With spring officially in the air and the mercury rising, New Yorkers have outdoor dining top of mind. For those staging a visit to the city that never sleeps (but seems to always eat), check out these top 10 alfresco restaurant options in New York City, spanning TriBeCa to Midtown.
1. Locanda Verde
Best For: A post-shopping reprieve.
The Details: On the weekends, SoHo is a jam-packed shopping mecca. Rather than facing the elusive task of hunting down an outdoor table in the ever-crowded neighborhood, look instead to the more tranquil TriBeCa quarter, just next door. There, lining cobblestoned North Moore Street, is Locanda Verde, with its satisfying Italian menu. The sidewalk tables are primed for westerly sunshine and you might even spot a celebrity or two—Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé both own pads nearby.
2. Corsino Cantina
Neighborhood: West Village
Best For: Casual dining after checking out the High Line.
The Details: This neighborhood Italian joint is located just far west enough to skirt the heavy summer foot traffic. Outdoor dining is situated at the front of the restaurant, making it a great spot on weeknights for a front-row seat to NYC’s pedestrian culture. Try the standout pastas, like the tagliatelle with pork ragu, which will put you in a happy food coma.
3. Hudson Clearwater
Neighborhood: West Village
Best For: Beautiful people-watching.
The Details: With an unmarked entrance on the side of Morton Street, this West Village hangout ranks high on the cool factor. On any given night, you might spot a high-powered fashion editor or the hottest art director. Come warmer weather, the restaurant takes advantage of its outdoor patio area. The garden space is mostly fenced off—all the better to feel exclusive and tucked away from the usual bustling street scene.
4. Bar Pitti
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Best For: Feeling like you’re in Italy.
The Details: This lively restaurant on Sixth Avenue is perennially jammed, and for good reason. The menu (which is cash only) offers excellent Italian fare such as veal meatballs (Polpettine di vitello) and well-executed salad and pasta offerings. Plus, the scene is always upbeat and sprinkled with expats—you’re more likely to hear more Italian, Spanish, or French than English—and with the red wine flowing, you’re bound to have a good time. Note that reservations not accepted.
5. Edi and the Wolf
Neighborhood: East Village
Best For: Late-night dining on the weekends. From Thursdays through Saturdays, a late-night menu kicks in from 11pm to 1am, leaving you plenty of time beforehand to check out an indie play at the nearby Performance Space 122.
The Details: Move over Wolfgang Puck: Chef Edi Frauneder is on a mission to reinvigorate Austrian fare. Sure, there’s schnitzel and schlutzkrapfen (Austrian mountain-style cheese ravioli) on the menu, but there’s also the Duck Two Ways, served with black trumpet mushrooms and celery root puree (there’s also an inventive small-plate selection). In the spring and summer, the back garden is the place to be: The rustic vibe coupled with intimate quarters makes for a magical experience.
Best For: Refueling after taking in Chelsea’s art galleries.
The Details: A weekend brunch favorite, Cookshop has a generously sized sidewalk patio (by Manhattan standards), with two rows of tables and sun-blocking umbrellas. Unlike some alfresco restaurants, food here isn’t an afterthought. Try the light and airy beignets, stuffed with ricotta cheese, and the pastrami and egg popover for brunch. Wash it all down with one of the Bloody Marys on the menu, such as the Meatpacking Mary, featuring house-infused bacon vodka, steak sauce, and a bacon slice.
Neighborhood: Flatiron District
Best For: Scoping out singles. The fun, boisterous environment is great for striking up a conversation or two.
The Details: On the same rooftop as Eataly, the popular Italian-centric food-and-wine marketplace, Birreria is a convenient mid-Manhattan stop when the sun is shining (or not shining, since the restaurant also features a retractable glass rooftop for fickle clouds or a wayward storm). Though always a scene, the open-plan dining and bar area is particularly lively during after-work hours. Those looking to avoid the crowds and snag a table should arrive well before area workers punch out for the day.
Neighborhood: East Gramercy
Best For: A memorable date night. The view and remote location seems tailor-made for your very own rom-com.
The Details: Tom Colicchio’s newest restaurant may require a trek to the eastern reaches of Manhattan, but the view of the East River on a balmy night is well worth it. For alfresco diners, Riverpark boasts two outdoor options. Those in the mood for a fancier affair can dine in the garden patio; or, for more casual eats, head to the terrace, which, with its picnic tables and communal seating, feels like a perfectly catered picnic.
9. The NoMad
Best For: Bragging rights, given it’s probably the alfresco spot of the season.
The Details: Named after the NoMad neighborhood, the no-man’s-land stretch “North of Madison Square Park” that is helmed in by Herald Square, The NoMad restaurant is one of the hottest new eateries of the season. That’s mostly because acclaimed chef Daniel Humm is at the helm. (For ratings followers: he won three Michelin stars for his work at Eleven Madison Park.) The restaurant is located in the buzzy hotel of the same name, which will reflect Humm’s influences from Switzerland, California, and New York. It has multiple dining spaces, including a rooftop that will open for outside dining in late May: Mark your calendars now.
10. Salon de Ning
Best For: Rubbing shoulders with hedge-fund millionaires.
The Details: This classic Manhattan power spot is located atop the luxurious Peninsula hotel on Fifth Avenue. Put on your most stylish duds to visit the 1930s Shanghai-inspired rooftop bar and lounge Salon de Ning. The opulent terrace regularly plays host to the well-heeled, with stunning bird’s-eye views as a backdrop. Although there is an appetizer selection, note that dishes aren’t particularly substantial. We recommend filling up on the stellar cocktails instead, like the Madame Ning’s Martini, comprised of organic gin shaken cold and accented with lemongrass.