Let’s Take This Outside

Some al fresco tables announce themselves from the curb—little wrought iron two-tops arranged along the edges of parking lots and busy sidewalks. But some of the best outdoor tables in town are more hidden from view (and, in many cases, comfortably out of the baking sun’s direct line of fire). Want to sip wine in an urban garden that looks like something straight out of West Side Story (with strings of lights and Friday night movies, no less)? Reserve a courtyard table at Iozzo’s Garden of Italy just south of downtown. Have a hankering for skewered appetizers and umbrella drinks with a tiki essence? The fenced-in patio attached to Revolucion is your hallowed ground. Here, a few more of our favorite secluded places to get a little air with dinner.

Bazbeaux Pizza (Broad Ripple location)

For a bird’s eye view of the village, hoof it to the roof, where you can watch the comings and goings of the main drag or the ducks taking a dip on the canal. What to Get: Hawaiian pizza and Oaken Barrel’s Razz Wheat. 811 E. Westfield Blvd., 317-255-5711

Chef JJ’s Back Yard

A dinner at this shaded spot beside the White River in Broad Ripple is more like an event—private parties and grilling classes showcasing the impressive versatility of a ceramic grill called the Big Green Egg are the focus—but the shtick doesn’t overpower the surprisingly scenic surroundings. What to Get: Any of sous chef Jenna Gatchell’s desserts. 1040 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-602-3828

Creation Cafe

The backside of Buggs Temple has been extended into an immaculate deck overlooking the downtown canal, with umbrella-covered tables and a comfy conversation pit. What to Get: Spicy deep-fried pickles and a beer float. 337 W. 11th St., 317-955-2389

Iozzo’s Garden of Italy

The secluded brick courtyard offers 13 tables, and though I-70 is located just behind the seating area, the sound of traffic is barely audible over Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble on the speakers. What to Get: Start with a small plate, such as fried gnocchi or a meatball martini, then head to the pastas, none better than the sweet creamy lobster ravioli topped with a rock shrimp tomato cream sauce. 946 S. Meridian St., 317-974-1100

Locally Grown Gardens

A wobbly picnic table in front of this gas-station–turned-produce-market is prime seating for a plate of smoked pork or a salmon filet cooked out back. Wash it down with a funky bottled soda from the fridge. What to Get: Oh, and there are handmade pies, too. 1050 E. 54th St., 317-255-8555

MacKenzie River Pizza

Several restaurants have come and gone in this Keystone at the Crossing-area location (Something Different, Adobo Grill, Pikk’s Tavern). Now, this family pizza chain is making use of its woodsy patio to serve up pizzas themed on the great outdoors (such as the Sequoia or the Bear Tooth Sausage) and plentiful salads and sandwiches. What to Get: The pulled pork nachos—organic blue corn chips, slow-smoked meat, cheddar, tomato, green onions, and jalapenos drizzled with avocado sour cream. 4939 E. 82nd St., 317-288-0609

Mama Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant

The vine-choked patio feels like a Tuscan vacation where you can dine for the evening or sip a glass of Chianti while you wait for your table inside. What to Get: Steamed mussels and an extra basket of bread for soaking up the juices. 1031 E. 54th St., 317-259-9412

Mesh on Mass

With proper tables and chairs, it’s a handsome spot, even when the double-sided fireplace is cold. Located along the Cultural Trail where it snakes behind the buildings on Mass Ave. What to Get: The meaty steak salad with blackberry vinaigrette and risotto croutons. 725 Massachusetts Avenue, 317-955-9600

Michael’s South Shore

Flip flops are standard issue at this neighborhood Geist spot, where a canopy covering the outdoor tables helps you to forget that you’re in a blacktop parking lot. What to Get: A heaping plate of homemade potato chips dressed up with gorgonzola and crispy pancetta. 11705 Fox Rd., 317-723-3808

Northside Kitchenette

Cute outdoor seats are arranged in a little alley that leads to nowhere (and provides some relief from the midday sun) south of the building. What to Get: A full menu of tasty sandwiches and earthy, hand-cut fries is topped by the Munchie Supreme, which combines them both: grilled pastrami and Swiss on rye with a “fist-full” of those crisp taters.6515 N. College Ave., 317-253-1022


The tiki bar in back of this Fountain Square newcomer shakes up Indy-inspired froufrou drinks, to be sipped either at the bamboo bar or at casual patio tables. What to Get: Golden patatas bravas, tangy guacamole, and baskets of tacos with customized salsas satisfy the snacking hipster crowd, but a juicy burger with bacon  is the small menu’s big surprise. Great craft beer selection and chile-rimmed margaritas. 1132 Prospect St., 317-423-9490

Sangiovese Ristorante

The restaurant and its resident strip mall are undergoing some renovation, but the back deck, which offers a quiet river view, is as stunning as ever. What to Get: The coppa spagnola, a light but creamy vanilla parfait served frozen and swirled with ribbons of black cherry. 4110 E. 82nd St, 317-596-0731

Shelbi Street Cafe & Bistro

Take a decades-old art deco elevator to the rooftop deck of this funky ground-level bistro that offers one of the best views of downtown. (But hold on to your napkin! It gets windy up there.) What to Get: The berry-studded gingham salad, a well-seasoned blackenend salmon Cobb sandwich, or an Arizona pizza with chipotle barbecue sauce, chicken, and guacamole. 1105 Shelby St., 317-687-4857