Where to Eat and Drink Outdoors in NYC This Spring
From scenic rooftops with jaw-dropping views of the city to hidden back patios and streetside options, there’s an al fresco option for every occasion.
Since the pandemic’s onset, outdoor dining has become an integral part of NYC dining culture. The best restaurants in town have built up open-air dining sections that rival their dining rooms and new types of al fresco dining options are popping up all the time.
Whether you want to score a streetside table for prime people watching, check out views of the city from a rooftop bar, or escape the hustle and bustle in a restaurant’s secret garden, chances are there’s a restaurant that fits the bill. So as the weather warms up and New Yorkers head back outside, here are 24 NYC restaurants with the best outdoor dining setups to visit this season.
This Mexico City-inspired restaurant offers dishes like Yellowtail Ceviche and Grilled Shrimp with garlic butter, gremolata, and anaheim peppers that celebrate the season. From first-time restaurateur and veteran bartender Christopher Reyes and chef and partner, Gerardo Alcaraz, the eatery also has a killer drink menu with sips like the Citrus Fizz (their take on a Paloma) and the frozen Sangre de Mezcal that are perfect for enjoying in the sun on the restaurant’s brand-new terrace. Aldama’s outdoor space debuts on May 1 with earth-tones, clay pots, and gorgeous lamps overhead that feel like a continuation of the dining room.
Anything At All
Located just over the river at the Graduate Hotel on Roosevelt Island, there’s no better time to take the scenic tramway (or subway) over to enjoy a meal at Anything At All. The airy dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows is particularly beautiful in the warmer months, but the 60-seat outdoor patio steals the show with epic views of the East River and Manhattan. Chef Megan Brown (Red Rooster) is narrowly focused on sourcing local ingredients for a fresh menu that rotates with the seasons, and on the drinks side you’ll find seasonal spritzes and frozen cocktails perfect for enjoying al fresco once the weather really heats up.
This newly debuted modern Indian restaurant has captivated the Upper West Side. Chef and owner Gaurav Anand offers a menu that goes way beyond familiar dishes like gulab jamun and samosas in favor of options like Chicken Cafreal and Trout Recheado, both Goan specialties with Portuguese influences. As the weather warms up, sample the creative menu on the 24-seat patio, where the restaurant’s vibrant blue interior carries over into the streetery.
Summer in the city means it’s time to slurp oysters with a skyline view, and there’s no better place to do that than Grand Banks. Once the floating restaurant reopens for the season on April 18, guests start their visit by boarding a historic wooden schooner docked where oyster barges once sat along the waterfront in the 18th and 19th centuries. On its deck overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, order from a menu of nautical-themed cocktails like the refreshing Skipper Key spritz with rose, lemon, and strawberry—and feast on East and West coast oysters along with other seafood dishes like Lobster Rolls, Fried Soft Shell Crab, and scallops atop a Summer Succotash.
Chef Ignacio Mattos, known for estela and Altro Paradiso, designed his latest venture, Lodi, as an ode to Italian aperitivo culture. So this all-day cafe, bakery, and bar is the perfect spot for leisurely eating spreads of antipasti, meats, and cheeses. To stay in line with its European influences, most of the seating is al fresco on the sidewalk overlooking iconic Rockefeller Center sights or in the covered terrace area just outside the restaurant.
New Yorkers flock to Wayla for its menu of homestyle Thai food by chef Tom Naumsuwan, but the secret garden out back is a reason to visit all on its own. Decorated with bamboo furniture and colorful textiles on rugs and pillows, the verdant backyard transports guests away from the Lower East Side for a few hours while enjoying dinner or weekend brunch.
This laid-back neighborhood restaurant and beer and wine garden has become a favorite for large groups and leisurely outdoor meals—and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant sits in a former warehouse and boasts a multi-level, 10,000-square-foot space with an outdoor beer garden and oversized roof deck. So whether you grab a few drinks or sit down for an Italian feast by chef John DeLucie and pizzaiolo Erasamo Lassandro, Ainslie has you covered.
Archer and Goat
On the ground floor of a historic Harlem townhouse, Archer and Goat is serving up a menu of classics with Latin influences, from a couple of arepas and carne asada to roasted duck served with curtido and pickled chiles. The restaurant has some sidewalk seating, but venture through the dining room to the backyard and you’ll find a patio outfitted with string lights to set the mood and coverings overhead for any unexpected weather.
The Garret Bars team may be known for tucked-away, speakeasy cocktail bars like Borrachito and The Garret locations, but their latest venture leaves everything out in the open with an eye-catching corner location and covered outdoor seating options. Bandits is a modern take on a retro diner and dive with bar snacks like a New Jersey-Style Hot Dog and Cauliflower Wings, plus a ‘70s aesthetic with black-and-white checkerboard floors and old-school diner signage on the individual outdoor dining booths.
This neighborhood favorite bar is known for top-notch cocktails and delicious bar bites like Fried Pickles and Buffalo Brussels Sprouts that are perfect for sharing. But as the weather warms up, the sprawling patio will steal the buzz as a go-to spot for outdoor sipping in Astoria. The Bonnie’s backyard is equipped with picnic tables, twinkling lights, and some overhead coverage to keep you comfortable through happy hour and beyond.
