Best Cities for Alfresco Dining

Across the globe, as temperatures rise during spring and summer, tables appear outside scores of restaurants, and winter-weary diners embrace alfresco eating. From New York City to Sydney, we've gathered our favorite places to dine alfresco.

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Los Dos; Merida, Mexico

Los Dos; Merida, Mexico

The most popular class in Chef David Sterling’s Merida, Mexico cooking school Los Dos is “Taste of Yucatán.” The class includes an overview of Maya techniques and ingredients, a market tour, culinary instruction, and a full afternoon meal. 960 1280

Eduardo Cervantes  

School of Artisan Food; North Nottinghamshire, England

School of Artisan Food; North Nottinghamshire, England

Located in Sherwood Forest (yes, Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood fame), the Schoolof Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire teaches all levels of students, including one-day classes in cheese making, bread baking, and sausage making. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of School of Artisan Food  

Giuliano Hazan’s Northern Italy Cooking School; Verona, Italy

Giuliano Hazan’s Northern Italy Cooking School; Verona, Italy

In this one-week immersive food and wine course with Giuliano Hazan, chef, cookbook author and son of Marcella Hazan, the godmother of Italian cooking, guests learn to make homemade pasta, risotto, meatballs and more. The class takes place in a sixteenth century villa in the heart of northern Italy’s wine country, where guests stay in luxury accomodations. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Giuliano Hazan  

James St. Cooking School; Brisbane, Australia

James St. Cooking School; Brisbane, Australia

With a variety of hands-on classes ranging from Modern Australian Cooking to Dude Food (meat-heavy, single serving one pot wonders), Brisbane’s James St. Cooking School offers three-hour classes in which professional chefs demonstrate techniques followed by small group hands-on work, culminating in a shared meal as a class. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of James St. Cooking School   

Tokyo Kitchen; Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Kitchen; Tokyo, Japan

Students in Tokyo Kitchen’s three-hour classes learn about Japanese seasonings and table manners before diving into hands-on lessons in Japanese home cooking techniques. The menu rotates daily between different varieties of sushi, tempura and other Japanese specialties such as okonomiyaki, ramen, katsu and more. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Tokyo Kitchen  

Cass Abrahams Capetown; Capetown, South Africa

Cass Abrahams Capetown; Capetown, South Africa

Considered the doyenne of Cape Malay cuisine, South Africa’s oldest cuisine, local celebrity chef Cass Abraham teaches private cooking lessons in her home. These courses, organized by Cape Fusion Tours, have been described as a history lesson and a cooking class rolled into one.  960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Cape Fusion Tours  

Langlois Culinary Crossroads; New Orleans, Louisiana

Langlois Culinary Crossroads; New Orleans, Louisiana

Chef Amy Cyrex-Sins describes Langlois Culinary Crossroads as part dinner party, part interactive entertainment. While Langlois hosts private cooking classes by appointment, regular diners at Langlois can tour the kitchen, interact with the chefs and learn about traditional Cajun and Creole cooking.

 

960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Langlois Culinary Crossroads  

Beijing Cooking School; Beijing, China

Beijing Cooking School; Beijing, China

Offering one-day and ten-day classes in traditional Hutong cuisine, Beijing Cooking School trains students in both wok techniques and pastry, which includes dumplings, dim sum and noodles. Classes involve market tours and interactive demos as well as hands-on practice. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Beijing Cooking School  

GalilEat; Galilee, Israel

GalilEat; Galilee, Israel

GalilEat Culinary Adventures bring students into the homes of Druze, Muslim and Christian hosts to learn traditional Arab cooking. A typical day includes two hours of hands-on instruction followed by a shared meal. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of GalilEat  

Issaya Cooking Studio; Bangkok, Thailand

Issaya Cooking Studio; Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s original celebrity chef Ian Kittichai and his team teach fun friendly workshops in a modern studio space. A favorite class features four recipes from his Issaya Siamese Club restaurant. 960 1280

  

Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour

Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour

If you’re craving a good ‘ole fashioned showdown, you can watch the barbecue experts compete in Sam’s Club parking lots nationwide. The competitions span 5 regions -- from Tennessee to Nevada -- so there’s a good chance to see a grill master near you. 960 1280

Sam’s Club Media Relations  

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

Pick your poison, and then pick your ‘cue -- whole-roasted hog, pulled pork, brisket … the options are endless. As are the drinks, so make sure you have a safe ride home if you plan to taste the unlimited samples of bourbon and craft beer included with admission. 960 1280

Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival  

Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue

Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue

One of the most prestigious barbecue competitions in the world takes place on the fourth Saturday of October in Lynchburg, TN. Every year thousands of people flock to “the hallow” to see the best of the best compete in pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken as well as sauces and desserts. 960 1280

Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue  

Safeway’s National Capital Barbecue Battle

Safeway’s National Capital Barbecue Battle

The annual 2-day competition along Washington, DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue has something for everyone, including top barbecue chefs and vendors, cooking competitions and demonstrations, as well as lots of samples and non-stop live entertainment. Bonus? It benefits local Boys & Girls Clubs. 960 1280

Safeway Barbecue Battle  

American Royal World Series

American Royal World Series

Kansas City, MO, is home to “The World Series of Barbecue,” the world’s largest BBQ competition -- with 500 teams competing and 70,000 spectators. The larger American Royal event spans 2.5 months and also includes a parade and a professional rodeo (with a $300,000 prize package). 960 1280

