The freezes are over and San Antonio is entering spring, that sweet spot where the shivers have passed and the perpetual sweating hasn’t started. There’s no better time than now to take advantage of the excellent al fresco dining options the city has to offer.

From lush tropical gardens shaded by palm trees to elevated views of tourists shuffling by on the River Walk below to a swanky night out that feels like a trip to France, you can find it all in the open air here.

These 11 restaurants with great patios serve a wide range of menus including fancy Italian fare, standout Mexican food with top-flight margaritas, basic pub grub done right and more.

Ácenar is located at 146 E. Houston St.

Mike Sutter / Staff file photo

Ácenar

This hip and contemporary Mexican restaurant at the base of the Hotel Valencia features the best patio you’ll find downtown along the River Walk. It’s the perfect elevated spot to watch passengers on colorful tour boats floating by. The seating at this sprawling patio is largely shaded by overhanging awnings and fans help keep the heat (and bugs) away.

Ácenar serves a menu of familiar Mexican staples including tacos, chalupas, enchiladas and more. And you’ll enjoy them in one of the city’s most style-forward spaces as you’re inundated with brightly painted walls, funky lighting and quirky decor.

Ácenar, 146 E. Houston St., 210-222-2362, acenar.com, Facebook: @acenarSA

Aldaco's Mexican Cuisine is located at 20079 Stone Oak Parkway.

Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine is located at 20079 Stone Oak Parkway.

Mike Sutter / Staff file photo

Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine

Enjoy sweeping panoramic views of San Antonio and the rolling hills beyond from the breezy patio surrounded by palm trees, flowers and ample leafy greenery. Many of the patio seats at this Stone Oak restaurant are well shaded by a wooden pergola or covers that look like blue ship sails, and a steady wind passing through keeps customers cool.

Aldaco’s specializes in Tex-Mex and interior Mexican fare. Double down on avocado while you’re there with a creamy frozen avocado margarita and an order of guacamole prepared tableside. The tacos al pastor and chicken tortilla soup are both hits as well.

Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, 210-494-0561, aldacosrestaurants.com, Facebook: @aldacosrestaurant

Box Street All Day is located at 623 Hemisfair Blvd., Suite 10.

Box Street All Day is located at 623 Hemisfair Blvd., Suite 10.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Box Street All Day

You won’t find a better patio view of San Antonio’s iconic Tower of the Americas than this. Box Street occupies a swanky ground-floor space in the mixed-use development The ’68 right at the foot of the city’s most distinctive landmark in Hemisfair. The brick-lined patio features several large tables shaded by frilly pink umbrellas and a row of smaller exposed bistro tables, although depending on the time of day, the entire patio can be in the shadow of the towering building it’s attached to.

The brunch is hard to beat here, as well. The Milk Bread French Toast is a particular standout and partners nicely with a zippy bloody mary. The dinner crowd will find heartier fare including braised short ribs, pasta and steak frites on the menu.

Box Street All Day, 623 Hemisfair Blvd., Suite 108, 210-476-5705, theboxstreetsocial.com, Facebook: @theboxstreetsocial

Camp Outpost Co.  is located at 1811 S. Alamo St.

Camp Outpost Co. is located at 1811 S. Alamo St.

Billy Calzada / Staff photographer file photo

Camp Outpost Co.

Sitting near the intersection of South Alamo and South Flores streets just a hop away from the trendy Blue Star Arts Complex, Camp Outpost offers some of the best al fresco dining you’ll find in the SoFlo area. A large front patio covered in synthetic turf sports both picnic tables and chairs clustered around fire pits with plenty of shade cover and misters to keep things cool in the summer. A second bar built out of a sleek Airstream trailer is parked outside to serve patio diners.

Camp’s signature dishes include chicken, ribs and beef cooked on a wood-fired rotisserie. The fried chicken sandwich and Mission Salad are also a treat.

Camp Outpost Co., 1811 S. Alamo St., 210-942-4690, eatatcamp.com, Facebook: @EatAtCamp

Guillermo's Austin Street is located at 1216 Austin St.

Guillermo’s Austin Street is located at 1216 Austin St.

Josie Norris / Staff photographer file photo

Guillermo’s Austin Street

This Government Hill newcomer offers a huge front patio that stretches from a small porch with a few seats into a large gravel lot filled with picnic tables equipped with umbrellas. The open space has a modern beer garden vibe with a separate outdoor bar and a unique feature: a dedicated cellphone charging station.

On the menu, you’ll find Italian staples with a San Antonio twist such as the Texas Lasagna made with skirt steak and jalapeño marinara. Classic pub grub excels here as well, with excellent fried chicken wings and pizzas prepared in a wood-fired oven.

