The cozy outdoor dining space at Cantinetta Bellevue. Image via Facebook.

We’ve been experiencing some amazing weather as of late, and that calls for soaking it up as much as is humanly possible—regardless of your area code. Here are a few of our favorite spots on the Eastside. And we'd love to hear yours as well.

El Gaucho
The name is shorthand for fine dining, special occasions, huge-ass steaks, and amazing wine selections. And El Gaucho Bellevue is no exception. That special occasion might feel that much more so when doing it alfresco. So splurge on a 28-day dry-aged Niman Ranch beef cut with a nice big glass of Leonetti merlot or Flowers chardonnay on the patio.

Bin on the Lake
Over at Kirkland's Carillon Point, the Woodmark Hotel's restaurant has a particularly stunning view of Lake Washington and a patio that looks as if it belongs in the San Juans. Chef de cuisine Dylan Giordan’s menu adds a dash of Mediterranean flair to Northwest cuisine like roasted pork tenderloin with celery root puree, handmade pasta dishes, and a house charcuterie program. And there is good wine aplenty. The small patio fills up fast, though there's plenty of view to be had inside (and happy hour is 4 to 6 daily if you want to enjoy it with a smaller tab). If you're lucky you can snag a spot by the outdoor fire pit.

520 Bar and Grill
Have a casual meal at this Old Bellevue bar and grill, which possesses a surprisingly lush patio space filled with greenery and peeps just out for a good time. Pub grub from nachos, coconut prawns, and a locally famous burger are sometimes the perfect pairing to your summer drinks in the sun. Maybe start off a round of 520 Fireball shots with pineapple juice? 

I Love Sushi
Eat your chirashi or teriyaki right on Lake Bellevue at this sushi restaurant's ample patio. Shochu and sakes (with pictures!) make for a refreshing afternoon in the sun, too. The maki menu has the usual suspects, but with standouts like the jalapeno bomber with yellowtail and the sweet mango chili with crab.

Cantinetta Bellevue
The patio overlooking Old Main Street in Bellevue is small, but it feels intimate rather than cramped. Watch passers by and dine on traditional Italian fare like salumi, Tuscan kale with egg, and cauliflower fritto to start, followed by hearty housemade pasta dishes with braised goat or crispy oxtail. The small amount of tables fill up fast in the summer—the early bird diner might very well get the prime spot here. 


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