Crave’s List; 12 Alfresco dining experiences from around the world

Wednesday 29th Jul 2020 |

As pubs, bars and restaurants are beginning to reopen, a swathe of central London is set to be transformed into continental-style outdoor dining.

While beer gardens and a bevy of streetside restaurant setups may give a taste of holiday life in the UK, nothing compares to the real deal abroad.

Local, vibrant food scenes and original cocktail concoctions often make for the ultimate alfresco dining and unique travel experiences, creating lasting memories, giving visitors a true flavour of the destination.

Here, we round up the top alfresco dining experiences around the world for travellers to look forward to including lakeside aperitifs in Trentino Italy, luxury beach bars in Abu Dhabi and coffee on Colombia’s caribbean coast.

1. Enjoy an aperitif by Lake Levico in Trentino, Italy

2. Alfresco indulgence in Abu Dhabi, UAE

3. Sip on Colombian coffee in the caribbean coastal city of Cartagena, Colombia

4. Drink up at Nashville’s newly opened Virgin Hotels rooftop pool bar – opening 1st July 2020

5. Take in spectacular Indian Ocean views at Beach Rouge bar in Mauritius

6. Tuck into oysters on the patio at Baltimore’s True Chesapeake Oyster Co, USA

7. Take in Vienna’s skyline at the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar, Austria 

8. Delight in a deep dish pizza on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, USA

9. Try brunch in Old San Juan Farmer’s Market, Puerto Rico

10. Dine and drink at the Distillery District in Toronto, Ontario

11. Enjoy Japanese cuisine with the backdrop of Mount Asama at The Prince Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan 

12. Feast your way through Arizona, USA

Enjoy an aperitif at Rociondola Sunset Bar by Lake Levico in Trentino, Italy

This split-level bar fits perfectly into its surroundings framed by the beach at Parco Segantini on the shores of Lake Levico and is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail at sunset or an aperitivo on the terrace as the DJ plays a chill-out playlist. Lake Levico is surrounded by small beaches and shaded lawns, its waters boast Blue Flag status and the lake is located just a few minutes drive from Levico Terme, a renowned spa destination in Northern Italy. Rociondola Sunset Bar therefore provides an idyllic setting in which to relax after an active day spent on the lake enjoying its watersports offering or an afternoon being pampered in Levico Terme.

Alfresco indulgence in Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Alfresco connoisseurs will find plenty of spots across the UAE capital to indulge in fine food and drink whilst watching the sunset or the sea lap at the shore. Adjoining the five-star St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Riviera Beach Club is one of the city’s luxury hideouts with its private beach overlooking the glistening waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Post swim or sunbathe, visitors can dine on gourmet seafood fusion cuisine and cocktails on the outside deck at Catch. Meanwhile, culture lovers who have satisfied their art fix at Louvre Abu Dhabi should head to the museum’s modern rooftop bar. The Art Lounge combines views of the sea and the museum’s striking architecture with light tapas-style dishes and refreshing drinks on the terrace.

Sip on Colombian coffee in Cartagena, Colombia’s caribbean coastal jewel

Colombia’s caribbean coast is a melting pot of rich culture, musical heritage, colonial architecture and culinary delights. Travellers can enjoy a Colombian coffee of the finest blend at Cafe del Mar in the caribbean city of Cartagena. The local hotspot, located on the old city wall, has outside seating for visitors to soak up the sun, enjoy the spectacular caribbean sea views and take in the colourful Cartagena skyline. The city comes to life each day with the musical rhythms of salsa and Champeta, an upbeat music and dance genre with African ancestry that originates from the city. Cafe del Mar transforms for visitors to enjoy a drink and dance the night away as the party spills into the streets, with salsa dancing galore.

Drink up at Nashville’s newly opened Virgin Hotels rooftop pool bar – opening 1st July 2020

Opening on 1st July 2020, Virgin Hotels Nashville is the brand’s fourth hotel to launch in the U.S. and is set to be the hottest spot in town to sip a Tennessee whiskey cocktail. The reimagined boutique hotel in downtown Nashville features The Pool Club Rooftop & Bar, an oasis on the 14th floor for travellers to soak up the southern sun. The rooftop offers views across Nashville’s historic Music Row and lush landscapes, with comfortable cabanas to take advantage of local delicacies and cocktails. In line with Covid-19 safety and hygiene protocols, the pool deck will be spaced out for social distancing and QR menus will be used to order all beverages and bites, including Nashville’s infamous hot chicken. While sipping on a sundowner, guests can revel in the sounds of Music City, enjoy the city’s culinary delights and lap up the southern charm of Nashville, Tennessee.

Take in spectacular Indian Ocean views at Beach Rouge, LUX* Belle Mare Resort & Villas, Mauritius

Occupying a prime spot on the white sands and with spectacular views across the Indian Ocean, Beach Rouge is LUX* Belle Mare’s luxury beach bar which offers lunch and dinner. Tucked away in beautifully landscaped tropical gardens near the sleepy village of Belle Mare, this modern Mauritius boutique resort is located on a glorious stretch of the east coast offering stunning interiors by renowned designer, Kelly Hoppen. There’s a hint of French Riviera in the airy white-and-red decor of Beach Rouge while in the lounge area, cocktails and tapas make for lazy days and cool evenings to the sound of top DJs. Local, fresh-from-the-sea produce shines in the kitchen, where chefs whip up tantalising feasts of the island’s best seasonal fare.

