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Dining alfresco is perhaps sweetest in June, before the valley heat of deep summer creeps in. Here are five restaurant patios that are particularly swoon-worthy.
The Place: Aïoli Bodega Española 1800 L St., Sacramento
Description: Charming Spanish atmosphere, with a colorful mosaic fountain, oversized red umbrellas, citrus trees and fragrant flowers.
Food: Tapas rule here. Cool down with fruity sangria on a warm summer night.
Insider Tip: Ask for a table by the fountain, where the sound of gurgling water soothes the soul.
In a Word: European
The Place: The Firehouse Restaurant 110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville
Description: Surrounded by wide-open fields and greenery, this tranquil terrace transports you to the French countryside—or maybe the Napa Valley.
Food: Elegant, traditional—and expensive, topping out with steak Delmonico at $45. If you’re on a budget, try the more-affordable lunch or midday menu.
Insider Tip: Lunch here is lovely, but the nights are pure magic.
In a Word: Romantic
The Place: La Provence Restaurant & Terrace 1112 Second St., Old Sacramento
Description: Handsome ivy-covered walls, wrought-iron balconies and gas lampposts give this shady brick courtyard an old-world gentility.
Food: Very French and very delicious. Try the prix fixe menu for bargain coq au vin.
Insider Tip: Live jazz makes this a sweet spot for a leisurely Sunday brunch. (Be sure to make a reservation.)
In a Word: Bucolic
The Place: Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar on the River Le Rivage Hotel, 4800 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento 112 Second St., Old Sacramento
Description: You get a bird’s-eye view of the Sacramento River and a private marina.
Food: Super-fresh seafood served with modern flair. (Fried leeks accompanied my crab cakes.)
Insider Tip: Sunset on the river is spectacular; time your visit accordingly.
In a Word: Scenic
The Place: Tower Cafe 1518 Broadway, Sacramento
Description: Like a lush green forest in the middle of the concrete jungle, with palm trees, exotic flowers and a fantastic five-tier fountain.
Food: Global, with flavors from East Africa to Thailand and Mexico. Leave room for dessert: Theirs are legendary.
Insider Tip: Go off-peak. Tower is popular and waits can be long, especially for weekend brunch.
In a Word: Tropical