Step inside the new iteration of AOC and out its wide-open side doors for a little taste of California Wine Country or maybe the European countryside. The restaurant spills out into the patio, an adjoining room with three walls and no roof. There are two family-style booths set back into tiled walls on each end and cute country-style windows all around. But the best view is up -- at the restaurant's balcony, its foliage creeping along the edges of the roof or just straight above at the expansive sky. Serving both lunch and dinner, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's wine bar also, unsurprisingly, boasts an extensive wine list of several pages, which arrives on a clipboard. What to order: clams in sherry and garlic with toast. 8700 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, 310-859-9859.9. The Roof Garden at The Peninsula Beverly Hills:
The Peninsula in Beverly Hills comes off as a playground for the rich and famous. But, travel through the high tea lounge, up the elevators to the penthouse and past the spa and a relaxing Roof Garden appears with a vacation vibe. The pool is even further up the steps, so the noise from frolicking families can only be heard on a stroll to the edge of the patio for a bird's-eye view of L.A. Every weekend evening through September 1, executive chef David Codney fires up the grill and serves barbecued specialties, including baby back ribs, duck tacos and Australian rock lobster tail. What to order: fish tacos. 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-551-2888.8. Wilshire:
From the outside, it's hard to imagine a romantic back patio hidden behind Santa Monica's Wilshire restaurant. Past the dimly lit and lively bar and out the back doors, there's a very popular outdoor area that's still going strong after eight years. It's lodged between a glass and a brick building, New York City-style, with towering trees strung with little bright lights, a fireplace-in-a-box and an outdoor bar. It's romantic and ideal for an anniversary, and families and large groups also eat here, along with noted locals like Oliver Stone and Jason Segal. What to order: fontina and smoked mozzarella mac 'n' cheese with spinach. 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-586-1707.