FOOD NOTES – Outdoor dining rooms


As the sun lingers a bit later each evening and temperatures climb, local foodies welcome the return of water flowing to the citys many fountains and alfresco dining at area restaurants.  Rising temperatures also call for new cooling cocktails to toast the sunglass season.

Here are a few we like: 

Brasserie Beck, (1101 K Street, NW) will open its new outdoor dining room this May, making it the perfect place to stop for a Belgian beer from the updated list that now features 126 choices, with four on tap. The new patio is 70 feet long and 40 feet deep, accommodating approximately 70 guests. Much like the handsome interior, the new patio area will continue the European ambience outside with comfortable furniture, including two banquettes for cozy seating and 10 by 10-foot umbrellas that will be adjacently placed to lend a canopy feeling to the space. Seasonal plantings will also bring the tropics to this inviting locale and a key focal point, the chefs table outdoors on the patio, which can comfortably seat eight to ten guests for larger gatherings.    

In Penn Quarter, 701 (701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) has 14 tables outdoors inviting patrons to linger over lunch or dinner prepared by new Executive Chef Bobby Vaura. This spring guests can nibble on new dishes such as the Crispy Tempura Ahi Tuna Roll with creamy miso, soy tapioca caviar, macerated strawberry vinaigrette and cocktails by Mo Taheri such as the 701 Passion Martini, while admiring the view of the Navy Memorial fountain.  

Tapas and mezze also abound in this popular bustling neighborhood and can be enjoyed on the sidewalk cafs of Jaleo (480 7th St., NW), which seats 24, and Zaytinya (701 9th St., NW), which can accommodate 40 guests and offers the Pom-Fili, made with pomegranate kisses white wine, vodka, triple sec, & pomegranate juice for $8 by the glass or $24 by the pitcher.  Also nearby, Caf Atlantico (405 8th St., NW), which seats 16 features a tempting tropical cocktail menu and newest on the block Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (401 7th Street, NW) has added 16 outdoor seats to accommodate its guests while sipping on their signature Oyamel margarita with salt air for $10. Additionally, sister restaurants Jaleo Crystal City (2250-A Crystal Drive in Crystal City) and Jaleo Bethesda (7271Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda) each offers approximately 40 seats.  

Soon to open Co Co. Sala (929 F Street, NW) will also offer patio seating for 30 allowing guests to enjoy the warm weather while indulging in chocolate-based drinks, artisanal chocolates and pastries. 

Sidewalk seating enables a summertime favorite pastime of people watching on Connecticut Avenue and Ashok Bajajs restaurants offer a front-row view, including The Bombay Club (815 Connecticut Ave., NW) with authentic Indian fare seats 35 people for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch just steps from Lafayette Park.  The Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave., NW) seats 40 for lunch and dinner on the expansive terrace with forward flavors by Chef Tony Conte.  Then up Connecticut Avenue, Ardeo/Bardeo (3311 Connecticut Ave., NW) serves dinner and weekend Sunday Champagne brunch on the 20-seat rooftop patio making it the perfect stop for dining when visiting the nearby National Zoo.  

Diners who want to grab a meal in the great outdoors around the Dupont Circle neighborhood can check out the new Caf Trop (2100 P Street, NW) which seats 25 guests outside and features distinctive flavors of French Caribbean cuisine and tropical cocktails inspired by the beaches of St. Tropez including the Mango Tango, made with Brandy, Grand Marnier, and mango puree or the Caribbean Mojito made with Virgin Island Rum, Triple Sec, homemade ginger lemonade, mint and lime juice, both priced at $8.   

Just a few blocks away, New England Beach fare for alfresco dining is also available at Hanks Oyster Bar (1624 Q St., NW). The popular outdoor patio, which seats 20 for weekend brunch and dinner, is often filled with patrons feasting on Chef Leeds selection of oysters, clams and her famous Lobster Roll. Guests can also sip on the Cherry Stone Blossom, a mix of vodka, sake, a splash of house-made lemonade and house-mixed cherry juice served with a cucumber wheel garnish for $10.  

Blue Duck Tavern at Park Hyatt Washington (24th & M Streets, NW) welcomes guests for outdoor dining for up to 40 guests around the garden terrace, complete with a handsome fountain. The new spring cocktail of choice at this pleasant oasis is the Pomegranate Thyme Martini made with pomegranate juice and Hennessy VSOP, as well as the Pineapple Sage Martini made with pineapple juice, Malibu rum and orange vodka, both priced at $15.  

Just south of the District, Charlie Chiangs Ping in Shirlington (4060 Campbell Avenue in Arlington, VA) features innovative cuisine highlighting the fusion of American tastes and local ingredients with the exotic, pleasing flavors of Asia. The restaurant serves up happy hour special offerings, which change weekly along with a great selection of premium sake including Chikurin hou hou shu sparkling sake from Okayama, and Asian beers including Kirin Light from Japan on the sidewalk patio that seats 20 guests. 

Just outside Washington, Mrs. Ks Toll House in Silver Spring, MD (2901 Colesville Rd.) offers extensive outdoor dining options with two patios overlooking the two-acre beautifully manicured gardens. As warm weather approaches guests are welcome to enjoy glory of Mrs. Ks gardens in full bloom at lunch, dinner and during their popular Sunday brunch. The newly unveiled Wine Press also features an extended outdoor patio that offers 60-seats for guests who wish to enjoy one of the 64 wines by the glass in the outdoor retreat.