Tell Us

Readers: What’s the best outdoor dining experience in Greater Boston?

Help us create a guide to patios, rooftops, and more outdoor dining in the area.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Outdoor dining tables in the North End in 2021.

Outdoor dining returned to Boston on Friday, and many Bostonians are eager to once again be able to enjoy meals outdoors. This marks the final year of the three-year pilot program started by former mayor Marty Walsh to support the local restaurant industry amid the pandemic, but the practice could be extended. Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation that extends outdoor dining and to-go cocktails through April 2023.

The city’s Outdoor Dining Pilot Program allows restaurants to use public spaces for seating. What started as a pandemic necessity has fast become a key aspect of the Boston dining scene. 

Though the return of outdoor dining hasn’t been without its problems. The North End, which in previous years has drawn large crowds to its patio options, became the site of debate about outdoor dining between residents, restaurants, and City Hall in recent weeks after Mayor Michelle Wu asked restaurants to pay a $7,500 fee to participate in the program

Advertisement:

The city has since announced new flexible guidelines to ease the burden on restaurants, but even in neighborhoods where this fee won’t be in place, the guidelines to qualify for outdoor dining, including requirements about acceptable barriers and new mandatory insurance, has some restaurant owners wondering if it’s even worth it participate

“[E]ndorsing the 2022 guidelines and the former application process would be akin to acknowledging that disparity and inequity were simply ‘standard practice’ for our city,” Ginger Brown, executive director of JP Centre/South Main Streets wrote in a letter in Jamaica Plain News. “Our small businesses would once again be victims.”

Still, when outdoor dining returned on Friday, many eateries around the city were prepared to welcome patrons. Patios and other outdoor spaces will remain open until December 2022 and as the weather becomes warmer, it will only get more popular. 

“For the past two years we’ve seen how outdoor dining activates public spaces, helps small businesses, and creates connected communities for everyone,” the mayor said in a statement. “I’m excited to bring outdoor dining back this spring to support our small businesses and continue to make public spaces more accessible and enjoyable for residents, business owners, and visitors across our neighborhoods.” 

Advertisement:

We want to create an outdoor dining guide of reader suggestions for the best patios in Greater Boston. Which restaurants were you most excited about visiting when you learned outdoor dining was going to return? Are there any new outdoor dining spaces you think more people should check out? 
Let us know where you’re enjoying outdoor dining by filling out the survey below or emailing us at [email protected].

Best outdoor dining in Boston

Your name may be published.
Your neighborhood/town may published.
What are your preferred pronouns?
Please select your preferred pronoun so we may correctly refer to your response in an article.
Please enter an email address and/or phone number that we can easily contact you with. We may reach out for more information. It will NOT be published.