Dining

7 Gorgeous Restaurant Gardens to See—and Sample—Now

These on-site culinary quarters look every bit as good as they taste
Farm-to-Table Restaurant Gardens
The Garden at Olmsted | Photo: Evan Sung

There’s something undeniably win-win about an on-site restaurant garden. At once convenient, sustainable and downright stunning, these retreats pack in big-time bonuses for chefs and patrons alike.

Brooklyn backyards where you can sip pre-dinner cocktails and Sonoma farms growing five acres of their own produce are just the beginning: From breathtaking Chicago rooftops to small but mighty Music City crop projects, here are seven of the nation’s most beautiful restaurant gardens in season now.

Nicole Schnitzler is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers travel, food and drink. Follow her on Twitter at @write_to_eat.

  • Sixteen
    (Chicago, IL)

    This restaurant takes the whole garden-to-table concept to new heights with the new Garden Table, a private event space situated next to a carefully culled garden. Still, everyone can reap the benefits of chef Nick Dostal’s green thumb, which makes an impression with hits like summer squash soup and family -style lavender braised veal breast.

    Photo: Sixteen Garden & Table

  • The French Laundry 
    (Yountville, CA)

    If you’re lucky enough to make it through the iconic blue door of Thomas Keller’s lauded Yountville mainstay, treat yourself to a predinner visit to its neighboring garden, a three-acre haven complete with 26 kinds of tomatoes, for starters. It’s here where the kitchen team dreams up dishes from more than 200 varietals, from sugar snap peas for ricotta basil anolini to d’Avignon radishes for slow-cooked wild salmon.

    Photo: Deborah Jones

  • Floriole 
    (Chicago, IL)

    Edible flowers run rampant above the kitchen at this Chicago bakery and café, which specializes in seasonal, French-inspired cuisine from Sandra and Mathieu Holl. As such, expect upgrades with every bite, from jams with rose geranium to basil sugar-laced blueberry tarts.

    Photo: Floriole via Facebook

  • SingleThread 
    (Healdsburg, CA)

    This Sonoma-based restaurant prides itself so greatly on its gardening prowess that it couldn’t settle on just one. In addition to an on-site rooftop garden, the team sources from a five-acre farm down the road, where close to 100 items contribute to new American eats like scallop-stuffed squash blossoms and tomato-dashi “tea.”

    Photo: Eric Wolfinger

  • Olmsted
    (New York, NY)

    It doesn’t get much more pristine than the backyard at this Brooklyn restaurant, where guests can sit and mingle among more than 100 varieties of plants. Those 2,000 square feet make up a refuge and resource for chef and co-owner Greg Baxtrom, who calls upon the garden for plates like lavender frozen yogurt and paper-thin carrot crepes.

    Photo: Evan Sung

  • Nicky’s Coal Fired
    (Nashville, TN)

    It’s all about ingredient-driven Italian plates at this West Nashville hangout, where coal-fired pizzas, house-made pastas and craft cocktails run the show. A small but mighty garden of nearly 20 herbs is to credit for gussying up such servings, as is the horticultural handiwork of Sara Gasbarra, founder of Verdura, a culinary garden design firm.

    Photo: Kristin Teig

  • Homestead on the Roof
    (Chicago, IL)

    There’s no shortage of seasonal fare at this Chicago favorite, thanks to a 3,500-square-foot garden that helps equip chef Scott Shulman and pastry chef Chris Teixeira with (almost) everything under the sun. Right now, that means purple Cherokee and Brandywine tomatoes, French melons, and Mexican gherkins, in addition to the go-tos: chives, garlic, mint and nasturtium.

    Photo: Homestead on the Roof

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