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People sit at yellow picnic benches set up along a concrete pier overlooking the East River in Manhattan.
Taking in the views at Watermark at the Seaport.
Watermark

Where to Dine Outdoors in Manhattan

A guide to breezy backyards and stunning patios across the borough

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Taking in the views at Watermark at the Seaport.
| Watermark

Outdoor dining season — the warm weather version — is about to get underway in NYC. During the pandemic, the outdoor dining scene exploded in the city, largely due to temporary allowances that city legislators are now trying to turn into a permanent program. In the meantime, many restaurants are continuing to invest in impressive outdoor setups. From streetside patios to snug backyards and sprawling waterfront scenes, here are 12 worthwhile spots to dine outdoors in Manhattan.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Harlem Tavern

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This neighborhood restaurant and beer garden has a large red tent setup that is well-suited for group hangs (it seats about 40). Stop by the covered patio rain or shine to order from this Harlem spot’s extensive menu of pub fare like buffalo chicken wraps, steak tacos, and fried green tomato flatbreads. 

Bilao on the Upper East Side restaurant opened when a few Filipino nurses wanted a spot for breakfast that served their native country’s most well-known dishes. Their tiny storefront has more seating outdoors than it has inside, but wherever diners decide to sit, it’s “one of the best overviews of the national cuisine that NYC has seen,” Eater critic Robert Sietsema noted. Classic Filipino dishes like crispy pork or a hearty stew of taro leaves swimming in coconut milk are just a few options available from breakfast through dinner.

A plainish storefront that says Filipino Cuisine, with a table out front.
Bilao serves some of the city’s best Filipino cuisine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Italian-style bakery cafe from Ignacio Mattos feels like an elegant oasis in the middle of the Rockefeller Center fracas. While you can certainly get bombolone, an espresso, or a cold-pressed juice from the bakery to go, consider booking a table for a more leisurely lunch or dinner outdoors, with dishes like bagna cauta, a selection of panini, or porchetta on beautiful breads. Yes, you can get a spritz or a glass of wine from a mostly Italian list. Or skip dinner and go straight for for dessert like baba agli agrumi or gelato with an aperitivo.

Patrons dine under umbrellas at Lodi, one of whom is petting a small dog.
Rockefeller Center’s Lodi.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Check out Pojangmacha-style dining at this Koreatown restaurant where you feel like you’re in your own little outdoor abode. Kick off the night with Korean beer or soju standards, or a selection from the menu of Japanese whisky. Move on to skewers and bar food like sweet potato fries and clams tang. Or consider a late-ish order Korean fried chicken: The kitchen is open until 11 p.m.

An outdoor dining structure sits in a bike line with open windows. The building’s walls are red and its roof appears to be black.
The exterior of Osamil.
Osamil

Pioneering Indian fine dining restaurant Junoon maintains a flower-filled streetside outdoor dining structure in front of its elegant, revamped space in Flatiron. The full menu, including its charcoal-smoked masala ribs and dry-aged duck with tellicherry peppercorn sauce, is available outside.

Veranda

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George Mendes’ spot features roomy seating and lush greenery in an airy dining space, inside and out. Toward the back of the restaurant, there’s a patio accented with potted flowers, topiaries, and climbing ivy (if it’s packed outdoors, the dining room features a retractable roof that’s open in more temperate weather). Sure, you can get a fried squash blossoms, salt cod croquettes, or agnolotti with mushrooms and spring peas for dinner. You can also hit the back bar for more casual menu with items like charcuterie, hummus, or flatbread.

This French Indonesian restaurant has been holding things down in Nolita since 2019, drawing crowds for its east-meets-west menu and dining room that Eater once called “dark and sexy.” No surprise here, but the outdoor setup is just as stunning: There’s potted plants, patterned wallpaper, and decorative lanterns.

The face of a restaurant, Wayan, in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood.
Outside Wayan.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Loreley Beer Garden

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Head out back at this Lower East Side bar for an outdoor beer garden vibe with plenty of room to spread out. The backyard’s picnic tables are great for groups, as are the restaurant’s oversized pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, and beer (available by the half liter and liter in most cases).

