If there’s one thing New Yorkers love, it’s brunch—especially when it’s outdoor brunch in NYC. Every weekend, Gothamites head to their favorite rooftop restaurants and charming sidewalk cafes for bottomless brunch and one of the highlights of things to do in the summer. Here are our picks for the best outdoor brunches NYC has to offer.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best brunch in NYC
Best outdoor brunch in NYC
Outfitted with colored glass chandeliers and potted palms, even the indoor seating at this coastal Italian hit maker looks and feels alfresco. Though the actual outdoor section is directly underneath the High Line, you’ll still catch a nice breeze wafting through while you munch on morning standards like garden crudité and a smoked salmon affumicato. Also on offer is a sweet iced coffee mixed with aromatic house-made coconut cream.
Beneath the BQE, first-generation Peruvian-American chef Erik Ramirez serves up New Peruvian 101 with breakfast hybrids like the omelette with fried rice and chinese sausage topped with sesame, pickled chilies and spicy mayo, or charred summer beans and quapchi with a soft-boiled egg over sourdough bread. The rooftop lounge provides the perfect perch for brunch dining al fresco.
After a brief foray into Vietnamese cuisine, the ever eccentric Danny Bowien returned Mission’s brunch program to its Mexicanesque origins, with offerings like the indulgent Baja fish quesadilla suiza blanketed in queso blanco, gut-sticking enchiladas (with lamb, potatoes and buttermilk crema), and even kale tostadas, nestling fried eggs and queso fresco. This year, for the first time, the Lower East Side eatery opened up its doors and added picnic tables to the surrounding sidewalk.
Despite being a steakhouse specializing in beefy butcher cuts, Quality Eats delights in subverting the classic totems of the chophouse, perfectly demonstrated by the weekend brunch menu that boasts egg dishes like the poached option with short rib hash and a tabasco hollandaise or the hard boiled egg with smoked salmon tartine. There's sweeter fare too, like french toast and a lemon blueberry pancake souffle, as well as ample outdoor seating to make for an easy breezy brunch affair.
Andrew Carmellini's two-story pasta spot boasts a brunch menu teeming with plates like ricotta pancakes and spinach frittata, a few of the namesake primi pastas from dinner and a breakfast spaghetti number that comes with kale, poached egg and pancetta. Ample outdoor seating lends itself well to people-watching on the bustling Bowery.
Chefs Eduard Frauneder ("Edi") and Wolfgang Ban ("the Wolf") visit the flavors of their Austrian motherland at this cozy neighborhood tavern deep in Alphabet City. Simple comfort foods like a schnitzel burger with heritage pig, and a Kaiserschmarrn (caramelized pancake bits with strawberry and cinnamon sugar) populate the brunch menu, while an intimate backyard garden complements the rustic digs inside.
Located under the Brooklyn Bridge, this vibrant-hued Mexican mainstay boasts an expansive back patio, powerful tipples and fiery Latin eats. Hearty brunch desayunos include a breakfast taco number—tortillas piled high with succulent house-made chorizo, potatoes, crema, avocado salsa and a crowning fried egg.
This bustling West Village eatery offers relaxed outdoor accommodations, craft cocktails and a modern Italian menu by chef Gabriel Thompson (Le Bernardin, Del Posto). At the four-course brunch, opt for a Bloody Mary with salumi-infused FAIR quinoa vodka or go full Italian with a roasted-orange Negroni Sbagliato. Pasta starters like bucatini alla arrabiatta make way for hearty mains such as gamberi and grits (shrimp, parmesan polenta, tasso bacon, eggs) and a duck hash with confited bird, potatoes and fried eggs.
Chef Ron Rosselli offers an extensive menu of Greenmarket fare with big, wholesome flavors underneath the High Line. Checked tablecloths at the many breezy outdoor tables give off an urban picnic vibe. Dishes cater to every discriminating brunch palate, with options ranging from cured meats to raw bar and traditional entrées, alongside daytime cocktail standards like their mimosa, orchard bellini and bloody mary with fresh herbs.
Outdoor dining on the weekend is a simple luxury at Eli Zabar's 15-seat takeout spot meant for nabbing a quick bite throughout the week. Expect house-made pastries (chocolate croissants, cheese Danishes) and brunch classics like the breakfast sandwich, as well as originals like the brioche bread pudding or the porchetta sandwich.
Snag an outdoor seat or perch at the 16-foot-long bar for one of the colorful concoctions from "juiceologist" Brandi Kowalski. After a long night, reach for a Hangover Killer—a piña colada–like mixture of Thai coconut water, pineapple juice, yuzu, chili and evening primrose oil—or one of the immune-boosting elixir shots (such as wheatgrass) and eye-opening La Colombe Torrefaction coffee.
The team behind the Aussie-accented Ruby's brings a tweaked version of the Bronte burger to the Lower East Side with this 40-seat spot. In the morning, get Counter Culture coffee at the U-shaped marble bar or cozy up at one of the outdoor patio tables. Lighter brunch standards include smashed avocado toast and a schnitzel salad, while the burgers can satisfy weekend cheat-day appetites.
Looking for more to do outdoors?
Bus Stop Café
By name alone, Bus Stop Cafe evokes a no-frills neighborhood greasy spoon; a place that’s full of commuters hastily grabbing a quick bite that’s dependably just fine before hustling to catch a bus (or a train or a plane or a cab). That vignette does not capture the Parisian-bistro essence of Bus Stop Cafe, which likely gets its name from being located near a, you guessed it, bus stop in the heart of the West Village. The hefty, wide-ranging menu—which includes an entire page of served-all-day breakfast options like warm banana-walnut pancakes ($12), a jalepeño-avocado omelette ($13.75) and a fully loaded bagel-and-lox sandwich ($13.75)—is where Bus Stop’s diner likeness starts and ends. The ample sidewalk seating hugs the perimeter of the quaint, dimly lit corner restaurant’s street-facing walls. The rustic wooden two-tops are each bedecked with a small vase and flower, and the waitstaff’s informed but not overbearing friendliness elicits the feeling of idling at a European bistro; it’s a perfect place to have an intimidate date, dine alone as you read or simple watch passersby while sipping a glass of vino ($9 to $10.75). For dinner, appetizers run the gamut from savory beef nachos ($13.75) to a cocktail of fresh, succulent shrimp ($12.75 for four pieces), while homemade soups (4.75 to $5.75, or complimentary with an entrée) like chicken or French onion are simple and comforting. All regular-menu entrées, like a prime-cut sirloin steak with fresh vegetables and potatoes, a
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