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Terrace at The Athenaeum, a luxury restaurant with outdoor seating in London

28th June 2018

Eating outdoors is said to have started in medieval times, when groups of people would eat meat and filling foods before going out to hunt. While this was quite a functional beginning to the outdoor eating tradition, al fresco dining started to become more of a social occasion with the rise of picnicking from the 18th century onwards. Eating a picnic outdoors in green spaces with family and friends is a tradition that has continued to this day.

In European countries blessed with warmer climates, al fresco dining has been a tradition for centuries. Until about a decade ago, us Brits hadn’t caught on to the al fresco dining trend in a significant way. Yet recognising we often have mild weather and summers that can be positively balmy – the perception of how well suited we are as a country to al fresco dining has all changed. Rooftops, courtyards and terraces have now become homes to al fresco dining options across London. Giving us the ability to enjoy the elements while tucking into higher end meals compared to what’s possible at a picnic, al fresco dining is here to stay in London.


The phrase ‘al fresco’ has an interesting back-story too. Adopted into the English language from Italy, ‘al fresco’ literally means ‘in the fresh’ or ‘in the cool’. However, in Italy nowadays the phrase actually refers to being ‘in jail’! When talking about eating outside, Italians actually say ‘fuori’ or ‘all’aperto’. Nevertheless, the meaning of ‘al fresco’ in English being ‘outdoors’ and it’s almost always used in reference to dining outside.

Terrace at The Athenaeum

This summer, come and join us on our terrace overlooking Green Park for some new al fresco dining treats.

Our Lobster & Champagne meal is available throughout July and is the perfect al fresco meal. Tuck into lobster rolls with poached native lobster meat, which comes garnished with mango salsa, caviar, fresh herbs and a side of avocado fries. A bottle of Ayala NV champagne is the perfect accompaniment.


As tennis fever hits the city with the Wimbledon Championships taking place during the first two weeks of July, you can also join us for our Wimbledon Delight. This is a delicious combination of fresh strawberries with honeycomb and cream – an original twist on the traditional strawberries and cream dish of the season. Served with a hand-crafted glass of Pimm’s too, this is a way to celebrate tennis season in style.

Dine al fresco with us and become part of a celebrated summer pastime in London!



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