Ah, summer. Synonymous with endless sunshine, family vacations and backyard barbecues, the season is also a great time for alfresco dining. While noshing sans air conditioning may be a challenge on the hottest days of the year in humid Houston, temperate evenings still make eating out on the patio something to look forward to.
Forbes Travel Guide rounds up five of the city’s best.
Il Giardino at Hotel Granduca
Channeling everything you love about summers in Tuscany, Il Giardino at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Hotel Granduca in Uptown Park is the ideal spot for a lovely, Italian-inspired brunch, lunch, tea or dinner.
With the hotel’s lavish, resort-style saltwater pool and gardens as the backdrop, nosh on a selection of antipasti ranging from fritto misto (fried calamari) to the piatto di formaggi (cheese plate), along with panini or pizza by Piedmont-born executive chef Enrico Glaudo.
A well-curated list of Italian wines and craft beers provides ample choice for refreshment as befits the occasion.
Marché at La Table Houston
When you want to feel like you’re at a sidewalk café in France, look no further than the patio at La Table, where traditional navy bistro chairs and royal blue umbrellas provide the perfect setting for everything from a romantic meal à deux to a girl’s night out or a family repast.
Whether you go upscale with ossetra caviar service and foie gras, or more casual with flatbreads and classic sandwiches, executive chef Manuel Pucha’s cuisine is a delight to experience.
A plethora of refreshing options for rosé and crafted cocktails (such as the lavender-scented La Provence) offers further enticement.
Escape to the French Riviera at the charming Café Azur in Houston’s Montrose area. Owned by Nice-born chef Sidney Degaine and his Brazilian wife, Maria, their picturesque patio, shaded by a historic oak tree and Miraval-branded white umbrellas, is one of the café’s major draws.
French-speaking waitstaff and a Mediterranean menu with items like braised octopus, salmon gravlax or boeuf bourguignon, not to mention the tableside nitro-spun ice cream (which emits a huge blanket of ice-cold smoke as it’s made), make every meal a pleasure.
The patio here is ideal for people-watching the see-and-be-seen set who flocks to the stylish location for everything from plates of charcuterie to steak frites and platters of oysters paired with Veuve Clicquot.
Sultry Latin nights define the ambience at Batanga in Downtown Houston, which boasts one of the most attractive patios in the city.
Bright red umbrellas and string lights illuminate the patio for a night filled with creative tapas and drinks that pack a punch, like the cachaça-based Brazilian caipirinha. Sundays are especially festive at Batanga, featuring brunch service, half-price wine all day and a three-course dinner of suckling pig, local farm salad and chef’s dessert.