The weather in Hong Kong ranges from bad to hideous. When it is not pouring with rain, it is steaming hot; if we are not stocking up our fridges in case of a typhoon, then we are wearing heavy coats in the futile hope it will keep out the icy winds. But every once in a while the weather clears long enough for us to want to get out and enjoy a dry, warm sunny day, and the only thing nicer than having a wonderful al fresco meal while soaking in the sun is eating a wonderful al fresco meal at night. The Peak is a great place to head when the weather is good. The Peak Cafe (tel: 2849-7868) and Cafe Deco (tel: 2849-5111) both have extensive and varied menus, and comfortable outside seats. Movenpick Marche (tel: 2849-2000) has a small terrace area and affordable prices. In Central, Cafe Vogue in Lane Crawford House on Queen's Road Central has a large patio area - covered, which keeps out the hottest rays, and surrounded by a tall (fake) hedge that hides some of the surrounding office buildings. Unfortunately, dining under the stars is not a possibility, because the Cafe closes at 7.30pm, but it will stay open late if you book for a private function (tel: 2118-3355). The American Pie (tel: 2877-9779) on D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, has a small balcony with a few tables. If you look straight down over the railing you can watch late-night revellers, though the view is slightly marred by the filthy roof of the apartment building across the street. Tun Wo Lane in Central packs several excellent restaurants into one tiny street. All three Group 97 restaurants in this area have outdoor seating: you can taste some great continental food at the Pavilion and Petticoat Lane or tapas at El Pomposo (tel: 2869-7768). Up in SoHo, you can munch on Cajun specialties at the Bayou (tel: 2526-2118), which has a cosy covered terrace, and at Club Casa Nova there is a comfortable garden (tel: 2869-1218). In Causeway Bay, the 'Fashion Walk' area of Paterson Street has several restaurants with limited outdoor seating. The Island Seafood and Oyster Bar (tel: 2915-7110) has great food; with a dozen oysters and a glass of wine you can sit outside on the covered courtyard, listen to the fountain and pretend you are not in Hong Kong. Just a little farther along this tiny street you can get tapas and paella at El Cid (tel: 2576-8650), Mediterranean food at the Med Cafe (tel: 2881-1900), pate and a glass of wine at Bordeaux Cellar and Bar (tel: 2577-9302), or Southeast Asian food at Chilli N Spice (tel: 2504-3930). After a hike across Lamma Island, it is nice to sit outside and have a meal. Try the Sampan (tel: 2982-2388), Man Fung Lamma Seaview (tel: 2982-1112), or the Waterfront (tel: 2982-0914), which has a tiny balcony overlooking the harbour. At the Repulse Bay you can dine on Southeast Asian cuisine on the spacious terrace at Spices (tel: 2812-2711) or nibble on cakes and sandwiches at the Palm Court Cafe (tel: 2812-2903, closes at 6pm). From Friday to Sunday you can also enjoy a barbecue buffet in The Garden (tel: 2812-2711). In Stanley there is Stanley's French, which has a rooftop garden open whenever the weather permits (tel: 2813-8873), while at Stanley's Oriental, there are two outside areas to choose from (tel: 2813-9988). One of the most relaxing ways to spend a summer evening is gorging on barbecue food - especially if you do not have to do the cleaning up. At the Sun Terrace in The Peninsula you can eat your fill of barbecue buffet, salads and desserts, while looking at the bright lights of Hong Kong Island. Due to the inclement weather, the buffet is available only during the autumn, but reservations will be taken in other times of the year for private functions (with a back-up banquet room in case the weather does not co-operate). Call the catering department on 2315-3148. In Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui is Tutto Bene, which has a courtyard at the back and a patio area at the front, where you can sit and enjoy Italian specials (tel: 2316-2116); there is also another branch of El Cid, which has outdoor seating in both the tapas bar and in the restaurant (tel: 2312-1898). Before you head to one of these restaurants, you should remember outside seats are popular. Before you set your heart on dining outside, it is best to call ahead to the restaurant.