Outdoor dining guide: NYC's best summertime restaurants

Blooming gardens, gorgeous patios and other outdoor dining spots where you can eat in the breeze

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Outdoor dining is on everyone's mind in the summer—when the sun comes out, New Yorkers scramble to occupy every breezy patio and leafy garden in sight. To help you score the most coveted alfresco tables, we've rounded up our favorite restaurants with outdoor seating. From waterfront joints to open-air rooftops, we've got your sun-drenched dining needs covered.

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  • Bark Hot Dogs

    The space: This expansive 160-seat rooftop terrace boasts panoramic views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. A bonus: The new 60-seat interior offers an easy refuge from fickle summer weather.

    Why we love it: For the second year running, the Bark team sets up at Pier 6, serving an abridged menu of its cultish hot dogs. Try the superb headliner—a proprietary pork-and-beef blend made at Hartmann’s Old World Sausage in Rochester, New York—while sipping a Sixpoint brew or a Gotham Project wine.

    Furman St at Atlantic Ave, Dumbo, Brooklyn

    Read more about Bark Hot Dogs

  • Photograph: Martin Masuno

    Riverpark

    The space: If you can get past the uninspiring office-building facade, Tom Colicchio’s waterfront eatery rewards guests with two stunning alfresco areas: a 44-seat formal dining patio, and a more casual 72-seat biergarten, each offering a panoramic view of the East River.

    Why we love it: While you can enjoy New American fare by Sisha Ortúzar (Gramercy Tavern) at either of these outdoor perches, the real draw is the Riverpark Farm Table (seats a maximum of 12; Alexandria Center, 430 E 29th St), a private chef’s table on a working urban farm. Start with raw-bar bites and house-made charcuterie, then tuck into a family-style feast made with home-grown produce, as well as meats and cheese from other local farms.

    450 E 29th St between First Ave and FDR Dr (212-729-9790)

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  • Anella

    The space: A well-appointed garden offers a calming escape in the far reaches of Greenpoint. Shaded under a garden pergola, you’ll find sprouting herbs, fruits and vegetables that garnish dishes and occasionally make their way into fleeting seasonal specials.

    Why we love it: Chef Todd Andrews’s streamlined menu focuses on seasonally driven Italian fare, including steamed mussels in white wine and roasted garlic, and spaghettini with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil.

    222 Franklin St between Green and Huron Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-8100)

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  • Photograph: Todd Eberle

    The Standard Grill

    The space: The full block of sidewalk seating, penned in by shrubbery and a black picket fence, looks as good as the people it attracts. Work up an appetite beforehand with a stroll on the High Line.

    Why we love it: Chef Dan Silverman (Lever House) presents chophouse fare with a seasonal bent. Dinner feels like an urban picnic—particularly if you order family-style entrées like the golden “Million Dollar” roasted chicken, or a richly marbled steak, delivered in thick, charred slices. Among the cocktails are house-spiked punches (the High Line Fling contains champagne, orange liqueur, grapefruit and lavender), and the sizable wine list focuses on good values from small producers.

    848 Washington St at 13th St (212-645-4100)

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  • Café de la Esquina at Wythe Diner

    The space: Like the Manhattan original, this outpost is divided into several distinct dining areas, among them a large graveled garden, with more than 80 seats. Quirky and charming ornaments decorate the leafy patio, such as old Mexican birdcages, strings of lights and a seven-foot-tall bonfire sculpture made out of a stack of TVs. It’s most inviting on sunny afternoons, when three large clump birch trees filter the southern light.

    Why we love it: While sun-seeking hordes grab tacos and tortas from the stainless-steel takeout window anytime, the garden is reserved for guests who order from the more refined diner menu. Try chef Akhtar Nawab’s Mexican take on fried chicken, breaded with a mixture of thinly sliced fried plantains, crumbled house-made corn tortilla chips and an eight ingredient seasoning mix. Drinkers can choose from a selection of 100 sipping tequilas and mescals, as well as fruity tequila-based cocktails, like the Hemingway en México, with tequila, Luxardo, blackberries, lemon juice and agave nectar.

