The term al fresco translates to “in the cool”, or “in the open air,” and it’s a fitting description for the joys of eating outdoors. Dining amid a fresh, fragrant breeze and brilliant afternoon sun is one of the best ways to enjoy a multi-course meal, celebrate with drinks, and savor dessert well into the evening. The experience becomes especially joyous when the meal is not only served outside, but prepared there too.
This is why fully appointed outdoor kitchens have become a must-have feature in the world’s most covetable properties. Here are five that present a feast for the eyes—as well as the palate.
Perpetual Happy Hour in Mykonos
They say Happy Hour arrives mid-afternoon and abates before suppertime—but in this exquisite modern villa on the bluffs of Mykonos, each hour brings an uplifting variation of light and scenery. Every minute in this home deserves a toast—from the radiance of high afternoon, to the golden glow of sunset, to the fading iridescence of twilight—and the property has just the place for it.
While there’s an exceptional poolside patio steps away from the outdoor kitchen and bar, higher up on the terraced cliffs rests a magnificent lounge and seating area overlooking the Aegean Sea. The whole villa has been designed to facilitate an effortless flow between interiors and exteriors across all three levels of the property.
Seafood and Sushi in Beverly Hills
Fresh sushi hits the spot on a summer afternoon, and a colorful selection that includes the best seafood from the Pacific coast brightens up this chic Beverly Hills outdoor kitchen and dining area.
Originally built in the 1920s but refurbished top-to-bottom nearly a century later, this artful mansion boasts almost an acre of private, gated property. And while the house is spectacular, it’s the open-air sculpture garden, meditation sanctuary, greenhouse, and infinity pool that transforms its outdoor space into the rarest of luxury retreats.
Homemade Pizzas in Los Angeles
A crisp, bright day is the perfect occasion to fire up the outdoor pizza oven at this unique country estate. The fabulous exterior kitchen also comes equipped with a built-in stainless steel grill and a single tap kegerator, making it a picture-perfect place to throw a party.
It’s in a prime location, too. While the property occupies nearly four acres of the enviable Mandeville Canyon, it only takes eight minutes to drive to Sunset Boulevard.
A Wine-Pairing Party near Melbourne
Mornington Peninsula may be considered a suburb of Melbourne in Australia, yet it seems a world away. Perhaps that’s what makes it the most popular summer holiday destination in the state of Victoria. But when the sun shines and vacationers flock to the region, this magnificent modern farmhouse maintains its peace and quiet.
Its 20 acres includes an olive grove, an orchard, a vegetable garden, and a boutique vineyard managed by a renowned local winemaker. The property also has a magnificent barbecue and pizza oven, connected by a corridor of plane trees to the home’s gourmet chef’s kitchen. So when guests are welcomed to the stately outdoor dining area, they can sample an array of produce and wines grown onsite.
Haute Cuisine in the French Riviera
The Kennedys loved to retreat to the Côte d’Azur for rest and relaxation, and when they did, it was at this majestic manor, just minutes away from Cannes. Imagine an al fresco banquet created in its outdoor kitchen and served in its ample garden, with deluxe hors d’oeuvres circulating on trays to whet the patrons’ appetites.
And what incredible gardens they are. The home sits at the apex of a parkland forested with native Mediterranean vegetation—complete with pools and meadows, fountains and aviaries, trails and tennis courts—from which it sports panoramic views of the sea.
These properties with outdoor gourmet kitchens earn a chef’s kiss with their attention to detail in form and function, and are as beautiful as the food prepared and shared in them.