This longtime West Village favorite has been getting quite the buzz lately as chefs and owners Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito released a new cookbook inspired by their family’s Italian recipes (including some dishes served in the restaurant). But you can still get Don Angie’s famous pinwheel Lasagna for Two straight from the source. The restaurant has outfitted its streetside patio with individual huts, so each table sits in its own room with three walls. With their logo printed on the windows, a bright red exterior, and hints of black-and-white checkerboard, this outdoor dining setup also gets some serious style points.
Forsythia’s sprawling outdoor dining structure looks just like an extension of its dining room, making it the perfect spot to enjoy handmade pasta and other Roman-style dishes any time of year. The warm yellow space has windows that can be buttoned up for inclement weather, plus the restaurant adds air conditioning units for truly toast summer days.
Located in the notoriously bustling East Village, Hasaki has been serving sashimi and edomae-style sushi in a relaxing atmosphere since 1984. For its outdoor seating, dine out front at one of the partitioned tables on the restaurant’s patio along Ninth Street, or for a more intimate setting, venture through the restaurant to escape into a secret zen garden for an evening of omakase.
Hi Hi Room
Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross’ hit sandwich shop, Court Street Grocers, may provide the perfect picnic fare, but their latest addition to Boerum Hill is worth a visit for an outdoor dinner without having to scope out a spot in the park. HiHi Room has expanded outdoor dining options, so you can sample casual fare like sandwiches, larger entrees for sharing, and starters like Tuna Dip with a bag of Zapps chips in the fern garden out back.
Practically made for street-side hangs, this laid-back neighborhood spot has a menu that changes daily and a hearty wine list with plenty of bottles to sip and share. Outside of King’s corner location at King Street and Sixth Avenue, diners can enjoy seating that brings the dining room ambiance outdoors with plants, white tablecloths, and flickering candles.
The Musket Room
This long-time lauded restaurant in Nolita has a hidden back garden that’s not only beautiful—it’s also extremely functional. Several tables in the garden area surround large planters of lemon balm, nasturtium, basil, and other ingredients that chef Mary Attea and the bar team pull from for dishes and drinks on The Musket Room’s globally inspired menu.
Wood-fired Mexican fare by chef Justin Bazdarich (Speedy Romeo) is what earned this Greenpoint spot one Michelin star after opening in 2018. But even without the top-notch food, Oxomoco’s gorgeous design is worth a visit on its own. Inside, the restaurant features high ceilings, woven chairs, and plants hanging from a ceiling with a massive skylight, and the airy feel extends to the outdoor dining space. In the street and in front of the restaurant, the patio has high-top seating and regular tables alongside cactuses to keep the Mexico City feel alive.
This staple NYC brasserie has garden-inspired individual dining booths making up its streetside eatery. Quality Bistro is currently open for lunch and dinner, so guests can book a private, greenery-covered cabin for four to six guests to dine on classic dishes like French Onion Soup, Steak Frites, and raw bar towers.
After debuting to rave reviews just before the pandemic, Rangoon’s dining room is finally open. The dining room is stunning with stark white walls, pops of color, and rattan furniture, but this spring, you’ll want to snag a seat outside in the Burmese restaurant’s three-walled outdoor dining hut while you feast on bright dishes like Tea Leaf Salad and Ginger Pork Meatballs from chef Myo Moe.
This Ridgewood spot quickly became a neighborhood staple after debuting last year. And while many of the wood-fired dishes like Grilled Branzino, Two-Sheet Lasagna Verde, and the spot’s signature Polenta Bread are perfect for chilly nights, the restaurant stays in tune with the season and updates the menu with local produce for epic meals come spring and summer. The expansive outdoor space at Rolo’s can accommodate up to 38 guests and features a roof overhead, simple picnic tables, string lights, and heaters keeping each table warm.
Rosie’s, a Mexican staple on a street corner in the East Village, may be best known for freshly ground masa, tacos, and flowing margaritas by the glass or pitcher, but you’ll be visiting for the plethora of outdoor seating and fun vibe, too. The sprawling restaurant spills out onto the sidewalk in warmer weather, and the restaurant also offers some covered deck options for days when the weather gets dicey.
Rule Of Thirds
Just in time for rising temperatures, Rule of Thirds is bringing back its popular Summer Pavilion setup. The space includes individual huts that sit tucked away in an adjacent alley, making the perfect hideaway. Make a reservation for a pavilion, and five to 20 guests can dine in individual huts and choose from pre-fixe menus with temake and other Japanese small plates that highlight seasonal ingredients.
Saishin by Kissaki
Perched on the rooftop of the Gansevoort Hotel, this omakase counter from the Kissaki restaurant group gives you the best of both worlds. The half indoor, half outdoor space at Saishin by Kissaki has a 16-seat omakase bar where chef Frankie-Yong Doon’s creations shine, even when competing with the space’s incredible views of the city skyline and The High Line.
You may recognize this patio from its time as the dive bar Extra Fancy, but the 1,700-square-foot space has been transformed into Strangeways, an outdoor-only restaurant with gorgeous greenery and a glass greenhouse-style roof to protect from the elements. The New American restaurant has seasonal dishes available for brunch and dinner, and the spot is also known for its sprawling natural wine list—perfect for an afternoon of sipping and snacking.