The 18 best outdoor eating and drinking spots in King’s Cross


Social distancing means alfresco is bigger and better than ever this summer. In no particular order, these are all worth seeking out



Parillan at Barrafina
The leafy west-facing Mediterranean dining terrace (main pic, above) overlooks the Regent’s Canal and increasingly bucolic Gasholder Park: with its stone floor, marble tables, sturdy chairs and banquettes, it feels like it’s been there forever. All around is an urban garden of mature olive trees and fragrant herbs, a rather paradisaical backdrop to a sunny early evening dinner you cook yourself on the cute parillas. Coal Drops Yard N1C

Lighterman
This canal-side bar has three alfresco terraces, one overlooking the bobbing boats, another with rows of wooden seating directly onto sunset-view Granary Square, while the top floor dining room offers panoramic views across both square and canal (and the city beyond), with its own wraparound terrace. More here, Granary Square N1C

Coal Office
Landmark dining room whose talented chef, Asaaf Granit, has scored a perfect partnership with British interiors ledge Tom Dixon. Housed in a Victorian building that follows the curve of the Regent’s Canal, its elevated terraces (both of them) overlook both the water, shiny new Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square. Coal Drops Yard N1C

The terrace at Hicce

Spiritland
Inside it’s conspiratorially lit, with relaxed groups enjoying posh grub, craft beers, wines and whiskeys over sounds from the eye-poppingly expensive speaker stacks (£350k no less!); outside is a small terrace west-facing for evening rays. More here, Stable Street N1C


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Hicce
This is where one of our favourite KX restaurants comes into its own. The “living botanical terrace” is essential if you like to watch the summer sun dip across the canal: on our visit we instantly decided it’s one of the best spots for sundowners in London. Coal Drops Yard N1C

Rotunda
Surrounded on two sides, the waterfront terrace at the longstanding British restaurant is a secret garden, and surely rates as one of the most atmospheric outdoor dining spots in the capital. Even if the sky’s grey it’s possible to sit at a table shielded from the elements by a wooden screen, leafy plants and herbs spilling out of wicker planters either side. As you eat, swans glide around Ice Wharf, oblivious, and the honk of geese in flight occasionally breaks the silence. More here, 90 York Way N1

The table-top grill at Parrillan. Photo: Parrillan

Hoppers
Taking inspo from the roadside stalls of Sri Lanka and South India, the micro-chain’s latest opening is in Pancras Square. It’s just by the canal on Goods Way, with a terrace that lets you peer across the water to Granary Square. More here, Goods Way N1C

Camino
Boasting a highly useful all-year-round outside space, Camino’s Varnisher’s Yard setting in fact evokes a hip corner of Barcelona, with its bright red-painted barrels, olive trees, vast canopy and low clubby seating – and the buzz of international voices, whatever the day or season. It’s probably the most sheltered European-style square in the capital, too. The restaurant has its own west-facing dining terrace, too, perfect to sample some of north London’s finest tapas, or just a glass of Verdejo. Varnisher’s Yard, N1

Lighterman Granary Square. Photo: PR

Caravan
This one requires no introduction, of course. It’s a rare – for that read rainy – day that sees its terrace entirely unoccupied. Come gloom or shine, queues snake out onto Granary Square waiting patiently for sharing plates ‘n’ spritz amongst its bustle of tables, not forgetting the smaller, dog-friendly area on the left. The good news is that service is fairly efficient, and any potential linger will probably be shorter than you might anticipate. Granary Square N1C

The Standard
In a 1974 Brutalist-style building that once housed the Camden Town Hall Annex, this modern hotel is right across from King’s Cross tube station. There’s a buzzy bar with spacious outdoor courtyard, plus a garden restaurant, Isla, which features a seasonally-driven, coastal inspired menu. And board the street level, exterior red lift directly to the top floor terrace, too. 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG

Vinoteca
Being on King’s Boulevard, it’s the nearest Ibizan-style terrace to both King’s Cross and St Pancras stations, and pleasingly loungey (especially the comfy lime-green padded low chairs on the higher terrace) to encourage lingering over the quite excellent wine list – 250 bottles and counting. If it’s warm, the scent of lavender, mint and other fragrant herbs fills the air, and waiter service makes a glass of Cour-cheverny or smooth 2010 David Ramonteau an easy acquisition. More here, 1 Pancras Square N1C

Alfresco at Vinoteca. Photo: PR

Dishoom
Its petite terrace overlooks the quite lovely Cubitt Square, and outdoor seats also make the perfect match for top Indian café food: try the Nalli Nihari, a speciality of this particular house: lamb cooked on the bone, served in a complex dark sauce. More here, 5 Stable Street N1

Somers Town Coffee House
It’s an unexpectedly buzzy terrace at the northern tip of Chalton Street market, and one long discovered by the besuited after-work brigade. West-facing, it’s a real sun-trap, too, but if the rays are too much, try the secret garden behind the pub – covered also, for rainy days, or to gobble down the gastropub-style food. 60 Chalton Street NW1

Star of Kings
In daylight hours, this terrace is a perfect sun trap. Keep it real with a craft beer and very decent burger on a pub table as passing York Way traffic occasionally drowns out conversation. 126 York Way N1

Notes
Sit outside at this all-day diner and enjoy the water feature flowing through the heart of Pancras Square, which adds perspective and tranquillity to the clang of any building works. And food isn’t an afterthought, either: expect everything from porridge to salads, quiches and sandwiches. Unit 2, 1 St Pancras, N1C

Airy and easy: Notes terrace

Big Chill House
One of King’s Cross’ most famous venues boasts an all-weather terrace, temperate on even the most disappointingly dull summer’s evening. Loads of tables and chairs to quaff a cocktail, sample the BBQ and generally hang out till the early hours at weekends. 257-259 Pentonville Road N1

Great Northern Hotel
With Francophile patterned tablecloths on its tables, this buzzy dining and drinking terrace is not peaceful, but nonetheless offers a ringside view of taxis dispatching commuters, tourists and couples. Pancras Rd, N1C

The Fellow
The first of the area’s new wave of revamped pubs and spaces, its hidden-away terrace is an urban escape-hatch. Food and BBQs served outside. 24 York Way N1

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