Taste of the Outdoors: Dining Outside in Los Angeles

Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake.

For the capital of urban sprawl, Los Angeles offers a surprising wealth of rustic dining in restaurants that make the most of the great outdoors.

Inn of the Seventh Ray
Inn of the Seventh Ray has been satisfying nature lovers—and lovers in general—for many years in an idyllic creekside setting. Vegetarians are pampered here, but chef Bradley Miller’s sophisticated California cuisine offers something for everybody, with dishes such as diver scallops with pumpkin, chorizo, sage and maple to charcoal-crusted filet mignon. 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, 310.455.1311. innoftheseventhray.com

Saddle Peak Lodge
Hidden in the Santa Monica Mountains with little evidence of nearby civilization is Saddle Peak Lodge, a former Pony Express stop, brothel and hunting lodge. In rustically elegant rooms with moose heads mounted on timbered walls, well-dressed diners tuck into rack of elk at linen-clad tables, or enjoy mountain views on the patio. 419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas, 818.222.3888. saddlepeaklodge.com

Alcove Café & Bakery
Despite its in-town Los Feliz location, the sprawling, lushly landscaped patio at Alcove Café & Bakery feels like a quaint village. The quality of the food—from crab cake Benedict in the morning to Southern fried chicken in the evening (plus interesting wines)—elevates the experience at this charming community gathering spot. 1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, 323.644.0100. alcovecafe.com

Abuelitas accommodates cravings for Mexican food for those not quite ready to return to the big city. The food is secondary to the ambience, but seafood enchiladas and margaritas seem just right on a patio overlooking Topanga Creek as it babbles through a rugged canyon. 137 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, 310.455.8788. abuelitastopanga.com

Cliff’s Edge
With an enormous tree dominating its patio, Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake has a very natural feel to it, and a sophisticated Mediterranean menu features chickpea fritters with lemon aïoli and lamb cheeks with a hazelnut gremolata. 3626 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 323.666.6116. cliffsedgecafe.com

Le Chêne
Only in Los Angeles—or, well, a half-hour from LA—can you find authentic French food and a wine cellar overflowing with 30,000 bottles in cowboy country. At Le Chêne you can pair duck à l’orange or beef bourguignon with a fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape while donning your best Stetson hat! 12625 Sierra Hwy., Santa Clarita, 661.251.4315. lechene.com

Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite SoCal spots delivered to your inbox every week

Los Angeles

Orange County

San Diego