Outdoor dining standouts for those pleasant summer nights

Ignacio Rios, left, serves sand dabs to customers on the Dockside patio.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Just can’t get enough outdoor dining in. Who wants to sit inside on these long summer nights? Or even at brunch? For those who are connoisseurs of eating outside, here are three more spots with not only a covetable patio but also covetable food from notable Los Angeles chefs. You can go comfort, beachy or Venice Mediterranean. The only catch is snagging one of those tables outside. On your mark, go.


Since it opened almost two years ago, MessHall has come into its own as a lively Los Feliz spot for all-American comfort food. A table outside with slatted wood banquettes and Modernist wood chairs is blessedly a tad quieter than inside — and a must for brunch. Mondays are for burgers (the classic Mess burger with Vermont cheese, maybe a bison burger or a heritage turkey burger). Tuesdays are for oysters and tacos. And every day is for hot wings confit, butcher steak, brisket and white cheddar grits. A new chef, Lauren Cantrel, former executive chef at Comme Ca, is shaking up the menu in a good way. If you’re headed to the Greek Theatre this summer, check out their Dine & Ride program.


4500 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 660-6377, Dinner items, $8 to $28.

Dockside at Playa Provisions

Playa Provisions is many things: ice cream counter, pastry and sandwich shop, dedicated whisky bar. It’s also home to Dockside, a seafood restaurant with a breezy outdoor patio outfitted with two fire pits (the better to enjoy a cocktail or salt cod clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl). The menu from chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts is mostly straight-ahead seafood—oysters, shrimp cocktail, lobster roll on buttered brioche, garlic and pepper-fried calamari and clams, delicious fried sand dabs, grilled whole lobster or steamed Dungeness crab. Carnivores can have a dry-aged beef patty melt or a pork porterhouse. But you might have to wait for that table outside: no reservations.

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey (310) 683-5019, Dishes, $6 to $24; lobster and crab at market price. Open for dinner and weekend brunch.


You can’t always get what you want at the wildly popular Gjelina, and what you want is a table outside in the immensely charming walled patio. Outfitted with mismatched garden furniture and floor lamps, it’s (somewhat) quieter than inside and oh so lovely for brunch or lunch (with umbrellas to shade you). It’s especially fine at night. The food? Chef Travis Lett keeps the standard high: inventive pizzas, grilled nectarine with burrata, grilled octopus with black-eyed peas, wood-roasted cod or crispy duck confit — and homemade gelato. Brunch is one of the best in town. Always a line. Always a crowd.


1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 450-1429, Dishes, $9 to $28. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner daily.

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