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Photograph: Courtesy Wayla / Nicole Franzen

The 34 best outdoor dining spots in NYC

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

By Bao Ong and Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Outdoor dining in NYC has always been a huge part of summer in the city but this year it's bigger than ever.

Thanks to new programs like Open Restaurants, excellent outdoor dining destinations have now been granted the right to operate on sidewalks and in curbs where they hadn’t been allowed to serve before. These so-called streeteries have been crucial in keeping all manner of eateries afloat over the past year. And there are some truly dynamite spots among them. But these aren’t those. 

We’ve covered those, and we’ll keep covering them as long as they’re around. But this collection of the best outdoor restaurants are the ones that have more permanent outdoor dining set-ups. These luncheonettes, all day cafes, Michelin-starred stunners, dives, neighborhood favorites and newcomers all have open-air settings to get your attention, and great food and drinks to keep you coming back.     

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Enjoy outdoor dining at Time Out Market New York

rooftop
Image: Time Out

The Rooftop at Time Out Market

Restaurants DUMBO

At The Rooftop at Time Out Market you can discover impressive bites from culinary rockstars while relaxing on sea foam seats on the outdoor terrace.

Best restaurants for outdoor dining

Photograph: Courtesy Nicole Franzen

1. Wayla

Restaurants Thai Lower East Side

This LES Thai spot came in hot in 2019 and never let up. Descend a few steps and you're greeted with a cavernous bar and restaurant serving home-style Thai dishes inspired by chef Tom Naumsuwan childhood in Bangkok. Out back, there's a lush patio oasis, perfect for sipping the "Sway Wayla" (butterfly pea blossom with shiso, gin, lemon and cucumber). We're so fond of Wayla, in fact, we've just introduced an outpost to the Time Out Market

Photograph: Yelp/ Mike C.

2. Oxomoco

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mexican Greenpoint

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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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Joanna V.

3. Olmsted

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Contemporary American Prospect Heights

Walk-in 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 snacking on duck liver mousse, Nashville hot fried soft shell crab and the house marshmallow s’mores the neighborhood (and beyond) favorite is known for.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Mike C.

4. Sally Roots

Restaurants Caribbean Bushwick

Enjoy Caribbean bites like conch fritters and jerk chicken with rice and peas while sipping frozen cocktails like the Casa Loca (strawberry, orange, lime and tequila) on one of Bushwick's best patios.

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Photograph: Courtesy Popina

5. Popina

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.

6. Silver Apricot

Restaurants Chinese West Village

We were eagerly awaiting Simone Tong’s Cornelia Street restaurant for a year before it finally opened last July after some of the delays new restaurants can typically expect and plenty none have had to imagine in recent history. And now it’s finally here--or rather, it will be back on 6/17 after a brief pause for renovations. From then on, it’ll be serving seasonal menu items like soft shell Singapore chili crab, duck confit and cucumber salad with silken tofu and Chinkiang candied peanut inside and out in its slip of a space beyond the dining room. 

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7. Claro

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mexican Gowanus

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 three-course 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. 

Chikarashi Isso pop-up
Chikarashi Isso pop-up
Photograph: Courtesy Chikarashi Isso

8. Chikarashi Isso

Restaurants Chinatown

A pop-up on the second floor of Hotel 50 Bowery, this Chikarashi Isso outpost will likely return to its original home in the Financial District in the fall, but its present locale is an intimate, 10-seat zag in the meantime. Its $150 prix-fixe includes oyster with uni, chicken paté monaka, and several yakitori varieties among 13 courses. 

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Photograph: Kylie Thompson

9. Mister Dips

Restaurants Hamburgers Greenpoint

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. 

Refresco, Commodore and Hurricane at The Drift
Refresco, Commodore and Hurricane at The Drift
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

10. The Drift

3 out of 5 stars
Bars Dive bars Greenpoint

By our very technical definition, a dive bar is a beer-stained, time-weathered hole-in-the-wall, a beat-up saloon with carved-up bathrooms, flickering neon signs and sticky floors. Essentially, a dive’s grungy vibes aren’t created so much as thrust upon it through long years, late nights and poor life choices. Enter The Drift, a next-generation “dive” in Greenpoint from Chris Young and the team behind the Commodore and El Cortez. 

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Photograph: Courtesy The Bonnie

11. The Bonnie

Bars Gastropubs Astoria

The Bonnie is one of Astoria's best bars for a lot of reasons, but in the warmer months it can be chalked up to its backyard with picnic tables and outdoor sidewalk seats for people watching.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Ruwan J.

12. Esperanto

Restaurants Brazilian East Village

Enjoy tapas and live music while peering out onto one of Avenue C's gorgeous community gardens, located directly across the street. Tables are covered with bright plastic cloth splattered with charming fruit patterns, which complement the colorfully painted interiors.

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Broken Shaker
Broken Shaker
Photograph: Gabi Porter

13. Broken Shaker

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Cocktail bars Kips Bay

Whether you’re hot off Metro North after a weekend antiquing upstate or have just found yourself in the no-fun nexus of Gramercy and Murray Hill after work, Broken Shaker is your no-fail refuge for a good time.  Located in the Freehand Hotel, the New York version takes its name from its Miami sister, where the Broken Shaker dominates the beach city's social life. The New York Broken Shaker is just as fun. Enjoy their new brunch menu on their gorgeous rooftop terrace.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Kasey G.

14. Pheasant

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 (who doesn't love a bread basket?) 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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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Junho R.

