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Outdoor Dining: The Best Hidden Patios in the City

Contigo

Photo via Yelp user Ann L.

Some of the best outdoor dining to be done in SF is tucked away out of sight. Here are some of our favorite patios. Tell us what we've missed in the comments.

Chez Spencer (Mission)
If you're feeling fancy, Chez Spencer has a garden patio worth your money. Relax to the twinkling keys of the piano inside as you dine on foie gras and duck and wash it all down with one or two martinis or take a gander at their all-French wine list. 82 14th St., 415-864-2191

Starbelly (Castro)
In the heart of the Castro, Starbelly has a cute patio decorated with succulents by Flora Grubb, and great, seasonal food to go along with it any time of day. They have house-made pates, pizzas, roast chicken, and a to-die-for salted caramel pot de creme and sometimes, if you're lucky, Dynamo Donuts. To complement warm weather, try their homemade kombuchas, Calimochos, limey Micheladas, and Shandys. 3583 16th St., 415-252-7500

Park Chow (Sunset)
Upstairs on the cloistered, wind-blocked roof deck is where you want to be on a sunny day in the Sunset. Post bike ride in Golden Gate Park or fueling up for a walk, diners sit down
 to dive into the hearty, eclectic, reasonably priced menu that please kids and adults alike. Great for bigger groups.1240 Ninth Ave., 415-665-9912   

Contigo (Noe Valley)
Probably the best place to eat at this charming Spanish-inspired restaurant is the back patio. They often leave the back French doors open so that the whole restaurant flows into the private outdoor space. Warm nights are meant for this kind of indoor/outdoor experience. 1320 Castro St., 415-285-0250

Tipsy Pig (Marina)
Trust us, you're not the only person who will have the brilliant idea to spend the evening drinking beer on Tipsy Pig's back patio. But go early and you can colonize a corner of the large back deck before the rest of the city does and make an evening meal of pork sliders and ice cold beer. 2231 Chestnut St., 415-292-2300

Bin 38 (Marina)
Sometimes you just want a glass of wine and a little snack. Sometimes you want a full dinner. You can choose between the two at this wine bar. Sure there are fifty-five wines by the glass, but on a glorious warm day, seated on the cozy back patio, we'd advice you to go for the rosé. 3232 Scott St., 415-567-3838

B Star Bar  (Richmond)
Who among us hasn’t hoped to eat at Burma Superstar, only to be dissuaded by the line snaking down the street? Ever since sister restaurant B Star Bar opened, though, there’s been another option, and this one has a sunny back deck, perfect for a leisurely lunch under the flowering vines. At night, heat lamps combat the chill. Bonus: The pan-Asian menu (with a Burmese flair) features some favorites from Burma Superstar. 127 Clement St., 415-933-9900

Sociale  (Presidio Heights)
This perennial favorite tops every list of best outdoor dining destinations, and for good reason. The mid-block courtyard, filled with umbrella-bedecked tables, has a charming, European feel, and is open at both lunch and dinner. The great wine list and rustic Italian food are added incentives to pay a visit. 3665 Sacramento St., 415-921-3200

Skool (Potrero Hill)
Tucked behind the San Francisco Design Center, this little fishcentric restaurant feels like a real find. Only those in the know come here. The patio is perfect for lunch. Try dishes like crudo with a blackberry coulis, a crab sandwich with avocado and a poached egg or should you need some meat, there's a kobe burger. Happy hour is perfect for drinks. 1725 Alameda St., 415-255-8800

Arlequin (Hayes Valley)
Some nice wine, maybe a cheese plate, a reuben or their excellent roast chicken—all this and a large outdoor patio situated behind Absinthe's little empire which includes Arlequin and the Arlequin Wine Merchant. 384 Hayes St., 415-626-1211

Zazie (Cole Valley)
This perennial brunch favorite has a great back deck. Eating on it seems to make your eggs benedict, your French toast with caramelized walnuts and bananas—even your coffee—taste all the better. Have a mimosa or two. 941 Cole St., 415-564-4332