Picnic tables and overhead heaters are arranged in the backyard of a Manhattan bar.
The backyard of Loreley Beer Garden.
Loreley Beer Garden

Thai Diner

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Outdoor dining has been a boon for some of NYC’s trendiest restaurants, including chefs Ann Redding and Matt Danzer’s Thai Diner. Their former restaurant Uncle Boons was always packed, and this creative Thai American spot in Nolita was just as busy when it opened weeks before the initial pandemic shutdown. Today, it’s a tad bit easier to get a seat with sidewalk seating and a cabin-like structure along Mott Street, though there’s also sidewalk seating and patio seating during prime dinner hours. Thai disco fries, cabbage tom khaa, and the Thai tea babka French toast are all popular items. The crab fried rice, a signature dish from the now-shuttered Uncle Boons, is still on the menu.

Wu's Wonton King

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Wu’s Wonton King took full advantage of the expansive stretch of sidewalk outside the restaurant and set up a sprawling covered outdoor dining structure with spaced-out tables set up under a string of lights and well-positioned electric heaters in colder months. The vibe out front, where a BYOB policy reins supreme and whole suckling pigs are occasionally carried out to tables, is just as good as inside — and possibly better if dining in a group, as tables out here can be rearranged to fit larger parties with a little notice.

A corner restaurant has brightly lit, block font signs saying Wu’s Wonton King.
Outside Wu’s Wonton King.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Golden Diner

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The sturdy outdoor structure at Golden Diner is often just as packed as its indoor dining room. It’s heated for chillier days, well-covered if there’s a chance of rain, and well worth a stop to hang out on Madison Street and dig into some crispy Korean fried chicken wings, griddled tuna melts, and overstuffed chicken katsu clubs.

Watermark

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Watermark is a sprawling waterfront event venue and outdoor cafe located on the edge of Pier 15 in the Seaport District that’s open seven days a week. Grab a dozen oysters, a cocktail carafe for the group, and pull up a seat along the edge of the East River. Also check out specials, like 50 percent off oysters all day Monday; Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. and Friday 2 to 4 p.m.

An arial shot of Pier 15 with a crowd of people eating and drinking outdoors on the waterfront.
Waterfront dining on Pier 15.
Watermark

Harlem Tavern

This neighborhood restaurant and beer garden has a large red tent setup that is well-suited for group hangs (it seats about 40). Stop by the covered patio rain or shine to order from this Harlem spot’s extensive menu of pub fare like buffalo chicken wraps, steak tacos, and fried green tomato flatbreads. 

Bilao

Bilao on the Upper East Side restaurant opened when a few Filipino nurses wanted a spot for breakfast that served their native country’s most well-known dishes. Their tiny storefront has more seating outdoors than it has inside, but wherever diners decide to sit, it’s “one of the best overviews of the national cuisine that NYC has seen,” Eater critic Robert Sietsema noted. Classic Filipino dishes like crispy pork or a hearty stew of taro leaves swimming in coconut milk are just a few options available from breakfast through dinner.

A plainish storefront that says Filipino Cuisine, with a table out front.
Bilao serves some of the city’s best Filipino cuisine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lodi

This Italian-style bakery cafe from Ignacio Mattos feels like an elegant oasis in the middle of the Rockefeller Center fracas. While you can certainly get bombolone, an espresso, or a cold-pressed juice from the bakery to go, consider booking a table for a more leisurely lunch or dinner outdoors, with dishes like bagna cauta, a selection of panini, or porchetta on beautiful breads. Yes, you can get a spritz or a glass of wine from a mostly Italian list. Or skip dinner and go straight for for dessert like baba agli agrumi or gelato with an aperitivo.

