25 Best New York Restaurants With Outdoor Dining

Most can agree that one of the few positive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was the popularization of eating al fresco. It looks like outdoor dining is here to stay in NYC. According to The New York Times, a recent City Council bill was proposed that would allow outdoor dining structures, or "streeteries," to exist in the street from April to November, and would grant permanent residency to sidewalk cafes.

Still, not all outdoor dining is made equal. Sadly, many places have set up streeteries right next to busy roadways; some sidewalk cafes are just a few circular tables out on the street. So, that begs the question: What makes for good outdoor dining? We love outdoor dining that helps you forget that you're in New York City for a moment. We adore gardens and backyards with leaves and colorful lights, and maybe even views of the Hudson. If you're looking for outdoor dining that transports, look no further: Here are the best spots in the city. 

Bricolage, Park Slope

This might just be the kookiest outdoor dining on the list. Bricolage is a Vietnamese restaurant on Park Slope's 5th Ave with a garden space that is what we can only think to call overgrown-bookstore-core. It's covered in vines, old clocks, broken televisions, and a plethora of lamps. If you're looking to truly forget where you are — and maybe even feel like Alice in Wonderland — there's no better garden to go.

Although there's a large and innovative menu at Bricolage, the pho ga here is a surprise contender for the best dish: It's one of those rare phos that is totally chicken-based, with broth that has been simmered for 24 hours. The spring rolls are also great.

Laser Wolf Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Laser Wolf Brooklyn is an Israeli restaurant located on the roof of the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg. Named after the "Fiddler on the Roof" character Lazar Wolf, this restaurant self-identifies as a shipudiya, a Hebrew word meaning skewer house. In an interview with Food & Wine, chef Michael Solomonov explained that skewer houses are a very popular choice in Israel, "It's as common as a burger joint in America."

Laser Wolf's charcoal-grilled meat skewers and veggie-based sides, in addition to the presence of Solomonov himself, draw adoring crowds to this Williamsburg eatery. If the food isn't enough to tempt you, consider making the trek for the view: Laser Wolf has a seriously sick setup, with a view overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

Zaytoons, Prospect Heights

Zaytoons is a Prospect Heights spot on Vanderbilt with Middle Eastern food that has made its name in part because of its "pitza," or pizza made on pita bread. The pitza is cooked very thin so that it's almost crunchy, like a cracker. Zaytoons takes inspiration from all over the Middle East, with a menu featuring dishes from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, and Morocco, along with some plain ol' American-style burgers.

The real magic here is the backyard, which you can enter independently of the restaurant. Tucked behind the brick-and-mortar is a magical garden with twinkling lights and abundant greenery. Order a Zaytoons combo plate so that you can try mezze from all over the Middle East while relaxing in the open air.

Roberta's, Bushwick

Roberta's just gets pizza right — this hipster Bushwick pizzeria offers up a Neapolitan-style pie that avoids getting soupy in the center, with serious crunch to each bite, encircled by a pillowy, doughy crust. The Bee Sting pie, dressed with sauce, mozz, soppressata, and basil, has us convinced that every single pizza deserves a drizzle of chili oil and honey.

And on top of the pizza, this restaurant also has cornered the market on outdoor dining. Its first location, which is located in Bushwick, has a glorious maze of seating options, from indoor booths to a covered outdoor room that's used year-round, to picnic tables exposed in full sun. Pick your vibe and drink in the gloriously graffitied surroundings.

Cafe Spaghetti, Carroll Gardens

Cafe Spaghetti is a quaint Italian spot in Carroll Gardens with one of the cutest backyards you'll ever see, complete with a seasonal blue Vespa for maximum Italian authenticity. This 40-seat backyard centers around a brick road that forms its own cul de sac, lined by tables and warm-colored umbrellas.

This Italian eatery is the perfect place to go when you have a hankering for some really great classic Italian food. The spaghetti pomodoro is simple and elegant, the eggplant parm is traditional and naturally gluten-free, and most of the recipes were passed down to chef Sal Lamboglia by his parents — his dad actually continues to make the tiramisu himself each night.

Chama Mama, Chelsea

Chama Mama serves Georgian food in two locations, on the Upper West Side and in Chelsea, but you're going to want to head to the latter to experience this food while dining outdoors. The garden at the Chelsea location is almost greenhouse-esque — there are high glass ceilings and plants everywhere.

