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Let’s Go Al Fresco: Outdoor Dining on the Patio

News   >  Knowledge Base   >  Let’s Go Al Fresco: Outdoor Dining on the Patio
Jason Herring
January 11 2023

Outdoor dining is extremely popular in South Florida. The refreshing and light atmosphere of al fresco dining combined with a beautiful view and a meal seems to make the food taste better and the company even more enjoyable. Al fresco dining has been part of many long-standing traditions. Let’s take a deeper dive into how outdoor dining has become a favorite of so many, and explore how you can make your next outdoor dinner party even more enjoyable.

Etymology of Al Fresco

The term “al fresco” is rooted in Italian, but you will never find Italian’s asking to “dine al fresco.” The literal translation actually translates to “in prison,” which would obviously make for a far less enjoyable dinner party. Italians are more likely to request a table, “all'aperto,” or "in the open.”

Regardless of its less-than-accurate translation, using the term al fresco to relate to outdoor dining has become commonplace in English. Researchers even traced its use back to prolific English novelist Eliza Haywood who included the phrase in her novel History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy in 1753. While the term may be relatively modern, people have been enjoying meals outdoors for much longer.

Outdoor Dining Throughout History

While early man certainly took their fireside meals al fresco, it definitely wasn’t by choice, but by the Middle Ages outdoor dining became a refined pleasure. All the way back to the 5th century, European nobles would partake in celebratory outdoor feasts following their hunting excursions. By the 18th century, here in America, wealthy socialites started paying to dine in lavish private gardens. Al fresco dining also became an important part of American political culture throughout the nation as politicians would hire barbecue experts and put on raucous back-slapping days filled with political speeches.

Setting the Stage for Al Fresco Dining

Today, al fresco dining is enjoyed by all whether while eating out at a restaurant, during family events, or simply taking in a weekday meal on the patio. For those who truly love outdoor dining, building out a dedicated outdoor living space for that purpose is quite common. In fact, real estate analysts suggest that dedicated outdoor dining and outdoor cooking spaces are a popular request of home shoppers today.

al fresco dining trend

These outdoor dining spaces can range from a cozy nook with a simple table and an umbrella to lavish fully customized outdoor kitchens with brick pizza ovens, barbecues, counters, sinks with running water, and outdoor wet bars. Regardless of the scope of these outdoor cooking and outdoor dining spaces, it is always ideal to bring some creature comforts to the space. Popular additions include outdoor lighting that allows the diner party to continue into the evening, patio cooling solutions like patio fans, protection from pesky bugs, fire features like wood or gas-connected fire pits, or a patio cover.

The Best Patio Cover for Al Fresco Dining

The ideal patio cover for outdoor dining can take on innumerable styles and designs. Modern aluminum pergolas offer the best durability and all-weather protection, especially from the blazing sunny days and routine afternoon showers here in South Florida. For homeowners that prefer full-time shade for their outdoor dining space, a solid roof pergola design will keep the patio cool and their guests comfortable all day long. For those that prefer to take in some sun when dining, while keeping the patio dry during rain showers, motorized louvered patio covers will deliver the best of both worlds.

Al fresco dining louvered pergola in South Florida

Adding a modern pergola to the patio also allows homeowners to bring some added refinement to their outdoor dining. Embedded LED lights can be integrated into the pergola frame to brighten up an evening dinner party. Retractable motorized insect screens can be incorporated to keep mosquitos at bay. Patio fans can be built into the pergola roof. For homeowners looking for total hands-free control of their pergola louvers, modern pergolas can be designed with voice controls or embedded sensors that automatically close the roof when rain showers approach.


Al fresco dining is one of the joys of our modern hectic lives, and a popular way to enjoy a meal with friends, especially here in South Florida where the weather makes outdoor dining possible year-round. As the leading South Florida pergola company, we here at SYZYGY Global have designed and installed hundreds of luxurious outdoor dining spaces for homeowners and restaurants. If you are considering adding an al fresco dining space to your property, please feel free to reach out to learn what elevates SYZYGY Global from the rest.

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