Photo By: Randi Slusher
Photo By: Randi Slusher

12 OC Restaurants With Amazing Outdoor Dining

The Great Outdoors: Inside or Out? The Answer is Simple

Written By: Kelly Shannon and Nicole Fera outdoor dining orange county

Some of the best things in life include sunshine, great food and amazing drinks. These next Orange County hot spots combine all three into one, which is no small feat in our book. When the weather is just right, be sure to check out these OC restaurants with amazing outdoor dining. outdoor dining orange county

outdoor dining orange county

La Vida Cantina

There are few greater places in Orange County to enjoy some amazing Mexican food and a refreshing cocktail outside in the beautiful weather than La Vida Cantina. The casual atmosphere of the place is due to the open air floor plan and awesome outside patio bar where you need to make sure you snag a seat. You’ll feel like you just stepped away to a tropical island with all of their decor and sweet set up. They offer an amazing happy hour and are known for their famous Taco Tuesdays that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. The dinner menu has something for everyone and comes from true authentic recipes that you can’t find just anywhere. They even have a brunch menu available on Sundays and a late night happy hour menu for when those alcohol munchies set in. Next time you’re craving something amazing grab some friends and find a spot on their shady patio to enjoy all that this hot spot has to offer.

1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

OC Restaurants With Amazing Outdoor Dining

The Dock


Located in the picturesque Cannery Village, The Dock is absolutely one of the most charming restaurants in Orange County. The nautically influenced eatery rests on the calm Newport Bay and is frequented by the Peninsula’s prestigious locals. Walking past the eatery, you can see the chefs in action from the street, preparing food in the restaurant’s petite kitchen. Coming in second to the scenic view The Dock’s amazing brunch. Not only does this spot provide the perfect atmosphere for a beautiful Sunday morning out on the water, but they also serve a two course pre-fixe brunch for only $30. It’s the perfect place to kick back on the weekends with friends and family and enjoy the beauty of OC with the delicious food of this hidden gem.

Native knowledge: Travel by Duffy boat to The Dock for a romantic evening with your significant other.

2816 LaFayette Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92663

outdoor dining orange county


The Gulfstream is located right in the heart of Newport Beach off of Route 1 and right near all of the action. This contemporary eatery is the perfect place to come after a long day at the beach or shopping at all of the nearby antique and vintage shops. Their food and drinks may bring you in, but their beautiful patio will keep you there all night. Soak up the sun and let time pass as you uncork and “unwine-d.” The restaurant is spacious including the outdoor dining area and comes complete with a fire pit to keep you warm for dinner. Whether you are dining with a group or stopping by for a drink, there is plenty of room to relax, spread out and enjoy the sun.

Native knowledge: Be sure to walk around the perimeter and check out the chef’s garden, where they grow fresh mint, heirloom tomatoes, and many of the items served in their dishes.

850 Avocado Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660

outdoor dining orange county

Bluewater Grill

With over 42 miles of gorgeous coastline, Orange County is the perfect location to drink, eat and play outdoors whenever possible. The Bluewater Grill in the Cannery Village on the Lido Peninsula is one of the best spots in town to do just that. This charming restaurant offers an enormous, deliciously detailed menu and can boast that it possesses true waterfront dining. It’s known for it’s amazing seafood and homemade chowders, which seems only fitting with a location right on the water. It’s the perfect spot to truly appreciate the beauty of the area and taste some of the freshest fish around.

Native Knowledge: Bring you boat and tie up to the new City of Newport Beach dock that opened in November right next to the restaurant.

630 Lido Park Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92663


Las Brisas

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Laguna Beach coastline, the patio at Las Brisas would be a must visit destination even if it wasn’t serving great food. Located adjacent to the Laguna Beach Art Museum, Las Brisas prides itself on outstanding Mexi-Cali flair that they have been serving up since its conversion in 1979. The restaurant, however, has been there since 1938 when it was the Victor Hugo Inn. It’s not only a staple of the community but to visitors alike and one look at the incredible views and you’ll understand why. They are truly breathtaking so when you do plan on heading there make sure you sit out on the patio, no matter what the wait may be. The patio has its own menu, which features lighter dishes and strong cocktails, which is always a plus. Brunch is available daily, but go on Sunday, when brunch includes four-courses and endless champagne with forever views.

Native knowledge: Snuggle with your honey in the gazebo just yards away before heading home.

