When summer descends upon Scotland, it’s not just the scenery that blossoms. The country’s culinary scene also flourishes, and dining alfresco becomes the order of the season.
From hidden gems in Glasgow’s east end to iconic seaside pubs in Fife, and from rooftop restaurants in St Andrews to picturesque beer gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland offers a plethora of outdoor dining experiences. Whether you’re a local looking to discover something new or a tourist seeking a unique dining experience, we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we uncover the best alfresco dining experiences in Scotland this summer, each offering its own unique charm, stunning views, and of course, mouth-watering cuisine. So, grab your sunglasses, whet your appetite, and join us as we embark on a gastronomic journey across Scotland’s best outdoor dining spots.
Relishing the Radiance at Celentano’s, Glasgow
Located in the heart of Glasgow’s east end, the alfresco dining space at Celentano’s promises a delightful sunbathing experience. This clandestine haven, tucked away in Cathedral Square, boasts a terraced space where patrons can savour exquisite Italian-inspired small plates, seasonal cocktails, and a fine selection of biodynamic wine, all while soaking in the panoramic views of Glasgow’s majestic Necropolis.
Unique to Celentano’s is its living larder. The establishment grows its seasonal fruits and herbs onsite, offering guests the added pleasure of dining amidst the very ingredients enhancing their meals. Offering six bench tables snuggled amidst blossoming flora, Celentano’s ensures guests stay cosy with awnings and heaters as evening sets in. Patrons can also reserve seating around the herb beds, perfect for those popping in for a round of drinks.
The brainchild of chef Dean Parker and his Glaswegian wife, Anna, Celentano’s has been lauded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand within six months of its inauguration, a testament to their dedication to providing wholesome and innovative meals. The outdoor terrace operates from Wednesday to Sunday, from 12:30-10 pm, with dining reservations accepted up to four weeks ahead.
Bella Italia at Banca di Roma, Glasgow
Embodying the rich culinary tradition of Italy’s Campania region, Banca di Roma is the new hotspot for Italian cuisine in Glasgow. Recently, they unveiled their al fresco dining area on the terrace, providing an ideal space to relish the finest Italian gastronomy under the Glaswegian sun.
The full-range menus cater to all tastes, with tables perched atop Banca di Roma’s impressive stone staircase offering a splendid view of the city’s Royal Exchange Square. For reservations, kindly dial 0141 648 7662.
Contemporary Elegance at Glaschu, Glasgow
At Glaschu, contemporary Scottish fine dining takes centre stage. Situated in Royal Exchange Square, this illustrious private members club, founded in 1825 by Glasgow traders and merchants, offers a stellar dining experience.
The menu pays homage to its Scottish roots, showcasing locally-sourced produce. The outdoor dining area provides a vibrant view of the bustling square where regular markets are held.
Seaside Serenity at The Ship Inn, Elie, Fife
The Ship Inn, an iconic beachside pub and restaurant in Elie, offers a unique blend of barbecues and casual alfresco dining in the summer. Famous for being the only pub in Britain with its own beach cricket team, The Ship Inn welcomes patrons—and their dogs—to savour high-quality, seasonal dishes while basking in the sea breeze.
Grandeur with a View at 18 at Rusacks, St Andrews, Fife
Opened in the summer of 2022, 18 at Rusacks is a rooftop Scottish restaurant that offers sweeping views across the Old Course, West Sands, and the North Sea. With Executive Chef Derek Johnstone at the helm, the menu features open flame-cooked dishes and inventive seafood offerings. The rooftop restaurant also features a putting green for guests’ leisure.
Riverside Tranquillity at Maryculter House, Aberdeenshire
Situated along the River Dee, Maryculter House is one of Scotland’s most historic hotels. With menus inspired by the seasons and local Aberdeenshire businesses, guests can indulge in a full Scottish breakfast, light lunch, or afternoon tea on the sun-drenched outdoor terrace.
Cosy Charm at The Bridge Inn, Ratho, Edinburgh
Nestled on the banks of the Union Canal, a short drive from Edinburgh’s city centre, The Bridge Inn has been a cherished part of the Ratho community for over a decade. Their newly reopened Canal Bar and Terrace is an ideal summer spot, complete with a street-food hut and beer garden.
The space offers a unique dining experience with homemade subs, a variety of milkshakes, local beers, and fresh summer cocktails, all while enjoying live music from local bands and DJs.
Conclusion: Embarking on Scotland’s Alfresco Dining Adventure
In essence, Scotland’s alfresco dining scene is as diverse and enchanting as the country’s rich history and breathtaking landscapes. Whether it’s soaking in the afternoon sun at Celentano’s in Glasgow, embracing the seaside serenity at The Ship Inn in Fife, or indulging in the grandeur of 18 at Rusacks in St Andrews, each location offers a unique blend of ambience, views, and culinary delight.
From the bustling cityscapes of Glasgow and Edinburgh to the tranquil riverside settings of Aberdeenshire and the beachside charm of Fife, each alfresco dining experience is a testament to Scotland’s vibrant gastronomic scene and its commitment to local produce. So, as the summer season rolls in, there’s no better time to explore these culinary gems and create unforgettable dining experiences in the heart of Scotland. Here’s to a summer filled with good food, good friends, and the great Scottish outdoors. Cheers!