It would be almost criminal to come to Chama Mama for brunch and not order the adjaruli khachapuri, a dish hailing from the Adjari region of Georgia made in a shallow bread bowl with molten cheese and a bright, raw yellow egg yolk. To eat the dish, you puncture the yolk and mix it in quickly with the cheese — the mixture makes for a fantastic, super-Instagrammable cheese pull.

Grand Banks, Hudson River

If you want to take your outdoor dining to a whole other level, book a slot at Grand Banks, an oyster bar onboard a literal boat. To find this place on Google Maps, just search Sherman Zwicker, the name of the historic wooden schooner upon which you'll undertake your oyster-tasting journey on the Hudson River.

The oysters at this boat restaurant are all wild-caught and sustainably harvested, sourced from both the East and West coasts. There's also a limited food menu with fresh-caught seafood entrées, and a fabulous drinks menu featuring several tropical, rum-based drinks. All in all, in terms of open-air dinners, this one in particular makes for a whale of a time.

Cafe Turkiye Grill, Astoria

Cafe Turkiye is a newer addition to Astoria, having opened its doors in 2022, and has already made a splash with its Turkish offerings. Breakfast is the thing to order here: There's a great deal on the Turkish breakfast, which includes an assortment of cheeses, olives, salami, fresh veggies, and an egg. The cilbir, a dish made with poached eggs resting in yogurt and a spicy, oily herbed sauce, is also awesome. If you're not there in the morning, try the pide, or Turkish pizza.

The backyard of Cafe Turkiye is encased in glass. It's fully heated in the winter and can open up to the elements in the summer, which makes it great to visit year-round.

Dos Caminos, SoHo

You should only go to SoHo's Dos Caminos if you're in the mood to have fun. This Mexican restaurant boasts both an outdoor cafe and a skylight room, where the light pouring through the ceiling can almost convince you that you're outdoors. But if you want the real experience, seat yourself at one of the many outdoor tables that spill onto the sidewalk.

This restaurant specializes in bocaditos, or snacks, and street food bites, which are all intended to go along with the real star of the show: The margarita. In addition to your perfect summer drinks, make sure not to skip out on the guac, which comes in two sizes to best suit your group.

Brooklyn Crab, Red Hook

Since it's so close to the water and low to the ground, Red Hook has a fair smattering of restaurants with incredible views. This list includes Brooklyn Crab, a seafood joint with a rooftop overlooking the river. You can get a clear shot of the Statue of Liberty from here if that's your thing; there's also a beautiful vista of Lower Manhattan.

On the weekend, things can get pretty rowdy, but Brooklyn Crab takes walk-ins only and it never takes very long to get a seat. The food pales in comparison to the view, but the fried options are pretty reliable here, and the watermelon salad, which is made with grilled shrimp, baby arugula, and balls of mozzarella is surprisingly good.

Olmstead, Prospect Heights

Olmsted is a classic Brooklyn Heights eatery serving high-quality, seasonal American fare. Greg Baxtrom is the chef and owner, and he has been taking sustainability seriously far longer than it has been popular, building his whole restaurant around the idea of sourcing ingredients as locally as physically possible.

There are two backyards at Olmsted. The first, pictured above, has more casual seating than the main dining room. The second is where the chefs grow herbs and veggies for the kitchen. Fun fact: There are actual, real-life quails living in the second backyard, all of whom are named Gary, and their eggs sometimes are featured on the menu. 

LaRina Pastificio & Vino, Fort Greene

LaRina is an Italian restaurant located in Fort Greene. It self-labels as a pastificio, which translates to a place where pasta is made; and indeed, at LaRina, the friend group of founders has focused the menu on varieties of pasta, from popular shapes like tagliatelle to lesser-known cuts like caramelle. All the pasta is made in-house, with flour imported from Italy.

The backyard at this little spot feels luxurious yet down to earth, with white roses and green vines on the walls circling the tables. It's still a small enough space that you'll probably be getting cozy with neighboring tables — which becomes even more likely if you partake in a lot of that natural wine.

