Best Patios With a Nontraffic Vibe

Critics' Pick

The Lily Pad, 9680 Osborne Turnpike, 795-4155

Riverside eating at Kingsland Reach Marina in the East End has table gliders — covered contraptions with gliders on both sides and a table in the middle. And, yep, a gentle push off and the gliders rock rhythmically, more of a challenge when eating than drinking, but with views of the river, well worth it.

Beauregard's Thai Room, 103 E. Cary St., 643-2328

High brick walls, a lush garden and the running water of fountains and pools make this downtown spot feel like a secret alley treasure in Charleston, S.C. The only thing missing is the sound of horse hooves clopping by.

En Su Boca, 1001 N. Boulevard, 359-0768

That it's possible to sit mere feet from the busy Boulevard at night and feel like you're in a cantina is noteworthy enough, in no small part because of the high fencing that surrounds it. But let's give also credit to the huge potted plants, tiki torches, window boxes and twinkling lights, all of which say, "Welcome, gringos."

Portico, 12506 River Road, 784-4800

Grass grows right up to the stone wall that encircles a patio graced by an enormous fireplace with a conversation pit of wooden benches and tables. Larger tables with umbrellas for serious eating fill the stone patio while a flagstone walkway leads to the garden.

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