In London, the rain, alas, will always come. And while outdoor dining persists as a mode of boosting capacity before dining rooms reopen in full in July, it requires shelter from the storm on terraces, gardens, or industrial forecourts. Hence, this map: The best places to eat outside in London when it’s raining. Which is to say, the places in London that have covered outdoor space to safeguard all manner of restaurant indulgence.Read More
Where to Eat Outside in London When It’s Raining
The restaurants across the city that offer shelter from the storm
1. Tranga Market Table x Tapería
This Newington Green favourite leaned into grocery supply during lockdown, but will return serving its large, awning-protected terrace quality, unfussy plates of Spanish sunshine newly guided by that shift. Tapas are heavy on tinned fish and friends, while larger, Galician plates based on meat (Iberico pork) fish (octopus) and summer produce (bull’s heart tomatoes) catch the eye.
2. Brat x Climpson's Arch
London E8 3SB, UK
Chef Tomos Parry’s Basque-inspired restaurant will occupy the covered yard outside Climpson’s Arch in London Fields for the rest of the year. It is here, undercover, fans of the brand can enjoy its famous grilled turbot and smoked potatoes, plus new dishes like a hefty cast iron pot of chicken rice and grilled mussels with nubs of the restaurant’s own fresh chorizo.
Chef Mitshel Ibrahim’s Ombra has shown great dexterity under successive lockdowns with its fresh pasta kits, wine, and grocery offer, and is planning to do the same upon reopening this spring, with a set menu at £39 per person joining the loosely Venetian rank of dishes that regulars will recognise. A fine terrace has fresh decking, ample space, an awning, and some extra coverage to protect against the rain.
4. Smoking Goat Shoreditch
London E1 6JJ, UK
One of London’s best Thai-inspired restaurants will reopen its Shoreditch kitchen on 12 April and with it a covered terrace on Redchurch Street, giving dozens of diners the chance to eat the Goat’s celebrated dishes: Fish sauce chicken wings; soya chicken; stir-fried Cornish vegetables; delectable and hot-hot laabs; and exceptional lardo fried rice.
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The covered, heated terrace at this Shoreditch barbecue don comes into its own in the rain, when brisket buns with pickled chilli and slowly smoked, fall-apart meats offer warming shelter from the storm.
6. Tsiakkos & Charcoal
The front terrace here is open to the elements, but the backroom-outdoor-glass-roof section of this Maida Hill legend is the perfect place to listen to rain drumming overhead as a soundtrack to grilled souvlaki, fall-apart kleftiko, and smooth tarama that was repping whipped smoked cod’s roe well before it became the hottest small plate in town.
7. Master Wei Xi'An
At Master Wei, chef Wei Guirong’s restaurant in Bloomsbury, the focus is on the Xi’an region’s flour-foods, mianshi: peerless biang biang noodle dishes, with vegetables or beef and hot chilli oil; fine liang pi, cold skin noodles with a cool, piquant, umami-rich dressing; and the chef’s inimitable “burgers” with a cumin-spiced beef or pork filling. Plenty of space, to order all of this, on the awning-covered terrace on Cosmo Place.
8. Café Deco
In a most unpredictable year, it was striking that Anna Tobias’ debut restaurant — in partnership with the team behind Bermondsey’s 40 Maltby Street — was unilaterally predicted to be a hit. And so it was. Through lockdown, it was a traiteur, wry sandwich shop, and wine merchant, and now it’s a fully fledged restaurant competing with the city’s very best. The covered terrace is a coveted people-watching spot.
9. Spitalfields Market
The covered market in Spitalfields features countless food traders. The best of those are John and Yi Lee’s Dumpling Shack, the purveyor of delicious shengjianbao, crispy fried spring onion pancakes, dan dan noodles, and prawn wontons. Elsewhere, check out another outlet of Bleecker Burger, Pleasant Lady Jian Bing, and Monty’s Jewish deli for one of London’s great reubens.
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This Fitzrovia institution’s covered awning has long been a place to gather with one of the best flat whites in the city, as locals, cyclists, and celebrities journey in over the morning; it’s even more satisfying when sheltering from the rain.
11. Bloomberg Arcade
The three picks of the City’s architectural restaurant thoroughfare are as follows: Japanese udon specialists Koya, JKS Restaurant’s Indian barbecue spot Brigadiers, and Bleecker for one of the city’s finest cheeseburgers. The Arcade is totally covered and each restaurant has its own terrace.
12. The River Café
One of London’s great restaurants, perhaps its finest Italian restaurant, is in possession of the city’s truly great garden terraces, which overlooks ... the River Thames. Stylish parasols here are the only protection from the elements, so check the weather before booking. #DrizzleProof
13. Pizzeria Pellone London
One of London’s best Neapolitan pizzerias: Pellone respects the classics with care, but the more adventurous and modern “Pizze Le Pizze Gourmet” section is perhaps what sets it apart: the white pizza with mortadella with pistachio pesto and the “Toto” — a base topped with mozzarella, yellow tomatoes, Italian sausage, and provolone are fine places to start. A cosy outside section is covered by the restaurant’s rain-resistant awning.
14. Fish, Wings and Tings Brixton
London SW9 8PR, UK
Inside the covered Brixton Market, find one of London’s best places for Trinidadian dal puri roti, filled with curried mutton, or vegetables — pumpkin, string beans, chickpeas and potatoes — and kuchela (a delicious hot, spiced green mango condiment). Elsewhere, there’s Jamaican jerk chicken, stewed oxtail, and coconut curry prawns, served with rice, peas, mango chutney, and coleslaw.
Awnings and umbrellas aplenty on this Herne Hill pavement, stood to attention to protect bijou but unfussy plates from the elements — perhaps a classic whole sole with sauce vierge, or an assembly of mushroom, courgette, and Pecorino. The brown butter panisse with aioli is an extremely necessary side order.
16. Sumi Restaurant
Endo Kazutoshi’s new —casual— Westbourne Grove paean to sushi is perhaps the sleekest, most elegant rendition of “casual” to open in London in a good while, and the only one to offer caviar as a side. Much like his revered tasting menu restaurant in White City, everything pivots on impeccable quality nigiri and sashimi — the richest of which are offered aburi style for a whisper of char as a counterpoint. But there’s also A4 wagyu, and temaki for a sense of fun.