In most parts of the country, come fall, restaurants close up their outdoor patios and bundle up for a long, cold winter. In Florida, we’re just getting started with al fresco dining. In fact, autumn and winter are the better times for restaurant patios than summer, when even the freshest greens can quickly turn into a wilted lettuce salad.
And the best part about dining outdoors is that you can snap a picture of yourself and send it to family and friends up north. Because it’s always a little better when you can rub it in a bit.
Here are some of my favorite restaurants for outdoor dining:
Gargi’s: With its location on the shore of Lake Ivanhoe, this longtime classic Italian is one of the best places to watch the sunset.
Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe: Inside is like being in a beer tent at Oktoberfest, but outside on the sidewalks of downtown Sanford is quiet and pleasant.
K restaurant: The College Park favorite occupies a former house, and the existing front porch is a favorite among regulars. Occasionally, there is dining in the backyard garden as well.
Iza Tapas Bar: A newcomer to the Thornton Park scene, Iza has a few tables out front for great people-watching.
Eddie V’s: The newest addition to Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row, Eddie V’s is a big, bustling restaurant. But out back is a serene patio with a view of Little Sand Lake, perfect in moonlight.
And you’ll find lots of other places to enjoy your meal outdoors at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide.