Patio season is here! We made it out of winter and with that comes beautiful spring weather perfect for outdoor dining and if you’re looking for the best places to eat outside in Raleigh, read on.
We also see a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to this pandemic, but if you’re still uneasy about indoor dining and are searching on your phone for best restaurants with outdoor seating near me, this list is for you.
Below are some of our favorite places to eat local and get a taste of the best outdoor dining experience in Raleigh with options for large outdoor patio seating, rooftops, courtyards, temporary tents, and even intimate tables for two by candlelight.
One of our favorite places to eat outside in Raleigh for its outdoor patio and tasty food is Whiskey Kitchen.
Part whiskey bar, part Southern kitchen, they serve delicious and inventive Southern food in a beautiful open space in a central location near downtown.
Oh, and they have over 300 whiskies (including Whiskey flights) plus craft cocktails and beer. As for food, I love the lamb burger and Brussels Sprouts!
Why Hill Kitchen & Brewing
The patio of all patios. Come here for unique and creative food options (and craft beer) and stay for the best views in downtown Raleigh from their famous patio.
Perfect for Sunday brunch, or lunch and dinner throughout the week!
Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen & Bar
Probably the best rooftop patio in Raleigh that will have you feeling like you’re not actually in Raleigh, but in Greece on vacation
Enjoy authentic Greek food at Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen and a casual and inviting atmosphere plus hand-crafted cocktails. Popular for their Sunday brunch, but anytime is fabulous. Don’t miss the Greek wine!
Raleigh Times Bar
Another excellent open rooftop patio space can be found at the Raleigh Times Bar, a historic building named after the former newspaper that occupied this 100 year old building
One of the cool places to eat in downtown Raleigh, this watering hole serves up quality bar food – good burgers, nachos, wings, reuben, fried pickles, and cobb salad.
MoJoe’s Burger Joint
Grab a seat in the fresh air and sunshine on their outdoor patio and enjoy a slice of quintessential old Raleigh. Choose from a 6 ounce, 10 ounce, or “Hall of Fame” one pounder!
If you love Italian food, Gravy is one of the best Italian restaurants in Raleigh and they share their super cozy and cute courtyard with their neighbor, Sitti (Lebanese restaurant).
Again, we didn’t feel like we were dining in Raleigh when sitting in their courtyard and enjoyed their traditional Italian-American dishes prepared with their signature gravy (hearty tomato sauce).
Who doesn’t like a pizza and beer combo? At Trophy Pizza you get that plus a cozy outdoor patio and a low-key vibe the locals love.
The Daredevil (spicy pizza) is popular, and they make some of my favorite beers in Raleigh – Trophy Husband and Cloud Surfer!
Gringo A Go Go
If you don’t know where to eat in Raleigh for authentic Mexican, this is possibly Raleigh’s best hidden gem and one of our favorite local Raleigh restaurants.
Gringo A Go Go is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Raleigh and with their colorful outdoor patio area and real Mexican food (many vegan options) it’s easy to understand why!
The Pit Authentic BBQ
When I think Raleigh food I think bbq, and barbecue lovers should head to The Pit Barbecue for authentic whole-hog, pit-cooked Eastern-style barbecue.
Not your typical hole-in-the-wall type barbecue joint and inside is more of a smart-casual setting, but their patio area appropriately named “The Pig Pen” is a great space to dine outside and often comes with live music!
Sam Jones BBQ
Famous for their chopped BBQ, fried chicken and baked flat cornbread, pull up a seat on one of their outdoor picnic tables and enjoy some North Carolina BBQ at its finest.
Not only does Wilson’s Eatery have a nice outdoor patio area, but you can wash down one of their fantastic burgers and fresh Southern-inspired dishes with one of the best beers in Raleigh.
Wilson’s Eatery is attached to Lynwood Brewing Concern, one of the best breweries in Raleigh so grab a bite to eat and a seat outside on their deck or on one of the communal beer garden picnic tables!
