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7 hidden gems for al fresco dining in Reno

Natasha Bourlin  |

The weather's fine, and there are plenty of patios around town that serve up great food with a side of fresh air. Who needs a ceiling to eat and imbibe? Check out these spots around town offering al fresco dining for any occasion. 

A Little Italy

A taste of Tuscany can be reveled in on the patio at Calafuria  in Midtown. Named for an area near Livorno on Italy’s western coast, the cuisine there so captivated chef/owner Tim Magee that he named his restaurant after it.

Magee focuses on using locally sourced ingredients for his dishes, right down to the eggs in his housemade pastas. He spent over a decade cooking in Italy, exploring local techniques and flavors that elevate his dishes to new heights. Eating them al fresco is the experiential pinnacle. Calafuria’s intimate patio can fit approximately 35 people, though they have plans for expansion soon. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.; call ahead to reserve a spot on the patio. Hot out? They’ve got you covered, literally, with sunshade awnings.

Ladies who lunch

Outdoor ambience abounds at the Stone House Café thanks to the Abowds, the family who opened the quaint eatery in 2005. Colorful flowers and plant life embrace nearly every inch of the European café’s expansive, tiered patio, inspiring a (probably overdue) day — or night — out with the ladies.

Mosey in for one of their flavored mojitos and other happy hour specials like the Kinky Colada Martini. A plethora of small plates, salads, burgers and house specialties are on offer for lunch or dinner. Or bounce in for breakfast or brunch and choose from an array of items to start your day.


Reno roots

Stepping into Rapscallion feels as if you were transported to a time when the “who’s-who” of Reno mingled in the private booths or dark and intimate bar over classic cocktails. Wait, that still happens, and has for four decades. Dine on the restaurant’s renowned seafood dishes or Tuesday night prix fixe dinner specials on the foliage-laden patio. Open for happy hour and dinner Monday through Saturday.


City views

La Vecchia chef/owner Alberto Gazzola was born and trained in Italy, and enjoys putting his own spin on northern Italian culinary traditions. Favorites are carefully prepared and can be enjoyed al fresco, with spectacular city views from the restaurant's perch on Skyline Boulevard.

Try the distinctive flavors of housemade ravioli and pastas, or go for a classic like chicken parmesan. Open for lunch and dinner; call ahead for patio reservations.


Guys' night

Pretend you’re at the game on Skipolini’s patio at the Summit Reno. About 100 people can fit outside, where a big-screen TV keeps sports fans entertained over sliders, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, buffalo prawns and other shareable appetizers.

If you went inside, you’d see cooks making the dough used in breads and pizzas. But who needs to do that when there’s a game on, pitchers of draft beers are flowing and the weather is fine?

Bring Fido

Twisted Fork in south Reno welcomes guests with two and four legs alike on their patio — if all are well-behaved. The chef’s creative twists on classic dishes taste even better with open views of the surrounding hills and peaks. Your furry friend can lap up water from bowls offered upon arrival. You can lap up libations from their full bar, perhaps in a more refined fashion.


Family friendly

While inside, kids’ eyes may never stop taking in all the fun and funky décor at the Squeeze In located in northwest Reno. Outside, little ones can be just as easily entertained on their bustling patio with things to color plus the colorful and option-rich menu. Even the finickiest eater can be disarmed by a smiling, bear-shaped pancake.

Be warned, the patio can be in high demand on weekends, requiring a lengthy wait at times. But there is plenty to keep the young and young-at-heart amused in the meantime.