The world is reopening, people are getting vaccinated, and for the first time in a while, there’s a tinge of optimism in the air. You’ll be the first to admit how exciting it all feels. That said, maybe you’re also needing to take things slow. After all, you just spent a year in relative solitude, the idea of hanging out on crowded patios and chatting with people you haven’t seen since 2019 is borderline social whiplash, and you’re perhaps not ready for it yet.
Not to worry, these nine patios offer quiet, comfortable settings where you can dip your toe in the social hot tub without the pressure of jumping all the way in.
With unobstructed views of the Hollywood Sign and the surrounding hills, Kensho has arguably the most idyllic setting of any wine bar in town. It’s located on the grounds of the always-popular Yamashiro in Hollywood, but the tiny patio is quiet, low-key, and even when it’s full, you’ll still feel like you have the place to yourself. We love Thursday and Friday nights, when they set up a Yakitori grill right on the patio.
Holcomb opened in late 2019, but this chilled-out Highland Park spot is still one of the most exciting natural wine bars in LA. Their list is always changing, but they concentrate on skin contact, unfiltered European varietals, plus a solid snack menu that will keep you nourished as you revel in the serenity of your solo date night. Their expanded front patio is open seven days a week from 5-10pm.
A meal at this high-end kaiseki spot in West Hollywood will certainly set you back (prix-fixe menus range from $80-260 per person), but if you’re good with that price point, Gozen delivers on its value. You’ll eat things like smoked duck with tapenade, sushi that was flown in from Japan that day, and strips of Kobe prime chuck cooked tableside. The intimate space also only has a handful of tables to go around, making the entire experience feel like you’re dining in your own private teahouse even though you’re at a restaurant on La Cienega.
Not only does Dudley Market serve some of our favorite seafood in Los Angeles, but this neighborhood spot also has a quiet, outdoor patio one block up from the beach. Sure, you’ll have to squint past the Venice boardwalk, but if eating fresh-caught seafood within earshot of the ocean isn’t on your Things I Enjoy In Life list, perhaps you need to reconsider some things. The menu changes daily based on what they caught, but just know that whether it’s oysters or whole fried sand dab, you’ll be in great hands. Plus, their mostly-biodynamic wine list is fantastic.
The Lincoln Heights Cambodian restaurant makes outdoor dining feel easy - just place your order at the window, then make your way to their beautiful, serene patio out back. There’s hardly a bad dish on the menu here, but our favorites include the grilled pork shoulder numpang sandwich, bright-pink Kmher salad filled with shredded chicken and fried shallots, and a simple braised tomato and sardine dish that comes with a properly crusty baguette. If you’re looking for a solo lunch spot on the Eastside that doesn’t involve squeezing between people on laptops, this is your spot.
With a slightly hidden location under the Gold Line tracks, entering this French bistro’s patio in Chinatown is like stepping into a New York film noir - everything has a muted pink tint to it and the romantic drama is palpable. It’s an ideal date night spot when you want to feel like the only two people on earth. In addition, all of the food is fantastic (get the bavette steak), and the wine list is full of interesting and well-priced selections that will certainly help break the ice.
Mantee is one of our favorite Armenian restaurants in Los Angeles. The family-run spot on Ventura has a lush, quiet patio that feels like you’re eating dinner in a backyard in the suburbs, and the food is excellent across-the-board. As its name suggests, mantee is the specialty here, and while the sumac and yogurt-covered dumpling dish is very good, don’t even think about leaving until you’ve tried both the dolma and sizzling hot feta.
This grocer/deli is located on an entirely residential street in Culver City, and if you didn’t look closely you’d probably assume it was just another house on the block. Order any of their tremendous sandwiches (we like the Italian sub or Jackson Club panini), head to the hidden back patio that comes with an actual pond, pull out a good book, and pretend you’re Diane Lane in a late-in-life romance movie.
Otafuku is a family-run Japanese restaurant in Gardena that treats soba noodles like science. The three kinds of rare soba here vary in texture, size, and taste, but all are made in-house daily with special flour imported from Japan. The all-white seiro is our favorite, but whatever you choose will be served cold on a bamboo plate with a tiny dish of garlic soy sauce for dipping on the side. It’s the perfect treat on a hot day when all you want to do is sit alone on their back patio and eat your lunch in complete solitude.