What could be more fun than socialising and sunbathing in one go? Combined with fresh air and fine food, outdoor dining is unbeatable! From pop-up street seating to gardens filled with tables, to hidden courtyards and rooftop vistas – Scotland has seen the rise of excellent outdoor dining spots and our cities have embraced al fresco eating in a big way.
Whether you’ve just toured the city, done a spot of shopping or are having a catch up with friends or a loved one, a laid-back lunch or dinner in the open air is ideal for any occasion. Here are 21 of Scotland’s best outdoor restaurants – one of these options is sure to tickle your fancy.
It’s always best to call ahead to check whether the outdoor tables are open as some might be closed in bad weather. Also, outdoor seating is often allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
COLD TOWN HOUSE
What’s the vibe? Housed in a former church and spread over three floors, Cold Town House is home to a brewery, bar and restaurant, all starring Cold Town Beer. You can kick back and enjoy comfortable outdoor seating all year round – either sitting out in the outdoor space or taking in the ambience of the rooftop bar. Fluffy blankets, gondola booths and covered seating will keep you warm and dry on cooler days.
Why go? They brew their own craft beer, serve delicious Neapolitan pizzas and offer one of the most beautiful views of Edinburgh Castle.
THE IVY ON THE SQUARE
What’s the vibe? You can never go wrong with a meal at The Ivy. Located in the prestigious St. Andrew Square, in the heart of Edinburgh, and housed in an impressive glass-fronted building, The Ivy On The Square brings relaxed, sophisticated dining with a touch of theatre. It features a small outdoor area which overlooks the greenery of St Andrew’s Square – perfect to sit back and watch the world go by.
Why go? You’ll find great, modern, all-day British and international Ivy-inspired classics, as well as Asian-inspired cuisine, fantastic vegan and vegetarian dishes and incredible cocktails.
What’s the vibe? Located in Edinburgh’s West End, Indigo Yard is a stylish, full of character setting in which to enjoy rustic food and drinks. Boasting a large outdoor courtyard, covered by large parasols, it unsurprisingly gets pretty busy particularly during the summer, so get here early if you want to guarantee yourself a table outside.
Why go? Perfect for boozy brunches, elegant mains and bar bites, as well as a superlative selection of beer, wine and cocktails.
Other popular outdoor dining spaces in Edinburgh include: Black Ivy, The Fishmarket, The Rose Street Garden
What’s the vibe? Cranside Kitchen is a unique space that brings together Glasgow’s best restaurant traders that have no outdoor space of their own by creating a collective one. Located beside the iconic North Rotunda building in Finnieston, on the banks of the River Clyde, this open-air courtyard offers most of the spaces under a canopy in case the dreaded Scottish rain shows its face.
Why go? For the fantastic selection of frequently rotating food traders that offer everything from Greek dishes by Halloumi, Japanese street food by Yuz and sweet treats by Bon Bon, as well as cool views of the SSE Hydro and Armadillo.
What’s the vibe? Situated on the edge of Glasgow’s East End, Drygate is the UK’s first experiential brewery offering amazing panoramic views of the brewhouse. The space on the top deck is prime real estate on a sunny day in Glasgow, so why not grab a bench and order up a pint and something else to keep you going?
Why got? They are serving some finger-licking good dishes from grazing boards and burgers to high-end eats like confit leg of duck or featherblade steak too.
What’s the vibe? Platform is a vibrant event venue known for serving up food and drink under their signature railway arches on Argyle Street. But the lane behind has recently been revamped and
sun seekers can now head to Platform Lane, an outdoor oasis in the heart of the city, located just beside the famous food market.
Why go? It’s furnished with benches, stools, parasols, a pergola and has an added dose of magic with some fairy lights, making it not only fashionable but also oozing with warmth and charm – a perfect place to relax with friends.
Other popular outdoor dining spaces in Glasow include: Brel on Ashton Lane, Saint Jude’s in the East End, and Singl-end Merchant City in Merchant City
THE MUSTARD SEED RESTAURANT
What’s the vibe? The Mustard Seed Restaurant is one of Inverness’ favourite restaurants. Not only does it enjoy a fabulous location on the banks of the River Ness in a converted church building, it also offers the terrace on the top floor that allows for al fresco dining and uninterrupted views of the river, creating the wonderful ambience. On a warm evening, dining outside on the balcony is a delightful experience.
Why go? For their simple, healthy food and warm, friendly atmosphere, and for the stunning double-height ceiling and magnificent open log fire.
PRIME STEAK & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
What’s the vibe? Situated along the Ness Walk, Prime Steak & Seafood Restaurant specialises in quality, locally produced steaks and seafood offering a divine dining experience. The venue also boasts beautiful views of Inverness Castle. With ample outside space available, what better way to spend the evening than munching your way through a T-bone steak while watching the sun going down?
Why go? Perfectly cooked smoked venison, pan-fried haddock and fillet steaks will impress you at the first bite. To drink, order delicious scotch, plum wine or strawberry gin.
What’s the vibe? At MacGregor’s Bar, they love working with local producers and can usually tell you where your fish was landed that morning, or what farm your steak comes from. This city centre bar is passionate and proud about Scotland’s history and culture, and hosts regular nights with singers, pianists and musicians of all genres.
Why go? For the Cullen skink, roast rack of Scotch lamb and pan seared turbot, but also for their ridiculously brilliant range of beer in kegs, casks and bottles too.
What’s the vibe? Located in the thriving heart of Aberdeen, on the historic Belmont Street and overlooking Union Terrace Gardens, Siberia is an award-winning industrial style venue and a firm favourite for al fresco dining in the warmer months. So much so that it even has a giant Chambord deck chair which, when accompanied by a colourful beverage, serves for an awesome Instagram photo.