    225 Wythe Ave between Metropolitan Ave and North 3rd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-393-5500)

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  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Pok Pok Ny

    The space: The atmospheric backyard feels like it’s in the middle of the jungle, outfitted with strings of vibrant lights, colorful oilcloth-covered tables and milk crate garden boxes designed by the urban gardeners behind Dekalb Market. An additional 25-seat area has semiprivate seating areas separated by gravel pathways.

    Why we love it: Dedicated gastronauts willing to wait for a table at this Portland import are rewarded with Andy Ricker’s James Beard Award–winning grub. Find offerings like muu kham waan (Niman Ranch pork neck glazed with a sweetened soy sauce) and kai yang (charcoal-grilled La Belle Rouge hens stuffed with lemongrass and cilantro), or dig into the signature wings and sip tropical twists on classic cocktails (like a tamarind whiskey sour).

    117 Columbia St between DeGraw and Kane Sts, Red Hook, Brooklyn (718-923-9322)

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  • Photograph: Noah Fecks

    Do or Dine

    The space: This 40-seat patio doubles as a street art gallery. The current batch of annually changing graffiti—courtesy of the 907 crew—is just one of many irreverent decor details, which also include a large rusting star attached to the back wall.

    Why we love it: Fastidious service and a warm hipster vibe help offset the silliness of deranged menu items such as the tasty “Nippon Nachos”—vegetarian pot stickers topped with pico de gallo and melted cheese. Other playfully plated dishes include a whole golden red snapper with thick, meaty fries, and a wacky ice-cream dessert trio, with flavors like hazelnut miso, yuzu lavender and banana hoisin.

    1108 Bedford Ave between Lexington Ave and Quincy St, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-684-2290)

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  • Back Forty

    The space: A backyard oasis blocking out the East Village hum, with 40 bright-colored chairs and bamboo-lined fences. Removable tents keep it operating through light summer showers.

    Why we love it: A locavore ethos prevails at Peter Hoffman’s seasonal-eats tavern. Go for dependable gastropub fare like the pleasantly gamey grass-fed hamburger, or pork jowl nuggets, fried in a crisp jacket of batter, and exemplary veggies, all at moderate prices. Tuesday nights in the garden, from June to Labor Day, are dedicated to the rowdy prix-fixe crab boils ($45), where you can tear into the crustaceans with your hands at communal, newspaper-covered tables.

    190 Ave B between 11th and 12th Sts (212-388-1992)

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  • Cannibal

    The space: Dangling white lights illuminate vintage beer garden tables in the Cannibal’s 30-seat cobblestone enclosure. The narrow space also functions as an urban garden—its soil borders breeding herbs and tomato plants soon to appear on the Cannibal’s plates.

    Why we love it: With its deli fridges stocked with ales and lagers and its aged steaks and whole hams dangling from steel hooks, the Cannibal could double as the set of a dude-food show on the Cooking Channel. Run by guys and packed with them, the place is so unabashed in its bromance for craft beer and artisanal meat, it’s almost a parody of a manly restaurant. If you like meat and beer, though, it’s pretty close to paradise.

    113 E 29th St between Park and Lexington Aves, (212-686-5480)

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  • Photograph: Peter Mauss Esto

    Shake Shack

    The space: This is the original Shake Shack location, right in the heart of Madison Square Park. In lieu of brick and mortar, you’ll find all the park has to offer: plentiful greenery and a stellar view of the Empire State Building.

    Why we love it: Few restaurants can boast a city park as their outdoor space, and even fewer can boast of a better burger. Danny Meyer’s wildly popular concession stand is mobbed with an hour-long line during the summer. Angus beef is ground daily for excellent patties, and the franks are served Chicago-style on potato buns with a “salad” of toppings and a dash of celery salt. Frozen-custard shakes hit the spot, and there’s beer and wine, to boot.

    Madison Square Park, 23rd St at Madison Ave, (212-889-6600)

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  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Traif

    The space: Like a botanist’s utopia, this cozy stone patio sprouts a flourishing sea of green come summer, when a canopy of 30-year-old grapevines frame the view into the blooming garden.

