By Cristina Alonso
February 06, 2015
© John Mitchell / Alamy

There are many perks to living in a big, bustling city: great food, lots of culture, thriving nightlife. The downside can be spending too much time indoors, whether it’s at home, at work, or in the car. This is why having the chance to spend some time outside is always healthy, and many of Mexico City’s coolest restaurants have terraces, patios, or even sidewalk seating to give us (and our visitors) a very welcome breath of fresh air—both literally and figuratively speaking. Weather-wise, this city is pretty lucky, too. With mild winters and lovely springs, outdoor seating is an option throughout a good part of the year. You may want to skip the courtyard in the chilly evenings of January, and especially during the rainy months of summer, but otherwise, it’s always a good idea to ask for “una mesa afuera” and enjoy the city’s version of the great outdoors. 

San Angel Inn

This former monastery, located in the picturesque San Angel neighborhood, has been a classic for decades, hosting dinners for everyone from celebrities and presidents to families celebrating special occasions. The courtyard, with a fountain and lush vegetation, is a great setting for a meal of classics like sopa de tortilla and chiles rellenos.

Raíz: Cocina de Estaciones

Chef Arturo Fernández offers a seasonally-changing menu that may include dishes like roasted tomato soup with Cotija cheese or duck carnitas ravioli, paired with local beers (Tempus, Minerva), single malts and mezcals. There are two wooden, plant-filled terraces: one outdoors, and another one indoors, surrounded by the restaurant’s wine cellar. 

Azul Histórico

The gorgeous central courtyard at chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita has a roof made of laurels, which sounds like reason enough to visit this downtown eatery, but pay attention to what’s going on at the table, too: fantastic interpretations of traditional recipes, such as deer salpicón with avocado and tomato, zucchini flower soup, and organic hibiscus enchiladas with tomato-chipotle sauce.

Central Central

Rustic meets chic at the terrace of this trendy restaurant, decorated with worn-down sculptures and wooden furniture, and offering views of Santa Fe and beyond. On the menu: charcuterie (organic cheeses, artisanal cold cuts), tapas, and hearty dishes like lentil stew, best enjoyed with a glass of wine by the cozy fireplace.

Tori Tori

The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it entrance to this über-cool Japanese joint is only marked by a tiny hen (the restaurant’s logo). Inside, marvel at the woven structure designed by Rojkind Arquitectos and Esrawe Studio and have a seat in the terrace, where you can feast on ridiculously fresh sushi and nigiri, soft shell crab tempura, or a spicy tuna bowl with steamed white rice, avocado and seaweed. And don’t forget the sake! 

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