New York City is a place of constant reinvention, and that trait is obvious in the city’s approach to outdoor dining. As warm weather and sunshine return with the changing seasons, streets remain delightfully co-opted by restaurants, giving the city the feel of one big block party. Throughout the five boroughs, private table structures, secret gardens, and streetside oases continue to allow New Yorkers to dine out in a safe fashion.
From Bushwick rooftops to Staten Island wine bars, the following restaurants all make for a stellar outdoor dining experience during warmer weather.
East Williamsburg: Our Wicked Lady
Rain or shine, this warehouse-turned-cocktail-bar’s rooftop is open with socially distanced seating and a clear tent covering for comfortable al-fresco hangouts. With recently installed new frozen drink machines, Our Wicked Lady is serving up piña coladas and blue tamarind margaritas to complement bar snacks such as ballpark style nachos, mozzarella sticks, and bratwurst on a bun.
Williamsburg: Casa Ora
Green turf, lively plants, and lattice fencing have turned the street in front of Casa Ora into a tropical getaway. The Venezuelan restaurant’s menu of arepas, empanadas, and plantain sandwiches also includes fresh new dishes such as tomato salad with charred avocados to complement the warmer weather and changing seasons. In addition to frozen margaritas made with fresh juice and house made syrups, diners can expect excellent service, which earned the restaurant a spot on OpenTable’s list of top places to celebrate in NYC.
Williamsburg: Shalom Japan
The unusual combo of Japanese and Jewish fare finds a home at Shalom Japan, where the cuisines come together for singular dishes such as wagyu pastrami sandos, matzo ball ramen, and lox chirashi. A few fenced-in tables outside the corner restaurant make for lovely warm Brooklyn nights.
East Village: BAAR BAAR
This gastropub serves up a modern interpretation of regional Indian cuisine and brings its vibrant decor to the outdoors in a brightly colored, tented structure. With a wide-ranging dinner menu that includes seasonal vegetable biryani and sea bass cooked in banana leaf with south Indian spices, weekend brunch highlights include the Kerala fried chicken sandwich, a jackfruit burger, and live “Bolly Jazz” music on Sundays.
Midtown West: La Grande Boucherie
Located underneath a covered, open-air pedestrian passageway in Midtown, La Grande Boucherie’s outdoor dining area mimics the galleries that connect many streets in Paris. Surrounded by colorful stained glass windows and seated at tables with elegant wood-topped dividers, diners enjoy French classics such as steak tartare and escargot paired with the restaurant’s extensive absinthe selection.
Harlem: Maison Harlem
Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, this classic French bistro in Harlem has a tented patio area for outdoor diners to enjoy shade and a cross breeze from the open sides. The menu features standouts such as quiche lorraine, duck leg confit, and Provencal-style mussels with roasted tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, along with a large selection of French wines.
Midtown West: Red Peony
A wide variety of Chinese fare in all its glory is on display at Red Peony, from fiery Sichuan to tamer Cantonese in dishes such as soup dumplings and other dim sum, Peking duck, whole braised fish, and chicken and broccoli. The restaurant’s upscale decor makes its way outdoors through crisp white tablecloths, potted plants, and tables made more intimate with wooden dividers.
Experience full-on Paris chic in Laduree’s stunning courtyard, a shaded tree- and floral-filled garden made for enjoying warmer weather. The French teahouse is famous for its macarons and other traditional pastries, but there’s also a full savory menu here with dishes such as quiche lorraine, a chicken club sandwich, and lobster Caesar salad.
West Village: Little Owl
Focusing exclusively on outdoor dining in the last year, Little Owl has refined its patio to create an inviting space that retains the ambiance that made the dining room a go-to spot for anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebrations. Fresh flowers provide color to each table, and an added tent offers shade to diners enjoying Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as the signature pork chop with butter beans and wild dandelion.
For a unique outdoor dining experience that’s perfect for a special occasion, head to Osamil’s “Pojangmacha,” a nod to Korea’s outdoor dining set-ups from the late ’80s. Featuring a small red hut with open windows and doors for cross-ventilation, the restaurant’s full menu is available, with favorites such as the whole fried chicken that’s served with pickled vegetables and a signature dipping sauce.
Amylos serves Greek cuisine that ranges from the traditional to riffs on classic dishes. Book a table on the restaurant’s covered patio for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and enjoy dishes such as grilled calamari, lobster moussaka, and the kontosouvli mixed grill, which serves two and includes chicken, pork, and lamb.
Jackson Heights: Bistro Eloise
This neighborhood restaurant offers a tour of France via its menu, from classic crêpes to coq au vin. Lunch, brunch, and dinner can all be had on the restaurant’s breezy tented patio area. Don’t miss the global wine list and Champagne cocktails.
Long Island City: American Brass
There’s no better time than summer for enjoying waterfront dining and fresh seafood, and American Brass complements its upscale East River setting with seasonal menus and local ingredients. Along with dishes such as steak frites, cavatelli with peekytoe crab, and raw seafood towers, diners can take in views of Manhattan and Gantry State Park while eating at American Brass. The restaurant’s chic and breezy greenhouses provide additional outdoor seating and a space to grow microgreens.
Shore Acres: Bin 5
A fenced backyard with trees creates a dreamy outdoor setting for a meal at acclaimed Staten Island wine bar Bin 5. Snag a table under the shade and enjoy eclectic dishes such as stuffed figs, octopus tacos, and eggplant lasagna, and drink from the extensive, mostly natural wine list that pulls from Europe and the U.S.
Little Italy: San Gennaro
One of the newer arrivals to Arthur Avenue, San Gennaro mixes traditional Italian-American fare with lesser-seen specials inspired by the Italian-born chef’s upbringing. Sit on the shaded, open-air patio and enjoy favorites such as veal milanese or a regional dish like linguine al ragu di noci, a pasta dish with walnut sauce from Italy’s Liguria region. Cap off the meal with a cool serving of lemon sorbet or tiramisu.