361 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651



The casual yet polished eatery sits across the street from one of the best surf spots in town on an old Laguna landmark, The Pottery Shack. With great food, wine, and a view it’s the perfect restaurant to venture to if you want to see what the Laguna lifestyle is all about. It’s internationally inspired menu changes seasonally, utilizing the freshest local ingredients possible and never disappoints. The atmosphere is the perfect mix or artsy and trendy while still captivating a laid-back, beach house feel. When dining here make sure to snag a seat under an umbrella on the brick patio and warm up by the jumbo fire pit or under the sun. You can see the ocean from the patio, so pair that with a bottle of there thoughtfully hand-selected wine and you have the makings for the perfect date night.

Native knowledge: If you don’t have time to sit and dine, the Sapphire Pantry serves incredible coffee drinks, cheeses, pre-made sandwiches, soups, salads, and much more.

1200 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

outdoor dining orange county

True Food Kitchen

Fresh, nutritious, and flavorful are not the only things True Food Kitchen is known for. The restaurant at Fashion Island prides itself on food that’s good for you and tastes incredible as well and at this location you can enjoy a little Vitamin D as well. There’s nothing better than dining on fresh food that you can feel good about while soaking up the sun on a beautiful day. Dine on TFK’s brightly colored patio, sit next to the succulent wall and sip on an Acai Mojito before heading back to the beach, guilt free. Now that’s something to cheers!

Native knowledge: If there’s a long wait, lounge by the fire with one of their signature beverages or a glass of organic wine.

451 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

outdoor dining orange county


Venturing a bit away from the beach scene and into Costa Mesa is one of our favorite spots to dine at for the food and the amazing atmosphere. Habana is located at what is known to the locals as “the lab, ” which is a uber hipster mini mall that has all you need for a day of shopping and good outdoor eats. The restaurant features a Cuban-inspired menu and many handcrafted, refreshing drinks to choose from. The only that enhances this experience is their beautiful patio, laced with outdoor string lights, candles, and plants. With a mojito in your hand, take a second to forget where you are and get lost in the beauty of the scene and the aroma of your arriving meal.

Native Knowledge: Late night munchies? Fear not! Habana’s kitchen is open until 12 to accommodate all your starving needs.

2930 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 82626


Woody’s Wharf

Established in 1965, Woody’s Wharf is a staple in Newport Beach with a long line of amazing history. The property was originally owned by a longtime, local fisherman named Woody Payne. He used the property to fix and store boats before coming up with the idea to open a local eatery. His intent was a place where fisherman could dine, drink and share old tales, but it quickly became much more than that. Today, Woody’s is owned by four friends and is one of the best dining spots in the area. Its outdoor patio is located right on the harbor, where Woody himself used to catch their fresh fare and makes for the perfect atmosphere for any meal. Come check out their amazing brunch menu on the weekends and dine outside with old friends and all the locals of NB.

2318 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663


Fig & Olive

One of the amazing things about Fig & Olive in Newport Beach is that fact that whether you are choosing to sit in or outside, you are going to get a little sunshine in your life. The beautiful, open design of this elegant restaurant is perfectly made for the amazing weather of Orange County. Located on Fashion Island, this location is surrounded by Olive Trees and gardens, so choose to sit outside if you can and be surrounded by nothing but beauty. The Mediterranean fare at the restaurant makes for a light, breezy meal to go along with the atmosphere as well. The next beautiful day that pops up head on over, order up a couple small plates and a glass of the White Sangria and soak up the sun.

151 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

outdoor dining orange county

Oak Grill

If you’re looking to get away but have work in the morning, a babysitter waiting at home or no time to even imagine a vacation then you need to visit Oak Grill. This beautiful Newport Beach restaurant will have you feeling like you were whisked away for the evening of beauty and elegance. When you do dine here make sure you make reservations and ask for an outdoor table because it’s worth all the fuss. The large trees that cover the patio are strung with bright lights and the whole place lights up with a fancy yet unpretentious vibe. Oak Grill serves up an amazing breakfast, lunch and dinner and a fabulous brunch on Sundays! Amazing ambiance, good food and brunch. That’s the trifecta in our world.

690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660


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Nicole is a New Jersey native who studied English and Journalism at Monmouth University, Long Branch. She moved to sunny San Diego to enjoy all that it has to offer, including the beach, the music scene and the opportunity to share her love of Journalism with others. She hopes to continue writing by making a career of her first true love: words.


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