Health officials have said that dining outside — given restaurants and customers take proper safety precautions regarding sanitation, masks, distancing and more — comes with a lower risk of contracting the coronavirus than eating inside.


For many, dining outside is one of the few social joys that connects them with pre-pandemic life. If you’re one of those people, you should consider dining at one of the restaurants recommended below. (This list was current when the Dining Guide went to print in early September.)


Note: There are also many breweries now open serving food, and many bars with outdoor areas are in the process of adding food service that will allow them to reopen. Get the latest on Gov. Greg Abbott’s coronavirus restrictions at statesman.com/coronavirus. Check hours before you go.


Austin Beer Garden Brewing. 1305 W Oltorf St. 512-298-2242, theabgb.com. Puffy pizzas, fat sandwiches and fresh salads are on tap along with beer on this brewpub’s patio.


Austin Eastciders. 1530 Barton Springs Road. 512-893-7000, austineastciders.com. Smart bar food and a selection of local ciders can be enjoyed on this restaurant’s patio and deck.


Barley Swine. 6555 Burnet Road #400. 512-394-8150, barleyswine.com. Enjoy fine-crafted cuisine from the masters of locally sourced small plates.


Better Half. 406 Walsh St. 512-645-0786, betterhalfbar.com. All-day dining from a smart menu and all-night drinking, as well, if you want.


Black Star Co-Op. 7020 Easy Wind Drive. 512-452-2337, blackstar.coop. Dine on one of the best burgers in town at this cooperative with a patio that overlooks Cap MetroRail’s Crestview station.


Clark's Oyster Bar. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-297-2525, clarksoysterbar.com. Yacht club meets Manhattan oyster bar at this McGuire Moorman Hospitality jewel box of a restaurant ringed with outdoor seating that now spills into the parking lot.


Contigo. 2027 Anchor Lane. 512-614-2260, contigotexas.com. A restaurant in the city that feels like a South Texas ranch.


Easy Tiger. 6406 I-35 N. Suite 1100. 512-494-4151, easytigerusa.com. This bake shop and restaurant offers an expansive outdoor area.


El Alma. 1025 Barton Springs Road 512-609-8923, elalmacafe.com. Quesadillas and a margarita on the rooftop here is one of the best ways to spend happy hour in Austin.


Elizabeth Street Cafe. 1501 S. First St. 512-291-2881, elizabethstreetcafe.com. Noodle bowls, well-sourced banh mi and French pastries on the precious patio.


Emmer & Rye. 51 Rainey St., Suite 110. 512-366-5530, emmerandrye.com. One of the Top 10 restaurants in the city offers outdoor dining on the edge of the Rainey madness.


Epicerie. 2307 Hancock Drive. 512-371-6840, epicerieaustin.com. The secluded patio is a nice place to enjoy the French-Louisiana creations from chef Sarah McIntosh.


Grizzelda’s. 105 Tillery St. 512-366-5908, grizzeldas.com. The climate-controlled outdoor area at this Mexican restaurant from the Jacoby’s owner makes for a great happy hour or birthday dinner hang.


Hula Hut. 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. 512-476-4852, hulahut.com. A little taste of a carefree tropical day located on Lake Austin.


Jack Allen's Kitchen. Multiple locations. 512-351-9399, jackallenskitchen.com. All three of chef Jack Gilmore’s restaurants deliver comfort food for al fresco dining.


Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile. 3235 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-366-5808, jacobysaustin.com. The owner of Jacoby’s grew up on his family’s ranch, and that sense of style and expansiveness is brought to this pastoral space overlooking the Colorado River.


Joann’s Fine Foods. 1224 S. Congress Ave. 512-358-6054, joannsaustin.com. California meets Texas at the Congress Avenue-facing patio of the retro Austin Motel.


Juliet. 1500 Barton Springs Road. 512-479-1800, juliet-austin.com. The large covered patio and bar area will make you feel like you're on vacation.


Justine’s. 4710 E. Fifth St. 512-385-2900, justines1937.com. Austin’s saucy grand dame of patios turns into a late-night garden party almost nightly.


