Best restaurants for outdoor dining
Down the steps of this new LES Thai spot, you're greeted with a cavernous bar and restaurant serving home-style dishes prepared by Chef Tom Naumsuwan; nam prik and sautéed morning glory are inspired by his growing up in Bangkok. Out back, there's a gorgeous patio oasis, perfect for sipping the "Sway Wayla" (violet butterfly pea flower with shiso, Brooklyn Gin, lemon and cucumber).
Inspired by Los Angeles all-day cafes like Gjelina and Sqirl, Gertie serves up bowls and toast with the soul of real New Yorkers. Run by Nate Adler (Huertas), Will Edwards (Marlow Collective) and Flip Biddelman (Huertas), the result is a gorgeous 70-seat spot off the Lorimer L train, in ode to Adler's grandmother, who was born-and-raised in Queens. Here, luncheonette-style dining made for 2019 (there's an Instammable mural designed by artist, Lea Carey). For brunch, you'll find egg 'n cheese on bialys (made in-house by Savannah Turley), the Gertie Breakfast (two sunny eggs, white beans, greens and toast) as well as squash toast. For lunch, there's rotisserie meats, provolone, lettuce and Italian dressing on a challah roll, a smoked fish dish (whitefish salad and melted cheddar on sesame sourdough) as well as a cauliflower melt (spicy cauliflower, pickled peppers and cheese sauce on sesame sourdough). For dinner, you can expect more rotisserie and pot pies as well as high-ball drinks with syrups made in-house.
The Columbia Waterfront District favorite has a magical backyard where they host many events like an oyster roast and special wine pop-ups. You might just think you're out of New York for a moment.
You'll feel transplanted to Mexico City at this modern Mexican restaurant, from the team behind Speedy Romeo's. The recently Michelin-starred Oxomoco focuses on wood-fired dishes; favorites include a beet “chorizo" taco ($13), masa-fried cauliflower with black mole, pepitas, and butternut squash crema ($14) and chicken al pastor with grilled pineapple ($15).
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.
At the William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, you'll find Andrew Carmellini's burger and soft-serve stand operating out of a 1974 Airstream trailer parked on the hotel’s elevated promenade. Try one of their new carrot dipped soft serves while sitting on their grass-covered landing. There's even a view of the waterfront.
Enjoy carribbean bites like cod fish cakes, jerk ribs or braised oxtail with rice and peas, while sipping on one of their cocktails like the "Catch a Fire" with Aperol and pineapple, the "Sundowner" with frozen guava, or the "Dancehall" with blueberries and rum, while relaxing on one of Bushwick's best patios.
Inspired by the elegance and allure of New Orleans, this gorgeous salon—its green walls fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of Gauloises smoke—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe: two French Quarter staples with plenty of appeal in Brooklyn. Their outdoor patio is simply charming.
While we can't all be in Martha's Vineyard this summer, luckily fare at the Summerly is inspired by New England coastal dining. Pair cocktails with a side of clam pie, lobster rolls, or corn fritters and pretend you're by the beach. Here you can escape the circus of the Williamsburg sidewalk at night. While lounging amongst soothing pastel interiors, enjoy high-in-the-sky views of the East River. That is, without being inundated by Vineyard Vines bros. On Sundays the theme will become especially apparent, with traditional New England clam bakes.
Looise Rouge has a new chef: Henry Lu (formerly of Lllama Inn and Peal & Ash) who has revamped the New Orleans-style menu to reflect his Chinese-New York upbringing working in his family's restaurants. Loosie keeps their same home cooking roots while continuing to have a relaxing backyard that looks the background of a wellness influencers dream 'grams.
Located on the 11th floor of Sister City hotel—from Atelier Ace, the creative studio behind The Ace Hotel—is this new Lower East Side rooftop bar. Last Light's beverage program is run by Josh Hanover: “Tiki Torch” (gin, aperol, coconut), “Firecracker” (rye, ginger, pineapple), “Road Flare” (reposado tequila, citrus, suze) and “Blown Fuse” (an alcoholic slushie that changes flavors daily) join a menu of seasonal cocktails. Bites like ricotta ramps toast, razor clams casino and black bass ceviche are crafted by Chef Joe Orgodnek and Executive Chef Andrew Whitcomb, served with a side of panoramic views. And with close proximity to the New Museum, it feels ripe for eavesdropping on art world gossip.