Bandits Diner + Dive, Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village's Bandits built its whole outdoor dining setup when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The streetery at Bandits is kind of awesome: It's designed to mimic the aesthetic of the whole restaurant, which is dive-y, diner-y, and fun. The same checkered floor continues from inside the restaurant to the outdoor structure, and booths are painted the same pleasant forest green.

This diner specializes in tater tots, with four distinct varieties on the already-limited menu: You can order dosa cart tots, taco cart tots, halal cart tots, or Bandits disco tots, which are made with pepper Jack cheese, bacon, pickled fresnos, and bacon, making them the only non-vegetarian option. Be ready for a greasy night, no matter if you dine indoors or out.

Claro, Gowanus

Claro is a Oaxacan restaurant in Gowanus with a Michelin star that honors its commitment to this lesser-known Southern Mexican cuisine. Come for the four-course prix fixe, which allows you to order one of many multicolored Oaxacan mole options or the daunting mezcal selection. You can order mezcal off the menu, as a suggested pairing with your meal of choice, or in a preset flight.

The garden at Claro is dappled with sunlight. In the summer, the vines reach out over a latticework and create a canopied roof, and the smell of the wood-burning oven settles tantalizingly over the yard. Of course, the garden simply wouldn't be complete without string lights, which make for an even more romantic scene at night.

Fornino, Brooklyn Heights

Fornino is a pizzeria with several locations throughout the city. We have nothing against Fornino's Greenpoint backyard, but the location at Brooklyn Bridge Park takes the cake. Here, Fornino has taken over a corner of Pier 6 and created a fantastic rooftop bar with panoramic views of lower Manhattan and casual picnic bench seating.

The pizzas here are just as stunning as the view: They're all cooked in a wood-burning oven, and there are more diverse options than your typical pizzeria, like the fig and prosciutto pie, which comes with gorgonzola and some leafy arugula on top. There are also some exciting drink options, from the restaurant's sangria to the specialty cocktails, which are only available at the rooftop bar.

The HiHi Room, Cobble Hill

The Hi Hi Room smiles out at passersby on Cobble Hill's Smith Street with two neon greetings, one yellow, one pink, screaming out the name of the restaurant. It might be hard to guess what this place is from the exterior, but inside, you'll find an American gastropub, complete with friendly staff and a pleasant aura. The menu rotates often, but the brunch offerings are always great, and the burgers, which are only available in a limited quantity each night, are also divine.

Pass through the main dining room to the backyard, where you'll find a wooden-walled fern palace. This backyard feels spacious yet cozy, partly thanks to the awnings that are set up in the middle of the space and can extend to cover the entire area in shade.

Public Records, Gowanus

Gowanus's Public Records is a vegan-friendly Mexican-American restaurant, but it's more well known for being a bar and "sound room." Here, your ears are in for as much of a treat as your taste buds; the sound waves are carefully curated, with a packed calendar of DJ events. Public Records posts that its mission is to "Respect the earth and its inhabitants," so you can rest easy knowing you're in good hands.

The outdoor area at Public Records will likely help you relax: It's a large open space, with tiny white tables and ample opportunities for shade. Grab a drink, order some plant-based food (we recommend the heirloom tomatoes and cashew burrata), and sink into the music.

Patsy's Pizzeria, Park Slope

At Patsy's, the pizza is thin and crispy, and the portions are big. There are 15 Patsy's locations, but the best one, outdoor dining-wise, is right off Flatbush Ave in Park Slope. Here, the backyard very much gives a relaxing Italian vacation.

There are green-and-white thatched chairs and trellises adorning wooden doors, which can open out into the backyard when it's warm. A roof and ceiling fans offer adequate protection from the sun, so it doesn't get too hot. It feels like it's always golden hour there. An extra Patsy's perk is that this restaurant is only a few blocks from the Barclays Center, so it's a great place to go before or after seeing the Nets play. 

Falansai, Bushwick

Bushwick's Falansai was originally opened by Henry Trieu, whose father was a Chinese immigrant to Vietnam who lived through French occupation; he named the restaurant after his father's attempt to pronounce the word "francais." In 2020, the restaurant passed into the capable hands of Eric Tran, who most recently worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and has begun incorporating more exciting flavors into the Falansai menu that gesture towards his Vietnamese-Mexican heritage.

