Outdoor cafés are wonderful places. In itself, an outdoor café requires only some tables, chairs, and perhaps an umbrella to block the sun and rain, but nothing more is necessary. What makes an outdoor café so special is that it takes on the culture and characteristics of it’s location, whether it is on a street, in a park, on a city square, or along a seacoast. There is no need to create an atmosphere because the atmosphere is already authentic. When food is a cultural experience, there can be no better place to enjoy it than amongst the culture and geography from which it was created.
Perhaps I appreciate cafés so much because in my native Texas good outdoor dining experiences can be rare. Many restaurants will put a small patio to the side or in the back, but why bother? To experience a parking lot? Fortunately, great outdoor eating is not totally absent, and these places will be packed with people on a comfortable Texas day. Near my home, they have recently remodeled the city square with enough sidewalk space to allow restaurants to expand their seating outdoors.
This picture of Olga and Pavel was taken in a café is in Arkhangelskoe, just outside of Moscow and along the Moscow River. The construction of the complex was begun in the 18th century. At Arkhangelskoe you will find beautiful architecture and formal gardens surrounded by lush natural woods. On a warm day it is a pleasant place to walk, listen to an outdoor concert, or eat shashlik in a café.