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Best Places for Outdoor Dining in NYC

July 27, 2023

Close up of date night flowers for outdoor dining date night in NYC

When the cold winter ends, many people look for any opportunity to sit outside, enjoy the fresh air, bask in the sunshine, and admire flourishing greenery and blossoming flowers. Luckily, New York City has an abundance of fabulous places where you can dine outside or al fresco. From endearing patios to lush beer gardens to orchard-inspired backyards to convenient sidewalk seating, we rounded up the 12 most amazing outdoor dining spots in NYC so you can take full advantage of the beautiful spring and summer weather.

Best Places for Outdoor Dining in New York City

  1. Loreley Beer Garden
  2. Waverly Inn
  3. Fresco by Scotto
  4. Mark’s off Madison
  5. Pilot
  6. Vinegar Hill House
  7. The Bonnie
  8. Tiki Chick
  9. Oxomoco
  10. Cafe Spaghetti
  11. Wu’s Wonton King
  12. Johnny’s Reef Restaurant

1. Loreley Beer Garden

Loreley Beer Garden is a charming and cozy spot on the Lower East Side. The outdoor beer garden is spacious and inviting, with twinkling lights strung to a tent, colorful flowers, and thriving greenery. It’s perfect for big parties, as the picnic tables are long and roomy. Try some of the German menu items, such as juicy bratwurst, crispy schnitzel, massive pretzels, and, of course, foamy, hoppy beer. If you love beer and fresh flowers, this is a stunning spot to visit, as you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a lush German beer garden.

2. Waverly Inn

Waverly Inn is a high-end American restaurant with a rustic charm and vintage vibe. Many people go here to enjoy the dazzling outside space, a refined garden with tiled floors and enormous windows and doors, creating an indoor-outdoor atmosphere. So, you can sit in the garden and still be inside! The unassuming exterior disguises the magical backyard area that awaits guests. Enjoy elevated dishes like grilled octopus, crab cakes, duck breast, chilled oysters, mushroom risotto, and more.

3. Fresco by Scotto

Fresco by Scotto is a family-run Italian restaurant in Midtown that feels like paradise, and the outdoor area will transport you to an Italian hillside. The back garden draws inspiration from Italian lemon orchards, offering a refreshing yet warm and cozy atmosphere. There are even real lemon trees throughout the seating area. It’s a perfect spot for dinner with friends or upscale lunch with a loved one. Some of the most popular dishes include a delicate Faroe Island salmon tartare, creamy whole-milk burrata, and a robust Manila clam linguine.

4. Mark’s Off Madison

Mark’s Off Madison is a modern restaurant with minimalist decor and a warm aura. The interior is stunning, but many people patronize this spot to enjoy some sunshine on the large terrace out front. People flock here to enjoy the fresh bagels and breakfast sandwiches that are unmatched in the area, but the restaurant's also open for dinner, serving up elegant dishes like grilled rosemary-skewered jumbo shrimp, wild spring risotto, grilled swordfish alla puttanesca, and hanger steak au poivre. With bold flavors and impeccable execution, it’s a wonderful spot for a delicious al fresco breakfast or high-end dinner in the fresh evening air.

5. Pilot

Pilot is an intimate and romantic restaurant and bar in Brooklyn Heights. The restaurant is a 147-foot wooden schooner from 1924 that sits on the water, offering a unique dining experience. It specializes in indulgent and refined seafood dishes, including fresh oysters, decadent caviar, loaded lobster rolls, and more. The cocktails alone are worth the visit, with innovative and eccentric drinks that will dazzle your taste buds. It’s an ideal option if you want to enjoy the spring or summer air and take in the awe-inspiring sights from Pier 6. Any boat lover will be head over heels to eat dinner here!

