Our Favourite Al Fresco Restaurants in Brisol
Whilst dining al fresco might initially conjure up images of summer holidays on the Mediterranean, the British summers have been surprisingly forgiving in recent years. Call it the one positive side-effect of global warming if you will, but warmer summers have meant that the trend for dining outside under the sun and the stars in the UK has taken off in recent years.
With more diners on the hunt for the best al fresco options, we've decided to put the spotlight on one of our favourite foodie cities. Bristol. We've searched the length and breadth of the city that gave us Banksy, Brunel and the ever-endearing Bristolian accent, to pinpoint the best al fresco restaurants in Bristol and help locals and tourists alike enjoy one of life's most simple pleasures.
Arnolfini Café Bar (16 Narrow Quay, BS1 4QA)
The hippest gallery in Bristol is also home to an exceptionally popular Café Bar. Situated within the gallery on Narrow Quay, between the harbourside and Prince Street, the bar is outrageously popular in the summer months due to a generous outdoor seating area that overlooks the historic harbour. It's a truly picturesque location that boasts not only a range of affordable snacks, but a partnership with the Bristol Beer Factory. This means it's the place to go in Bristol for locally-brewed craft beer.
Bambalan (Colston Tower, Colston Street, BS1 4XE)
Bambalan is all about fresh and healthy food during the day and all-night rooftop partying when the sun goes down. The rooftop terrace offers unrivalled views of Bristol city centre and the daytime menu more than matches the stunning urban vistas. The kitchen uses a wood-fired oven, charcoal grill and a rotisserie to make sure its Mediterranean cuisine is as authentic and flavourful as possible. Indeed, the restaurant too home the Best Mediterranean Food award at the 2019 Bristol Good Food Awards, so it must be doing something right. The views and the unique outdoor dining experiences might be what bring the punters in, but it's the food, drink and dancing that keeps them coming back for more.
The Grain Barge (Hotwell Rd, BS8 4RU)
A true hidden gem that allows visitors to soak up the atmosphere of the harbour whilst dining out on some of the most nourishing comfort food in the city. The Grain Barge openly celebrates seasonal produce and bold British flavour, with a rolling cast of daily specials and a truly unique vibe that sets it apart from the other harbourside 'boat restaurants'. The barge itself boasts a stunning deck area that's always popular in the summer months. Pair this with an extensive craft beer menu that pulls from the best local and independent brewers and a history that dates back to 1936 (the barge was originally built to transport wheat from Bristol to Cardiff), and you have yourself one of Bristol's best al fresco dining options.
It doesn't get any more authentically homegrown than this! The Farm Café in St Werburghs is located in the centre of the celebrated Bristol City Farm. It's the beating heart of an active local community, which encourages one another to trade surplus produce for meals. As well as providing an ethical contribution to the city and a gorgeous place to enjoy a warm bowl of soup or a hot stew on a cold day, the café also boasts an extensive outdoor dining area overlooking the playground. Ideal for families. The building itself also looks like something right out of Lord of the Rings and is built around a gorgeous log burning fire.
Cote Brasseries, Quakers Friars (6-8 Quakers Friars, BS1 3BU)
Adjacent to the always bustling Cabot Circus, Côte Brasserie is an authentic French brasserie that serves everything from quick bites to luxurious and authentic main meals that draw from the best classic French dishes. The restaurant also boasts a generous outdoor seating area that provides a perfect break from the louder and more modern thrills offered nearby.
Beese’s Tea Room (Beese’s Riverside Bar, Wyndham Crescent, BS4 4SX)
An escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Beese's Tea Room offers an experience cut right out of Wind of the Willows. Generations of Bristolian diners have enjoyed a visit to the riverside Tea Room, which sits on a beautiful, heavily wooded stretch of the Avon. It's only open during the spring and summer months, but given the summertime picnic vibe of the venue, it's definitely a place that was made for lazy summer afternoons. Cream teas, local beers, wine and cocktails and more are all on offer and the atmosphere is truly one-of-a-kind. Not to be missed.
The White Lion at Avon Gorge Hotel (Avon Gorge Hotel, Sion Hill, BS8 4LD)
A year-round favourite with locals and tourists alike, The White Lion, situated on the outskirts of the city, has recently been refurbished, but hasn't lost any of its original charm. The robust, modern cuisine can be enjoyed either indoors or outdoor on the famous terrace, where al fresco diners are also treated to some truly remarkable views of the iconic Suspension Bridge. Comfortably the most inspiring al fresco experience in the city.
With an al fresco dining experience, you're not just getting a meal with a view, you're also experiencing something truly special and something that will resonate with couples, families and friends young and old. For those that enjoy the simple pleasures in life, there can be few pleasures as profound as an al fresco dining experience in one of the most vibrant cities in the UK.
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