Patrons dine under umbrellas at Lodi, one of whom is petting a small dog.
Rockefeller Center’s Lodi.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Osamil

Check out Pojangmacha-style dining at this Koreatown restaurant where you feel like you’re in your own little outdoor abode. Kick off the night with Korean beer or soju standards, or a selection from the menu of Japanese whisky. Move on to skewers and bar food like sweet potato fries and clams tang. Or consider a late-ish order Korean fried chicken: The kitchen is open until 11 p.m.

An outdoor dining structure sits in a bike line with open windows. The building’s walls are red and its roof appears to be black.
The exterior of Osamil.
Osamil

Junoon

Pioneering Indian fine dining restaurant Junoon maintains a flower-filled streetside outdoor dining structure in front of its elegant, revamped space in Flatiron. The full menu, including its charcoal-smoked masala ribs and dry-aged duck with tellicherry peppercorn sauce, is available outside.

Veranda

George Mendes’ spot features roomy seating and lush greenery in an airy dining space, inside and out. Toward the back of the restaurant, there’s a patio accented with potted flowers, topiaries, and climbing ivy (if it’s packed outdoors, the dining room features a retractable roof that’s open in more temperate weather). Sure, you can get a fried squash blossoms, salt cod croquettes, or agnolotti with mushrooms and spring peas for dinner. You can also hit the back bar for more casual menu with items like charcuterie, hummus, or flatbread.

Wayan

This French Indonesian restaurant has been holding things down in Nolita since 2019, drawing crowds for its east-meets-west menu and dining room that Eater once called “dark and sexy.” No surprise here, but the outdoor setup is just as stunning: There’s potted plants, patterned wallpaper, and decorative lanterns.

The face of a restaurant, Wayan, in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood.
Outside Wayan.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Loreley Beer Garden

Head out back at this Lower East Side bar for an outdoor beer garden vibe with plenty of room to spread out. The backyard’s picnic tables are great for groups, as are the restaurant’s oversized pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, and beer (available by the half liter and liter in most cases).

Picnic tables and overhead heaters are arranged in the backyard of a Manhattan bar.
The backyard of Loreley Beer Garden.
Loreley Beer Garden

Thai Diner

Outdoor dining has been a boon for some of NYC’s trendiest restaurants, including chefs Ann Redding and Matt Danzer’s Thai Diner. Their former restaurant Uncle Boons was always packed, and this creative Thai American spot in Nolita was just as busy when it opened weeks before the initial pandemic shutdown. Today, it’s a tad bit easier to get a seat with sidewalk seating and a cabin-like structure along Mott Street, though there’s also sidewalk seating and patio seating during prime dinner hours. Thai disco fries, cabbage tom khaa, and the Thai tea babka French toast are all popular items. The crab fried rice, a signature dish from the now-shuttered Uncle Boons, is still on the menu.

Wu's Wonton King

Wu’s Wonton King took full advantage of the expansive stretch of sidewalk outside the restaurant and set up a sprawling covered outdoor dining structure with spaced-out tables set up under a string of lights and well-positioned electric heaters in colder months. The vibe out front, where a BYOB policy reins supreme and whole suckling pigs are occasionally carried out to tables, is just as good as inside — and possibly better if dining in a group, as tables out here can be rearranged to fit larger parties with a little notice.

A corner restaurant has brightly lit, block font signs saying Wu’s Wonton King.
Outside Wu’s Wonton King.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Golden Diner

The sturdy outdoor structure at Golden Diner is often just as packed as its indoor dining room. It’s heated for chillier days, well-covered if there’s a chance of rain, and well worth a stop to hang out on Madison Street and dig into some crispy Korean fried chicken wings, griddled tuna melts, and overstuffed chicken katsu clubs.

Watermark

Watermark is a sprawling waterfront event venue and outdoor cafe located on the edge of Pier 15 in the Seaport District that’s open seven days a week. Grab a dozen oysters, a cocktail carafe for the group, and pull up a seat along the edge of the East River. Also check out specials, like 50 percent off oysters all day Monday; Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. and Friday 2 to 4 p.m.

An arial shot of Pier 15 with a crowd of people eating and drinking outdoors on the waterfront.
Waterfront dining on Pier 15.
Watermark

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