Outdoor dining has become an institution in cities that pride themselves on food. Paris, Barcelona and Singapore are synonymous with people enjoying culinary delights whilst people watching and taking in stunning city views. Even Londoners and New Yorkers, despite the terrible weather, don’t shy away from eating outdoors given half a chance.
Be it patios, gardens, riverfronts, rooftops, beer gardens or courtyards, cities are reclaiming public spaces as temporary venues perfect for a good meal and quality conversations.
Outdoor dining is for everyone, even when on a budget. You can always grab something delicious from the Central Market or China Town and enjoy a revamped Victoria Square or jump on a tram to the riverfront for an impromptu picnic. The options are endless and it’s all happening for a pretty obvious reason; when the weather is good who wants to sit inside?
Adelaide’s Mediterranean climate, combined with a rich cultural diversity and access to high quality local produce and wine, makes for a city that is perfectly suited to outdoor dining. Wide footpaths, edgy laneways and garden areas are increasingly becoming an opportunity for a popular cultural shift that is transforming Adelaide’s image.
When one appreciates that 80% of all public spaces in our cities are streets we start to see opportunities that were not always obvious. For too long streets have been as a place just for cars, thoroughfares all about getting from point to point. Creating active street frontages with well maintained dining vastly improves the amenity of your City and urban life in general. It creates places people can enjoy life. It also encourages street life beyond normal trading hours, something that looks and feels more interesting and makes our streets safer.
When thinking like a diner and not a driver, 40km hour streets begin to sound and look much more attractive too. After all, no-one wants a romantic meal next to a freeway!
With dishes worth lingering over, it’s no wonder Adelaidians are part of a revolution in outdoor dining. The city has over 13,000 outdoor seats, a massive 30% increase from just 3 years ago. It is amazing that nearly one quarter of all dining seats in Adelaide are outdoors.
I cannot help but marvel at the fact that Melbourne has nearly double the outdoor dining seats per hectare than Adelaide despite their weather being miserable.
It is however not all about quantity, but quality and diversity of the offering. Adelaide has the substance and style of a European city with the right mix of ethic options to keep one endlessly entertained. Our wine is also the best in the world.
It is important to test new techniques for outdoor dining to encourage more business to get on board. Financial incentives, new furniture designs and closed laneways taken over by restaurants and food vans are all ideas that are useful to push further into underutilised public space.