As the weather in the city warms up, New Yorkers start venturing out in full fashion ready to wine and dine al fresco. Rooftops are open, sidewalks are prepped and primed, and the art of people-watching (a pastime favorite for city dwellers and their guests) is in full effect. The Big Apple‘s outdoor scene is best accompanied by good food and spirits, making where you go to take in the sun while you dine that much more important. Here are five of our favorite spots.
The charming space offers stunning views of the New York City skyline from its 18th floor home above the gorgeous Gramercy Park Hotel. The 1,500-square-foot tropical garden terrace is lush and green year-round, serving as a popular retreat from those looking to escape the concrete jungle. The retractable roof is opened in-season, but even in colder weather you can sit out under the sky with only a glass roof above. Chef Jeff Seizer heads up The Terrace Kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch till 3 p.m. The menu includes American classics and comfort food favorites such as a shrimp po boy, with chili aioli, chopped romaine and avocado.
Head to The Greenwich Hotel — a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel — for a meal at Laconda Verde. Tribeca residents consider it a brunch hot spot, but even dinner guests agree that what makes this locale so inviting is its beautiful design (imagine a rustic vibe with long communal tables and a stone fireplace) and welcoming atmosphere. The sidewalk seating is the perfect place to people-watch, and in a neighborhood like Tribeca, celebrity spotting is almost always a guarantee. Be sure to plan ahead and make reservations, as well as bring your appetite for popular dishes such as the Breakfast Stromboli with poached eggs, fennel sausage, spinach and stracciatella for brunch, the Pasta alla Chitarrawith ruby red shrimp, tomato, chili, yuzu and garlic for dinner, and any one of its tempting pastries such as the smooth lemon tart served with a drop of buttermilk gelato.
Also in Tribeca, this eatery takes a taste of France to the sidewalks of the Big Apple. You’ll enjoy an enchanting outdoor dining experience while surrounded by flower boxes and classic bistro décor. Come for drinks in the evening and take in the unobstructed views of the sunset over the Hudson River. Kids also delight in the magic shows hosted every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. while parents enjoy cocktails from the prix fixe brunch menu. A fan favorite is the Oeufs en Meurette, which includes two poached eggs with burgundy red wine reduction, sausage, bacon and home fries.
This is Soho’s answer to a great bar with good food and an afternoon tea service. Located on the ground floor of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Crosby Street Hotel, this trendy venue offers seating in a sunken outdoor terrace, beautifully arranged with greenery and flowers and an apple tree right in the center. Head here for a variety of meals, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Fun fact: The Crosby Terrace is offering a special weekend brunch throughout the month of May in honor of the upcoming Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on June 1. Expect dishes such as butternut squash bisque, smoked gouda and prosciutto mac and cheese, and caramelized banana pancakes — with champagne, of course.
For a more casual spot that still delivers on quality and service, head to the rooftop of Mario Batali’s Eataly. The outdoor space, which is peppered with tables and colorful red chairs, has a retractable roof that proves to be essential during the warmer months. As the name suggests, the focus here is certainly beer, including house-brewed ales that are cask conditioned (meaning they’re served and conditioned in the same cask). Offering both lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s menu inspiration comes from Italy with Austrian and German influences, too. Try flavorful dishes such as beer-braised pork shoulder with celery, local apples and mustard vinaigrette, and wash it all down with a pint of Wanda or Bronx Black Ale created onsite.
Photos Courtesy of Laconda Verde, The Greenwich Hotel and GPH Partners LLC