Kinda Tropical. 3501 E. Seventh St. 512-373-8430, kindatropical.com. This restaurant-bar is great for all-day hangs and snacking on dishes like a jackfruit barbecue sandwich.


La Condesa. 400 W Second St. 512-499-0300, lacondesa.com. The wrap-around patio at this downtown hot spot evokes cosmopolitan Mexico City.


Launderette. 2115 Holly St. 512-382-1599, launderetteaustin.com. Consistent execution of global flavors are served at this restaurant that has expanded its patio seating this year.


Lenoir. 1807 South First St. 512-215-9778, lenoirrestaurant.com. The wine garden at one of Austin’s Top 10 restaurants feels like an outdoor version of the restaurant’s dining room.


Licha's Cantina. 1306 E. Sixth St. 512-480-5960, lichascantina.com. Rustic charm, abuela-style homecooking and great cocktails can be found at this bungalow with outdoor seating out front and around back.


Loro. 2115 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4858, loroaustin.com. A frozen sake with some Asian-inspired smoked meats make for a unique take on an al fresco Texas barbecue experience.


Lou’s. 1900 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-660-5171, lousaustin.com. Rotisserie meats, burgers and more can be ordered at the window and eaten on this patio.


Odd Duck. 1201 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-433-6521, oddduckaustin.com. The patio at one of Austin’s best restaurants can be climate controlled to fit the elements, and offers a nice contrast to the mood inside.


Olive & June. 3411 Glenview Ave. 512467-9898, oliveandjune-austin.com. There are multiple outdoor seating areas at this mod Italian treehouse that serves good homemade pasta and an intriguing list of Italian wines and aperitifs.


Perla's. 1400 S. Congress Ave. 512-291-7300, perlasaustin.com. Arguably Austin’s best patio, whether you’re just having oysters and white wine or going big with a bold red and steak.


Polvos. 2004 South First. St.512-441-5446; 360 Nueces St. 512-494-4064, polvosaustin.com. Old Austin vibes, pitchers of strong margaritas and sizzling platters of fajitas at the original, with slightly more cosmopolitan vibes downtown.


Salty Sow. 1917 Manor Road. 512-391-2337, saltysow.com. Southern comfort food on a patio that feels more pastoral than its city setting.


Sawyer & Co. 4827 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-531-9033, sawyerand.co. The all-day diner pulls on flavors from Louisiana for its breezy brand of comfort served in a retro space and turfed patio.


Scholz Garten. 1607 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-474-1958, scholzgarten.com. The oldest beer hall in Texas serves German-inspired food on the massive courtyard that is covered in burnt orange most Saturdays in the fall.


Sour Duck Market. 1814 E. MLK Blvd. 512-394-5776, sourduckmarket.com. The family-friendly patio is great for cocktails, baked goods, sandwiches, seasonal salads and chill. neighborhood vibes.


Sway. 3437 Bee Cave Road. 512-326-1999, swaythai.com. The rooftop patio delivers modern Thai cuisine and a great view of downtown.


The Grove Wine Bar and Kitchen. Multiple locations. grovewinebar.com. Each location of this New American restaurant and wine bar allows for leisurely outdoor meals.


Tillery Kitchen & Bar. 3201 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-0580, tilleryatx.com. The kitchen nods to the Mediterranean and the back patio eyes the Colorado River.


Winebelly. 519 W. Oltorf St. 512-487-1569, austinwinebelly.com. Unwind on the back patio with a diverse wine list and small plates.


MORE AUSTIN360 DINING GUIDE 2020


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The restaurants, experiences and dishes critic Matthew Odam misses


How restaurants have pivoted and persevered


Best tacos in Austin


Readers Poll: How your favorite drink spot is doing


Complete Austin360 Dining Guide 2020


Q&A with Austin restaurant chefs and owners: Eric Yi of Asia Market | Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis | Hoover Alexander of Hoover's Cooking | Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo | Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due | Maritza and Reyna Vazquez of Veracruz All Natural | Raf Robinson of Slab BBQ | Sam Hellman-Mass of Suerte | Sharon Mays of Baby Greens | Sharon Watkins of Chez Zee