Guillermo’s Austin Street, 1216 Austin St., 210-290-8056, guillermosaustinstreet.com, Facebook: @GuillermosAustinStreet

Jardín is located at 555 Funston Place at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

Jardín is located at 555 Funston Place at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

Mike Sutter / Staff file photo

Jardín

The gorgeous San Antonio Botanical Garden provides the setting for this restaurant, which is tucked into the historic Sullivan Carriage House on the grounds. Jardín’s courtyard patio provides the perfect setting to sip a frosty peach bellini surrounded by the blooming flowers of spring. Shady trees tower over much of the patio, and exposed tables have umbrellas to keep the sun at bay.

Jardín serves a primarily Mediterranean menu with excellent riffs on hummus and a wide range of small dishes called mezzes, which provide a fun mix-and-match dining experience.

Jardín, 555 Funston Place at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com, Facebook: @jardinsatx

La Fogata Mexican Cuisine is located at 2427 Vance Jackson Road.

La Fogata Mexican Cuisine is located at 2427 Vance Jackson Road.

Paul Stephen / Staff

La Fogata Mexican Cuisine

This staple San Antonio restaurant inside Loop 410 has been transporting diners to a Mexican hacienda for four decades. Much of the restaurant’s seating is outdoors under wood-framed pergolas lined with lush, colorful plant life and several babbling water features where birds are likely fly in for a quick bath.

Margaritas are the star here, with nearly every table sporting at least one frozen or on-the-rocks glass of limey tequila goodness. Menu standouts include fish tacos, guacamole prepared tableside and memorable queso flameado spiked with flavorful chorizo.

La Fogata Mexican Cuisine, 2427 Vance Jackson Road, 210-340-1337, lafogata.com, Facebook: @lafogata

La Fonda on Main is located at 2415 N. Main Ave.

La Fonda on Main is located at 2415 N. Main Ave.

Paul Stephen / Staff

La Fonda on Main

You’ll want to make a reservation to dine outdoors at this Monte Vista institution, as it’s one of San Antonio’s most in-demand patios. Outdoor seating is available on the restaurant’s new front porch and side patio as well as the sprawling, palm tree-lined back courtyard it’s famous for. All offer plenty of shady spots covered by umbrellas, shade sails or large trees strung with colorful lights. Large fans hang over many of the seats.

La Fonda serves a wide range of upscale interior Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites with enchiladas taking top billing. La Fonda prepares them eight different ways, although it’s hard to beat their classic Tex-Mex version made with a flavorful ruddy sauce the restaurant’s become known for.

La Fonda on Main, 2415 N. Main Ave., 210-733-0621, lafondaonmain.com, Facebook: @lafondaonmain

Little Em's Oyster Bar is located at 1001 S. Alamo St.

Little Em’s Oyster Bar is located at 1001 S. Alamo St.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Little Em’s Oyster Bar

You’ll be dining in Southtown style at this adorable, petite spot that would feel just as at home on the French seaside. For a top-shelf people-watching experience, grab a seat at the long table right next to the sidewalk to eye the stylish pedestrians strolling along South Alamo Street. The patio is small and intimate, with umbrellas and fans taming the heat.

As the name would imply, Little Em’s is all about oysters. The selection, which changes regularly and includes bivalves from a half dozen or more locations, is one of the best in San Antonio. The rest of the menu is very seafood heavy with an excellent crab cake and bagel piled high with lox.

Little Em’s Oyster Bar, 1001 S. Alamo St., 210-257-0100, littleemsoysterbar.com, Facebook: @LittleEmsOysterBar

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine is located at 5800 Broadway, Suite 300.

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine is located at 5800 Broadway, Suite 300.

William Luther / Staff photographer file photo

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine

The patio at this Alamo Heights hot spot is one of the most charming in the city, lined with verdant leafy plants, shady palm trees, pots full of bright flowers and colorful papel picado overhead. This spot feels like a tropical escape from the traffic zooming by on Broadway. All that charm makes this a highly in-demand spot, so be sure to make a reservation.

Paloma Blanca serves remarkable interior Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine including memorable shrimp tacos, ceviche and several takes on chiles rellenos. You’ll also find arguably San Antonio’s best margarita in The ’09, expertly made with top-shelf tequila and fresh lime juice.

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine, 5800 Broadway, Suite 300, 210-822-6151, palomablanca.net, Facebook: @PalomaBlancaSA

Tre Trattoria is located at 200 W. Jones Ave.

Tre Trattoria is located at 200 W. Jones Ave.

Jessica Phelps / Staff photographer file photo

Tre Trattoria

Tucked into the San Antonio Museum of Art, this restaurant’s patio provides a broad view of the River Walk’s Museum Reach. The seating is well shaded by a large overhang, and you’ll feel plenty of cool breeze coming off of the river below and from large fans overhead.

Tre’s specialty is Italian, including a wide range of house-made pasta dishes, pizza and vibrant Mediterranean appetizers. The herb-roasted half chicken, served with arugula, fingerling potatoes and lardons, is a work of art.

Tre Trattoria, 200 W. Jones Ave. in the Hops House at the San Antonio Museum of Art, 210-805-0333, tretrattoria.com, Facebook: @TreTrattoria

pstephen@express-news.net | Twitter: @pjbites | Instagram: @pjstephen

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