Tuck into oysters on the patio at Baltimore’s True Chesapeake Oyster Co

Alfresco dining

The True Chesapeake Oyster Company became the first Maryland oyster farm to open a restaurant in 2019. The 150-seat restaurant located in the renovated Whitehall Mill in Baltimore encompasses two dining rooms with wraparound bars made of oyster shell terrazzo, an elevated shucker station clad in weathered copper, an open kitchen, wine cellar and an outdoor bar with patio seating perfect for dining alfresco. In a culinary moment where “farm to table” is a given, True Chesapeake Oyster Company raises the bar by featuring oysters they’ve raised on their farm in St. Jerome’s Creek, Southern Maryland. Chef and Partner Zack Mills’ delicious menu therefore revolves around these oysters complemented by varied seasonal entrees.

Take in Vienna’s skyline at the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar

The Ritz Carlton Vienna’s spectacular rooftop bar, located on the iconic Ring Boulevard, is the perfect spot to escape for a sundowner in Vienna. The Atmosphere Rooftop Bar, which reopened on 15th May 2020,  is located on the hotel’s 8th floor and offers refreshing highball cocktails, mocktails and spritzers, relaxed summer vibes and incredible views over the beautiful city. The menu includes Mediterranean fare by Pastamara and reservations are required in advance.

Delight in a deep dish pizza on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, USA

Alfresco dining

Widely regarded as one of America’s best towns for gourmet gorging, the food scene in Chicago is sizzling. While the city is teeming with up and coming culinary hotspots and steak restaurants galore, no food item is as iconic in Illinois than the Chicago deep dish pizza. Travellers to the windy city can enjoy a takeout from legendary Giordano’s or Pizzeria Uno and enjoy a picnic on the beaches of Chicago’s north shore, set against the dramatic city backdrop and expansive Lake Michigan. Originating in Chicago in the 1940’s, the deep dish pizza is a honed speciality waiting to be savoured and offers alfresco dining at it’s best.

Tuck into brunch in Old San Juan Farmer’s Market, Puerto Rico

Located a short walk from some of Old San Juan’s historic architectural landmarks like El Morro Castle and the Cuartel de Ballaja, visitors can take advantage of the Old San Juan Farmer’s Market (‘Mercado Agrícola Natural Viejo’) located in the courtyard of the Museo de San Juan. The market is the perfect place to pick up some organic local produce including coffee, homemade chocolate, bread or cheese, or tuck into an inexpensive brunch. Check out the handcrafted gifts before taking a stroll through the picturesque district that is Old San Juan. The oceanfront views near the market are also worth the trip and the market is open every Saturday from 8:00am – 1:00pm.

Dine and drink in the Distillery District in Toronto, Ontario 

Toronto has a dynamic F&B scene offering a whole host of outdoor spots visitors can tick off their bucket list. A popular one being seasonal rooftop patio The Porch, tucked away in the heart of the city. Draped in twinkling lights and offering crystal clear views of the CN Tower, friends to the sprawling alfresco dining terrace can share a funky cocktail served by the bucket. Those interested in a wider choice of restaurants and bars can head to the Distillery District, comprising nine bars and pubs and 15 restaurants and cafes, each offering a different vibe and cuisine. After a bite to eat, visitors can wander through the pedestrianised historic district with its Victorian industrial buildings, taking in the shops, street entertainers and exploring the galleries and theatres.

Enjoy Japanese cuisine with the backdrop of Mount Asama at The Prince Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan 

Alfresco dining

Nestled on the edge of Karuizawa Park, The Prince Karuizawa is home to renowned French restaurant, Beaux Sejours. Blending elegant French cuisine with traditional Japanese flavours, Chef Jikiden offers a selection of sharing plates and larger dishes that coincide with the changing seasons. Perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner, whether healthy or indulgent, diners can soak up the idyllic sights of Mount Asama whilst tucking into a crab kamakshi, a colourful hiyashi chuuka or yakitori dish served with the restaurant’s signature green onion sauce. The restaurant’s alfresco dining terrace sits in a secluded oasis surrounded by natural beauty, offering a tranquil place to rest after a day of sightseeing.

Feast your way through Arizona, USA

Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, boasts a decadent alfresco dining and drinking scene featuring tried-and-true local favourites to authentic international fare. Perched 1,800 feet above the sweeping vistas of Phoenix’s Mountain Preserve below, Different Pointe Of View entices guests in with its tranquil terrace, perfect for a glass of bubbly whilst soaking up the warm winter sun, or head to the trendy Skydeck in the heart of midtown Phoenix for poolside yoga followed by cocktails.  

Alternatively, after hiking the mountains around Scottsdale, travellers can refuel on tacos, tequila and burritos at Diego Pops, a popular laid-back Mexican restaurant famous for its Sonoran Hot Dog and Snow Cone Margarita which can be sipped on the airy patio. On the other side of the city, located next to Scottsdale’s Camelback Mountain, the intimate courtyard at LON’s offers inspired Arizonian cuisine, handcrafted cocktails and an outdoor crackling fireplace in the evenings.

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