Al Fresco: The Haute 5 Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Dallas

There are quite a few hazards involved in outdoor dining during a Dallas summer. Luckily, these spots make it so darn nice to have a bite al fresco you probably won’t notice them.


An Oak Cliff favorite, Bolsa has commanded a reputation far outside the outskirts of south Dallas. The menu is fresh, the cocktails creative and the crowd always chic, but the real issue here is the patio, right? Maybe the view isn’t the most scenic, given the corner location at Davis Street, but the cozy atmosphere is well worth the venture outdoors. Great group benches or private tables, low-lighted ambiance and those plastic covers for rainy days (i.e. this 4th of July). Possibly the best part is the bar, open to the patio and accessible from either the inside or outside, so you can try the best of both worlds.

Bolsa, 614 W. Davis Street, 214-367-9367

Central 214

Newly renovated and better than ever, the patio at Central 214 is definitely a see-and-be-seen summer spot. Every Sunday night they play a classic comedy on the courtyard patio, like Airplane or Best in Show (not a classic yet, but it will be.) Central Chef Blythe Beck said she wanted to show some funny films for the folks this summer, dishing out her famed over-the-top plates and some fun seasonal drinks while she was at it. Kick back on the plush furniture, enjoy a nice Zin and marvel at the fact you are outside but completely enclosed by the halls of the Hotel Palomar.

Central 214, inside the Hotel Palomar at 5680 N. Central Expressway, 214-443-9339

Joe T Garcia’s

I love venturing out of the normal Uptown/Downtown scene of Dallas. There is so much more going on on the outskirts or inseams of this town, i.e., the Fort Worth area. Joe T Garcia’s is famous in this region, and its patio is a good indicator of why: the scenic fountain inside the pool, lush greenery and Spanish-style deco, plus the cool upstairs terrace area. This makes Joe T’s a destination spot for outdoor eating, but beware–you’ll find quite a wait to enjoy the terrace on weekend nights. Best get there early and sample the fantastic margaritas.

Joe T Garcia’s, 2201 N. Commerce Street in Fort Worth, 817-626-4356

Carolina’s Mexican Cuisine

Another Mexican-cuisine fave, and another tour outside the usual territory of the Big D, Carolina’s is a little oasis set inside a not-so popular area encrusted by the tollway and low-income housing. It’s famous for the unbelievably spacious patio area, cool and partially enclosed and backed up against a (man-made) pond for that “look I’m really in nature” feel. Carolina Galvan, ex-wife of the lascivious restaurateur  known for helping to create the M Crowd restaurant group and then getting dismissed last year, went from helping with the Mi Cocina franchise to owning her own spots. So far, the food and atmosphere prove she knows exactly what she’s doing. It’s always the woman behind the man, right?

Carolina’s Mexican Cuisine, 3950 Rosemeade Parkway, 972-306-2276


Martinis, music, cigar bar, coy pond, anyone? And all off Preston Road. The tropical garden and fountain on the patio at Obzeet is home to plenty of happy hour goers who enjoy the live bands and devilishly delightful desserts. A perfect go-to hangout if you wish to stay in the Highland Park region.

19020 Preston Road, 972-867-6126