The outdoor lifestyle which Bellevue is renowned for is not only limited to its mountains and waterways; it can be found in the city’s broad collection of cafes, bars, and restaurants, where a cozy patio seat can enhance the view upon an already spectacular culinary landscape. 

Carmine's Bellevue

The iconic Carmine’s peers out onto the promenade of Downtown Park from a vine-and-floral-laden patio where you dine in style. The family-run restaurant has a classic, rustic elegance to it, where old-world hospitality prevails and Italian piatti forti (main dishes) crown the evening. Ossobuco, cioppino, gnocchi with beef tenderloin: each entrée inspires a hushed reverence amid the festive din of reunions, regulars dropping in, and romantic dates. Here, the spirit of Italian tradition is for everyone, with gluten-free and other dietary restrictions accommodated. An extensive wine list offers a veritable tour of Italy, from historic northern denominations to lesser-known boot-and-heel varieties. End with Carmine’s Cipriani vanilla meringue cake and a classic bittersweet digestive, with a moonlight park stroll mandatory. 

Mercato Stellina

Bellevue’s Main Street comes alive at the first blushings of sunshine, with bistro chairs and umbrellas lining the pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare. The scent of brick-oven pizza wafts from the kitchen at Mercato Stellina, where Tuscan-inspired oval pies, topped with both traditional Italian and Pacific Northwest ingredients, are the draw. The bright and fresh Speck pizza — featuring English pea pesto, lemon ricotta, speck, and roasted asparagus — is the perfect order for an open-air meal. Gluten-free patrons need not fret, as Mercato’s diverse menu includes gluten-free dough among the options. The handful of sidewalk tables lends this small patio a convivial air, with wine glasses often raised in appreciation of la bella vita. 


The Italian theme continues at adjacent Cantinetta (consider it the elder, more refined sibling to Mercato), beloved for its handmade pastas and sumptuous antipasti with vegetarian options. The long, narrow patio is ideal for a multicourse meal seemingly paired to the changing of the light: burrata with tomato jam; gem lettuce with crispy pancetta; tagliatelle carbonara with a farm fresh egg. The list of Italian wine ranges from the practical to the exalted, while Washington bottles contend equally for attention. 

Fern Thai

Thai food is ever-popular in Bellevue, and Fern Thai on Main boasts a lush garden patio for enjoying their regional dishes: from southern Hat Yai Chicken to northeastern pork rib stew (Tom Zap). Linger in late afternoon for a happy hour snack of green papaya salad (Som Tum) and cool off from the spice with a Thai rum cocktail featuring fresh basil, lime, sugar, and soda. It will feel as if you’ve discovered your own little soi in the city. 

520 Bar & Grill

A classic corner spot mere footsteps away, 520 Bar and Grill is a great place to unwind with a wraparound patio and elevated comfort food for any occasion. Wings, cobb salad, blackened salmon sandwich, and crab cakes are all generously portioned, as are seasonal cocktails including a Hennessy-laced Bellini or a spicy tequila sour shaken with egg whites. Brunch here can be considered a ritual for the locals, kicked off each visit with a bacon Bloody Mary. 

Central Bar + Restaurant

Tucked into an urban passageway behind the Bellevue Arts Museum in the heart of downtown, Central Bar + Restaurant is among the city’s most cosmopolitan al fresco destinations; classy yet casual, always bustling. Hearty entrées are divided between land and sea: try a grilled bone-in pork chop or the macadamia-crusted halibut, or keep it simple with a classic burger from the grill and a wedge salad. For good reason there’s a late-night happy hour too, with the bar enjoying a second life after dinner and the summer air prevailing over the marine chill. Classic, innovative, and even non-alcoholic cocktails are all spot on. 

The Redd Dog

Walking the dog in downtown Bellevue can be as easy as grabbing a craft pint at The Redd Dog, whose patio on the ground level of the Amazon towers welcomes all pups (indeed even offers a special menu for them too!). The U-Pour tap system is designed for discerning humans, however, its 40-plus handles all priced by the ounce so you can imbibe at a leisurely pace. Make new friends (furry or otherwise) on the welcoming patio overlooking 10th Street, with picnic-bench-style seating for groups as well as outdoor fireplaces with Adirondacks. Tasty pub grub and shareable plates are the go-to here, with pizzas and artisanal sandwiches available for a more substantial meal. 

Bellevue Brewing Company

Much of downtown Bellevue is easily walkable, and arriving by train has become a reality with the new East Link extension (the 2 Line features free park-and-ride options as well as bike parking). A stop in the new Spring District is worth it for a visit to Bellevue Brewing Company, which anchors the up-and-coming development, or DOTE Coffee Bar located next door, offering excellent coffee alongside chocolates from master chocolatier, Ewald Notter. Whether for a lunch meeting or a night out, the epic patio at Bellevue Brewing Company can accommodate a variety of styles (and ages — kids are welcome on the patio before 8 p.m.). The kitchen turns out excellent tacos (birria), pizzas (beer-braised barbecue pork), and appetizers (applewood-smoked wings). Patrons often spill out into the adjoining park after a satisfying meal, in no particular hurry to catch the next train home.