15. Jeepney

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Filipino East Village

This Filipino gastropub has been racking up accolades for menu items like whole whole fish, short rib stew, and fried tripe since it first opened in 2012. Jeepney was among many restaurants to introduce meal kits in 2020, and, while they were particularly well-received, you’ll probably enjoy the menu even more back in its cozy backyard. 

The Springs
The Springs
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

16. The Springs

3 out of 5 stars
Bars Cocktail bars Greenpoint

Another spot fashioned after something you might see in California’s not-too-distant past, The Springs has plenty of colorful photo snapshot backdrops, roomy U-shaped banquettes inside and one of Brooklyn’s most spacious bar yards out back. Between the picnic tables on the periphery and central outdoor sofas, there’s ample room to roam with colorful libations and sandwiches, burgers and empanadas from an on-site food truck. 

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Backyard at Roberta's
Backyard at Roberta's
Photograph: Deidre Schoo

17. Roberta's

Restaurants Pizza East Williamsburg

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Saori K.

18. Sunday in Brooklyn

Restaurants American Williamsburg

Although a one-day-a-week restaurant would be an interesting endeavor, Sunday in Brooklyn is open for brunch and dinner every day of the week. The rustic three-story space boasts an outdoor patio, to-go window, private dining room and rooftop garden, perfect for warm weather dining.

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Wave Hill
Wave Hill
Photograph: Courtesy Wave Hill

19. Cafe at Wave Hill

Attractions Parks and gardens The Bronx

This city-owned garden in the Riverdale section of 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 offers sweeping views of the river and the New Jersey Palisades, which can be enjoyed while noshing on bites from the cultural center's cafe.  

Rockaway Beach Surf Club Tacoway Beach
Rockaway Beach Surf Club Tacoway Beach
Photograph: Beth Perkins

20. Tacoway Beach

Attractions Rockaways

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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21. El Techo at Llama Inn

Bars Williamsburg

Llama Inn serves up the best Peruvian bites in New York City. And although it’s been around for a few years now, few know that atop the plant-drizzled restaurant is Llama Inn’s rooftop bar, El Techo. Serving an entirely separate drink and food menu from their downstairs, you’ll not only be treated to an amalgamation of flavors that surprise the palate, but get to feel like you’ve got insider intel for discovering it.

Photograph: Courtesy Bluestone Lane

22. Bluestone Lane

Restaurants Coffee shops Upper East Side

The Upper East Side isn't bubbling over with great outdoor situations but the neighborhood's Bluestone Lane location is one of our favorites. Located inside the Church of the Heavenly Rest, gothic architecture is complemented by views of Central Park and easy access to the plethora of nearby museums.

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Photograph: Yelp/ Lucy L.

23. June

Bars Wine bars Carroll Gardens

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, burrata and muscle toast, and the sky is literally the limit. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Mike C.

24. Bar Primi

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian East Village

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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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Emi T.

25. Lilia

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian Williamsburg

Lilia’s outdoor space, a couple of strips on either side of its corner location, are not quite as majestic as some you’ll find, but the food at this hard-to-book pasta emporium more than makes up for the greenery, water features and photogenic fixtures you’ll find elsewhere. And hey, you’re still outside.

Grand Banks
Grand Banks
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

26. Grand Banks

Restaurants Seafood Tribeca

By the peak of summer even New York’s most venerable boat bars have become flooded with frat-tastic curios, all watered-down brews and Lonely Island references. Grand Banks, the historic schooner turned oyster bar captained by Mark Firth (Marlow & Sons) serves small plates and cocktails by the Tribeca pier. 

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Smoked sardines at French Louie
Smoked sardines at French Louie
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

27. French Louie

Restaurants French Boerum Hill

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.

Lolo's Seafood Shack
Lolo's Seafood Shack
Photograph: Courtesy Lolo's Seafood Shack

28. Lolo's Seafood Shack

Restaurants Seafood Harlem

Also one of the best hidden outdoor spaces in NYC, Lolo’s has a menu full of seafood items like crispy shrimp, soft shell crab crawfish and crab legs, all served on a perky back deck decorated in nautical themes. Get select beer for $5, wine for $6 and cocktails for $7 during happy hour from 4-6pm each day. 

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Tacocina
Tacocina
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Garritano

29. Tacocina

Restaurants Mexican Williamsburg

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.

Cookshop
Cookshop
Copyright Caroline Voagen Nelson, Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

30. Cookshop

Restaurants American Chelsea

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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Milk and Roses
Milk and Roses
Photograph: Courtesty Yelp/Lauren S.

31. Milk and Roses

Bars Cocktail bars Greenpoint

This Italian-American restaurant in Greenpoint has one of the most stunning and private backyard patios in the area, complete with wooden picnic tables and copious greenery. Enjoy bucatini a few ways, ravioli, and braised octopus under the meandering Brooklyn clouds. 

32. Pilot

Bars Cocktail bars Brooklyn Heights

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. 

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Public Records
Public Records
Photograph: Cody Guilfoyle

33. Public Records

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Gertie

34. Gertie

Restaurants Cafés Williamsburg

Inspired by California all-day cafes, Gertie serves up bagels, bialys and breads with a New York spirit. The lovely 70-seat spot off the Lorimer L stop has a ‘grammable mural inside and covered backyard outside, where egg ‘n cheese sandwiches and whitefish melts top tables at brunch, and salads, turkey pastrami clubs and patty melt Reubens are available for lunch. 

Want to spend the day drinking outside?

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