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So, here's my vote for best terrace/patio. (Saucepan drum-roll please...)

Lou & Mickey’s (224 Fifth Avenue).

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And here's the irony: Lou & Mickey’s is from Chicago. But, for me, they’ve nailed the art of patio.

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Things I like: It’s surrounded by planters, not railings and glass. It has wicker furniture, not the bendy plastic stuff you usually have to deal with outside. It's placed well for sunset (took these shots this Friday evening). It ain't blasted by traffic (cars cruise slow down here). It has a warm vibe. It's, well, romantic. You can make up for a lotta forgotten promises in a place like this.

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Its only problem? Too danged expensive for the likes of you and me. Sigh.

But we can look, can’t we?

And the booby prize, for Greatest Lost Opportunity? Nobu, across Fifth from Lou & Mickey’s.

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Nobu built new, on the other best corner in the Gaslamp, and they blew it. Why? Because they decided to seal themselves off from the people, the weather, and the views. Result: dead corner.

And two runners-up for best? Dick’s Last Resort and Tin Fish. Dick's gets out of that cramped railed-in sidewalk thing, and, yes, can be a lotta fun. Also: affordable.

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Tin Fish? They could put a bit more color in, but tonight you wouldn't see anyway: it's Giants night at Petco. The place was bursting at the seams. Also affordable.

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