Have you really experienced summers till you have enjoyed a meal outdoors? The weather makes for the best time to dine al fresco, as the sun hovers over the horizon and the golden light takes over the sky. The Italian term al fresco translates to ‘fresh’ and ‘in the fresh air. Picture a perfectly bright day with a cool breeze, a beautifully set table outside with your favorite cocktail in hand accompanied by a great company.
We can already feel it.
Al Fresco dining is trendy, fun, and comes with a vibe of casualness and festivity.
In the spirit of all the frolic Texan summers bring with them, here is some of the best restaurants offering healthy, local and sustainable al fresco dining in the Lone Star State.
What are you waiting for?
Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile is a family operated restaurant with simple, Southern roots. It is tucked away on the East side of Austin, giving majestic views of the Colorado River from their outdoor patio. The restaurant boasts of a rustic set-up complete with wooden fittings. They take great pride in their Jacoby Brand Beef, a family-raised beef on the Jacoby Ranch and dry-aged up to 28 days. The burgers come with a half-pound beef patty. The menu features traditional Southern fare and gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free options.
With a stunning view of the expansive Wine Gardens, Lenoir offers a quaint atmosphere that feels very comfortable and homey. Located off of 1st street, they have incredible food and kind service. Lenoir is known for their whole roasted fish that has French country dining written all over it. They also boast of a full farm-to-table menu that rotates with the availability of seasonal fruits and vegetables. For the summer, they have a menu featuring hot weather food. What is that, you ask? Familiarize yourself with what is right to eat in the summers with Nathanial’s blog, Beat the Heat with Summer Season Food.
The Little Darlin’ is an Austin bar that offers a nostalgic vibe of the city’s historical past. It has a spacious outdoor area furnished with picnic tables adorned with vibrant lights and an outdoor bar built around a giant live tree. The menu features chicken & waffles, Antonelli’s cheese plate, flat iron steak and more. So whether you want to unwind, have a drink, or gather with family and friends, The Little Darlin’ indeed has some space to accommodate you.
Contigo is a family-owned restaurant passionate about bringing the best of the Contigo Ranch straight to its tables. Having served the community around the family’s ranch for over three decades, they decided to bring the farm for everyone in Austin to hang out. Contigo believes in being in the outdoors, sitting outside, and enjoying fresh, quality food. Their Beer Garden is where all the action is at. The menu features classic avocado toast, delicious charcuterie boards, organic Contigo garden salad, steak frites.
Nestled on an old homestead acreage between equestrian fields, Seasons Harvest is a quaint and charming café. Visitors are treated to a backyard-to-table encounter of freshly harvested goodness & culinary art. The café has a farmhouse vibe and a spacious patio. Their entrees feature avocado toast, a turkey panini sandwich with salad on the side, and organic vegetable chilaquiles frittata with pozole soup. Visit Season’s Harvest if you want to cut off from your busy routine and reconnect with nourishing your whole self.
Olive & June specializes in serving authentic Italian cuisine. It takes great pride, especially in its handmade pasta crafted in-house daily. The menu consists of pasta, salads, steak, greens, and beverages. They also serve a variety of desserts like chocolate tiramisu and peach panna cotta. If you’re looking for a patio eatery that offers heaters, fans, and umbrellas to provide a pleasant dining experience year-round, Olive & June doesn’t disappoint. Happy hour runs Monday-Friday until 6 pm, and you can get 50% off beer, cocktails, and every single item on the entire dinner menu.
Homespun Kitchen and Bar has been serving honest food, crafted cocktails, beer, wine, accompanied with live music since 2013 and is located in the heart of Dripping Springs, Texas. This restaurant is passionate about the farm-to-table concept, serving dishes infused with European and American influences. With a countryside and natural vibe to their alfresco patio, Homespun Kitchen and Bar is a place that diners can call home.
With more than 150 acres of natural land around the brewery and a recently opened 2-mile hiking trail, Jester King Brewery’s goal is to work closely with the local community to enjoy and appreciate the natural landscapes of the Texas Hill Country that surround and invigorate us. The expansive beer selection includes the currently available bottles, beers fermented in stainless steel tanks, beers aged in oak barrels, and 100% spontaneously fermented beers. Dining at the Jester King Brewery is as tranquil as it can get and one experience, we highly recommend!
Vista Brewing is situated on the beautiful hill country venue and has spacious grounds that are family & pet friendly. This spot is for people looking for fresh air and fresh beers. This brewery spot is mainly known for its Flight of Beer, a tray consisting of four of the Brewmaster’s best creations, including Destination, Zwickled Pink, Merriweather, and Dreamweaver. Inspired by European origins, Vista Brewing brews in a conventional method, emphasizing their very own 21 acres of Texas Hill Country terrain. The beverages are best paired with farm-fresh foods off their grill menu, and best enjoyed jamming to live music.
Serving specialty coffee and desserts, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters offers a venue to enjoy quality coffee in a beautiful setting. They have your typical coffee shop drinks and a select variety that comes with refills. The place itself is huge! It has remarkably high ceilings and an enormous multi-leveled patio. It’s right on a lake, so you can have a stunning, calming lakeside view which is perfect for de-stressing while getting your caffeine kick. Mozart’s presents itself as a necessary presence in the community, solidified by the daily flow of customers, ranging from tourists and locals alike.
Dressed up with bright red umbrellas and wood banquettes, Eno’s Pizza Tavern in the Bishop Arts District is an airy yet cozy place to sip vino and eat pizza dolloped with goat cheese. The restaurant has excellent natural lighting and a pleasant atmosphere. Eno’s lives up to the ideals of the place with live music, and it has a fantastic upstairs bar. You can find exciting flavor combinations on their Pizzas. People love the thin crust, and it has a nice snap to it.
Bonton Market Café offers an authentic farm-to-table dining experience. You can get a latte and a sticky pecan bun in the coffee shop, or a buttermilk-battered fried tomato sandwich and a scoop of honey butter ice cream in the café, and then settle down amidst the artichokes and herbs on Bonton’s urban farm. In addition, you can enjoy live music and farm-fresh food sourced directly from Bonton Farms.
Serving breakfast and lunch, the menu features morning fare like sweet potato hash, lighter options like yogurt parfait with peanut butter, house-made pastrami on rye, yardbird and grits, and desserts like butter pecan ice cream. The Bonton Market Café also hosts cooking classes so guests can learn how to cook food that doesn’t come in boxes or bags.
With the Independence Day weekend right around the corner, dining al fresco couldn’t get any better!