Jolie – French Bistro
We haven’t dined at Jolie Restaurant yet, but it’s on our bucket list of top restaurants in Raleigh especially for a special occasion and for their amazing looking rooftop, called Le Rooftop.
But we have dined at chef Scott Crawford’s namesake restaurant, Crawford & Son on North Person Street which is fantastic, and if you’re searching on your phone for upscale restaurants near me for outdoor dining by candlelight, consider Jolie!
Raleigh Beer Garden
Several things attract locals and visitors to the Raleigh Beer Garden. Namely, the 350+ beers on tap in this massive 8,500-square-foot venue with tons of outdoor space, including a fantastic back garden patio area and fun atmosphere.
But they have solid food options as well. Popular are the Mac & Cheese bites, the fries, pizzas, beer garden burger, and the pretzels.
State of Beer
State of Beer is said to have some of the best gourmet sandwiches in Raleigh (and salads) that pair perfectly with your beer to be enjoyed outside on their casual patio.
And their beer selection is a quality mix of local favorite’s, collaborations, and some rare finds. Such a cool spot to hangout in downtown.
Morgan Street Food Hall
Take your pick then grab one of the picnic tables outside. Our favorite vendors are CowBar Burger, Iyla’s Southern Kitchen, Curry in a Hurry, and Raleigh Rolls.
Transfer Co. Food Hall
A similar concept to Morgan Street Food Hall, Transfer Co. Food Hall is housed in the historic Carolina Coach Garage with 50,000+ square feet of warehouse space..
Again, take your pick from the 12 vendors inside then enjoy your meal outside on the back patio.
If you enjoy dessert bars, you’ll love Bittersweet which serves up delicious desserts, cocktails and coffee.
They have a small curbside patio area to indulge the desserts that are baked in-house daily. Enjoy bourbon with your pie, champagne with your cake, or my favorite, the Espresso Martini. You can read more about the owner in this post about Raleigh women-owned businesses!
The Station at Person Street
The Station is a corner bar and restaurant that originally served as an Amoco gas station,
This neighborhood hangout is popular with the locals and boasts one of Raleigh’s best outdoor patios with updated American food, beer and cocktails.
Neuse River Brewing & Brasserie
Located near the Five Points neighborhood, Neuse River Brewing & Brasserie specializes in Belgian-inspired beers paired with European Bistro inspired fare with a North Carolina twist.
A nice front patio area with lots of outdoor seating, and popular for Saturday lunch and Sunday brunch – pork shank, roast chicken, duck breast, and eggs benedict are popular. As for beer I like their Vaccine Hazy IPA.
The Longleaf Hotel
A popular new hangout for locals and visitors is The Longleaf Hotel and their private outdoor patio to enjoy a bite to eat and a drink with friends.
Popular items on their snack menu are the Deviled Egg Plate and Port Wine Cheese Balls. Often have music on Sundays.
Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar
One of the best restaurants in Raleigh, Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar offers the ultimate outdoor dining experience on their open-air secluded patio by the pool.
Go here for a unique dining experience complemented with delicious Italian food, a wonderful ambience, and an amazing selection of craft cocktails.
Bowstring Pizza and Brewyard
Another pizza and beer lover’s dream is Bowstring Pizza and Brewyard. Indoors they converted an old Gulf Oil crude barrel storage garage into a cool space, and outside are two patios and a large grassy “brewyard”.
Vic’s Pizza Bus is on-site serving up wood-fired pizzas you can wash down with rotating taps of your favorite local craft brews.
A Raleigh favorite since 1989 and one of the most popular outdoor covered patio settings and brunch spots in downtown Raleigh is at Humble Pie.
Serving some of the best food in Raleigh, their dishes are meant to share and locals rave about the Blue Crab Claws, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Brussels Sprouts and homemade Sourdough Bread.
As always, we’ll be adding to this list of places to eat outdoors in Raleigh as we personally experience more Raleigh restaurants, cafes and breweries.