The best spots for alfresco eating at Kings Cross

The warm weather and long evenings are here and there’s no better place to soak up the sun and enjoy a spot of alfresco dining than King’s Cross.

Granary Square is without doubt the most popular spot for open-air eating at King’s Cross. With its canalside location, spectacular fountains, as well as the comings and goings from Central Saint Martins, it’s both charming and entertaining. There are a few great choices here.

People sitting on the terrace of the Lighterman overlooking a sunny Granary Square at King's Cross

The Lighterman

Overlooking the canal, The Lighterman has not one, but three outside eating options, so you can chase the sun all day long. The generous wraparound terrace on the first floor has panoramic views over the square and the canal. If you don’t manage to bag a spot here, then you’ve still got the terrace on Granary Square. Or best of all, the canalside bar right on the towpath. The all-day menu features marinated meat and seafood cooked on a wood-fired grill alongside classics such as the rare breed beef burger and fish & chips. On the drinks front, there’s a great seasonal cocktail menu, plus craft beers and well-chosen wines.

Al fresco lunch, Caravan, Granary Square, King's Cross

Caravan

Popular eatery Caravan was the first restaurant to open at King’s Cross. It was an instant hit and continues to pull the crowds.

Dishes draw influence and flavours from around the world and are best enjoyed as small plates made for sharing. The sunny terrace is popular from morning to night. The breakfasts here are excellent and the coffee is roasted daily, in-house. There’s no better spot to watch the activity in the square.

The terrace at Granary Square Brasserie, Granary Square, King's CrossGranary Square Brasserie

Next to Caravan you’ll find the latest addition to the dining scene at King’s Cross. Granary Square Brasserie is an all-day restaurant with a pretty terrace overlooking the fountains. The comfy seating is nestled amongst greenery, and there are heaters and blankets should a chill set in.

The GSB menu is full of beautifully cooked classics – in fact, your biggest concern is going to be what to choose from the fairly sizeable but stellar menu. There’s a variety of light salads, fish dishes, comfort-food favourites such as pies, roasts and curries, artisan sandwiches, and a host of carefully-sourced steaks, fish and burgers from the grill. Our insider tip? Whatever you go for, be sure to add on as many sides as you can handle – especially the truffle and parmesan chips. Oh, and the weekend brunch is a worth crossing town for, too.

Outside the brasserie overlooking Granary Square, you’ll find the Fever-Tree Physic Garden. The terrace is designed to evoke the ‘physic gardens’ of the 1800s, where plants such as lavender, sage, mint and chamomile, sought after for their healing properties, were grown to be used by the physics – or doctors – of the day. Bursting with boxes of these deliciously scented herbs and plants, the pretty terrace has its own dedicated G&T menu with cocktails all featuring these health-boosting botanicals.

Dishoom

The outdoor terrace at Bombay eatery, Dishoom offers a great view. The restaurant is atmospheric to say the least, housed in the brick arches of a former Victorian train shed. This is an extremely popular spot, so arrive early if you want any hope of nabbing an outside table. Indian food is made to be shared: order moreish samosas, rich curries, black house dahl, charred prawns, and hearty naan parcels and tuck in. The bar mixes old-fashioned cocktails served in cut-glass tumblers. You order Indian-style by the peg – the chota peg is a small measure (100ml) whilst the burra peg is not!

Spiritland

Music mecca Spiritland is also on the square. The café-style menu offers breakfast, lunch plus a whole range of tapas-style small plates and snacks. The perfect accompaniment to the ever-evolving selection of beers, natural wines, botanical-inspired cocktails and spirits.

SKIP GARDEN FAMILY SATURDAYS at King's Cross

The Skip Garden

Just beyond the square, at the top of Lewis Cubitt Park, you’ll find something of a hidden gem.  The Global Generation Skip Garden is a charming mobile allotment where herbs, flowers, fruit and vegetables are grown in building skips. Everything in the garden is upcycled, recycled and organic – it’s as sustainable as it gets.

The café serves wonderful salads, soup and cakes. Choose to eat at the tables outside the café, or nestled amongst the greenery. Much of the food is created using produce sourced straight from the garden, so it doesn’t get more local. In glorious weather, this really is a delightful spot.

Step out of the stations, and you’re in Battlebridge Place – the perfect spot to indulge in a bit of people watching. A number of excellent restaurants edge the space, with terraces to offer you a front row seat.

German Gymnasium

The German Gymnasium was the first purpose-built gym in England. This beautiful building is now home to a restaurant of the same name serving punchy Mittel-European inspired dishes and delicious cocktails all day long. The sleek wraparound terrace is heated for when the chill sets in. If you’re here for a late lunch, be sure to leave room for dessert, as at 4pm, a clock chimes to mark the classic German tradition of kaffee & kuchen. The sachertorte and apple strudel are top notch.

Granger & Co

Tucked behind the German Gymnasium, you’ll find Granger & Co. Chef Bill Granger made his name cooking simple but satisfying dishes in his native Australia. The menu here is a little more eclectic, taking inspiration from around the globe, but with the same relaxed and sunny atmosphere. Order a variety of small plates to eat tapas-style on the piazza – think crispy squid with chilli, courgette chips in nutty, moreish tahini. Enjoy and soak up the sun.

Vinoteca, restaurant and wine shop, King's CrossVinoteca

Also facing onto the square, you can’t miss the striking twisted iron columns of Vinoteca. Inspired by the wine bars of Spain and Italy, the super-comfy seating on Vinoteca’s pretty terrace cries out for an evening spent sampling the exceptional wines

Your waiter will help recommend a glass of something chilled and delicious. Pair it with a summery plate of shrimp, fennel and juicy pink grapefruit, or the gorgeously earthy parmigiana.

Just beyond Battlebridge Place is Pancras Square. Styled after a continental town square, with lawned terraces, cascading water features and seating beneath mature trees, this intimate square offers a beautifully secluded dining experience.

Terrace, Drake and Morgan, Pancras Square, King's Cross

Drake & Morgan

At the far end of the square, tucked behind lush planting is Drake & Morgan, a stylish restaurant with a year-round, outdoor terrace.

It’s always cocktail hour at Drake and Morgan, so be sure to check out the list of classics or the more inventive ‘inspired’ list. Food-wise, there are small plates, salads, and burgers, but for alfresco dining, food straight from the grill is a must. As evening draws in, cosy blankets and hot water bottles are on hand to keep you toasty. Four-legged friends are welcome.

Kimchee

Last up, but certainly not least is Kimchee. Taste authentic Korean BBQ at Kimchee on Pancras Square. On the Kimchee menu, you’ll find range of meats, fish and veggies served Korean barbeque style, the traditional method of roasting ingredients on the grill.

Sample Korea’s signature blend of sweet, savoury and spice – try the beautifully arranged Bibimbap, a mixed bowl of rice and sauteed vegetables topped with a fried egg and hot, stir-fried rice cakes, Bulgogi Ddukbokki. Add a bowl of coconut sticky rice with mango, fried sweet potato and ice cream to round things off.

To accompany your meal, there are a range of Korean-inspired cocktails and a wine list hand-picked to enhance the heady flavours

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