Washington Restaurants Welcome Spring with Outdoor Dining
At long last temperatures are climbing and Washingtonians are welcoming the return spring and water will soon be flowing to the city’s many fountains, as well as al fresco dining. Warm weather also calls for new cooling cocktails and outdoor vistas to accompany the return of summer.
Cuba Libre Restaurant Rum & Bar offers festive, Cuban-inspired dishes crafted by Chef and partner Guillermo Pernot and available on the 64-seat sidewalk café. This spring, the restaurant’s large French windows along its expansive storefront will open, bringing an airy vibrancy to its Cuban courtyard design. New menu additions will complement Cuba Libre's expansive rum menu, including more than 75 premium and flavored varieties that are used to make their signature mojitos and a variety of cocktails, including the new Catamaran Daiquiri, made from a combination of Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum, Licor Beirão, and fresh lime juice, garnished with dried coconut . Sunday through Friday, Cuba Libre also offers Caippy Hour with a small bites menu, and specially priced Caipirinhas from 5-7 p.m.
In Penn Quarter, 701 Restaurant has a 40-seat outdoor patio inviting patrons to linger over a lunch or dinner of modern American fare. Guests can admire the view of the Navy Memorial fountain and the National Archives along Pennsylvania Avenue, while enjoying newly appointed executive chef Benjamin Lambert’s seasonal menu. The restaurant also offers a variety of rose wines by the glass, specialty cocktails, and classic American snack plates during happy hour, Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. Featured libations on their artisanal cocktail list include Rickshaw Blossom, made with Cold River Gin, St Germain, pomegranate molasses, and Prosecco; Palisade, Leopold Bros., peach whiskey, rhubarb bitters, black tea, and lemon; and Tangerine Dream, made with orange granite, Stoli Vanilla, and Prosecco.
Ashok Bajaj’s acclaimed gem Bibiana offers a 20-seat seasonal patio where guests can enjoy chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s authentic Italian fare. Standout summer dishes include Yellowfin Tuna Tartar with a onion-lemon puree, lemon, trout roe, and agrumato; and Setaro Large Rigatoni with cauliflower, chili, pine nuts, golden raisins, anchovy, and pecorino. Cocktails include the Rabarbaro Zucca, made with rhubarb shrub, jasmine-infused gin, and two dashes of bitters; Sbagliato with Campari, sweet vermouth, and Prosecco, garnished with an orange twist; and the Amarognolo with muddled cucumber, Cold River gin, simple syrup, Fernet Branca, lemon juice, Prosecco, and coriander.
The contemporary bistro and wine bar Ardeo + Bardeo serves modern American cuisine prepared by executive chef Matt Kuhn for dinner and Sunday brunch on the 20-seat rooftop patio. New seasonal entrées include Hand Cut Pappardelle and Berkshire Pork Duo. This rooftop haven is the perfect spot for enjoying one of the restaurant’s many wines by the glass or a handcrafted cocktail such as the Bitter Truth with gin, chamomile syrup, Aperol, and splash of grapefruit juice topped with blood orange soda; 50 Shades of Grey, made with earl grey tea, vodka infused with earl grey and sage, earl grey infused simple syrup, orange bitters, rhubarb bitters, and a lemon zest ice cube; and the Carrot Ginger Margarita, made with carrot ginger shrub, agave lime syrup, tequila, and mezcal with a dried carrot sea salt rim
In the Dupont Circle neighborhood, Agora offers a 34-seat sidewalk café serving the lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch service. The restaurant showcases Turkish and Greek small plates that pair well the extensive international wine list, Mediterranean beers, Turkish Raki, and Ouzo. The patio is a sought-out gathering place for workday retreat as the restaurant features a fixed price, three-course lunch menu. Prepared by executive chef Ghassan Jarrouj, the offering invites guests to select from a variety of Turkish and Greek inspired dishes along with a choice of non-alcoholic beverage.
Legal Sea Foods has a 34-seat patio for enjoying fresh seafood and new seasonal cocktails from the Raising the Bar menu. New libations include the Pineapple Mole Margarita with El Jimador Blanco Tequila, Marie Brizard Crème de Cacao, fresh pineapple, lemon, and Xocolatl mole bitters; and the Guava Daiquiri, made with Plantation 3 Star Rum, Malibu, guava, fresh pineapple, and lime.
Just steps from the White House, The Bombay Club offers a lovely oasis for al fresco dining with 35 outdoor seats where guests can enjoy gourmet Indian fare prepared by executive chef Nilesh Singhvifor for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch service. For the perfect pairing, a rotating selection of handcrafted cocktails is also available. Highlights including the Springtime Negroni with Bombay Sapphire, Campari, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and Prosecco, garnished with lemon zest; and Bombay G&T, gin infused with chipotle green peppers, cardamom, and lime zest, simple syrup, and tonic, garnished with a sugar rim and lime.
