Al Fresco Dining 101


Warm, late summer evenings spent outside around a dinner table are an August indulgence many of us dream of throughout the long winter. Sharing laughter and conversation with friends and family over delicious food and drink- what could be better? To make the most of your outdoor dining experience, here are some tips for dining al fresco this summer season.

A family dines outside

Setting the Scene

Dining outside comes with some additional elements to consider. Providing ample shade means nobody has to squint or suffer a sunburn and any chilled dishes won't get too warm. Having a few water jugs and extra glasses on hand also ensures everyone stays hydrated. For nights that are on the breezy side, a few table clips means no flapping table clothes. 

As the evening progresses and the mosquitos join the party, a couple citronella candles can help keep those uninvited guests at bay. One handy accessory you likely already have for nights like these is the humble storage bin. Tucking these into a corner during dinner helps make cleanup a breeze and ensures no dishes get dropped on the journey back into the kitchen. 

The Main Event

Choosing dishes that can sit outside for a prolonged amount of time is very important. When both the conversation and wine are flowing, it can be easy to have a longer dinner than you might indoors. We suggest steering clear of green salads that can easily wilt with the time and heat, and instead opt for grain salads or heartier veggie dishes. Grilled veggies are always a hit, and this leek and balsamic-dressed side ticks all the right boxes. Plus, any leftovers can be incorporated into an orzo salad for lunch the next day!

You may as well take advantage of the nice weather by doing a barbecued main dish, and these garlic lemon chicken skewers are the perfect easy yet delicious choice! Fresh, in-season flavours are what summer is all about, and this watermelon feta salad is a refreshing and vibrant side dish. It is fine to sit out for a while, as guests will undoubtedly be helping themselves to seconds!

A plate of garlic lemon chicken skewers

Soak it all in

Take time to enjoy the fruits of your labour and the memorable evening you have created. If all the cleanup you get done is getting the bin of dishes into the kitchen, that is just fine. After all, dishes can always be washed in the morning!


  • Evoolution

    Hi @Rachel, thanks for your comment! That is a great idea for entertaining little ones, I am sure many of us will be employing that idea in the future!

  • Rachel

    Love this!
    I always leave out some bubbles and chalk if there are little ones coming along. Keeps them entertained for hours and adds a fun ambiance for the rest of us! haha.

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