Outdoor Dining Beckons as Warmer Weather Returns

Plenty of Eastside restaurants offer options for enjoying fresh air with your meal. And if you're headed to a Mariners game, you'll also find new offerings for "dining out."


The unseasonably warm weather and beginning of baseball season had me fantasizing about dining outdoors, catching some rays and maybe catching a Mariners game.

First of all, about those Mariners. Regardless of how they hit at the plate, they have raised the stakes, or steaks, of what they serve hungry guests on their plates at Safeco Field. Famed Seattle Chef Ethan Stowell is consulting with the Mariners hospitality partner Centerplate to create specialties such as cheddar bratwurst, Painted Hills barbecue beef brisket, Taylor Shellfish Farm oyster po’ boy and Northwest Grass-Fed Beef Company burger or cheeseburger.  

If you prefer to dine before the game, valet your car at Hotel 1000 and dine at their restaurant, Boka, and your parking is validated. Happy hour is conveniently between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m., giving you plenty of time to make the 7:05 p.m. start for the home opener this Friday. After the game, return for the late night happy hour between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m.

Also this Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m. Boka will be serving Boka Jacks, their take on the baseball staple Cracker Jacks, to pedestrians passing by the restaurant on First Avenue and Madison in downtown Seattle.

But if the American pastime is not your pastime, there are many ways to enjoy the sunny days to come this spring and summer. Eastside restaurants and bars offer variety and volume of outdoor dining options.

Old Bellevue is a natural destination, where the pedestrian-friendly shopping is especially welcoming on sunny days. Afterward, retire to a sidewalk table at or  on Main Street in the heart of Old Bellevue.

The dining room at  in downtown Bellevue is elegant, almost formal. Outdoor seating is more casual, but no less attention is paid to the food or service. Pastas, including extensive vegetarian options, are the highlight at Andiamo. The silky tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and shallots in a creamy Alfredo sauce, and the chicken fettucini in a creamy tomato sauce stand out. 

 at Bellevue Place in downtown Bellevue has two outdoor decks 21 floors up. As they're open until midnight, consider outdoor dining for a romantic special occasion under the stars.

The menu at , also in downtown Bellevue, is international. The outdoor patio is domestic and casual. Danube Bistro serves Italian, German, Hungarian, Romanian and Slovakian cuisine. The menu ranges from goulash to jager schnitz to lasagna. For vegans, there’s cabbage rolls stuffed with mushrooms, vegetables and rice. 

Carillon Point on the Kirkland waterfront is a natural destination for outdoor waterfront seating. ,  and  are conveniently clustered around the circular drive outside the. Park once and indulge in a moveable feast between the three restaurants, enjoying views of Lake Washington at each stop.

In downtown Kirkland,  at The Heathman Hotel and  offer two distinctive outdoor dining options. Trellis offers fine dining on its sidewalk seating. Milagro Cantina offers more casual dining on its street-level patio.

The  and Woodinville locations of feature sun-drenched outdoor seating. Choose from wines by the glass, the flight or the bottle at either location.

Also in Woodinville,  offers two distinct outdoor options, one outside  and the other outside . The Barking Frog patio embraces guests under a veranda and entrances them with an elegant fountain. On clear days the crowd at Fireside Cellars often spills to the grassy courtyard at the center of the resort. Look for the new spring cocktail menu at Fireside Cellars starting April 25.

Woodinville wine country is another natural destination on clear days. Wine stores, tasting rooms and wineries set up outdoor patios for guests. ,  and  are just a few of the options. Enjoy wines outside. Oxygen exposure will enhance the aromatics of wines you sip while relaxing outdoors.

Not far from Woodinville wine country is Preservation Kitchen in the historic Kaysner Estate in downtown Bothell. The setting is inviting regardless of the weather. When it’s clear, score a table outdoors. This Saturday, April 17, at 7 p.m, Barrage Cellars winemaker Kevin Correll will be pouring four of his new releases that will be paired with appetizers for $35. Register here.

 and  are two options in the heart of Mercer Island’s business and retail district. Freshy’s Seafood Market is a gas-station-turned-fish-n-chips joint. Look for beers on tap starting this month as well as Japanese sake and wines by the glass to go with true cod, salmon, halibut, scallops, prawns or oysters and deep fried fish options. At Bennett’s, proprietor Kurt Dammeier vows to serve “only pure and all-natural foods, free of artificial flavors, preservatives and harmful additives” at one of the sidewalk tables. 

An outdoor shopping center begets outdoor dining. At , serves hungry shoppers. The glass doors by the indoor fireplace slide open on clear days, bringing the outdoors in, or vice versa, depending on your perspective.

As the name suggests,  in Redmond is made with stones. In particular, it was built by Orson Wiley between 1914 and 1916 with stones he collected from rural Redmond. Seating capacity doubles when the outdoor patio opens. If it’s your first time, sample from the small plates menu to try as many different dishes as you can.

Enjoy the sun before it sets on the outdoor patio at the Sunset Alehouse in Issaquah. Try some of their specialties, including the boneless chicken wings, Cord’s ultimate double cheese burger or the spicy Deuce burger.

Sip Wine Bar & Restaurant and  are two other options in Issaquah. Located in the heart of , the outdoor deck at Flat Iron Grill feels more like a residential backyard, except that at this backyard they serve flavor-packed 8-ounce hanger steaks, toothsome and aromatic paella and garlic sage fries, among other specialties.

At Sip Wine Bar & Restaurant, the outdoor patio is graced with a fireplace. Choose from around 70 wines by the glass to pair with the contemporary American cuisine.

At  in Sammamish, sit on one of the director’s chairs on their deck. A casual evening on the deck beckons a casual pizza. Restaurant Simone thrives with vegetarian options, including a mushroom pizza or the Margherita, made with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. If you prefer a meaty pizza, the Simone--with provolone, sausage and pepperoni--fits the bill.


cynthia stroo April 14, 2012 at 06:52 PM
My favorite outdoor dining location in Woodinville is Italianissimo. The patio is lovely and the food and wine selection is excellent.
Chris Nishiwaki April 19, 2012 at 09:31 AM
Thank you for the recommendation Cynthia.


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