Across the street, The Oval Room offers 40 seats on its lovely patio and serves lunch and dinner prepared by executive chef Tony Conte. Standout dishes this spring include Spring Vegetable Soup with sweet and sour beets, nori seasoning; and Steamed White Asparagus with morels, toasted hazelnuts, and whipped egg sauce. Guests can enjoy chef Conte’s spring dishes while sipping on refreshing cocktails such as the Royalist, made with Woodford Reserve, Dolin Dry Vermouth, and Benedictine peach bitters; and the Aviation with Tanqueray Gin, maraschino liquor, and Crème de Violette.
Blue Duck Tavern showcases an inviting 42-seat outdoor dining terrace complete with a 12-seat communal table created from one large piece of wood derived from the heart of a 50,000 year-old slab of an ancient Kauri. This spring visitors will enjoy the seasonal menus created by executive chef Sebastien Archambault and newly appointed chef de cuisine Daniel Singhofen with standouts that include Bibb Salad with roasted red pepper vinaigrette and goat milk panna cotta radishes; and Roasted Spring Lamb with barley and spring onion soubise. New arrivals on the cocktail scene include the Pomegranate Cloud with Silver Tequila, yellow chartreuse, pomegranate juice, rhubarb bitters, agave, and St. Germain foam; and Apple Bourbon with Buffalo Trace, Daron Calvados, a brown sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and sparkling apple cider.
Ashok Bajaj’s Rasika West End offers a 40-seat patio for lunch and dinner service during the summer season. Guests can indulge in modern, authentic Indian fare created by group executive chef Vikram Sunderam. New additions for spring include Broccoli Rawa Dosa with mustard seeds, curry leaves, pine nuts, and coconut chutney; and Lobster Pulao with lobster tail, malt vinegar, and mango kadi. A selection of seasonal cocktails is also available. Highlights include the Esha, made with Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye, chai-infused vermouth, house-made grenadine, and lemon juice, garnished with rose petals; and Priyanka with Amrut Fusion Whisky, Dolin Rouge, Montenegro Vecchia brandy, Benedictine, a dash of Peychaud's bitters, garnished with a lemon twist.
Tapas are the perfect option for outdoor gatherings and can be enjoyed on the sidewalk cafés of José Andrés’ restaurants. Jaleo DC, with its colorful patio furniture, seats 24 and serves the ever popular and refreshing sangria, cocktails, and award-winning tapas. New offerings for spring include the Bonito, made with scotch, pisco, white vermouth, cinnamon syrup, and pineapple juice, as well as six different varieties of Gin & Tonics, José’s favorite summertime cocktail.
Just over the Potomac River, sister location, Jaleo Crystal City offers 50 seats on their patio, providing ample seating to enjoy the warm weather. Jaleo Crystal City also offers favorites such as the Moscow Mule made with house made Ginger Beer, lemon juice, and honey syrup; Cuba Libre with single barrel rum, Mexican Coke, and cinnamon; and six different varieties of Gin & Tonics, José’s favorite summertime cocktail.
Then in downtown Bethesda, Jaleo accommodates 60 seats including high top seating on the Elm Street side of the patio. New spring items include Mini Pepinos con Ensalada de Tomate y Garratxa, baby cucumber salad with tomatoes and garrotxa cheese; and Atun con Ajonjoli y Pirquillos Confitadoes, sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna with piquillo pepper confit. In Bethesda, Jaleo also offers “Jaleo Hour” Sunday through Friday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Mediterranean hot spot Zaytinya can accommodate 70 guests on the expansive patio situated in the heart of Penn Quarter. Guests can enjoy a variety of delicious mezzes presented by head chef Michael Costa. New additions for spring include Mussels Macedonia, mussels, tomato, green onions, ouzo, and feta; and Oyster Tzatziki, Rappahannock River Oysters, cucumber, yogurt, and barberries. For the perfect pairing, guests can sip on new cocktails such as the Meshmesh, made from a combination of bourbon, apricot puree, lemon, and rose water. Additionally guests may opt for the beverage experience of tailored wine and cocktail pairings.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana has 16 outdoor seats for guests to enjoy while sipping the classic salt air margarita or any of Oyamel’s signature offerings such as the Al Gusto with cucumber-infused Siembra Azul blanco, St. Germain, and lime topped with sparkling Segura Viudas, Blood Orange Pequin, el jimadaor blanco, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and blood orange. For the perfect pairing, guests can enjoy additions to head chef Colin King’s spring menu with items such as Ceviche de Peje sol con Guanabana, Hawaiian sunfish, chayote squash, and cucumbers marinated in lime and served with a guanabana-horchata sauce.