    Why we love it: Chef-owner Jason Marcus (Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park) may be Jewish, but as his Williamsburg restaurant—named for all things not kosher—attests, he’s far from opposed to pork, shellfish and other no-no’s. While some of his rule-breaking dishes reflect his Semitic ancestry, others take a more global perspective, such as crispy pork belly with rhubarb, grapefruit, blackberries and sugar snap peas.

    229 South 4th St between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-844-9578)

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  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    Fette Sau

    The space: Housed in a former auto-body shop, the popular ’cue joint offers bare-bones communal picnic tables that fill the narrow driveway leading to the entrance.

    Why we love it: The name of this glutton-friendly smokehouse from Joe and Kim Carroll (Spuyten Duyvil) translates to “fat pig” in German. Hog-happy highlights include a deli-style meat station featuring glistening cuts of beef and pork by the pound. Stick to staples like smoky espresso-and-brown-sugar-rubbed ribs and the less-than-orthodox pastrami. The sides and desserts leave something to be desired, but the bar makes up for it with an encyclopedic bourbon menu and ten rotating tap beers available by the gallon.

    354 Metropolitan Ave between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3404)

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  • Edi & the Wolf

    The space: On a greenhouse-inspired patio, a hodgepodge of herbs, flowers and vegetation hangs overhead from mismatched vintage potters and planters. These touches—combined with the worn appearance of salvaged-barn-wood tables—conspire to create a homey atmosphere.

    Why we love it: Chefs Eduard Frauneder (“Edi”) and Wolfgang Ban (“the Wolf”) revisit the flavors of their native Austria at this neighborhood tavern deep in Alphabet City. Find simple dishes like a creamed asparagus soup with chervil and sourdough croutons, and beer-and-honey-glazed baby back ribs.

    102 Ave C between 6th and 7th Sts (212-598-1040)

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  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    Roberta's

    The space: This oasis, located on an industrial Brooklyn block, has its own urban farm, with produce growing in backyard plant bins and greenhouses on top of a metal shipping container. At night, the outdoor patio is lit by sweeping, diagonally strung Christmas lights, and the homegrown veggies often appear on dishes served at the communal tables.

    Why we love it: This super-hip ode to market cuisine and artisanal pizza is a favorite for bargain-seeking locavores, offering craft beers and loud music. Group diners (from 10 to 32 people) can reserve a garden table up to one week in advance, then settle in for a multicourse meal: Share meats, cheeses and salads to start, followed by Roberta’s stellar wood-oven pizza—we like the salty-creamy Specken Wolf, which pairs melty mozzarella with speck—and cookies and gelato for dessert.

    261 Moore St between Bogart and White Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118)

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    La Birreria

    The space: You don’t have to be a beer nerd to appreciate the views of the Flatiron and Empire State Buildings from this massive rooftop beer garden, located 15 stories above lowly ground. If you manage to fight your way through the scrum, snag a seat at the Carrara marble bar or one of the communal salvaged-wood tables.

    Why we love it: Gotham’s brewhounds have a direct line to one of the world’s most exciting new beer regions: an unprecedented stash of beers from the Boot, as well as innovative house-made ales reflecting trends on both sides of the Atlantic. Guzzle them all with accomplished rustic eats (fat probusto sausages, fennel-laced quail, gorgeous salumi) that are as satisfying 15 stories high as they would be at a taverna on the Italian alps.

    200 Fifth Ave at 23rd St (212-937-8910)

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  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Franny’s

    The space: Summer provides some respite from the notoriously lengthy lines at this Prospect Heights favorite. Potential diners can wait out a table while sipping cocktails in the seasonal (May–October) garden. The famished may be tempted by fruit from the garden’s apricot tree—but it’s not for eating. Besides, the pies are worth saving your appetite for.