This backyard is super colorful. The walls of both the restaurant and the fence are covered in murals: There are crowds of people wearing nón lá, conical Vietnamese hats, and carrying swords, and there's a beautiful multicolored fish. Don't leave without seeing the water lily pond.

Caliza NYC, Tribeca

Caliza NYC is an upscale Mexican restaurant in Tribeca with a fast-casual sister restaurant next door, aptly named Caliza Next Door. The outdoor seating at Caliza NYC sits beneath a glass roof. This patio is off to the side of the restaurant, and it may just rest a foot or so above the sidewalk, but when the sun starts setting, you almost feel like you're on a rooftop: There are views of skyscrapers in the distance, and everything gets hit with a delicious golden light.

If you don't order anything else at Caliza NYC, make sure you get the Vuelve a la Vida, a soupy seafood cocktail dish that this restaurant makes with shrimp, sea bass, and octopus. Clamato and lime collab to make this concoction of incredibly tangy, with a slow chile serrano heat and a sweetness coming from halved cherry tomatoes.

While in Kathmandu, Ridgewood

While in Kathmandu is a Ridgewood restaurant serving up Nepali cuisine. The things to get here are the pork jhol momos, neatly folded dumplings resting in a curry sauce. There are also plenty of Nepali-American fusion options, like the Kathmandu alfredo, which is fettuccini with Alfredo that has been cooked with a Nepali tomato sauce base and is served with garlic naan.

The backyard isn't anything super special — it's made of wood — but the vibes curated there are. This restaurant makes it clear that any type of activity is welcome in the space, from musicians wanting to practice their art to friendly board game enthusiasts looking for a space to host a game.

Wayan, Nolita

At the Indonesian-Fresh restaurant Wayan in Nolita, chef Cédric Vongerichten designed a culinary experience that would pay homage to Southeast Asian flavor profiles using French techniques. The menu is host to satays and many forms of seafood, from octopus a la plancha to lobster noodles, but it's also pretty easy to eat a vegan meal here — just go for the hearty roasted cauliflower main.

The shed that this restaurant has constructed to house its outdoor dining has a history. Look closely at the wood used to create the block-shaped tables and chairs: All the materials used for this outdoor dining were actually repurposed from plywood used to board up windows during protests at the beginning of the lockdown, which explains the inconsistent paint job.

Nowadays, Bushwick

Nowadays, located in Bushwick, is a great outdoor dining scene when you're with a large group — or a very large group. This very popular outdoor bar accepts reservations for up to 29 people, which it can accommodate quite easily because the space is gigantic. The garden (the word almost feels diminutive when it refers to this space) is speckled with brightly colored umbrellas and hammocks and, on nice days, tons and tons of humans.

This bar isn't just good for drinking: Nowadays also has a serious Japanese-cuisine-infused burger service and several more snacky appetizers that are good sharing plates. Of course, making the trip out to Nowadays and not attending one of the indoor parties would be a shame.

Darling, Central Park South

Darling is a rooftop lounge on the 47th floor of a building that borders Central Park. This bar boasts an unobstructed view of the park and the Upper East Side. There is a green and white striped awning that ensures this space stays protected all year round, but it is especially lovely in warm weather when those plastic shades open and you can feel how dizzyingly high up you are.

The food offerings, labeled "indulgences" on the menu, are all classy small bites: lobster mac and cheese, basil arancini, oysters in a half shell, etc. The price tag is accordingly outrageous — make sure you check out how much the minimum is per person before booking your reservation (spoiler alert, it's $75).

Kiki's, Lower East Side

Kiki's is a Greek restaurant serving up beautiful food on the Lower East Side. Actually, to be specific, Kiki's is located in that special zone of the city that burned bright and hot in the summer of 2022 under the moniker Dimes Square, infamous for its transgressive art-world-adjacent crowds.

In the summer, Kiki's has a sidewalk cafe with tons of little tables. It feels transporting because of the triangular, former-Chinese-print-shop that houses Kiki's, and the people-watching, which is always chaotic. If you're intrigued by what insiders call "the scene," Kiki's is a great spot to hit; sit out at one of the tables under the sun, drink your tiny glasses of wine, and don't miss out on the grilled octopus.