Best Places for Outdoor Dining

These 4 NC restaurants rank among nation’s best places for outdoor dining. Here’s why

By: Simone Jasper, News & Observer, Charlotte Observer

July 15, 2022

North Carolina is home to some of the nation’s “best restaurants for outdoor dining,” a new report finds.

With views ranging from mountains to the water, it might not be a surprise that four places in the state were recognized as having top al fresco dining experiences. The eateries earning nods from the restaurant reservation website OpenTable:

To create the rankings, OpenTable said it considered more than 13.6 million “verified” U.S. reviews gathered from its website between May 2021 and April 2022.

“The overall score is made up of unique data points, such as overall diner rating, user klout, total number of reviews, and regional overall rating,” OpenTable wrote in a July 13 news release. “Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews, for which ‘outdoor dining’ was selected as a special feature.”

Of the 100 restaurants that earned spots on the list, Green Valley Grill is no stranger to recognition. The Greensboro eatery was recently named among the nation’s top places to grab brunch, McClatchy News reported in May.

This time around, the restaurant focusing on “Old World European and Mediterranean flavors” was recognized for its shaded courtyard that photos show has cascading greenery.

Another Greensboro location that’s part of the same restaurant group also earned a spot on the most recent OpenTable list. Photos on Print Works Bistro’s Facebook page show the French-inspired restaurant has tables nestled under trees and umbrellas, making for a “shady oasis.”

If you’re a fan of mountain views, another high-ranking spot was Sunset Terrace at the Omni Grove Park Inn. The seasonal restaurant in the popular tourist destination of Asheville debuted soon after the inn was built in 1913 and has charmed visitors with its “traditional American cuisine,” according to its OpenTable and Facebook pages.

On the other side of the state, some customers said they can’t get enough of the scenery at The Oyster Rock Waterfront Seafood, which overlooks the Calabash River roughly 50 miles southwest of Wilmington. The family-owned restaurant uses ingredients from the nearby Atlantic Ocean and other regional sources, according to its website.

OpenTable didn’t share numerical rankings for the restaurants on its list but said the state with the most top-ranking places for eating outside was California, which had 37. Data from the website shows the number of restaurants with outdoor dining listings has grown since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

“Outdoor dining played a major role in buoying the restaurant industry over the last few years, and restaurants took note — whether adding, expanding or elevating their offerings,” Susan Lee, chief growth officer at OpenTable, wrote in the release. “Offering outdoor dining is now a key part of restaurants’ business, and we’re happy to see that diners continue to embrace it.”

Green Valley Grill Courtyard

Print Works Bistro