Tier 2 dining in London: outdoor spaces for a Covid-safe meal

Group dining isn't as impossible as you'd think. Here are the best London restaurants with outdoor spaces where you can sit with people outside your household

Grab your stretchy pants (and a woolly jumper), because London goes back into Tier 2 from Tuesday 2 December. Just ICYMI, restaurants can reopen. Pubs can also reopen, but must serve a 'substantial meal' with their drinks. 

Separate households still can't mix indoors, but they can eat or drink together at the same table – as long as it's outside, and there aren't more than six people on said table. 

Of course, throw in the UK's absolutely glorious winter weather, and things get a little... chilly. Not to mention wet. Thankfully, London's ever-creative restaurants have been (don't say pivoting, don't say pivoting) rolling with the punches, and have been preparing themselves with roofs and some much-needed outdoor heaters. 

From wine bars to laid-back pizza joints to finer-dining, here are some of the best outdoor spaces to make sure you don't miss out on a winter of brilliant eating. Your favourite six friends recommended. 

18 restaurants and bars with terraces where you can sit with people outside your household


10 Heddon Street, Mayfair, W1B 4BX

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One of our biggest regrets this year (out of many, mind) is not having eaten Fallow's cod head, brined, cooked over charcoal, drizzled with sriracha butter and green onion oil. But that's OK, because we've still got plenty of chances to do so as this 10 Heddon Street restaurant has covered outdoor tables that comply with the Tier 2 restrictions. Phew. Fallow describes itself as a sustainability-focused restaurant, which means it gets creative with ingredients that usually get discarded, like chicken scratchings and veal tail. No, we never thought those things would sound delicious either. Even the menus here are made out of algae – although those aren't for eating, obv. Well, we suppose you could...


The Stratford, 20 International Way, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 1FD

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There's not much we'd go to Stratford for, but chef Patrick Powell's pistachio choux filled with chicken liver parfait might just do it – especially when eaten on the rooftop terrace of his restaurant, Allegra. Come to think of it, Cornish plaice, coco bean and salt cod caldo verde would also do the trick, and so would the plum mille-feuille with almond ice cream. Looks like we're getting on the train, then.

Homeslice Shoreditch and Marylebone

374-378 Old Street, Shoreditch, London EC1V 9LT
50 James Street, London, W1U 1HB

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Homeslice's 20-inch pizzas feed a crowd, so it's just as well the group's Shoreditch and Marylebone sites have outdoor spaces. Although with toppings like fior di latte mozzarella straight from Naples, and ventricina salami from the Abruzzo region, it'll be harder to share than you might think…

Bar Douro

Arch 35B, 85B Southwark Bridge Rd, London SE1 0NQ

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It felt like everyone and their dog popped on over to Portugal for a little séjour this summer, drinking wine from the Douro Valley and eating delicious Portuguese seafood. Didn't manage to join them? Get yourself to Bar Douro in London Bridge's Flat Iron Square instead, where you can eat all the grilled octopus and presa Iberica your stomach could dream of – without the risk of Covid or the flight. An extended outdoor terrace means that it complies with the Covid restrictions, which means you'll find us there munching a bifana sandwiches, sipping a vinho verde and ordering one (or several) pastels de nata to go.

Santo Remedio

152 Tooley Street, SE1 2TU

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Sadly the sun-soaked beaches and swaying palm trees of Mexico are still out of reach, but at least you can get your grubby mitts on tacos and margaritas at Santo Remedio's canopied outdoor seating area in London Bridge. Mezcal negronis, soft shell crab tacos and barbacoa lamb shank? If you insist…

Rail House Café

8 Sir Simon Milton Square, Westminster, SW1E 5DJ

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It's hard to make steel and glass feel warm and inviting, but the Rail House Café in Victoria's Nova development hits the nail on the head, helped by its delightfully smokey and comforting kedgeree. Warm yourself over bowls of the stuff (don't even bother messing around with the small portion, by the way) as you sit at one of the Café's outdoor tables with your mates. Things are almost normal, right?

Peckham Cellars

125 Queens Road, SE15 2ND

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How does a Christmas sandwich with turkey schnitzel, brie and bacon jam sound to you? And what about eating said sando on a heated terrace? Yeah, we thought so – and you're in luck, because you can do both of those things at Peckham Cellars in, erm, Peckham. The South London favourite has an outdoor space where you can book a table for up to six people to enjoy plates of burrata with pickled pear and walnuts; duck rillette with pickled pineapple; and orange and sea salt brownies. Simply delightful.

Tranga Market

61 Newington Green, N16 9PX

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Tranga Market is Newington Green's favourite Trangallan reincarnated. Originally a Galician-inspired resto, Trangallan was forced to switch things up because of Covid. The space is now a market and casual taperia where you can pop in for your veg or sit outside for freshly made paella and a tortilla sandwich as part of its home worker's lunch deal, or choose from a select menu of daily specials.

Brat at Climpson's Arch

374 Helmsley Place, Hackney, E8 3SB

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We've been Insta perving over Brat's residency at Climpson's Arch ever since it was announced. When summer began to draw to a close, we began to panic: what if it finished and we didn't get a chance to go? Thankfully we'll still be able to stuff our face with whole crab with hay butter, wood fired breads and roasted game rice, because the residency has been extended into January, and it has a Covid-compliant terrace, too. Phew.

