Best of Boston

BEST Al Fresco Restaurant

2006 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Martha's Vineyard
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Sweet Life Cafe

Oak Bluffs

Ten bucks says if you were asked to imagine your ideal evening of outdoor island dining, you’d pick something with a water view. Oh, naive soul: On the Vineyard, the most delicious outdoor experience happens in Sweet Life’s fragrant garden,… read more»

2005 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant

Oleana

Cambridge

Oleana’s candelit garden feels a world away from the bustle of Cambridge. Tucked at a table under the vine-laden trellis, you could easily be in the Greek isles, Turkey, or Morocco. Ana Sortun’s eclectic Mediterranean food—don’t miss the fried haloumi… read more»

2005 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Croma

Boston

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

Oleana

Cambridge

Boston has no shortage of outdoor dining options, but for our money, none is as transporting as the backyard terrace at Oleana. It’s a fairyland of flora and fauna—swags of crawling green draped over wooden trellises, fruit trees burgeoning with… read more»

2004 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Garden of Eden

Boston

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

Boston

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»

2003 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Upscale

Oleana

Cambridge

The backyard patio of Oleana puts chef Ana Sortun’s superb North African- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine into context. Visually, the area is stunning. A weave of red brick is the canvas for umbrella-covered tables scattered just far enough apart to balance… read more»

2002 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Upscale

Oleana

Cambridge

Most outdoor dining in Boston consists of nothing more than a few cramped, wobbly tables set up hastily on the sidewalk along a traffic-choked street. But not at Oleana, a Cambridge oasis with a lovely brick patio out back where… read more»

2002 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Affordable

Casa Romero

Boston

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

Harvest

Cambridge

With the doors at UpStairs at the Pudding closed, we’ve turned to another gem for outside dining. Just sitting in Harvest’s enclosed, shaded garden patio off Brattle Street provokes daydreams—and offers the evidence that this Harvard Square institution has entered… read more»