134 Hampshire St., 617-661-0505 Located in Kendall Square—an area known more for technology firms and cutting-edge educational institution MIT than fine dining—the 50-seat patio at Oleana represents an oasis of beauty in a sometimes starkly modern area. The lovely garden patio at Oleana is a perfect summer setting in which to enjoy Turkish/ Mediterranean dishes like falafel, warm buttered hummus, lamb steaks, beef shish kebobs and more.
92 Winthrop St., 617-576-2800 Already lauded as much for its uniquely beautiful and artistic interior as it is for chef Rachel Klein’s cutting-edge cuisine, Harvard Square’s chic and funky OM now brings a bit of Tibetan charm to Winthrop Street with its new patio. Fully fenced off from the street, this private hideaway is decorated with the authentic Tibetan sculptures and art—including a massive hand-carved door leading into the space—found inside, and ambiance is enhanced by a gently babbling fountain and ample plantlife.
553 Tremont St., 617-423-2700 The culinary grand dame of the South End, Gordon and Fiona Hamersley’s acclaimed French bistro helped put the eclectic South End dining scene on the map—and its comfortable brick patio puts diners front and center in the middle of that scene. Guests can sit overlooking the bustle of activity on Tremont Street—this artsy neighborhood’s center of commerce and fine dining and home to the theatrical/visual arts complex the Boston Center for the Arts (just adjacent to Hamersley’s)—while they sample delicious Hamersley’s classics like the roast chicken with garlic, lemon and parsley and summer desserts like souffled lemon custard or warm peach and blueberry cobbler with sweet corn ice cream.
550 Tremont St., 617-423-0550 There’s lots to see on Tremont Street, but sometimes privacy trumps all. That’s what makes the sunken stone garden patio at B&G Oysters—home to one of the Hub’s best raw bars—a hidden jewel for those who love outdoor dining.
The Barking Crab
88 Sleeper St., 617-426-2722 (pictured right) Fancy it’s not—heck, you’re sitting under a big yellow tent, at a long picnic table next to people you don’t even know, and eating your dinner from plastic buckets. But if it’s great seafood and real seaside ambience you’re shooting for—you’re so close to Boston Harbor you could literally cast a fishing rod over your shoulder and catch your dinner yourself—the Barking Crab delivers both in spades.
The Water Café at the ICA
100 Northern Ave., 617-478-3291 Combining an unparalleled view of Boston Harbor with light cuisine (including pastries, sandwiches and soups) from Wolfgang Puck Catering, the eatery at the brand-new Institute of Contemporary Art is just one more thing of beauty in a building full of them.
Departing daily from Long Wharf, 617-742-0333 (pictured right) When is a patio not a patio? When it’s cutting a path through the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean, that’s when. For a dinnertime view that beats the pants off anything those landlocked types in Nebraska are used to, hop on one of the special dinner cruises offered aboard the Liberty Clipper, including weekend steak and lobster dinner sails and Sunday brunch sails.
159 Newbury St., 617-450-4343 Boston’s swanky answer to Rodeo Drive—loaded with all the glammest boutiques and international designers—is perhaps the Hub’s single best thoroughfare for that favorite summer pastime, people-watching. At popular French bistro Bouchee, the 46-seat patio is sunk below street level, so you can scope out the passing crowds somewhat surreptitiously, while in the process enjoying some of the city’s finest French fare. Classics like croque-monsieur, coq au vin and steak frites are all on the menu, and the picturesque views of fashionable crowds and gorgeous old Back Bay buildings will have you feeling like you’re sitting along the Champs-Elysees.
Stephanie’s on Newbury
190 Newbury St., 617-236-0990 Another great locale for peeping at the beautiful folk, Stephanie’s 100-seat patio is as expansive and welcoming as the upscale comfort food served here—everything from meatloaf to mac and cheese and a top-notch lobster roll.
The Other Side Cosmic Café
407 Newbury St., 617-536-8437 For the absolute flipside of the Newbury Street experience, try the Other Side—a counterculture café where bohemians, hippies, artists and young alterna-hipsters gather to relax on the café’s front patio to smoke, drink and eat healthy fare in convivial bliss.
McCormick & Schmick’s
North Market, 617-720-5522 (pictured right) Faneuil Hall Marketplace attracts throngs of people every day to shop to their hearts’ content—which, as anyone can tell you, works up a sizable appetite. Lovers of fresh seafood tend to satisfy those appetites at McCormick & Schmick, a popular seafood chain that boasts a location in Faneuil Hall that’s prime for outdoor dining. Guests can sit in comfort, the cobblestone streets beneath their feet, and sample pretty much anything that swims while enjoying live, free entertainment with their meals from the street performers that take up residence outside the Quincy Market building.
Dick’s Last Resort
Quincy Market Building, 617-267-8080 People come to Dick’s for the buckets of delicious no-frills grub and the antics of the mouthy waitstaff, but they come to Faneuil Hall to kick back in the open air while they watch the world go by and admire century-old buildings where democracy was born. Since moving from the Prudential Center to this location—complete with large outdoor seating area—customers have enjoyed the best of both worlds.
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The Hungry I