Maximum Exposure

Don't let June gloom stop you from dining outdoors

Chicago | Los AngelesNew York

When it comes to open-air dining, San Francisco cannot compare to Paris, or Bangkok, or even Los Angeles. We must choose our spots carefully, dress judiciously, and even prepare to finish early. Here are six restaurants where your odds of eating a great meal outdoors are better than even.

RESTAURANT WHY YOU SHOULD EAT THERE
Blue Plate 

(Bernal Heights)

The tiny, verdant patio behind this bistro is so intimate and so hidden that dining there feels like attending a dinner party with the kind of friends who show up in Sunset Magazine pictorials. Aiding the illusion: glasses of Txakoli or German Pinot Blanc from Blue Plate's intriguing wine list.
Comal 

(Berkeley)

Everyone knows that if you want to properly experience summer in June, you have to head over the bay. The supporting evidence at Matthew Gandin's Cal-Mex restaurant: Palomesques on the heated patio, followed by duck enchiladas and grilled, chile-rubbed rock cod.
Ragazza 

(Western Addition)

Yes, Sharon Ardiana's pizza place is at the edge of San Francisco's fog bank. That's why she installed a heated gazebo on the back patio, making her airy pizzas and giant greens-and-grains salads there a sure bet. You may even feel confident ditching the sweater by dessert time.
Hog Island Oyster Co. 

(Ferry Building)

Oysters always taste fresher within sight of water. Even though Hog Island's bivalves aren't pulled from the San Francisco Bay, the briny breezes flowing over the patio here are the ideal olfactory backdrop to glasses of Muscadet and Kumamotos by the dozen.
Foreign Cinema 

(Mission)

There aren't that many long-standing places that have retained their glamour as well as Foreign Cinema has: Whether it's Friday night or Sunday brunch, and you're eating sesame-curry fried chicken or balsamic fried eggs, the spacious patio feels as cinematic as the movie flickering on the wall at the back.
Fish 

(Sausalito)

The seafood is local, but the appeal of eating on the deck at Fish, your soundtrack the jangling of sailboat riggings and the crying of gulls, is universal. Fish and chips, Dungeness crab rolls and oyster po'boys are best enjoyed outdoors.