When the sun is out and the humidity is down, New Yorkers leap at any chance to dine in the open air. And while sidewalk seating provides an excellent vantage point for people-watching, it can be nice to find yourself and a date tucked away in a garden or backyard that feels more like the country than the city. Here are seven places for peak outdoor dining.
A glass of rum punch in the backyard of this popular seafood spot in Harlem will make you feel like you have been transported to the Caribbean. There are picnic tables where you can stretch out with a group of friends (and share a crawfish boil) and a turquoise floor to stand in for an ocean view.
The backyard at Frankies in Carroll Gardens is far enough away from the street to feel like you’ve left the city and found your way to a small trattoria in Tuscany that serves house-made pastas and heirloom tomato salads. While this spot might seem like a hidden gem, it is always in demand, so it’s best to go for lunch or arrive early for dinner.
At this Park Slope Vietnamese restaurant, the backyard dining area takes its inspiration from its name, which means a construction of diverse things. In one corner, there’s a red vinyl sofa, in another, a large farm table. And surrounding it all are plants. It’s a perfect backdrop for the kitchen’s summer rolls; bánh xèo, or savory crepe; and peekytoe crab glass noodles.
④ Miss Ada
So welcoming that it’s tented and heated in the winter, the backyard at Miss Ada in Fort Greene is best enjoyed in the summer. Settle in among walls coated in murals for Israeli-leaning dishes like matbucha, or stewed tomatoes with roast red peppers; sweet potato hummus; and za’atar-crusted salmon.
One of New York’s most iconic pizzerias, L&B offers more than sauce-topped Sicilian-style pies, spumoni and ices. This Bensonhurst destination has a large retro outdoor seating area, complete with red plastic tables and large blue Pepsi umbrellas to keep the sun at bay.
At the Met Breuer, one flight down from street level sits a tranquil space just outside Flora Bar’s main dining room. Dishes like the purple endive salad over pecans and blue cheese and selections of raw seafood are just as artful as what’s on the walls upstairs.
The outdoor seating at John Fraser’s restaurant at The Standard hotel looks like a backyard party in the Hamptons, with hanging lanterns and plants. A bonus: The restaurant is open for weekend brunch, so you can enjoy your poached eggs over avocado toast or tomato Benedict out of doors.
Devra Ferst is a food writer, editor and cooking teacher based in Brooklyn. She cares much more about babka than any one woman should. Follow her on Instagram at @dferst.
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