Best of Boston

BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, affordable

2009 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Sophia’s Grotto


In a mere four years this precocious trattoria has grown up into an authentic Old World beauty, its cloistered brick courtyard now mature with ornamental trees and grasses and a massive climbing hydrangea. Prices, though, have barely changed at all,… read more»

2007 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Tavern On the Water


The spectacular views and lengthy menu—casual staples like chicken fingers, grownup entrees like ahi tuna—at this dockside cafe easily trump any pretentious, cheek-by-jowl patios elsewhere in the city. read more»

2006 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Casa Romero


Not many restaurants are willing to dedicate a chunk of valuable real estate for the few weeks that merit outdoor dining. But chef-owner Leo Romero’s mission is to let guests experience the joys of una noche Mexicana, and his colorful… read more»

2005 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable



Croma’s patio provides the perfect portion of sun to shade—not to mention delectable thin-crust pizza and fruity cocktails—for everyone from hipsters to stroller-toting moms. The staff is amiable, and the wait for a table is usually short—which means less time… read more»

2004 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Garden of Eden


Few summertime pleasures are greeted as enthusiastically in this town as the chance to dine outdoors. But even considering the growing abundance of patio cafés, Garden of Eden stands out for its exceptional basic ingredients: fresh and creative dishes, an… read more»

2003 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Armani Cafe


When it comes to sidewalk repasts, it’s been years since we felt the call of Newbury Street—too much pretense, not enough table space. But something is very back about the Armani Café. Maybe it’s the improved menu, rejiggered under executive… read more»

2002 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Casa Romero


If you think outdoor dining in the Back Bay is only about people-watching, take a detour to this hidden enclave off Gloucester Street. The restaurant’s tiles are direct from Puebla, Mexico, and so is the atmosphere: Tangled vines curl lazily… read more»

2001 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Ben’s Café


The meal deal at Maison Robert is the prix fixe menu in Ben’s Café, which is most enjoyable eaten outside. Three courses of French classics are available for $18 or, with more options per course, for $25. of all, you… read more»