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Roberta's
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

The 21 most in-demand NYC outdoor dining reservations

New Yorkers hungry to dine out are booking up seats (quickly) at these outdoor hot spots.

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Even before the current crisis, there’s always been chatter about how New York was dying and how it’s officially over. No matter where you fall on the debate, this much is true: more of the city’s notable restaurants have shuttered in recent months, there’s an increase in the number of people moving away and rents have dropped—even in Manhattan.

But if you were to pass one of these restaurants or tried booking a reservation, you’d never know. It’s a tough time for the restaurant industry overall but diners are still clamoring for seats at a handful of restaurants out of the thousands in New York City. 

We wanted to know which restaurants with outdoor dining spaces are the hottest right now, so we reached out to reservation platforms such as Resy, Tock and OpenTable to get a sense of what’s popular. Time Out editors have dined al fresco a handful of times, but we’ve also been scanning those IG posts, traded notes with our in-the-know friends about the most in-demand tables of the moment and keep waiting for that notification from Resy—which provided us a ranking of the most notifies set for the last 70 days— when we’re trying to snag a reservation. Here’s where you’ll want to book early for outdoor dining before it gets too cold.

Kimika

Kimika

 

Photograph: Nicole Franzen

 

It just opened, but it’s already one of the hottest reservations in town. Kimika serves up a carb lover's dream Italian-Japanese menu with plenty of pastas, crispy flatbreads and other seasonal dishes by all-female led kitchen.

Lilia

The tables at Missy Robbins’s Williamsburg restaurant were booked the instant they opened up. It’s not surprising given that in the Before Times it was nearly impossible to get a table unless you wanted to dine super early or late.

Via Carota

Via Carota

 

Photograph: Time Out / Ali Garber

 

One of Time Out New York’s best restaurants continues to bring back customers who can’t get enough of Jody Williams and Rita Sodi’s Italian food. (You’ll also notice a theme on this: everyone wants Italian food.)

Frenchette

Frenchette

 

Photograph: Melanie Dunea

 

Frenchette, one of the most lauded French bistros to open in the past few years, reopened on August 11th with outdoor dining. The trendy Tribeca spot hasn’t lost any momentum with its hard-to-come-by reservations.

Carbone

The red sauce classics at Carbone have been a hit throughout the current crisis, whether it was for delivery or people wanting to dine al fresco on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village.

Pastis

In 2020, Pastis still remains a go-to spot ever since Sex and the City solidified this Keith McNally French bistro.

Wayla

Wayla

 

Photograph: Courtesy of Wayla

 

The team behind Kimika opened Wayla last year, and the demand for regional Thai food here keeps bringing fans to their backyard patio in the Lower East Side.

4 Charles Prime Rib

They do allow walk-ins but don’t plan on it. Everyone seems to want Italian or a burger these days.

I Sodi

The outdoor set-up at I Sodi is just like Rita Sodi’s Tuscan fare: simple, elegant and still as popular as ever.

Rezdôra

Rezdora

 

Photograph: Valeria Pinto

 

Put pasta on the menu, and they will come. 

Don Angie

The husband-and-wife team of Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito haven’t lost a step with their modern Italian-American menu moving outdoors. 

Momofuku Ko

David Chang’s most upscale restaurant, Momofuku Ko, opened Ko Extra Place on August 28th and reservations are already difficult to find. You’ll be able to order a la carte, which you could only do at Ko Bar before.

Dante

This Greenwich Village mainstay was ranked the best bar in the world in 2019. You’d believe it seeing the people crowding the sidewalks for the Negronis and Mediterranean plates.

Le Crocodile

Le Crocodile

 

Photograph: Courtesy Le Crocodile

 

Can we just hang out on Le Crocodile’s garden café and eat desserts all day long? We’d have to score a table first, but there’s so much to love about the French-inspired brasserie.

Death and Co

Death and Co

 

Photograph: Eric Medsker

 

There are reservations already booked through nearly the end of September for one of New York’s best bars but if you get on the reservations early, you can still get one of the 20 seats (about half are reserved for walk-ins).

Olmsted

Olmsted

 

Photograph: Courtesy Olmsted/Noah Fecks

 

A summer camp theme has overtaken Olmsted and it’s one of the most innovative and fun pivots we’ve seen since indoor dining was banned.

Roberta’s

Roberta's

 

Photograph: Time Out / Ali Garber

 

If it’s not pasta or burger, it’s pizza. The backyard space is perfect for a socially-distance afternoon hang.

The Greens on The Rooftop at Pier 17

The Greens

 

Photograph: Howard Hughes Corporation 

 

You can rent a “backyard” here on the waterfront at Pier 17 wit your own lawn chair and all the accoutrements.

Gramercy Tavern

Many of the restaurants with the most in-demand outdoor seats are fairly new, so it’s nice to see an oldie but goodie still bringing in a crowd.

I Trulli

It’s not one of the most talked about Italian eateries in New York, but it’s been a favorite for southern Italian fare since opening in 1994.

Aquavit

Fine dining seems tricky when you’re going al fresco in Midtown. But Aquavit introduced outdoor dining for the first time and rolled out specials like picnic packages and even crayfish boil.

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