Vogue’s Editors’ Guide to New York’s Best Outdoor Restaurants
Outdoor dining in New York was not meant to be permanent. In fact, it was meant to be very temporary – a sloppy short-term cobbled-together fix to help struggling businesses safely earn income during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Case in point: when Mayor de Blasio announced his plan to reopen restaurants on June 4, 2020, he only gave them three weeks to set up their outdoor amenities.
But as New York restaurants unveiled their sidewalk cafes and charming, creatively appointed courtyards, it became clear that it was definitely should be a permanent thing. Sipping an Aperol spritz is all the more enjoyable when simultaneously people-watching on Lafayette Street. Strolling through the West Village’s many cafes is a downright idyllic exercise when its narrow, brownstone-lined streets are closed to cars. And Brooklyn’s backyards can become outdoor oases, capable of transporting you to Naples or Oaxaca for an evening. Soon the obvious became official: the open streets and open-air restaurants were here to stay.
We are in May 2022 in New York. The weather is warmer, the days are longer, and all over New York, sidewalk tables, secret garden patios, and rooftops abound.
So we decided to ask vogue publishers where they eat and drink during this jubilant period. Turns out the answer is everywhere, from Bed-Stuy cafes to Soho hotspots and New York institutions. Below are our picks.
“I was introduced to Aurora through her outdoor space, and it certainly left a lasting impression. Not only is the space beautifully lined with flowers, but the enclosed patio is large enough to accommodate a larger group – a must for dinner parties. Not to mention that the Italian menu is tasty with a great assortment of wines and cocktails. – Kiana Murden, Business Writer
Aita, Clinton Hill
“I recently had a dreamy spring dinner at Aita, a cozy and rustic Italian spot tucked away in a beautiful people-watching spot in Clinton Hill. They have an extensive menu of appetizers (don’t sleep on the house negroni!) and unique homemade pasta dishes, like the fluffy, fluffy oxtail ravioli, that will literally have you thinking about them for days. It’s the kind of place where every sip and bite is both sacred and comforting. A sweet treat after a long and crazy year!” – Lauren Valenti, Beauty Editor
“Bar Camillo is my new neighborhood spot with a nice little garden outside. There’s nowhere I’d rather drink a glass of funky orange wine at the end of a long day. The pizza is great too. – Sarah Spellings, Fashion Editor
“A stone’s throw from my front door, Beco offers a casual terrace, delicious Brazilian cocktails, and a varied (but not oversaturated!) all-day menu. The scene is about as diverse as it gets: from toddlers and big dogs to first dates and solo dinner parties, everyone is welcome. The weekend is great for high-level people-watching, as you can enjoy a complementary side of live music with your looks. In all honesty, none of the above matters…because once you’ve had your first bite of dulce de leche empanada, the rest of the world fades away. – Jasmine Contomichalos, Experiences Writer
“Dinner with a view? Say no more! This Latin American restaurant sits right along the LIC waterfront with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering sweeping views of Manhattan and the East River. As you sit outside to catch a summer breeze, consider pairing their poke tacos or pernicious plate with a strawberry mojito. – Clarissa Schmidt, Commercial Producer
“Identifying the best Italian cuisine in New York is not an easy task – the competition is fierce. While Via Carota is much talked about for its salad, I would say that there is an even better one at Altro Paradiso. Made of grated fennel and Castelvetrano olives is about as good as it gets, but it’s just one of the many main courses you’ll find.For dessert, the panna cotta is a must. Lilah Ramzi, Business Writer
“As a pescatarian, it’s kind of ironic that I’m constantly trying to get a reservation at Cozy Royale – the sister restaurant of Williamsburg butcher The Meat Hook – but the asparagus with béarnaise sauce and chocolate pudding desserts are simply good. Also, I heard from my very carnivorous boyfriend that the dry aged prime rib is also very good. I recommend it for the relaxed atmosphere, off the main street and the palomas.” – Steff Yotka, editor of fashion news and emerging platforms
