It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
Long Island City
Perched above the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, Penthouse 808 has a vibe that's skewed slightly more Miami than the former industrial neighborhood where it’s actually located (think DJs and late-night parties). But once you're brought back home by the sight of the Silvercup Studios sign and the Manhattan skyline, you'll see that the menu is full of great (if slightly over-the-top) bites like coconut curry bouillabaisse and Hawaiian skirt steak, and thematically timely dishes like the Game of Prawns -- a dish that includes jumbo shrimp and grilled seasonal vegetables served on a “genuine Japanese samurai sword.” Be sure to go on the early side to fill up on savory bites before the party gets started.
Remember when "Sleep No More" was a limited-run production set to vanish into the mists whence it came? Probably not, since it’s been several years since the city’s most popular immersive show cracked its doors in Chelsea, and the empire at the McKittrick Hotel has only grown more vast since then. Gallow Green isn’t just a rooftop, it’s a true Secret Garden-esque enchanted forest where visitors can order things like grilled corn, charred octopus, and roasted porchetta while live jazz floats in and out of the background. It's also known for its brunches, where $45 gets you two hours of a buffet packed with things like fried chicken, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a smoked salmon station. You'd also be remiss not to try one of the rooftop's inventive punches, made with exotic ingredients like Delord Armagnac and raspberry oleo.
Tavern 29 distinguishes itself in two ways: it has incredible $5 happy hours (in NoMad, this qualifies as something); and it’s housed in an old, 19th-century townhouse. The barebones industrial rooftop is lined with Edison bulbs and communal tables, where you can post up and order a flight of craft beers to wash down dishes like a swordfish BLT and Maine lobster roll. And because this is NoMad, flatscreen TVs offer the sport du jour. The only downside? Since the roof is nestled between two taller buildings, it's not ideal in blisteringly hot August, but it's perfectly fine in early summer when the night air can still turn jacket-worthy.
Is there any pleasure more pure than working your way through a wood-fired pizza while catching a rooftop breeze in one of Brooklyn’s most charming neighborhoods? Order a crispy meatball pie or the pasta of the day at this Clinton Hill Italian favorite, then take in the sights and sounds of Vanderbilt Ave in the summer. After dinner, be sure to stick around for a glass of port or a slice of pistachio cheesecake -- or both.
You wouldn’t expect a taco joint in Murray Hill to offer one of the best rooftop experiences in the city, but April Bloomfield's Salvation Taco does just that. Take the elevator as high as it will go and join a sea of well-groomed diners on the charming plant-filled, brick-lined terrace. While menu prices are a little high, the juicy al pastor tacos and enormous pig's head tostada are well worth it (and best enjoyed alongside a tart margarita).
While a French bistro on top of a Williamsburg roof deck may sound like something out of the Bedford Stop, there's a reason this quaint brasserie has managed to maintain its hold in the ever-pricier neighborhood since 2006. Lounge under one of several red umbrellas and indulge in perfectly crispy duck confit or hand-cut steak tartare, taking care to leave room for the sticky date pudding for dessert. For lighter eaters, the salads are consistently excellent, though you can never go wrong with a spread of oysters.
Perched above the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, Penthouse 808 has a vibe that's skewed slightly more Miami than post-industrial LIC. Clocking in at 9,500sqft, the swanky indoor/outdoor rooftop offers unbeatable views of Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge. The fusion menu takes cues from Japanese and Hawaiian cuisines, featuring sushi, robata skewers, and poke.
Gallow Green, the rooftop bar atop Chelsea’s McKittrick Hotel, is a perpetual garden party, at least during the warmer months when its plush flora is in full bloom. During the winter, the campy space turns into a lodge with plushy chairs and a fireplace. No matter the season, the best time to go is for weekend brunch, where a $35 ticket will get you a three-course meal, a mimosa, and unlimited La Colombe coffee.
Right off the NoMad portion of Park Park, Tavern29 is a solid spot for post-work drinks. The bar features more than 25 craft beers on tap, a solid wine list, whiskey flights, and incredible happy hour deals. The kitchen serves elevated bar food like three-cheese mac & cheese, sliders, and flatbread, so it's the kind of place where drinks can easily transition into dinner. Located in a converted townhouse, the space includes two bars and a rooftop beer garden with communal tables.
Pizzas at Graziella's in Clinton Hill come in two sizes -- small and large -- but given their crispy-thin crust, you'll likely be able to clean one off by yourself. Though the family-owned Italian restaurant specializes in wood-fired pizzas, it also serves a full dinner menu with daily pasta and ravioli specials. The best part about Graziella's is its quaint roof -- it's only one level above the street -- that's a welcome difference from the city's typical sidewalk patios.
April Bloomfield's all-day restaurant in Midtown is doling out high-end Mexican street food plates in an insanely decorated space. The menu features plenty of traditional and inventive tacos, available three-per-order or as a more formal dinner, and shareable fusion plates like sticky rice tamale and meatballs with manchego cheese. The Murray Hill restaurant is a hit during the after-work hours, especially when the rooftop is open.
Despite its bustling location right off Bedford Ave, Juliette is a quaint French bistro that serves unfussy but elegant food in a large, romantic space. The multi-room restaurant includes a bar area, an indoor garden room with plants hanging from the ceiling, and a large rooftop patio. The dinner and brunch menus stick to classic French dishes like croque monsieur, steak tartare, and crispy duck confit, but you'll always find a burger with pomme frites. Affordable drinks, like house red and white wines, make Juliette a great spot for group meals, especially birthday dinners.