Outdoor Dining in La Jolla - 3 Great Restaurant Options
Most restaurants in La Jolla provide outdoor dining, whether it's on a patio, a screened porch, a courtyard, or a sidewalk. La Jolla residents and visitors love to dine al fresco, taking advantage of the year-round Mediterranean climate. So, selecting the best options for outdoor dining in La Jolla is more a matter of deciding what type of food and atmosphere you're in the mood for.
If you're in the mood for fresh seafood and a sweeping view of the coastline, then head to the Ocean Terrace on the top level of George's at the Cove. While sitting out in the open in the dining area under umbrellas (and heat lamps if necessary) or at the bar, you can enjoy lunch or dinner and sip on specialty cocktails or wine. The lunch menu includes Mexican and Italian entrees, sandwiches and soups, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, and chicken. The dinner menu includes several starters, from George's Famous Soup (smoked chicken, broccoli and black beans) to crispy calamari and grilled local octopus; many diners make a meal of these appetizers. Dinner entrees include a chef's nightly special, chicken and fish dishes, and the addition of beef and lamb. For dessert, you can indulge in sweet treats such as warm chocolate cake with caramel sauce, pear cobbler, or lemon chiffon, as well as several coffee drinks, nightcaps, fine scotch, and dessert wines. The cocktail menu includes several local and imported beers, margaritas and signature concoctions such as Black and Stormy (rum, blackberries, lime, ginger beer) or The Skinny (120 calories of Absolut, kiwi, strawberry, lime, and half-sugared rim).
If you're in the mood for a pretty patio setting under a beautiful tree, then you'll enjoy Piatti's in La Jolla Shores. Both the service and the food at this neighborhood eatery keep Piatti's on our list of great La Jolla restaurants. The patio is relaxing and yet welcoming to families and dogs. For lunch, you can select from a large assortment of appetizers (including mussels, bruschetta or polenta), salads, pizzas, paninis, and pasta dishes, as well as chicken, steak, veal and meatloaf entrees. For dinner, enjoy an expanded selection of pasta dishes (including lasagna and home-made ravioli) and many vegetable side dishes, (such as sauteed spinach with lemon, oven roasted Brussels sprouts and Tuscan white beans). Many dishes are available gluten-free or with whole wheat pasta. Finish off your meal with several "dolci" (sweet desserts), such as tiramisu, warm chocolate bread pudding, pumpkin cheesecake, and gelato and biscotti. On Sunday mornings, Piatti serves a special brunch menu, including fresh fruit, French toast, waffles, or pancakes, and more than a dozen entrees, from egg dishes to pizza.
If sitting on a busy corner people watching appeals to you, then try The Cottage located in La Jolla Village at the corner of Fay and Kline streets. Even though the outdoor patio is close to the sidewalk, it has a cozy and friendly feel and is always buzzing with locals and visitors. The Cottage is open for breakfast every day, with extended breakfast hours on weekends. It also serves lunch and is open for dinner during the summer months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Breakfast at the Cottage is very popular, so it helps to arrive early. It includes fresh fruit and juice, home-made baked goods such as scones and coffee cake, several egg dishes (including some Mexican variations, benedicts, frittatas, and omelets), pancakes and French toast, including the award-winning Stuffed French Toast with strawberry compote and mascarpone cheese. The lunch menu includes several appetizers (such as chicken tortilla soup and grilled asparagus bruschetta), large salads, sandwiches (including a crab melt), pasta dishes, and entrees (such as chili and cornbread and granola crusted mahi mahi), and desserts (bread pudding, peanut butter pie, and a daily temptation, which changes daily). There is also a special children's menu for breakfast and lunch featuring smaller portions and popular sandwiches such as grilled cheese and PB&J.