    Why we love it: Thin, bubbly locavore pizzas are the soul of this operation, helmed by husband-and-wife team Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg (Savoy). A sausage-and-cheese pie isn’t just a cravings-sater—it’s a work of art. The chewy, charred pizza, with coins of funky house-cured meat, buffalo mozzarella and fragrant Parmesan cheese, a sauce that’s so sweet it reminds you that tomatoes are fruit, plus a drizzle of olive oil, is among the city’s best.

    295 Flatbush Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-0221)

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  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Gran Electrica

    The space: Located directly beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, the large outdoor area is best at night, when the landmark is beautifully lit above. There are 50 seats, tables lit by hurricane candles and ivy crawling on the walls.

    Why we love it: Chef Sam Richman—who honed his fine-dining chops at Jean Georges and London’s the Fat Duck—turns out market-driven South of the Border fare, bolstered by from-scratch ingredients. Diners can dig into plates like cocteles de mariscos (seafood cocktail), mole verde oaxaqueno (Oaxaca-style green mole), and tacos stuffed with fillings like fish, tongue, braised peppers and Swiss chard. To drink, find seasonal margaritas, micheladas, homemade horchata and agua frescas (like pineapple alfalfa).

    5 Front St between Dock and Old Fulton Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-852-2789)

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  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    dell’anima

    The space: This bustling West Village eatery offers 14 serene sidewalk seats along the tree-lined West 4th Street. Unlike many sidewalk tables, the two-tops are set far back from the curb to avoid close encounters with traffic fumes and irritable pedestrians.

    Why we love it: Chef Gabriel Thompson (Le Bernardin, Del Posto) dishes out modern Italian fare. The menu features traditional dishes rarely found outside of Italy, plus a selection of pastas made in-house daily, which are hands down the best thing on the menu. Don’t miss the bolognese, where thin tagliatelle ribbons luxuriate beneath a textbook bolognese ragù.

    38 Eighth Ave at Jane St (212-366-6633)

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  • Farm on Adderley

    The space: Nods to the locavore ethos are abundant in the 30-seat outdoor garden—look out for the barely visible veggies growing on the rooftop, the yellow shed housing gardening tools and the edible flowers tucked into hanging boxes.

    Why we love it: Call it back-to-the-land chic: The rustic atmosphere lends the restaurant a romantic-getaway vibe (the one-hour subway ride from midtown to the eatery’s Ditmas Park location also plays a part). The menu, developed by chef Tom Kearney (Jean-Georges), is packed with references to bucolic America, and dishes such as the Peas and Lettuce Salad deliver on their garden-fresh promise.

    1108 Cortelyou Rd between Stratford and Westminster Rds, Ditmas Park (718-287-3101)

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  • Pure Food and Wine

    The space: There’s a secret-garden type tranquility to this spacious back patio. Red-cushioned seats and futons are hemmed in by a dark wood fence, blocking out the Union Square flurry.

    Why we love it: This vegetarian favorite is the place to find intriguing raw food spruced up for some nonvegan appeal. The dishes delivered to your table are minor miracles, not only because they look as gorgeous as they taste, but because they come from a kitchen that has no stove. Everything at Pure is raw and vegan, including the lasagna—a rich stack of zucchini, pesto and creamy “cheese” made from cashews. Wines—most of them organic, biodynamic or sustainable—are superb.

    54 Irving Pl between 17th and 18th Sts (212-477-1010)

    Read more about Pure Food and Wine

Bark Hot Dogs

The space: This expansive 160-seat rooftop terrace boasts panoramic views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. A bonus: The new 60-seat interior offers an easy refuge from fickle summer weather.

Why we love it: For the second year running, the Bark team sets up at Pier 6, serving an abridged menu of its cultish hot dogs. Try the superb headliner—a proprietary pork-and-beef blend made at Hartmann’s Old World Sausage in Rochester, New York—while sipping a Sixpoint brew or a Gotham Project wine.

Furman St at Atlantic Ave, Dumbo, Brooklyn

Read more about Bark Hot Dogs

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The Greek
The Greek

458 Greenwich St, TriBeCa Quiet and hip. Visit The Greek and enjoy a delicious array of Greek food and drink at this new New York hotspot.