Enjoy seclusion at Gazebo in Carmelo, Uruguay.

The Mountains

During warmer months, the mountains of western North America and Switzerland offer ideal al fresco weather as well as impressive views. Serving the highest quality steaks and seafood, Sidecut in Whistler, B.C., Canada, features a heated patio for long summer evenings and a fire pit to roast marshmallows in the winter. In Denver, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Bistro Vendôme evokes the sidewalk bistros of Paris by serving delectable French cuisine in a charming neighbourhood setting. Near Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva is the Terrace at Le Floris featuring an incredible panorama of Lake Geneva and the Jura Mountains as well as innovative seafood dishes.

The Beach

Outdoor dining is a given in most beach destinations, but Four Seasons ups typical beach dining in Bali, the Seychelles and Maui. PJ’s restaurant in Bali offers a five-course meal served in canopied beds right on the beach along Jimbaran Bay. In the Seychelles, enjoy the stunning open-air setting and Creole fare of Kannel. The epitome of Hawaiian dining and the only beachside restaurant in Wailea, Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante takes advantage of Maui’s warm, dry weather and serves authentic Italian dishes—fresh seafood and pasta.

Poolside

The sparkling water and light delicious fare of poolside dining just may make the perfect summer pastime. Of course, you can dine al fresco at just about any pool, but Four Seasons restaurants at the pools in Jakarta and Florence are pretty spectacular.

Dine on gourmet sandwiches, crisp salads and tropical fruits at Jakarta’s Poolside. And perhaps the most apropos is Al Fresco in Florence, which serves light dishes with seasonal Mediterranean ingredients, refreshing drinks and ice cream.

Before you head outdoors for your next al fresco meal, share your thoughts with us. Where is the world’s best place to dine al fresco?


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  1. Pingback: Taste by Four Seasons - Serving up the best in global food & wine

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