Walk-in tables at Olmsted, Greg Baxtrom's first Prospect Heights spot, are notoriously hard to get. But in their backyard, where they grow many of the restaurants' ingredients, you can easily sit for snacks, drinks, or the s'mores dessert they've come to be known for.
Public Records, which opened in March 2019, is a music-focused cafe with an all-vegan menu which can be enjoyed outside. The converted warehouse plaza transports you to Berlin—here, enjoy a cocktail or the restaurants all-day menu at one of New York's most peaceful and sprawling al fresco options.
Danny Meyer has conquered American and Italian fast-casual, so now he’s on to Mexican cuisine. His candy-colored taqueria recalls Madison Square Park’s Shake Shack, started as a simple stand. Order tacos stuffed with pork and mango, mushrooms and elote sauce, or shrimp and chayote tartar in Williamsburg’s new waterfront park.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sit in Pheasant's backyard while ordering from one of their Mediterranean bites. Begin with the house focaccia and marinated olives (who doesn't love a bread basket?) following it up with roasted scallops with fried artichokes and a glass (glasses) of wine.
Pinoy pals Nicole Ponseca, Enzo Lim, Tomas Delos Reyes and Noel Cruz have been on a mission for a while to bring the Filipino cooking they knew as kids out of New York’s ethnic-food ghetto. With fresh-faced restaurants, they’ve been spreading the word to novice diners without watering anything down. Their backyard is one of New York's best-kept secrets.
At what feels like one of the most spacious bars in all of Brooklyn, you can find spacious pistachio leather banquettes, '70s living room furniture and an outdoor area with a second bar stand, a food truck, umbrellas, and a little fountain with floating plastic flamingos. This year The Springs has introduced a new food truck concept by Executive Chef Natalie Mitchell called Desert Hideaway. While you sip on one of their frozen drinks, try fried chicken with date syrup, shrimp tacos and fried pimento cheese.
Pro tip: make a game out of how many hawaiian shirts you can spot in one night.
Spring/Summer 2019 will be North Brooklyn Farms' last season in the lot next to Domino Park, so make the best of it. North Brooklyn Farms hosts an ever-changing roster of outdoor dinners, daytime food pop-ups, and is just generally our favorite spot for a picnic.
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. The super hip ode to market cuisine and artisanal pizza is a favorite for bargain-seeking locavores, offering craft beers and loud music.
Claro is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city, but the outdoor patio is really what sets it apart from the pack. Enjoy yellowfin tostadas, mole negro, or the Marina Sabina Memela al fresco at this Gowanus hotspot.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, 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.
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.
Maison Premiere's sister Sauvage, has a view of McCarren Park and the handsome interiors when you need some A/C. But for a moment, you might just think you are at a bistro in Paris.
Despite the kitschy delight of eating takeaway tacos off a knee-balanced plate at Rockaway Taco, the sit-down setup at this offshoot housed inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a much-welcomed upgrade. And what better way to eat tacos in New York than with a view of the beach!
Paper Daisy, now in the former digs of Cafe Orlin, takes its name from an Allen Ginsburg poem. Orlin was a meeting-of-the-minds enclave for artists and NYU students for 36 years, until closing in October 2017. You can order from their breakfast counter called C&B for delicious egg sandwiches, while pulling up a chair at their casual and shaded street-facing patio.
It certainly doesn’t look like an orchard. The transformed brick warehouse sits across from a Pure Energy gas station and a U-Haul dealer, with nary a tree in sight. But their lively patio paired with incredible hard cider will kick your night or darty into high-gear.
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.
Enjoy some of the city's most exciting vegan bites—cashew haloumi with z'aatar, smoked beets with cornichon and horseradish cream, or the lemon meringue—at Matthew Kenney's petite backyard patio in Flatiron.
Henry Rich (Rucola) and Tom Kearney (Farm on Adderly) join forces behind the marble bar at this vino hub to pour natural, sulfite-free wines spanning both Europe (Spain, Czech Republic) and the U.S. (California, Finger Lakes), and serve small plates like smoked-trout mousseline and acorn-squash flatbread, out of their evocative patio, perfect for any date night.
Andrew Carmellini’s latest venture, a two-story pasta emporium in the former Peels space. Today it boasts one of the best Italian menus in Manhattan, with outdoor seating to boot.
Before there was a destination restaurant on every Williamsburg corner, Andrew Tarlow was quietly pioneering restaurants that functioned like community hubs for artists in the otherwise barren neighborhood. Beginning with Diner, Marlow & Sons was Tarlow’s follow-up that opened in 2004, but the people watching from their sidewalk tables has remained timeless.