Bā at Mei Mei

Unit 52, Jubilee Place, Rochester Walk, SE1 9AF

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Elizabeth Haigh is what we consider a foodie's chef. She sits just on the edge of the radar – you might not think of her straight away, but when she does something, boy do you sit up and take notice. Having left Pidgin to run her Kaizen House popup, Haigh finally opened Mei Mei in Borough Market late last year, drawing on her Singaporean background to introduce Londoners to dishes like Hainanese chicken, poached chicken atop a bed of rice, and nasi lemak, rice cooked in coconut milk, with peanuts, fried anchovies, sambal and a fried egg. So far, so delicious. But Haigh and her team have now gone one step further to turn Mei Mei into a finer-dining style supper club, Ba, on Friday and Saturday evenings. An eight-course tasting menu takes you all the way from aged beef satay with peanut sauce, to char siu monkfish tail, all at a snip of a price, eaten at a counter perched on high stools.

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA

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There's only a tiny clutch of tables outside this Bermondsey hot spot so you'll need to plan your visit a fair bit in advance. But that'll only amp up the anticipation for this wine and small plates restaurant's undeniably delectable cooking. Think pumpkin and goats curd frittata; pigeon and prune terrine… No, you're drooling. Can't get a table? Pop by between 12pm and 5pm Wednesday through Saturday and the space is a shop and market, and you can get banging sandwiches to take away. Not too shabby for a consolation prize.


1 Bedale St, SE1 9AL

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Another Borough Market resident, Flor – a wine bar, bakery and restaurant from the acclaimed Lyle's team – hit the food headlines for a certain prawn dish way back when. During lockdown, Flor morphed into ASAP Pizza, slinging pizza slices like the porco rosso, topped with red pesto, mortadella, stracciatella (the creamiest bit of burrata) and guindillas peppers, a photo of which did things to us we're almost too embarrassed to admit. ASAP's gone on holiday until it finds a permanent space (thank god), but Flor is back, and you can sit at its outside tables, still under the roof of Borough Market, to nibble – nay, scoff – plates of mozzarella and 'nduja in carrozza (which basically means a fried cheese sandwich), Cornish mackerel with preserved tomatoes, or flatbread with guanciale, egg and chickpea.

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, N5 1PB

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Westerns Laundry is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. It nailed Covid dining by offering a tasting menu for seriously good value ever since restaurants could open back in July. That being said, those in the know skip the tasting menu and perch themselves in the courtyard space overlooking the single elegant olive tree for nibbles that are even more delicious than the tasting menu itself. How do we know? Because we've tried it. We had lardo on toast and glass of chardonnay that were out-of-this-world good, but more recent courtyard snacks include prosciutto (yum), jesus salame (yum) and fried hake and aioli (double yum).

Tacos Padre

The Borough Market Kitchen Padre, Winchester Walk, Jubilee Pl, London SE1 9AG

Tier 2 terraces for group dining London: Tacos Padre

Was there ever a better meal to be eaten with friends than tacos? These moreish morsels are perfectly designed for grazing and slowly drinking margaritas for hours – especially when you're eating at new taqueria Tacos Padre, where tacos are anything but fast food. Such care is taken over every bite that they actually ask you to have patience while they create your meal. Sure, we'll wait for beef short-rib suadero tacos with aged beef fat and morita salsa, but it definitely won't take us long to eat them...


1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL

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First things first: Bright's terrace outside its London Fields restaurant is walk-in only. Be prepared to fight someone to the death for the last table – without touching, obviously. Risking potential murder is worth it though, because Bright's food is, quite frankly, gorgeous. Aged duck with beetroot and pickled elder berries; steamed brill with potato and whey butter sauce… Yep, it's good. It's very good. And you know what's also very, very good? The list of natural wines. Go hard or go home.

Rochelle Canteen

16 Playground Gardens, E2 7FA

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Rochelle Canteen's courtyard has got to be one of London's worst-kept secrets. And here's another not-secret-secret for you: it's now covered, which means you can keep eating their pecorino, girolle and onion tart, and rabbit liver, lardo and and radish salad right through winter.

Bedales Borough

5 Bedale Street, Borough Market, SE1 9AL

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Outdoors, yet under the cover of the Borough Market roof, open seven days a week – so no matter what day you go, who you're with, you can get yourself a tiny plate of something delicious and a large glass of something even more delicious to go with it. Chicken liver mousse washed down with a glass of skin-contact garganega? Don't mind if we do.

Papa L's Kitchen

275 Old Brompton Rd, Earl's Court, SW5 9JA

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Chef Lawrence Gomez is putting a Sexy Fish spin on West African cooking at his Earls Court pop-up, Papa L's Kitchen. Rib-eye steak with cassava chips, tempura-battered okra with lemon and chilli sauce, and a heated, covered outdoor garden festooned with fairy lights and blankets will keep you eating here all winter long.

The Laundry

374 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, SW9 8PL

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New Zealand has its Covid tactics nailed and so too does New Zealand wine doyenne Mel Brown, whose Brixton restaurant The Laundry has an outdoor space primed for winter eating. Soft and fluffy blankets, patio heaters, Antipodean-inspired food and, yes, plenty of gorgeous wines make this a hard act to beat.

Flora at JOY at Portobello Dock

344 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5BU

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Joy by name and joy by nature at this al fresco market popup in Ladbroke Grove. At Flora, the site's restaurant, Stevie Parle (he of Rotorino and Pastaio) is bringing charcoal-grilled meats, Nyetimber sparkling wine, truffles and... flowers to the table. The absolutely gorgeous waterside space was one of the hits of the summer, and we're pleased to say it's still going strong thanks to the arrival of six weatherproof pavilions that can hold up to six people.