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The 10 best rooftop restaurants in NYC

Glorious views and delicious food all at the same time? Here’s our essential guide to dining outdoors.

Gazing at the NYC skyline and eating out are two of the greatest pleasures available to New Yorkers; doesn’t the thought of those things just make you feel a little dreamy? Suffice to say, eating alfresco in New York is a one-way ticket to paradise for Gothamites looking for cool things to do on NYC rooftops and great food. Ready to get outdoors? Check out our list of the ten finest rooftop restaurants the city has to offer, then proceed to one of NYC's best rooftop bars.

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Best rooftop restaurants

1/10

Alma

A popular destination on Columbia Street’s restaurant row, the three-story Alma serves fancy regional Mexican food in a giddy, casual atmosphere. Although the ground-floor bar and midlevel dining room are pleasant, diners clamor for a seat on the rooftop patio (open year-round) for inspiring views of the Manhattan skyline and the glittering, accidental beauty of cargo-loaders below. The food ranges from old standards (fresh, cilantro-heavy salsa and creamily addictive guac) to sophisticated dishes like huachinango a la naranja, a red snapper with orange sauce, which is as airy and light as the view.

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Carroll Gardens
Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello
2/10

Bia

Owner Duke Quan (Duke’s) named this 55-seat bar-restaurant, tucked under the Williamsburg Bridge, after the Vietnamese word for "beer." Fifteen taps pour draft beers (Radeberger, Sixpoint, Founders) and tap wines. Dig into Vietnamese plates—such as com tam bi cha (shredded pork, egg and crabmeat served with rice) and bo kho duoi bo (oxtail stew)—on the rooftop deck or at the 18-foot-long communal wood table indoors. The space, a former auto-repair shop, retains industrial furnishings, like oil-drum tables and old auto-shop signs, as well as an upright piano in the corner.

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Williamsburg
3/10

Gallow Green

This dreamy, overgrown rooftop restaurant and bar just south of Hell’s Kitchen sits atop a warehouse that operates as the McKittrick Hotel for the trailblazing theater performance Sleep No More. In the early evening, the height affords a regal view of gleaming West Side buildings and the cloud-streaked horizon. A floor of pebbles, slate, and trellises woven with flowers and weathered wooden tables recalls an upstate country home left adorably to seed. But as the sun descends over the Hudson, lights encircling small trees and the rafters overhead blink to life. The place is helplessly romantic, but in a way that never feels saccharine (the name of the bar, after all, is borrowed from the famous Scottish field where six 17th-century “witches” were hanged and burned).

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Chelsea
4/10

Juliette

Bearing all the hallmarks of the nouveau bistro—rust-dappled mirrors, tiny tables, insanely good-looking diners, a noise level that exceeds a racket—Juliette still manages a few pleasant surprises. The wine list is crammed with bargains, and the kitchen pulls off some pretty neat tricks, too. But we recommend you head straight to Juliette's pretty roofdeck.

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Williamsburg
Photograph: Courtesy Undine Pröhl
5/10

La Piscine

You want fine dining and knockout scenery? Here's where to head. Located on the roof of Hotel Americano, La Piscine has beautiful views of the Hudson River and the Empire State Building, and offers sleek alfresco dining and a cocktail bar with lounge-style seating by the pool. La Piscine's menu is a Mediterranean grill, using fresh, local and seasonal products. The cocktail menu and wine list are refreshing and innovative.

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Chelsea
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
6/10

Riverpark

Top Chef honcho Tom Colicchio has partnered with Sisha Ortuzar (Gramercy Tavern) to open this New American restaurant. Ortuzar is in the kitchen, dispatching dishes like pork chops with an apple–brussels-sprout hash, and scallops topped with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and kale-pear chutney. The ace seats are near the floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide views of the East River (in warmer months, the patio also offers an impressive vista).

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Brooklyn
7/10

Sheltering Sky

This just-opened, super hip rooftop bar and lounge is located on the eighth floor of McCarren Hotel overlooking McCarren Park in Williamsburg. The hotel's main restaurant, the Elm, is headed by Michelin-starred chef Paul Liebrandt, and serves a lip-smacking snack menu up on the roof.

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Photograph: Noah Fecks
8/10

STK Rooftop

Meatpacking partygoers can fuel up at this rooftop restaurant, above swank steakhouse STK. The sleek 115-seat space offers views of the Hudson River and the High Line amid live white-birch trees and hanging lights. The bites are predictably trendy: mini lobster rolls, heirloom-tomato-and-watermelon salads, and crispy oysters with red-pepper rémoulade.

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Meatpacking District
Photograph: Courtesy Tavern 29
9/10

Tavern

Twenty-four taps pour craft beers at this bi-level gastropub's copper-topped bar. Downstairs you can settle into a dark-leather booth for dinner—the bistro fare includes dishes like grilled grass-fed hanger steak and goat-cheese-and-chorizo fritters—but the magic happens up on the roof at Tavern 29's German beer garden. 

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Midtown
10/10

The Top of the Standard

Hotel maven André Balazs has opened a series of upper-level venues in his trendy Meatpacking hotel, The Standard. This one, on the 18th floor, offers 360-degree views (a sunken bar and banquette seating allow for nearly unobstructed sight lines), along with two outdoor terraces, one of which has a glass floor that looks down to the street below. Note to the hungry: It's tea and drinks only during the daytime, and a small-plate menu is offered in the evening; brunch is served on Sunday noon till 5pm. 

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Meatpacking District

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