Restaurant Rolodex: Urban Alfresco Dining

When Spring rolls around, we do anything and everything to find a place to sit outside and take in the character, madness, and energy of NYC. Whether it’s a backyard garden, sliver of the neighborhood’s sidewalk, or an open air restaurant, we love a warm weeknight dinner date spot or a sun drenched brunch with a view. Here are our picks for best Urban Alfresco Dining Options in and Around NYC.




Brooklyn’s now infamous pizza favorite. No need to explain, but know, they have a great outdoor space, live music on occasion, and The Bee Sting.

Northern Territory

As I’ve said before, the Aussies continue to take off the NYC food and party scene.  And this Greenpoint rooftop bar, restaurant, and all around great place to hang out is exactly as you’d expect from the Aussies, inviting, way to cool, and delicious.


Longtime fans of this Prospect Heights neighborhood restaurant, the garden is perfect for a spring cocktail with pals before grabbing a bite from the amazing seasonally driven menu.


This Greenpoint restaurant has been popular, delicious, and bringing in foodies around the city before Greenpoint was cool (here’s looking at you, 2010 Greenpoint). It’s eclectic menu has a little bit of everything (burgers, steaks, chicken, kale), and is always seasonally driven. Head here for the warmer months because their herb garden is quiet and quaint and perfect for date night or your next Instagram worthy brunch.

The Lighthouse

In need of a cooler than me Williamsburg restaurant with outdoor seating? Me too. Which is why the delicious, eclectic menu and really really nice people at The Lighthouse is the perfect neighborhood, come to again, spot for any upcoming dinner or brunch with pals or family visiting.

Cafe La Esquina

Only the team from La Esquina could turn a retro diner into an ultra sexy Mexican spot with a fun outdoor patio. The food, music, art, and people are also pretty rad. and will make you rethink why you live in Manhattan.



This failsafe Chelsea neighborhood Spanish restaurant has been one of our favorite spots to grab dinner and drinks in their back garden. Well technically it’s a retractable rooftop, but you’ll have fresh air all around you and feel instantly transported out of busy 9th Ave.

La Sirena at the Maritime Hotel

Mario Batali’s Italian Trattoria at the Maritime Hotel is both fancy and retro chic. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped out in Europe for an afternoon of cocktails in their open aired parlor. The warmer months will bring more outdoor options as they have the entire courtyard.


Another downtown West Village establishment from super star chef Jonathan Waxman that brings the outside air in with their open kitchen, garage style design. Come for the fresh pastas, approachable wine list, and great people watching. Oh and their back room is perfect for private events and group dinners.

Untitled at the Whitney

When Danny Meyers moved downtown into the new Whitney Museum’s all glass box restaurant, there were a lot of critics and a lot of fans. We’re on the latter, especially for dinner alfresco on their patio after an evening at the museum.

The Black Ant

This 3 year old East Village Mexican restaurant is dark and sexy inside, with great guac and killer tacos. Outside they have a below ground garden where you can get your margarita on.


This downtown Italian restaurant is always great for groups or a midweek dinner date. But what a lot of people don’t know is they have a great backyard courtyard that opens up in the warmer months for dining under the stars.

Grand Banks

This lower Manhattan bar and restaurant is an oyster bar, bar, and restaurant aboard an old wooden boat docked along Pier 25 on the West Side Highway. Nautically themed without feeling corny, delicious food, and the perfect place to catch an early drink and dinner over sunset. Watch out for the lines, though, and make a reservation.


This casual sustainably sourced seafood spot from Michael Chernow (partner at the Meatball Shop) has a daily menu of the freshest fish, made to order in tacos and other easy to share dishes, as well as, other great sides. The outdoor patio is a real draw in the warmer months because its the perfect spot to catch a light dinner or mid day lunch over a beer or glass of rose.

Uptown and Midtown

Mermaid Inn

The NYC oyster aficionados have opened an outpost of their bar and seafood restaurant on theUWS that has an outdoor patio situation perfect for post work drinks with happy hour specials and $1 oysters. Oh and don’t forget to download their Oysterpedia App to really impress you friends about your oyster knowledge.

Casa Lever

The fancy Midtown Italian restaurant may be a little $$$$ but it’s worth checking out their garden seating for an early evening of aperitivo and small bites post work, pre theatre, or mid shopping. We love to feel a little uptown fancy once in a while and this place definitely does the trick.

The Smith Lincoln Center

The Smith is on a lot of our lists because its failsafe. The American Brassier has great food, lots to choose from, a relaxed vibe and the Lincoln Center location has outdoor seating. Another reason to ditch work early and meet pals for cocktails.

Bar Boulud

Another spot in the Daniel Boulud empire that strikes that perfectly Parisian and New York balance. Bar Boulud is located right near Lincoln Center and offers great charcuterie, light dishes, and a wine selection you’d expect from the French Cuisine King of New York.

Pizza Beach

A casual pizza place that prides itself on being healthy and seasonally veggie driven. Sign us up. The pizzas are wood fired and there are tons of great pasta options. and at the UES location (their other one is on the LES), they have patio seating.


When in need of a great dining experience in Hell’s Kitchen head to 10th Avenue. Taboo is a Middle Eastern restaurant crossed  with Mediterranean influences and has stood the true test of NYC restaurants, over 13 years of success.


This Italian restaurant is a true UES neighborhood gem. Since 2005, the small space has been serving delicious pastas and authentic Italian in a casual, cozy spot with a little garden out back.


For more restaurant recommendations check out our Restaurant Rolodex Here

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