Some of the best outdoor cafes in China are in Beijing. The winter weather is so foul and the sky so grey and polluted in winter than when spring and summer finally roll around the residents come out of their homes like bears from hibernation and they stay outdoors until the weather turns on them once again.
Around Lake Hou Hai, Nuage is one of the best restaurants with a view. You can sit outside or enjoy the view through the giant windows. With Vietnamese cafe-style decor and seating, you're sure to find both food and atmosphere that you enjoy at this old-style eatery on the lake.
For a lighter, more Italian option, head to Le Cafe Igosso for some of the best Italian cafe-style dining in the city. proportions are small enough for lunch or big enough for dinner coupled with a desert, and for those eager to take in the city's vibe and do some people-watching the windows make this an ideal cafe for lounging.
Chef Too, The Courtyard and La Taverne are all amazing Western and fusion-style restaurants with cafe vibes, outdoor seating and lighter menu options. You'll find the menus slightly more expensive than average but the decor, outdoor areas and options make up for the elevated costs.
For Chinese cafes, head to Made in China, a local favorite, Dao or Green T. House. All of these offer small servings for lunch, a cafe vibe with Chinese characteristics, and another opportunity to experience the local cuisine culture.