6. Vinegar Hill House

If you’re looking for a more casual outdoor dining spot in NYC, Vinegar Hill House is a great choice. This restaurant and bar offer a homey and rustic atmosphere, and the food delivers the same feeling. The elevated country-style dishes will warm your belly and soul, and you can enjoy them in the back garden at inviting wooden tables with green trees all around you. The picturesque outdoor area is intimate but whimsical, perfect for a lunch date or casual dinner. Try the unique sourdough pancake, semolina sesame bread, or smoked trout for something distinct and delicious.

7. The Bonnie

The Bonnie is one of the most popular gastropubs in Astoria, offering refined bar food and sensational drinks that keep everyone coming back for more. A small outdoor setup in the front of the restaurant lets you enjoy the magnificent menu while watching the hustle and bustle of Astoria. Explore dishes like smoked Castelvetrano olives, vegan Reuben sandwiches, mushroom chopped cheese, and buffalo Brussel sprouts. Whether you’re looking for a top-notch brunch, late-night menu, or sophisticated dinner, The Bonnie is a superb spot.

8. Tiki Chick

Tiki Chick is one of the cutest outdoor dining spots on the Upper West Side, offering yummy cocktails and casual food in a colorful and charming environment. The restaurant has a robust seating area out front, with bright orange coverings, adorable lawn chairs, and wicker chairs that create a tropical atmosphere. This retro tiki bar offers classic cocktails like piña coladas, mai tais, and hurricanes, but it also has house cocktails, like the pickle painkiller and whale tail. Try the unique and laid-back menu items, like the Spam and cheese sandwich, tikilafel (tiki and falafel) sandwich, Spam and pineapple Hawaiian chili dog, or one of the sweet and salty doughnut breakfast sandwiches.

9. Oxomoco

Something about eating authentic Mexican food outside is so delightful. This modern and ethereal Michelin-starred Mexican eatery in Brooklyn focuses on a wood-fired cooking style, creating dishes like lamb barbacoa tacos, Jamaica-style red peanuts, smoked mango, and grilled carrot tostadas that will blow you away. The outdoor patio is teeming with fresh greenery, creating an inviting and sophisticated atmosphere. It’s a great spot for a fancy lunch or fun dinner, as the warm but sophisticated vibe is infectious. Enjoy luxurious cocktails, impeccable Mexican dishes, and an endearing patio area at this popular spot.

10. Cafe Spaghetti

As the name implies, this restaurant is an Italian eatery in Cobble Hill. Many people visit Cafe Spaghetti to sit in the vibrant backyard space filled with red and yellow umbrellas, enveloping green vines, cobblestone floors, and fresh flowers. It’s ideal for a romantic date night or upscale lunch with friends, especially if you’re a fiend for Italian cuisine. Some of the best dishes include meatballs in sugo, spaghetti alle vongole, creamy garlic crab penne, and classic eggplant parmesan. Cafe Spaghetti offers all the most iconic Italian dishes executed to perfection in an enchanting outdoor space.

11. Wu’s Wonton King

Wu’s Wonton King is the place to go if you want authentic Chinese food and outdoor seating. It serves classic Chinese noodles, barbecue meat, innovative casseroles, and, of course, wontons! Try the shrimp and green chive dumplings, chicken ball bun, or roast pig with rice for a truly impressive meal you won’t forget. Wu’s has outdoor seating on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, a relatively new addition that has greatly pleased many diners. With electric heaters and spacious tables, it’s the best NYC spot to enjoy fine Chinese food in the fresh air.

12. Johnny’s Reef Restaurant

Johnny’s is a classic seafood spot in the Bronx with low prices and high-quality food. There's no shortage of outdoor tables beside the water, so you can enjoy your favorite fried seafood dishes while admiring the blue ocean. The casual picnic table seating and expansive patio make it an idyllic option for large groups and families who want a tasty lunch. This laid-back counter-service restaurant executes everything exquisitely, including its fried lobster tails, shrimp salad, steamed scallops, baked stuffed clams, New England clam chowder, and much more. You can’t go here without trying the tartar sauce — people rave about it!

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