Why go? For their katsu fries, BBQ wings, sourdough pizzas and innovative in-house cocktail menu, amongst other deliciousness.
FERRYHILL HOUSE HOTEL
What’s the vibe? Housed in a historic building set within a private garden, close to Aberdeen city centre, Ferryhill House Hotel is the perfect setting to enjoy relaxing drink, fine food and a comfortable place to rest your head. It’s also a very popular spot thanks to its sun terrace, ideal for soaking in those rays as the children play in the on-site play park.
Why go? For traditional Scottish food in a welcoming atmosphere, from fresh local haddock and chips to fresh salads and lighter bites for lunchtime.
What’s the vibe? Enjoying a stunning setting on the banks of the River Dee, Banchory Lodge Hotel is perfectly positioned for a spot of relaxation. Beside the covered seating area, there are quirky garden sheds seating up to six guests. Dine al fresco and enjoy watching the chef cook up a storm from the outdoor kitchen area which houses a grill, barbecue and pizza and flatbread oven.
Why go? You can enjoy all the above whilst listening to the sound of the river as it lulls you in to a feeling of tranquillity.
THE GIDDY GOOSE
What’s the vibe? The Giddy Goose is one of Dundee’s most chilled and eclectic restaurants, with a Bohemian styled open-air dining space that you will potentially want to spend your entire weekend in. This aesthetically pleasing place enjoys an abundance of greenery, colour and light – perfect if you’re after sophisticated wine-drinking in a chilled-out and friendly atmosphere.
Why go? They’re known for their stone-baked pizzas and delicious sharing platters, so why not give them a try this season if you haven’t been yet? They are also located at the heart of Dundee’s nightlife, so you won’t have far to walk to your next adventure when you’re all dined and wined out.
THE WEST HOUSE
What’s the vibe? Renowned for their dazzling colours and contemporary Italian styling – including a pushbike and ice cream barrel as well as blankets and patio heaters, The West House at Dundee’s West Port is a favourite with locals. Their central locale means they are a popular place to eat before visiting the Rep Theatre or the Dundee Contemporary Arts Cinema at the bottom of the road, and you’re only a stone’s throw away from V&A Dundee.
Why go? While they offer fantastic brunch classics, including a pizza and pasta menu to satisfy all tastes, it’s their Aperol Bar that everyone is loving and cocktails that they are best known for.
What’s the vibe? With two floors of dining and two stylish outdoor areas, Casa has recently become one of the area’s best hangouts. Located right in the city’s cultural quarter at the old Clydesdale Bank next door to the Dundee Contemporary Arts, they offer live music and a range of classic pub grub to entice punters.
Why go? Try the Casa Mac Attack Burger – it’s just finger-licking good.
PERTH AND NEARBY
What’s the vibe? Dining at the Parklands is a food lover’s delight. Based in Perth’s city centre only a few minutes’ walk from the bus and rail stations, this extended Victorian town house overlooks the South Inch Park and makes a good base for exploring Perth and the surrounding area. In the summer months you can enjoy their bistro menu on the terrace in front of the hotel whilst admiring the views of the attractive garden and the surrounding parkland.
Why go? Try their baked goat cheese, rump of Perthshire lamb, or dessert made with locally picked strawberries.
What’s the vibe? With three outside seating areas, one of which is right on the river, it’s no wonder that Taybank Hotel in Dunkeld is one of Perthshire’s biggest and most popular spots for al fresco dining. Over the summer, you can enjoy the many events they hold in the garden including regular craft markets, music events and small festivals. They also have their own vegetable, herb and flower garden – how cool is that?
Why go? For their hand stretched pizzas, shellfish, steak sandwiches and so much more.
What’s the vibe? Found on Perth’s Glasgow Road, the recently renovated Cherrybank Inn has quickly become locals and visitors’ favourite. In addition to the lovely indoor space, you can sit back and relax in their modern, spacious balcony, which boasts an electric roof and multiple heat lamps (so you are free to enjoy the balcony throughout the year) or beer garden for a more chilled environment, both offering an amazing selection of food and drinks.
Why go? Their beer garden comes with large-size outdoor screens to give guests the option of enjoying live sports out in the sun.
THE BIRDS & BEES
What’s the vibe? Housed in a converted farm steading a stone’s throw from the historic Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, The Birds & Bees has won the hearts (and stomachs!) of locals and visitors alike. This award-winning restaurant has two large, award-winning and well-maintained beer gardens featuring a permanent BBQ area in the courtyard and Petanque pitch. It’s also retained many original features, metalwork and farm implements, offering a relaxed eating experience.
Why go? For their delicious range of dishes based on locally sourced seasonal ingredients, including daily seafood market specials as well as traditional brasserie favourites.
What’s the vibe? Whether you’re after a stand-out brunch, top notch lunch or delicious dinner, Fletcher’s is the perfect place to visit. Situated inside an early 1800’s classic villa of elaborate character – a former bank – it’s been magnificently transformed into a modern restaurant with rooms, and it’s located only a five minutes walk from Stirling town centre, train station and bus station!
Why go? For their standout brunches, top notch lunches and delicious dinners along with an excellent range of fine wines, beers and exciting cocktails.
THE KILTED KANGAROO
What’s the vibe? If you’re looking for a fantastic meal, a cool beverage to wash it down and some great entertainment then The Kilted Kangaroo is the place to be. Located in the heart of the city just around the corner from the Thistle Shopping Centre, it’s a fantastic choice for a night out offering delicious BBQs, live music and a superb beer garden.
Why go? For their affordable pub food, with dishes from around the world using fresh, locally sourced produce.
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