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Pinto Garden
Photograph: Courtesy of Pinto Garden

The 40 best outdoor dining spots in NYC

Blooming gardens, gorgeous patios and sidewalk cafes are among New York’s best outdoor dining spots.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
&
Time Out contributors
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After long months of snuggling up to portable heaters at NYC’s coziest outdoor dining spots and keeping covered rooftop bars warm until the open-air terraces are repopulated for spring and summer primetime, New Yorkers are ready to drop the cold weather caveats and get back to eating and drinking on sidewalks, patios and backyards without having to study the weather app. 

These luncheonettes, all-day cafes, Michelin-starred stunners, dives, neighborhood favorites and newcomers all have settings to get your attention, and great food and drinks to keep you coming back from now through next fall.     


 RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Time Out Market New York

Best restaurants for outdoor dining

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

This Michelin-starred modern Mexican restaurant from the Speedy Romeo team spotlights wood-fired dishes like lamb barbacoa tacos, market fish and the best bavette you’ll find in town. They bring the outside in with plenty of greenery in the dining room, but it’s especially intoxicating to sip wine, beer, cocktails and frozen drinks on Oxomoco’s inviting patio. 

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  • Restaurants
  • West Village

This bold-name magnet had a respectable 15 year run, followed by a half-decade hiatus before reopening a stone’s throw from its original Meatpacking District location in 2019. The French bistro is lovely as ever, and dining on its stretch of sidewalk seating feels particularly decadent, especially midday over a bottle of crisp white wine. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Tables at Olmsted have always been hard to come by, but sometimes space in the backyard, where they grow some menu ingredients, is a little easier to snag. Prepare your patience, hope for the best and eventually you’ll be sitting down to its frequently-changing new tasting menu format.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • West Village

Pinto Garden’s particularly photogenic titular space is enclosed and adorned with blooms and colorful cocktails. Snack on oysters, shishito peppers and popcorn shrimp for $9 a plate at happy hour, order unlimited drinks for an extra $25 with your Thai baked eggs at brunch and sample the seafood ceviche, crab fried rice and seasonal specials at dinner. 

Claro
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Gowanus
  • price 3 of 4

Claro is one of the best Mexican restaurants in NYC, and its secluded patio really makes it shine. Its braised short rib chilaquiles is one of a top few in town, and the dish presently appears on a $45, three-course brunch prix fixe that also comes with a starter and a dessert. Spring for the curated mezcal pairing, too: At $38 it’s about as much as you’d spend on drinks at a similarly hot brunch spot, but here, they’ll do the choosing for you. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Red Hook
  • price 2 of 4

Red Hook is one of NYC’s best waterside neighborhoods and Brooklyn Crab towers above its smattering of restaurants. Literally, it spans three stories with outdoor areas throughout. Choose your altitude and dive into tasty crustaceans, bivalves and other creatures from the sea. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

There are two types of people in this city: Those who wish to stroll in the park and those who wish to turn brunch into a verb. Ok, there are also some in-betweeners and Santo Parque offers the best of all worlds (across mealtimes) near Williamsburg’s McCarren Park, plus best in class pão de queijo and great drinks. 

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

The ivy-laced garden at Graydon Carter’s little hobby is as close as most of us will ever get to having a private yard in the West Village. And, while reservations used to be harder to get than a mortgage–with people and celebrities alike clamoring for tables–these days you can pretty much sit right down. Pop in and make up for all those years you weren’t ordering the $90 mac and cheese. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • West Village

We were eagerly awaiting Simone Tong’s Cornelia Street restaurant for a year before it finally opened in July of 2020. Today, it serves seasonal menu items like lobster and potato salad with Singapore chili crab sauce, cucumber salad with silken tofu, grilled black bass and Peking grilled cheese inside and out in its slip of a space beyond the dining room. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 2 of 4

This breezily-chic French restaurant serves unexpectedly generous portions of mussels, steak tartare, pâté and duck confit alongside excellently calibrated cocktails on Atlantic Avenue. The dining room can handily serve as a special occasion spot, and its ivy-lined backyard casually competes with the best of ‘em.

  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

The Bonnie is one of Astoria's best bars for a lot of reasons; good, better than bar food and great drinks primary among them any time of year. Its backyard picnic tables and prime people-watching sidewalk seats shine especially bright during the warmer months. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Cobble Hill

The Columbia Waterfront District favorite has a sprawling backyard where they’ve been known to host shrimp boils, barbecues and chef collaborations. Its regular menu includes pappardelle, spaghetti, rigatoni and the particularly popular hot chicken Milanese with radicchio and ranch.

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Palma
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

What appears to be a slip of a space on a slip of a street in a picturesque neighborhood tumbles out into a lovely garden secluded from the bustling West Village beyond. String lights, leafy vines and floral accents give the 20-year-old Italian restaurant a fairytale-in-the-city quality. 

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 1 of 4

Inside, June is a curious combination of cramped and comfortable. A line of booths on the left are spacious enough, but there isn’t a ton of room to maneuver between them and the long bar to the right, especially when that bar’s a few people deep. That makes its backyard even more of a breath of fresh air. It’s still a little small out there, only accommodating a couple dozen, but lights twinkle over glasses of wine and plates of pork terrine, anchovies and whipped ricotta, and the sky is literally the limit. 

