It’s hard to beat the beginning of summer in New York City, when the streets and the parks fill with people and the outdoor dining season starts up again. Whether you’re seeking fresh air, the energy of a sidewalk scene, or just looking for some world-class people-watching, these New York favorites will help you take advantage of al fresco city living.
David Burke Kitchen (opened in 2011 and overseen by Executive Chef Raoul Whitaker) has one of the most intriguing outdoor spaces in the city. In a prime SoHo location, The Garden rambles through a dramatic, architectural space, complete with its own bar and a casual vibe. Modern American food is presented in a creative and whimsical style. Look for favorites like lobster toast, candied bacon, and spectacular dry-aged steaks.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse boasts the energy, vibrancy, and romanticism of the city. Excellent service combines with generous portions of legendary steaks and seafood. Make the most of spring with a glass of fine rosé and al fresco dining on Del Frisco’s lovely patio.
Established in 1969, Bobby Van’s Grill now boasts locations throughout the Northeast, including one in a central location near Times Square. They serve the finest USDA dry-aged prime beef, select seafood, and lobsters starting at 3 lbs. Enjoy it from a classic, white-tablecloth perch under the shelter of patio umbrellas.
If you crave Italian and want to dine before or after a show, look no further than Theatre District favorite La Masseria. Take your choice of 11 delectable pastas, 12 meat and fish dishes (including branzino, Mediterranean sea bream, and grilled t-bone veal chops with fresh herbs), on top of super-fresh salads and daily specials. The hospitality extends out to the sidewalk, where you’ll find an upbeat al fresco scene.
The most authentic Brazilian experience in Manhattan can be found near Times Square at Brazil Brazil. Take advantage of the flexibility of lunch, dinner, brunch, prix fixe, raw bar, and lounge menus, with perfect caipirinhas to complement. A sunken front porch and planters provide some privacy, while still allowing vantages of all the Restaurant Row action. There’s also an all-weather garden in back.
Ben & Jack’s, a carnivore’s paradise in Manhattan’s hip NoMad neighborhood, is a place where time-honored tradition stands alone: classic dishes prepared to perfection, prime dry-aged steaks, delectable seafood, and exemplary customer service. The white-tablecloth seating in front has a Parisian feel, although there’s no mistaking the setting—the view is classic New York, complete with an ancient church set against the Empire State Building.
Of course, the weather doesn’t always cooperate with open air dining plans. Should rain clouds threaten, head to Villa Mosconi, which has been feeding Greenwich Village for over 40 years. You’ll find a lovely Four Season Garden, sun-drenched in the right weather, and protected by skylights so you can enjoy that outdoor feel even if Mother Nature is making other plans. (Expect large portions of red-sauce pastas and classic meat and seafood entrées, all at wallet-friendly prices.)