The rooftop of neighborhood favorite Masa 14 has 50 seats on the deck as well as a 14-seat bar, for guests to enjoy newly appointed executive chef Felipe Milanes’ Latin-Asian small plates. Menu highlights include Spicy Shrimp Flatbread with Oaxaca cheese, pineapple, jicama, and pickled fresno chiles, and Drunkin Adobo Pork with long beans, roasted peanuts, chayote squash, and tequila reposado. For the perfect pairing, Masa 14 offers signature handcrafted cocktails such as Lemon Lager, Dos Equis, lemon-basil simple syrup, and elderflower liquor; the Passion, made with Grey Goose Pear, passion fruit, and agave nectar; and the Spicy Cucumber Margarita with cucumber-fresno infused blanco, agave, and fresh lime. Rooftop happy hour is also available daily from 5 to 7 p.m., and features Yuengling, Dos Equis and Amstel Light, house wine, and three cocktail specials in addition to a sampling of small plates.
This spring, Ambar invites guests to experience the best dishes of the Balkan Peninsula prepared with a modern twist on the 10-seat sidewalk patio. Restaurant chef Ivan Zivkovic’s menu includes new additions such as White Flatbread with kajmak, cured aged cow’s cheese, fresh herbs, truffle paste, and olive oil, and Shrimp in Tomato Sauce with rakia, ajvar, and fennel. The stand-up rooftop patio, with standing room for 40 guests, is the perfect place to sip a specialty cocktail such as the Podgorica, made with grappa rakia, aji amarillo, passion fruit, mango, and lime, or Tricycle 007 Manhattan with quince rakia, martini blanco vermouth, and bitters.
El Centro D.F. offers two outdoor dining spots where guests can enjoy the restaurants authentic Mexican fare and refreshing summertime libations such as the Spicy Mango Margartia with Tanteo jalapeno, lime, fresh mango puree, and chili-ginger, and Mojito Mexicano with El Jimador, lime, mint, and chili-ginger. Sangria is also available by the glass, half carafe, or full carafe. Additionally, the 14th Street location offers a rooftop happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. daily, and features drink specials including bottled beer, wine by the glass, and two signature cocktails. El Centro D.F. 14th Street boosts a rooftop deck complete with two bars and seating for 45 guests, while El Centro D.F. in Georgetown offers a large, secluded outdoor patio that can seat 55 guests.
Alba Osteria offers a 63-seat seasonal patio where guests can enjoy executive chef Roberto Donna and chef de cuisine Amy Brandwein’s authentic Italian cuisine reflective of the Piedmont region of Italy. Standout summer dishes include Balotte Piemontese with tuna, ricotta, robiola, and lemon, and Pollo All’Albese with poached Amish chicken albese with white wine and polpettine. Alba Osteria also features seasonal libations perfect for leisurely outdoor sipping. New additions include the Killer Kumquat, made with vodka, lemon, kumquats, and sugar, garnished with an orange twist, as well as the Black Berry Manhattan, made with fresh blackberries, Whisky, and blackberry jam.
Et Voila! offers an intimate, six-seat patio where guests can enjoy executive Chef and owner Claudio Pirollo’s classic Belgian French fare. Guests will not want to miss new spring additions such as the Octopus Salad with tomato confit, taggiasche olives, and parmesan cheese, or the Grilled Trout with corn and shitake mushroom sauce, crab flan, and baby spinach. For the perfect pairing, Et Voila! offers one of the city's most expansive and hard-to-find Belgian beer selections, as well as a large wine selection, assortment of dessert wines, and seasonal cocktails. New additions include the French Cherry Blossom Martini with Grey Goose cherry noir vodka, pineapple juice, and Chamboard, as well as the Berries Delight, fresh berry puree, vodka, and Champagne.
On May 1, Lupo Verde will debut its 40-seat gated outdoor patio, where guests can enjoy chef de cuisine Domenico Apollaro’s authentic, rustic, Italian fare. Standout dishes not to be missed this spring include Braised Baby Octopus with faro salad and Burrata with puntarelle salad with pine nuts and raisins. The restaurant also offers a boutique wine list with 100 wines available by the bottle, with three wines on draft, and a selection of innovative cocktails. Featured libations of its artisanal cocktail list include the Peppino with gin, Don Ciccio & Figli limoncello, strega, lemon juice, and Peychaud’s bitters, and the French-Italian 75, made with gin, Don Ciccio & Figli limoncello, lemon juice, and Prosecco.