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Pilot
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Boats are inherently romantic, and Pilot is especially so. The 147-foot wooden schooner was built in 1924, and today it’s beautifully appointed in lacquered seaside hues. It does, of course, bear a striking resemblance to sister vessel Grand Banks, but Pilot has a west-facing view of glittering lower Manhattan to accompany the oysters, caviar, lobster rolls and cocktails on the menu. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Chelsea
  • price 3 of 4

Another reopened beauty, Gallow Green accepts reservations for its picturesque floral rooftop. Dine under vines and over oysters, salads and mains like grilled organic salmon, along with cocktails like the Sleep No More, with pea flower-infused vodka, elderflower and rosé cider. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Kips Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Whether you’re hot off Metro North after a weekend of antiquing, or you've just found yourself at the nexus of Gramercy and Murray Hill after work, Broken Shaker is your no-fail go-to for a good time. Located in the Freehand Hotel, the New York iteration is almost as beachy as the Miami original. Enjoy the Manhattan breeze on its rooftop terrace.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • East Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Although it’s grown to other locations since first opening in 2008, our favorite Roberta’s is still the string-light lit, industrial block original. The ever-hip love letter to market cuisine and artisanal pizza still grows some of its ingredients on-site, a balm to the hyper-locavores who shed a tear seeing the pies in their grocery store’s frozen aisle. 

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Williamsburg

Sit back in Pheasant's backyard and get to work on its Mediterranean bites. Start with the house focaccia and marinated olives before you move onto larger plates like the roasted Long Island tilefish or bone-in pork chop. Cocktails like the “I Love You Honey but I Hate Your Friends” let vodka, dry curaçao, hot honey and lemon send a date-night message when you don’t want to.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • The Bronx
  • price 1 of 4

This city-owned garden in the Bronx retains the same horticultural traditions as when it was a private estate. You’ll find an elegant 19th-century mansion surrounded by meticulously groomed gardens, featuring abundant wildflowers and shady pergolas. The area also offers sweeping views of the river and the New Jersey Palisades.  

  • Attractions
  • Rockaways
  • price 1 of 4

This summer-only beach staple is as sweet as all the season’s songs, and just as fleeting. For days when you don’t feel like packing up a cooler full of what will inevitably become real-deal sandwiches, Tacoway’s there for a slightly more formal dining experience, replete with fish tacos, guac, and booze that didn’t recently see the inside of a water bottle. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

This corner spot’s been prime for people watching since it first opened in 2014. Like many of its peers, it’s expanded its sidewalk seating into the street as of late, so now there’s a little more room to dine on antipasti, chicken, steak and fish mains and ten types of pasta.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

The garden at Ladurée is as close as you’ll usually get to tea in Wonderland in Manhattan. The “jardin secret” menu also includes raw bar items, substantial entrées and, of course, plenty of pastries and the France-based restaurant’s famed macarons. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Danny Meyer’s candy-colored taqueria recalls Madison Square Park’s Shake Shack, which began as a simple stand before blowing up into the behemoth we know and love and endlessly stack up against In-N-Out today. Order tacos stuffed with pork and pineapple or mushrooms and cheese in Williamsburg’s waterfront park.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Chelsea
  • price 2 of 4

A stone’s throw away from the beautiful Highline, Cookshop’s sidewalk seating manages to feel unrushed in spite of its bustling coordinates on Tenth Avenue at 20th Street. Brunch is bisected into sweet and savory sections: a cinnamon bun or an egg sandwich; beignets or poached eggs; a Dutch baby pancake or a hearty scramble. Lunch includes salads, burgers and brisket, and dinner brings a few of those, too, plus spit-roasted chicken and spiced lamb meatloaf. Sip cocktails, beer or wine any time.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Red Hook
  • price 1 of 4

Marvelous dive bars with outdoor space used to be a little harder to come by, but Ice House has had a semi-secret, large backyard for many years. You wouldn’t know it from the sidewalk, or even from the charmingly worn barroom, but this Red Hook Staple has a sunny outdoor space even larger than its dark interior. Its deck and picnic tables are a great, low pressure place to day drink with good burgers, beers and shots. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Gowanus

First opened in 2019, Public Records is a music-forward cafe with a vegan menu and a big, bright space where sun shines in through a skylight during the day. Get even closer to the rays on its patio and enjoy converted warehouse vibes, beer, wine, cocktails and plant-based bites in the open air. 

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Greenpoint
  • price 1 of 4

You'll find Andrew Carmellini's burger and soft-serve stand operating out of a 1974 Airstream trailer parked on the the William Vale hotel’s elevated promenade in Williamsburg. Order a couple of griddle burgers and a dark chocolate/salted peanut butter soft serve cone, post-up on the grass-covered landing, and enjoy the waterfront view. Check back here for its spring 2022 reopening date. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

The individually-tented tables dotting Lilia's frontage can accommodate intimate parties right outside the hard-to-book pasta emporium. They also provide a little extra cover for your ricotta gnocchi, spaghetti and mafaldini during unpredictable in-between-season weather conditions. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Long Island City
  • price 3 of 4

With views of the Manhattan skyline across the river and the “Cola” half of Long Island City’s iconic Pepsi-Cola sign up close, Maiella’s patio has as dramatic a backdrop as any destination in the area–plus a lengthy, large-group pleasing menu of Italian plates.

Want to spend the day drinking outside?

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