Elegance Through the Ages: the Art of Outdoor Dining in Los Angeles


Outdoor dining has been a part of the human experience as long as there have been humans, not in the least because for the parts of our history before we learned to create our own shelters, all eating was technically outdoor dining. Today, voluntary outdoor dining is enjoyed in almost as many ways as there are foods to eat! Picnics, street food culture, camping, organic farmer’s markets, backyard barbecues, and trendy sidewalk cafes have all added different facets to the fun, varied experience of outdoor dining.

Outdoor dining as a social event originated with English garden parties

Outdoor dining as a social event originated with English garden parties

For the sake of time and bandwidth, though, we’ll focus on a slightly narrower stretch of time in which dining al fresco — having one’s meals outdoors in an elegant, thoughtful manner– became the style.

Al fresco dining is a popular way of enjoying a meal with others in an outdoor setting that adds to the comfort and abbiance the diners enjoy. It’s favored mostly in temperate climates but is popular seasonally in many places during mild weather. It can be very casual like meeting a friend for coffee and sandwiches at one of those cute sidewalk cafes, or formal and upscale involving nice linens and table settings and many courses.

In the temperate zones of Europe, al fresco dining has been enjoyed for centuries, with the moneyed upper classes making quite the production of it with specially built courtyards featuring entire dining areas and full household staff employed to prepare, transport, and serve these meals. It began to become fashionable in the late 18th century when wealthy land owners in America’s major cities began installing pleasure gardens and tea gardens around their homes or as commercial ventures; these were private gardens enjoyed by a single family and their guests or by visitors paying for the privilege of enjoying a cultivated pastoral setting for their day out. Food, particularly special treats like ice cream, were usually part of this experience.

Both the European estates and America’s private home or pay-to-play pleasure gardens offered diners the chance to savor their food under a bright sunny or clear starry sky surrounded by beautiful sculptures, exotic plants, and small garden-dwelling animals like birds and rabbits.

Today, almost all restaurants, cafes, and pubs in temperate climates offer options for indoor or outdoor dining, and many even dedicate their resources to making their outdoor space a major selling point for the establishment. Encino-based Terrace Restaurant and Lounge, as the name indicates, features a gorgeously designed and decorated courtyard for elegant outdoor dining in Los Angeles. The thoughtfully selected greenery and flowering plants, the comfortable seating and lovely place settings, and the beautiful view of the night sky make Terrace the ideal place for enjoying a meal, drinks, and fine shishas served in one of the new imported hookahs.

Visit Terrace Restaurant and Lounge for a fun, relaxing evening out and enjoy traditional Mediterranean cuisine under the stars! Contact us to make a reservation.