We love outdoor dining, but eating a delicious meal in the glow of a warm summer sunset is no longer a reality. That fact is, Boston weather doesn’t care that we’ve already had a rough year, so this is what we’re working with. Now that outdoor dining has been extended until Dec 1, some of the city’s restaurants have adapted for days when it’s as gloomy as a Tim Burton set. The next time it’s rainy and cold, here’s where to find bubble coverings, three-sided tents, and more.
Talulla in Cambridge has installed five insulated greenhouses for two right outside their restaurant. They will only accommodate one seating per night to allow for proper sanitizing in between parties, but we’re considering making a reservation as often as possible to save on our heating bills. Talulla is currently open from 5-9pm, Wed-Sun - when you’re making a reservation on Resy, make sure to pick the “Greenhouse” option to secure a spot.
When it’s snowing outside and you’re craving a pop tart, head to Dillon’s in Back Bay. They’ve got a heated and covered back patio, and they’re currently open from 3-9:30pm during the week, with brunch on the weekends. By the way, that pop tart is filled with chicken parm - it’s about time to move on from blueberry anyway.
Here’s the reality: soggy fish and chips are no good, especially if they’re made soggy by an unexpected downpour. Maintain the crisp under The Druid’s covered tent on Cambridge Street - at least until you intentionally douse the plate with malt vinegar. The Druid is open every day from 12-10pm for outdoor dining.
Would we be willing to brave the snow for the excellent yucca gnocchi and sugar cane-brined pork chop at Valsos? Yes, we would, but we’re glad we don’t have to. Valsos has a sizable heated tent set up so diners can comfortably watch the gifts of precipitation falling from the sky. It’s not quite the same as that scene from Serendipity, but to us, it feels pretty darn close. Valsos is open from 11am-2am (!) daily, and reservations can be made on their website.
It’s not often that we get to have oysters and lobster rolls in a ski chalet, but it seems that’s now possible at The Red House in Cambridge. They’ve built out their patio space to make it feel as if you’re dining on the slopes, and they’re even serving “ski shots.” The Red House is open from Wed-Sun for lunch and dinner - reservations can be made on their website.
Metropolis in the South End has been in business for 25 years, and this marks the first time that they’ve had a patio. The inaugural outdoor space consists of two bubble domes that are first come, first serve, though patio reservations will be honored. Metropolis is currently open from 4:30-9pm Sun-Thurs and 4:30-10pm on Friday and Saturday. Brunch is also an option on Sundays from 10am-3pm.
Dining at dbar on their new patio filled with repurposed shipping containers feels strangely similar to dining on set of season two of The Wire. Only at dbar, there’s more popcorn chicken and fewer drunk ducks, which is probably for the best. dbar is open for dinner every day except Monday, and for brunch on Sunday. Reservations can be made online.
Rainy and 40 degrees is not a combo that’s particularly enjoyable - certainly not when compared to seared duck breast and pomegranate molasses or seared cod and sweet corn puree. Ashmont Grill is serving both of those, as well as a whole host of other things like blue crab bruschetta, under their large outdoor tent from 5-10pm, Thurs-Mon. Give them a call at (617) 825-4300 to make a reservation.
Petit Robert Bistro
Petit Robert has two covered domes and two greenhouses on their patio, available by reservation or for walk-in when it’s not too busy. We’re not sure why they didn’t just go with one style of covered structure, but that’ll be a secondary concern once there’s escargot and Côtes du Rhone on the table. Petit Robert is open every day from 11am onwards during the week, and 10am onwards on the weekend.
Loyal Nine, which already had a large driveway patio, has now built a barn-like structure for all those times when the weather’s not cooperating. Considering that Loyal Nine is open from 8am-9pm, Tues-Sun, that accounts for a lot of hours when you can stay dry while enjoying a lobster roll.
Virtually every dining experience has changed this year, and arguably the “steakhouse experience” has changed the most. While pre-dinner martinis at crowded bars and communal flambés may not be coming back for a while, at least we still have... steak when the weather’s bad? The Stockyard is open from 3-9pm during the week, and 12-9pm on weekends - reservations can be made here.
The Porch Southern Fare And Juke Joint
Can an enclosed tent with heat lamps be considered a porch? Do hush puppies and pulled pork taste better when eaten under the pitter-patter of rain? We’re asking ourselves all types of questions this year, and contemplating those questions is certainly more enjoyable at The Porch. On certain nights, they even have a live band playing behind a plexiglass screen - it’s almost a party, and definitely safer than the one at the Rose Garden. The Porch is open every day except Monday with varying hours - visit their website for more information and to make a reservation.
We’ve included Branch Line in our guides to Unique Fall Patios and Heated Patios, so we’re running out of superlatives for their truly fantastic outdoor space. Thesaurus.com suggests “preposterous” or “ludicrous,” but then we’d start sounding like Elon Musk. Branch Line is open for dinner Tues-Thurs, and for lunch and dinner Fri-Sun.
Woods Hill Pier 4 was one of the first spots to set up heated domes, which makes sense given that they have an expansive outdoor area along the harbor with a great view. Unlike some others, these domes are actually large enough to fit up to six people at a time. It’s important to know that there is a minimum food and beverage charge that changes depending on the day and the size of the party. You can read about all the specifics here.
Pazza On Porter
The Italian-ish food and drinks at Pazza on Porter are nothing to get excited about, but it happens to be the only place in Eastie with a heated and covered outdoor space. Whether that’s good enough to get you out of the house on a gloomy, rained-filled day is a decision you’ll have to make. Pazza on Porter is open weekdays from 12pm-1am, and 11am-1am on the weekends.