Now is the golden season in Tokyo: balmy days, mellow temperatures, low humidity and no mosquitoes. There's nothing better than a nice, leisurely (and maybe even boozy) lunch outside — dinner, too, as long as you bring a warm jacket or throw.

We can thank the Italians for the term "al fresco," and we can thank Cucina Tredici Aprile (2-24-9 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku; 03-3486-6310; for creating one of the city's finest little verdant patios for appreciating good cucina. Chef Masafumi Hidaka's menu includes a lot of organic vegetables, excellent seafood and superb homemade pasta — and plenty of good wine, too. The drawback? There's just one table, and he only serves lunch on Saturdays and national holidays.

Would you prefer a limpid riverine setting? At Canal Cafe (1-9 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku; 03-3260 8068;, diners sit beside the moatlike Kanda River, just minutes from Iidabashi Station. The Italian-esque fare is far from the best (or the best value) in town, but it's worth it for the pleasure of open-air dining to the sound of lapping water while watching the Chuo Line trains rumble past.