Outdoor dining is on everyone's mind during summer in New York—when the sun comes out, New Yorkers scramble to occupy every breezy patio and leafy garden in sight. To help you score the most coveted alfresco tables, we've rounded up our favorite New York restaurants with outdoor seating. From waterfront joints to open-air rooftop restaurants, we've got your sun-drenched dining needs covered.
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Outdoor dining restaurants
This well-appointed garden offers a calming escape in the far reaches of Greenpoint. Shaded under a garden pergola, you’ll find sprouting herbs, fruits, and vegetables that garnish dishes and occasionally make their way into fleeting seasonal specials. Chef Todd Andrews’s streamlined menu focuses on seasonally driven Italian fare, including steamed mussels in white wine and roasted garlic, and spaghettini with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil.
You don’t have to be a beer nerd to appreciate the views of the Flatiron and Empire State Buildings from this massive rooftop beer garden, located 15 stories above lowly ground. That said, Gotham’s brewhounds have a direct line to one of the world’s most exciting new beer regions: an unprecedented stash of beers from the Boot, as well as innovative house-made ales reflecting trends on both sides of the Atlantic. Guzzle them all with accomplished rustic eats (fat probusto sausages, mint-pesto lamb belly, gorgeous salumi) that are as satisfying 15 stories high as they would be at a taverna on the Italian alps.
Like the Manhattan original, this outpost is divided into several distinct dining areas, among them a large graveled garden with more than 80 seats. It’s most inviting on sunny afternoons, when three large clump birch trees filter the southern light. While sun-seeking hordes grab tacos and tortas from the stainless-steel takeout window anytime, the garden is reserved for guests who order from the more refined diner menu, which includes chef Adrian Ramirez’s Mexican take on slow-cooked chicken. Drinkers can choose from a selection of 100 sipping tequilas and mescals, as well as fruity tequila-based cocktails.
Dangling white lights illuminate vintage beer garden tables in the Cannibal’s 40-seat cobblestone enclosure, and with its deli fridges stocked with ales and lagers and its aged steaks and whole hams dangling from steel hooks, the Cannibal could double as the set of a dude-food show on the Cooking Channel. Run by guys and packed with them, the place is so unabashed in its bromance for craft beer and artisanal meat, it’s almost a parody of a manly restaurant. If you like meat and beer, though, it’s pretty close to paradise.
This bustling West Village eatery offers 14 serene sidewalk seats along the tree-lined West 4th Street. Unlike many sidewalk tables, the two-tops are set far back from the curb to avoid close encounters with traffic fumes and irritable pedestrians. And the food? Chef Gabriel Thompson (Le Bernardin, Del Posto) dishes out modern Italian fare. The menu features traditional dishes rarely found outside of Italy, plus a selection of pastas made in-house daily, which are hands down the best thing on the menu. Don’t miss the bolognese, where thin tagliatelle ribbons luxuriate beneath a textbook bolognese ragù.
This 40-seat patio doubles as a street-art gallery—the current batch of annually changing graffiti is just one of many irreverent decor details, which also include a large rusting star attached to the back wall. Fastidious service and a warm hipster vibe help offset the silliness of deranged menu items such as the tasty “Nippon Nachos”—vegetarian pot stickers topped with pico de gallo and melted cheese. Other playfully plated dishes include a flash-fried porgy with shallot dressing and jalapeño and a side of thick, meaty fries.
On a greenhouse-inspired patio, a hodgepodge of herbs, flowers, and vegetation hangs overhead from mismatched vintage potters and planters. These touches—combined with the worn appearance of salvaged-barn-wood tables—conspire to create a homey atmosphere in which Chefs Eduard Frauneder (“Edi”) and Wolfgang Ban (“the Wolf”) revisit the flavors of their native Austria at this neighborhood tavern deep in Alphabet City. Find simple dishes like a roasted beet salad with yogurt and pumpkin-seed praline, and tamarind barbecued baby back ribs with bacon slaw.
Nods to the locavore ethos are abundant in the 30-seat outdoor garden—look out for the barely visible veggies growing on the rooftop, the yellow shed housing gardening tools and the edible flowers tucked into hanging boxes. Call it back-to-the-land chic: The rustic atmosphere lends the restaurant a romantic-getaway vibe (the one-hour subway ride from midtown to the eatery’s Ditmas Park location also plays a part). The menu, developed by chef Tom Kearney (Jean-Georges), is packed with references to bucolic America, and dishes such as the Peas and Lettuce Salad deliver on their garden-fresh promise.
Located directly beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, the large outdoor area is best at night, when the landmark is beautifully lit above. There are 50 seats, tables lit by hurricane candles and ivy crawling on the walls. Chef Robert Stauning turns out market-driven South of the Border fare, bolstered by from-scratch ingredients. Diners can dig into plates like mushroom quesadillas and tacos stuffed with fillings like fish, tongue, beef brisket and seasonal vegetables. To drink, find seasonal margaritas, micheladas and a sour cherry sangria.
The atmospheric backyard feels like it’s in the middle of the jungle, outfitted with strings of vibrant lights, colorful oilcloth-covered tables and milk-crate garden boxes designed by the urban gardeners behind DeKalb Market. Dedicated gastronauts willing to wait for a table at this Portland import are rewarded with Andy Ricker’s James Beard Award–winning grub. Find offerings like muu kham waan (Niman Ranch pork neck glazed with a sweetened soy sauce) and kai yang (charcoal-grilled La Belle Rouge hens stuffed with Chinese celery and cilantro), or dig into the signature wings and sip tropical twists on classic cocktails (like a tamarind whiskey sour).
Inside Park at St. Bart’s
Dining at Inside Park at St. Bart’s is certainly a unique experience. The restaurant is located in the cavernous room—think a 30-foot ceiling and the original stained glass windows—that used to serve as the great hall at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Midtown East. The fare served here isn’t your typical Sunday supper, either. The menu of upscale American cuisine puts a focus on fresh ingredients. There’s the autumn squash and grain salad with kale, squash, farro, quinoa, pea shoots and parmesan ($15), a black truffle burger with comte and caramelized onions ($25) and a lump crab cake with spaghetti squash, haricots vert and toasted walnuts ($27). And unlike most church functions, dinner at Inside Park at St. Bart’s includes drinking. Bartenders can whip up any of the specialty cocktails, like the Park Sparkler with grapefruit, sour lemon and prosecco ($15). There’s also live jazz every Wednesday evening, and in the warmer months, you can choose to take your meal outside on the terrace.
"Join us for Valentines Day! $69.95 per person. Complimentary glass of champagne!"