Magazine

Boston’s best restaurant patios

Whether you’re in the mood for an old favorite or someplace new this summer, these outdoor spots won’t disappoint.

Russell House Tavern in Cambridge.

Strung with plants and glimmering lights, the skinny brick-walled terrace at Russell House Tavern manages to feel like a secret, though it’s just steps from Harvard Square’s hustle. 14 JFK Street, Cambridge, 617-500-3055, russellhousecambridge.com

Water views of the Boston skyline and a steady stream of 747s overhead make Belle Isle Seafood a perfect spot to take visitors for generous lobster rolls and pints of crisp fried clams. It’s like a Cape escape minus the traffic. 1 Main Street, Winthrop, 617-567-1619, belleisleseafood.com

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The patio at Brass Union, overlooking Union Square, hums with mellow pleasure, and the people-watching is prime. Comfort food (grilled cheese and tomato soup, mushroom toast) amplifies the Zen. 70 Union Square, Somerville, 617-623-9211, brassunion.com

Brass Union in Somerville.

The recently opened replacement for Hamersley’s, Banyan Bar & Refuge in the South End keeps its predecessor’s convivial (and expansive) patio. The Asian gastropub plates come courtesy of Phillip Tang, known for his inventive work at East by Northeast. 553 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-556-4211, banyanboston.com

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Locals love Redd’s in Rozzie for its friendly neighborhood atmosphere, its Southern-inflected menu — hush puppies, pulled pork — and its charming patio beneath twinkling lights. 4257 Washington Street, Roslindale, 617-325-1000, reddsinrozzie.com

Redd’s in Rozzie in Roslindale.

Redd’s in Rozzie in Roslindale.

It’s hard to make a retail complex feel exotic, but the patio at Assembly Row’s River Bar succeeds, with cozy couches, fire pits, unusual dishes like ramen bisque, and even absinthe frappes. 661 Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-616-5561, river-bar.com

River Bar in Somerville.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

River Bar in Somerville.

Preen away a summer’s day beneath the cherry-red umbrellas on the patio at Cinquecento, a Roman trattoria with an outdoor bar and a suitably buzzy South End scene. 500 Harrison Avenue, Boston, 617-338-9500, cinquecentoboston.com

Cinquecento in Boston.

Cinquecento in Boston.

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All of Central Square — from college kids to MIT professors to amiable eccentrics — washes ashore on Naco Taco’s big light-strung patio, reminiscent of those you’d find in Austin. 297 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-945-1548, nacocentral.com

Naco Taco in Cambridge.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Naco Taco in Cambridge.

Where do MIT professors, postdocs, and the biotech set go for craft cocktails and conversation in the sunshine? The patio at West Bridge. It opens at 4:30 in the afternoon — perfect for cutting out of work a little early on a fine day. 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-945-0221, westbridgerestaurant.com

West Bridge in Cambridge.

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler

West Bridge in Cambridge.

The convivial deck at KO at the Shipyard in Eastie offers more than just tasty meat pies and sausage rolls. From shrimp on the barbie to Anzac biscuits, it serves an array of treats from down under. 256 Marginal Street #16, East Boston, 617-418-5234, kocateringandpies.com

KO at the Shipyard in East Boston.

KO at the Shipyard in East Boston.

The Madrona Tree in Arlington.

Sunny days draw neighbors to The Madrona Tree in Arlington Center. Pull up a seat at an umbrella-shaded table and tuck into a pasture-raised burger at lunch or a variation on eggs Benedict at breakfast. Sip lavender-scented lemonade and kick back — you’ll be in good company. Credit cards are not accepted. 315 Broadway, Arlington, 781-859-5551, themadronatree.com

The handsome sunken patio at B&G Oysters is a swanky South End staple. Bring a date or a best friend to celebrate the season by downing briny East and West Coast oysters by the dozen and sharing a bottle of something dry and bubbly. 550 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com

B&G Oysters in Boston.

John Blanding/Globe Staff

B&G Oysters in Boston.

Trade’s sidewalk patio has two major assets: A covetable Greenway location within strolling distance of the Seaport and the Financial District, plus Jody Adams’s exceptional global cuisine. 540 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, 617-451-1234, trade-boston.com

Trade in Boston.

Ken Rivard

Trade in Boston.

Get your grill on at Kendall Square’s Belly Wine Bar, where the patio features poppy-red picnic tables, a wood-burning grill (turning out andouille sausages, salmon, and burgers at lunch), plus some two dozen wines by the glass. On select Sunday evenings, you can groove to a New Orleans-style brass band. 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-494-0968, bellywinebar.com

Belly Wine Bar in Cambridge.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Belly Wine Bar in Cambridge.

For more than 50 years, Tony’s Clam Shop on Wollaston Beach has served up a vast array of fried seafood, sandwiches, salads, and Mediterranean specialties like tabbouleh. For a grown-up treat at this family-friendly spot, try one of the frozen specialty cocktails. 861 Quincy Shore Drive, Quincy, 617-773-5090, tonysclamshop.com

Tony’s Clam Shop in Quincy.

JOHN BOHN/Globe Staff

Tony’s Clam Shop in Quincy.

Busy Sam’s anchored the Seaport before it became cool. (Sorry, Mario Batali.) The classic American food is solid, and the serene waterfront location (even amid nearby construction) seals the deal. 60 Northern Avenue, Boston, 617-295-0191, samsatlouis.com

Sam’s in Boston.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Sam’s in Boston.

On Eastern Standard’s covered front patio, the mood is bouncy, the service chummy, the drinks strong, and the hours late. And unlike at nearby Fenway Park, everyone always wins. 528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-532-9100, easternstandardboston.com

Eastern Standard in Boston.

Jonathan Wiggs/ Globe Staff

Eastern Standard in Boston.

Dante, an Italian jewel wedged inside the quiet Royal Sonesta hotel near Kendall Square, offers a pleasant surprise: alfresco tables overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline. 40 Edwin H. Land Boulevard, Cambridge, 617-497-4200, restaurantdante.com

Dante in Cambridge.

Dante in Cambridge.

When relaxing on Oleana’s herb-filled secret garden-like patio, everyone appears bathed in a hazy, glamorous glow, and Cambridge seems galaxies away. Ana Sortun’s spinach falafel ain’t bad, either. 134 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, 617-661-0505, oleanarestaurant.com

Oleana in Cambridge.

Maisie Crow for The Boston Globe

Oleana in Cambridge.

The urban oasis of Ashmont Grill’s patio in Peabody Square is the place to indulge in carnivorous cravings like juicy pasture-raised burgers and smoky ribs. Top it off with a slice of frozen Key lime pie and you might just think you’re on vacation. 555 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, 617- 825-4300, ashmontgrill.com

Ashmont Grill in Dorchester.

JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Ashmont Grill in Dorchester.

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