Newcomer City Tap House DC offers a 40-seat outdoor patio where guests can enjoy Culinary Director Brian Cooke’s refined American pub fare. Guests wont want to miss standouts such as the Three Little Pigs Flatbread with palacios chorizo, fennel sausage, guaciale, broccoli rabe, and fontina, and Chiptle Glazed St. Louis Ribs with celeriac and apple slaw. For the perfect pairing, City Tap House offers a rotating list of 60 local, national, and international beers available by the draft and bottle. Popular brews such as Allagash, Weinhenstephaner, St. Feuillien, and Sierra Nevada are available along with domestic and European craft stalwarts such as Founder's, Bell's, Bosteels, Schneider, and Goose Island, as well as local staples from Three Stars, DC Brau, and Mad Fox. Part of City Tap House's mission is to seek out the most new and exciting breweries available in the ever-evolving craft beer market.
Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar will offer guests desserts prepared by Executive Chef and partner Robert Underwood on the restaurants expansive 44-seat outdoor patio. Signature items include Black & Tan Donuts, pale ale beignets with stout-chocolate filling, and Mexican Chocolate Tart with cajeta, house-made fluff, and cacao nib Chantilly. A selection of eight to 12 specialty drinks prepared by mixologists and partners Ari and Micah Wilder will also be available. Standouts include the Riverstone Slush, ice wine with seasonal nectar, shaved river stone ice, and winter fruit; and Double Down with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, rose bitters, B grade maple syrup, Ruby Red grapefruit, and lime.
The Carolina Kitchen boosts a 28-seat outdoor patio where guests can enjoy Chef and owner Lance London’s authentic Southern cuisine. London’s menu, inspired by fresh ingredients found in his grandmother’s recipes, includes a variety of appetizers, homemade soups and salads, home-style meals, sandwiches, famous fried chicken, and a number of Ma Pearl’s specialty entrées. For the perfect pairing, mixologist JP Caceres is crafting new spring libations such as the Punch of the Day with Absolut Wild Tea, fresh lemon, strawberry syrup, maraschino liqueur, and Prosseco, and Sangria, made from a combination of merlot, lemon syrup, vodka, orange juice, strawberry syrup, apples, and seasonal fruits.
Acclaimed Chef and owner Richard Sandoval’s newest venue, Toro Toro, boosts a 40-seat outdoor patio where guests can enjoy Pan Latin flavors while sipping on innovative, handcrafted cocktails made with ultra-premium Latin spirits. New additions for spring include the Prickly Pear Chilcano, made with Pisco Capel, fresh lime, prickly pear pureé, chile ginger, ginger ale, and orange bitters; and Raspberry Collins with Bombay gin, fresh lime juice, fresh raspberry simple syrup, and Champagne. For the perfect pairing, guests can indulge in Chef de Cuisine Stephen Hertzel’s new spring dishes including the Seared Seafood Ceviche with prawns, calamari, scallops, milk, ginger, aji Amarillo, leche de tigre, and sweet potato; and Lomo Saltado Empanada, stuffed pastry with beef tenderloin, oyster sauce, onion, and guacamole sauce.
Mio Restaurant offers a 38-seat outdoor patio where guests can experience the best of Puerto Rican cuisine with influences from Latin metropolises such as Puerto Rico, Lima, Ciudad de México, Caracas, La Havana, and San Juan, among others. Dishes not to be missed on chef Giovanna Huyke’s menu include Plantain Fritters stuffed with coastal crabs, and Fried Whole Red Snapper with fried plantains, island mojito, and an avocado-papaya crudo. For the perfect pairing, Mio Restaurant houses approximately 125 wines, evenly distributed between Old World and New World wines, in addition to specialty cocktails such as Mio’s Margarita with tequila, Cointreau and blood orange, and Palo de Mango with Don Q, Cruzan Mango and fresh mangos.
Cooperwood Tavern offers 44 outdoor dining seats where guests can enjoy executive chef Alan Javery’s classic American menu featuring fresh ingredients and Southern influences. Standout dishes not to be missed include Poached Lobster Claw and Spring Risotto, butter poached lobster over risotto with spring peas, asparagus and wild mushrooms, and Scallops & Foie Gras, lightly smoked and seared East Coast scallops with foie gras over a sweet corn puree. For the perfect pairing, guests can enjoy new additions to the cocktail menu including the Strhubarb Spice Cooler, made with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, ginger-lime syrup, strawberry-rhubarb shrub, cucumber, mint and lemon, in addition to the extensive collection of small batch single bourbons and moonshine.