Al fresco dining in Hertfordshire: 12 great restaurants to try

01st May 2018

Brits love nothing more than getting outside as soon as the weather improves, so we have picked 12 great restaurants with pretty gardens and terraces in Hertfordshire to enjoy your food

Craft & Cleaver

62 Catherine Street, St Albans

Drawing inspiration from the cookhouses of Brooklyn, New York, Craft & Cleaver is a meat-lover’s heaven. Meat is smoked in the onsite wood smokers before being turned into mouth-watering dishes such as the Black Angus beef brisket served with two sides of your choice – which include mac ‘n’ cheese, onion rings and house slaw.

The garden: during summer evenings, fairy lights are strung up overhead in the courtyard garden – an atmospheric backdrop to enjoy a cocktail or craft beer before tucking into a plate of tempting meat.

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The Snug

Hitchin, St Albans, Hertford, and Ware

The Snug is a chain of restaurants serving ‘feel-good homemade comfort food’ and cocktails. Every day of the week sees a special boozy ‘sip ‘n’ snack’ with weekend bottomless brunches, ‘Tapas Tuesdays’ with two small plates and a Snug classic cocktail for £12 and ‘Wings & Whiskey Wednesdays’ featuring large wings and a Cherry Jack cocktail for £12.

The garden: the Hitchin and Ware locations have a few outdoor tables but St Albans and Hertford have cosy suntrap gardens to enjoy your food (and cocktails) al fresco.

Auberge du Lac

Brocket Hall, Marford Road, Hatfield, Welwyn

For a meal with a view, the restaurant at Brocket Hall, Auberge du Lac, is hard to beat. Housed in a charming red brick former hunting lodge, this restaurant is lauded by satisfied customers who praise its location and delicious gourmet food. Try the eight-course tasting menu (available Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner) for a diverse range of dishes.

The garden: the restaurant and terrace is nestled next to the lake on the 500-acre estate, complementing your meal with a peaceful view over the water to the grand hotel beyond.

The Jolly Waggoner

Church Farm, Ardeley, Nr Stevenage

Ingredients for the food at The Jolly Waggoner come from just over the road at Church Farm – you can’t get much more locally sourced than that! Enjoy a glass of real ale alongside home-cooked comfort food.

The garden: there is bucolic charm abound in the garden at The Jolly Waggoner, with umbrella-shaded benches to park up for an afternoon with a cold beer in hand.

The Saracens Head

Bridgefoot, Ware

The Saracens Head is a historical pub which may date back as far as the mid-14th century. The food menu, however, is anything but historical. Expect stone baked pizzas, chunky burgers, brioche bun hot dogs and sides including macaroni cheese and garlic mushrooms.

The garden: whether picking a quiet spot at the front or heading round the back to the patio garden, you can enjoy your burgers and fries in the sun – washed down with a pint of beer or one of ‘Jo’s Cocktails of the Week’.

The Fox & Hounds

2 High Street, Hunsdon

Featuring in prestigious guides including the Michelin Guide, AA’s Best Pubs and was a runner up for its Sunday lunches in The Guardian’s Observer Food Monthly awards, The Fox & Hounds in the village of Hunsdon is worth a visit just to see what all the fuss is about. Roasts come piled high with sharing plates of meat and heaps of roast veg and the weekly menu is a mixture of rustic French and Italian with traditional British influence.

The garden: you can stay warm in the heated and sheltered patio garden at The Fox & Hounds even when a chill summer evening breeze arrives.

The Tilbury

1 Watton Road, Datchworth, Knebworth

The Tilbury serves pub classics and modern British cuisine; from freshly made fish and chips with a pint to an eight course tasting menu with a hand-picked flight of wines.

The garden: the village setting of the pub and surrounding fields and greenery make for an idyllic spot to enjoy your food and a few drinks too.

Choppy’s Restaurant

Pepper Hill, Great Amwell, Ware

Locally sourced ingredients comprise the food at Choppy’s Restaurant at The Waggon and Horses, from fresh fish to steak with green peppercorn sauce.

The garden: the summer sees guests enjoying the sun in the gardens, whether shaded under the umbrellas on the grass or sipping a glass of something on the inviting decking area.

Rigsby’s

25 St Andrew Street, Hertford

Rigsby’s is a unique restaurant experience, having evolved from humble beginnings into the suave and stylish piano café of today. Choose from the a la carte menu or the reasonably priced set menu featuring starters of white bait and aioli, mains such as a tarragon chicken risotto and crème brulé to finish (all for £15.50!). Make sure to keep an eye on the events page on the website for music events.

The garden: when the sun’s out, grab a table in the garden that’s edged with climbing plants on trellises and pretty hedge boxes.

George IV

Cautherly Lane, Great Amwell, Ware

As you approach the charming exterior of the George IV pub in the pretty village of Great Amwell, there will be customers enjoying the sunshine at the outdoor seating. Order a few small plates from the snacking menu which features tempting creations such as marinated halloumi fries with red onion hummus and buttermilk hot wings with green chilli slaw and coriander – a glass of wine is also mandatory!

The garden: the patio garden at the back of the pub is surrounded by trees and looks out over the village churchyard.

The Three Tuns

6 High Street, Ashwell

Traditional British food is on the menu at The Three Tuns, a stylishly decorated yet homely gastro pub that has earned high praise for its “lovely” food and staff.

The garden: with the gorgeous red brick building as a backdrop, sitting in the garden with a cold glass of ale or Pimms feels like a hidden sanctuary.

Bushel & Strike

15 Mill Street, Ashwell, Baldock

With many rave reviews online, the Bushel & Strike in the village of Ashwell is a pub that serves fresh, exciting food hailed by one customer as being “very good pub grub in lovely surroundings”.

The garden: manicured gardens make a clean and pleasant spot to bring your food and drinks outdoors and enjoy the village atmosphere in Ashwell.

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