Draped in shawls and blinking widely, you slowly saunter from your crypt into the blazing outward light. In reality, you’re just leaving your apartment to go to brunch, but after this past year, these kinds of activities can feel dramatic. Particularly since it feels like your skin hasn’t felt a UV ray since 2019.
Here’s the good news - there are plenty of excellent covered patios around LA these days, offering good food, festive spaces, and plenty of shade from the skin-searing sky enemy we call the sun. Here are 8 of our favorites to check out.
Eating seafood under the afternoon sun is basically what life’s all about. But considering the only Vitamin D you got last year was from switching your TV’s screensaver to a photo of Fiji, it’s best to play it safe. Connie and Ted’s not only serves our favorite seafood in West Hollywood, they now have a massive roofed structure in their parking lot. So, put your springtime turtlenecks away and go enjoy this outdoor lobster roll feast.
Everybody’s spent time fantasizing about what they’d do first when life returned to normal. Catch a movie, travel abroad, or perhaps run through the aisles of Sephora singing Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.” For us, it’s spending an afternoon lounging around Chez Jay’s back patio sipping martinis and eating calamari. The classic Santa Monica dive bar recently redid their entire outdoor space, which now comes complete with big awnings, lounge chairs, a separate bar, and plenty of string lights. They also open at 10am on the weekends, which only sounds aggressive if you’ve never had martinis at 10am before.
As the city starts to reopen, visiting all of your old restaurant favorites you haven’t been to in a year might be your number one goal. If that’s the case, Republique should be a priority. This iconic French spot on La Brea is one of LA’s most popular and recognizable restaurants, and the food is still excellent. And now, they have a completely shaded side patio in their parking lot, meaning you no longer have to wait in line under the blazing sun to get your weekend poppyseed bread and strawberry passion fruit pastry haul.
It’s not every day you’re going to be able to convince yourself (or anyone else) to drive up into the Burbank hills for a fancy brunch, but recently adventure feels a bit more palatable. Castaway’s redone menu has tons of options ranging from short rib benedict to double smashburgers to an entire raw bar. If the mood strikes you, there’s also a $22 bottomless mimosa situation that’s guaranteed to make the already fantastic views of the SFV even better.
This Mexican institution on the southern tip of Inglewood (there’s also a second location in Del Rey) serves fantastic Nayarit-style seafood all on a massive, fully-covered back patio. You can’t go wrong with any of the citrus-y ceviche or aguachile, but make sure the savory marlin tacos and whole grilled snook that’s covered in an addictive salty house sauce hit the table as well.
Outside of late-night Animal Crossing binges, nothing helped us get through quarantine more than takeout sushi. That said, if we have to eat sashimi out of a cardboard box on our couch one more time, we might actually lose it. That’s why we’ll be heading to Ichijiku. This new neighborhood sushi bar in Highland Park has everything from baked crab rolls to classic nigiri (get the branzino nigiri), all at prices that generally fall under $10. Plus, there’s an excellent back patio filled with large awnings, plenty of foliage, and socially-distant picnic tables, each adorned with their own bottle of hand sanitizer.
This Mexican restaurant in Sherman Oaks has been in operation since 1956, and is one of those rare places in LA where A-list celebrities and completely random locals commingle - even on an outdoor parking lot patio on a Saturday afternoon. The lobster quesadilla is a buttery, gooey masterpiece and the strong margaritas will always set the tone for when one of the Jenner kids inevitably storm in and take over the place.
Jame Enoteca is hands down our favorite place to eat Italian food in the South Bay. This El Segundo strip mall spot has a small covered patio out front where you can drink some California reds alongside crispy braised pork shank in lambrusco-mustard sauce, silky, handmade mandilli pasta, and a kale salad topped with parmesan and spicy almond vinaigrette that proves every other kale salad in this city needs to get their act together.