“The Crosby Hotel, located in the heart of Soho, brings eclectic charm to an area best known for its flashy designer boutiques. The elegant terrace is my favorite meeting place for a champagne brunch or an afternoon tea. Inside the walled garden, you will forget the hustle and bustle that surrounds you. If you’re feeling indulgent, try the croque monsieur and Eden’s signature cocktail.” – Ian Malone, Experience Manager
Dante, West Village
“Dante serves the best cocktails in town, America and the world. I’m not grandstanding here – in 2019 it was officially crowned the best bar in the world. Their West Village location, with its classic bistro tables and claw-footed glass booths, is more like something you’d find on the boulevards of Paris rather than the streets of New York City. Be sure to try Champagne Ramos – a cocktail made with the unusual but delicious ingredient of burrata water. – Elise Taylor, Senior Writer
“Where else can you sip gin martinis under a disco ball?” Be sure to get the Uni Pasta and several orders from Addictive Cabbage (the name really says it all). – Madeline Fass, Market Writer
Darling, Central Park South
“At the top of the Park Lane Hotel is Darling, a new rooftop lounge and patio with stunning views of Central Park. A pink chandelier hangs from the ceiling, and botanical motifs dot the colorful upholstery — a nod to the 47-story verdant oasis below. It’s perfect for visitors and seasoned New Yorkers who want to soak up the sprawling skyline. – Elise Taylor
EAT, Upper East Side
“I’ve loved EAT for a long time – if my memory serves me right, my dad and I went straight there for matzo ball soup after I got my braces off – and throughout the last year it’s remained my favorite place for casual weekend lunches with friends. Its al fresco dining area isn’t anything fancy, but it works perfectly, which matches the overall vibe perfectly. Order the cucumber and goat cheese on string. – Marley Marius, Associate Features Writer
“I love ending an afternoon in Soho with a plate of fries and a glass of wine at one of Fanelli’s outdoor tables. It’s the perfect place to watch the world go by and feel like a visitor to your own city.” – Mai Morsch, Associate Market Editor
“This restaurant makes its own tortillas, and they care a lot about the corn they use. That care is evident in the flavor, whether you’re ordering tortillas for a feast at home or dining at sidewalk tables. The whole menu is excellent, so I recommend ordering a few dishes for the table and trying them all.The mezcal mushroom tlayuda is particularly memorable, but even a simple Oaxacan cheese quesadilla is fabulous with the restaurant’s salsas. – Ella Riley-Adams, Life and Beauty Editor
“Guevara opened during the pandemic, and it has since become one of my weekly staples. Part plant shop, part vegan cafe, its pink tables and shaded outdoor dining structure are an inviting sight, inevitably busy with customers with adorable dogs. The empanadas are excellent (make sure you have the sauces), and I recently fell in love with the Danish ube with its bright purple filling and sweet flavor.” – Ella Riley Adams
Kiki’s, Lower East Side
“I’m never in the mood to sit outside at Kiki’s. It’s perfect for a late weekend lunch or an early dinner after work. Greek food is really delicious and it’s easy to spend hours here without even realizing it!” – Mai Morsh
“A newcomer to the New York dining scene, Laser Wolf has quickly become the trendiest restaurant in town. With breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline in a vibrant open-air atmosphere, this Israeli restaurant knows exactly how to serve up an exceptional dining experience. If you manage to secure a spot on this rooftop, you won’t be disappointed.” – Elisee Browchuk, Production and Marketing Manager, Experiences
“Located on West Broadway, Little Ways serves a variety of American fare with a tasteful twist. Mussels in coconut milk are a staple along with the Harry Styles cocktail, which is made with fresh watermelon juice, of course. From the same team behind LES’s go-to late-night spot, The Flower Shop, Little Ways rocks in style without sacrificing a lively scene.Be sure to check out the venue. bath with infinity mirror before saying goodbye to the night. Elisha Browchuk
LaLou, Prospect Heights
“During the summer, LaLou’s quaint backyard space is one of my favorites for a light bite – like the meat and cheese plates – and some good wine (they have an excellent selection of natural wines ). It’s casual, chic, but unpretentious. – Christian Allaire, fashion news editor