  

Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival

Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival

Now in its fifth year, Atlanta’s Bar-B-Q Festival calls itself the “crossroads” of barbecue, celebrating Texas, Carolina, Memphis, St. Louis and Kentucky style. 960 1280

Atlanta BBQ Festival  

International Bar-B-Q-Festival

International Bar-B-Q-Festival

Every second week in May, the town of Owensboro, KY, attracts a crowd of 85,000 people with square dancing, arts and crafts, and, of course, barbecue. Teams serve up a variety of meats including chicken, mutton and burgoo (a spicy stew) all vying for the Governor’s Cup. 960 1280

Bryan Leazenby  

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

While it’s billed at the world’s largest livestock show, don’t be fooled by its name. Since 1974, the weekend before the livestock show is the 3-day, World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. More than 300 teams of veteran pit masters dish out Texas-style ‘cue -- pork ribs, beef brisket and chicken, all smoked to perfection. 960 1280

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo  

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

When you think of barbeque, chances are New York City doesn’t come to mind. But this Madison Square Park block party is more than a decade old and proves New Yorkers heart BBQ, too. 960 1280

Eric Schwortz  

Memphis in May

Memphis in May

Each May, the city of Memphis, TN, is taken over by a series of arts, music and culture festivals. But the main event is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, when competitors from all over the world flock to this barbecue capital with their elaborate smokers and whole hogs. For a taste of the action, don't miss the Willingham family's booth -- they're the only competitors allowed to sell their Southern delicacies to the public. 960 1280

  

Italy: Espresso

Italy: Espresso

You’ll surely get an eye roll or two if you order a to-go cup at an Italian cafe, for espresso is the Italians’ version of to-go coffee. This strong brew served in tiny cups is commonly sipped while standing at cafes. And don’t order a cappuccino late in the day in Italy, either — the only appropriate time to enjoy that particular drink is in the morning.  960 1280

Zero Creatives / Cultura / Getty Images  

Turkey: Türk Kahvesi

Turkey: Türk Kahvesi

A famous Turkish proverb says that coffee should be "as black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love." This thick brew is usually served after meals from a long-handled copper pot called a cezve, accompanied by chewy Turkish candy. 960 1280

Nico Kaiser via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0  

Denmark: Kaffee

Denmark: Kaffee

Perhaps because of the cold, dark Scandinavian winters, coffee consumption in Denmark has always been some of the highest in the world. Coffee is such a vital part of the Danish culture that packed cafes can be found on nearly every corner, especially in cities such as Copenhagen.  960 1280

Rhiannon Taylor  

France: Café au Lait

France: Café au Lait

The French begin the day with their café au lait –coffee with hot milk, served in a mug wide enough to allow the dunking of baguettes or croissants.  960 1280

Jessica Spangler via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0  

Cuba: Café Cubano

Cuba: Café Cubano

Cubans like their coffee strong, whether it's first thing in the morning, after meals or at any chance they get throughout the day. An important part of the social fabric, the Cuban’s strong brew is served in shots and best enjoyed while socializing.  960 1280

By Ivan2010 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Saudi Arabia: Kahwa

Saudi Arabia: Kahwa

In Saudi Arabia and other Arab cultures, coffee ceremonies follow many rules of etiquette, including always serving the elders first. It is also a common custom to serve this cardamom-spiced drink with dried dates to counter the coffee’s bitterness. 960 1280

Nalf alOwais / Moment / Getty Images  

Netherlands: Kaffe

Netherlands: Kaffe

Not to be confused with Amsterdam’s infamous coffee shops, coffee-serving cafes are a celebrated part of the Netherlands' culture. Also known as bakkie troost, the Dutch kaffe is enjoyed any time of day, usually comes black, and is served alongside a cookie.  960 1280

Goncalo Valverde, flickr  

Ireland: Irish Coffee

Ireland: Irish Coffee

Coffee meets cocktail with this after-dinner drink. Irish coffee includes hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and the crowd-pleasing whipped-cream topper. Irish coffee was actually created in Ireland in the 1940s to warm up American tourists on a cold winter’s night, and it remains as popular as ever today.  960 1280

bbq / Moment / Getty Images  

Mexico: Café de Olla

Mexico: Café de Olla

If you like cinnamon in your coffee, this is your drink. Spiced café de olla is brewed with cinnamon sticks in earthenware pots, which Mexicans swear brings out the coffee taste.  960 1280

Leon Rafael / iStock / Getty Images Plus  

Ethiopia: Buna

Ethiopia: Buna

In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, traditional coffee ceremonies are a distinguished part of the culture, with the brewing and serving process lasting up to two hours. Historically, buna, as coffee is called here, was served with salt or butter instead of sugar.  960 1280

Tim E. White / Photolibrary / Getty Images  

Austria: Mélange

Austria: Mélange

Served in Viennese cafes, Austria’s traditional drink, mélange, is very similar to a cappuccino. It contains espresso and steamed milk and is topped with froth or, sometimes, whipped cream (which is what makes it different from a traditional cappuccino). 960 1280

Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Greece: Frappé

Greece: Frappé

The Greek frappé is a frothy iced drink made with Nescafé instant coffee, cold water, sugar and evaporated milk. It's best enjoyed in an outdoor cafe.  960 1280

Tilemahos Efthimiadis via Flickr Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0  

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