Seattle sprang directly from winter to summer this week, now settling into what appears to be spring’s more ordinary habit of medium cool with warmth on the fringes, rain in the forecast, and sun in the wings. Or, you know, not.
All we want to do when the sun starts toying with us like this is eat outside—but on this page of the calendar it’s often smarter to hedge bets. Fortunately Seattle has plenty of restaurants that define “outdoor dining” loosely, with roll-up doors, sorta-covered patios, overhanging trees, warming mechanisms, and other mitigating strategies.
Roll-up garage (or other kinds of) doors bring the outdoors in, to places like Omega Ouzeri, Chavez, Bennett’s on Mercer Island, Harvest Vine, Rock Creek Seafood, Marjorie, and Manolin. Also a fair number of Ethan Stowell properties, from How to Cook a Wolf to mkt. to Rione XIII. Broad roll-back windows do the same, for places like Chop Shop (which also features a few charming tables under the arbor in the mews outside.)
Rooftops like at Osteria La Spiga or Terra Plata aren’t covered, but sort of feel it. Other outdoor spaces, like at the Pink Door or Brimmer and Heeltap, are partially covered. Some outdoor areas sport overhanging trees for cover, like Ballard’s Volterra or the romantic courtyard between Serafina and Cicchetti. Others feature an idiosyncratic indoor/outdoor feel, through creative use of impermanent “walls” and “ceilings.” See Big Chickie, Bastille, King’s Hardware, Tamarind Tree, and Uneeda Burger.
As ever, call these places before you go; some won’t be opening their outdoor areas until the sun gets more reliable. Sheesh.