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Food + Drink

The Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in New York City

Breath in. Cinnamon, and soot, hints of evergreen and burnt coffee. The dampness that fills the earlier morning air, then evaporates like popping bubbles once the sun awakens from the east, settling in like a crown above a jagged, bejewelled metallic sky. This is New York.

During the summer, rhythm reverberates through every West Village cobble stone, and every Upper East side Birkin, all the way through the carves of the Brooklyn Bridge, finally scattering across the Atlantic Ocean. To put it simply, it’s so entrancing that there is no better place to be in the summer. Summer in New York means skipping through fire hydrant water and holding bushels of freshly-grown upstate sunflowers, as you saunter from neighbourhood to neighbourhood in the city twilight. It also means the best of the city’s outdoor dining scene, with sanctuaries of culinary wonder hidden in plain sight; perfect for tipples and bites.


1. Buvette

Buvette is a West Village classic. With an adoring fan base, and Parisian boulangerie attitude, it’s an absolute staple for European comfort food. It’s casual ambiance, yet architecturally interesting design aesthetic make it feel as if you are dining with a secret. Buvette has menu that even the harshest food critics could relish in, from cheesy-salty bits of Croque Monsieur to fluffed, aromatic waffles. Be sure to book ahead, on a Saturday morning, everyone and their mother wants to bask in the summertime sun and enjoy an Americano here.


2. Dante

 

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I can think of very few places that inhabit the gusto and exuberance found within the perfectly manicured walls of Dante. Dante is a Greenwich Village classic, a true pillar of the community, welcoming locals, and celebrities alike. Dante has garnered renowned street cred for it’s insatiable cocktail menu, the negroni is unbeatable and unbelievable.  While it’s cocktails shine like trophy’s in an old-school Hollywood movie stars cabinet, it’s menu is filled with perfectly matched morsels to accompany them. Try the spicy calamari or the roasted cauliflower for a little aperitif. Sitting outside here is like embedding yourself in a part of neighborhood history, every moment one to memorialize.


3. L’Artusi

 

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L’Artusi has become a tried and true New York establishment, elevating beloved originals and curating the cosiness that comes with fine Italian dining. The Wagyu carpachio is sent straight from heaven above, along with spicy citrus shishito peppers and summer corn.


4. Rezdôra

 

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Transport yourself to the mountainous, colourful cliffs of Cinque Terre and dolce vita mentality of Northern Italy, here at Rezdôra. Traditionally meaning “head of household”, Rezdôra rejoices in the splendour of Italian homecooking. After receiving critical acclaim, even a Michelin Star, the fresh made pasta is certainly not to be skipped. Rezdôra takes Italian ingredients and transforms the classics in ways that are not only other-worldly, but also inventive. Take the Verde on Verde on Verde pasta, a mix of pesto Genovese and Tuscan kale, or the Modenese Vacationing in Rome, tagliatelle with pancetta and black pepper; who could resist! Come enjoy a New York summer Friday here, and drown your troubles away in the heavenly delights of focaccia and stracciatella.


5. Fulgurances Laundromat

 

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Fulgurances takes educating the next generation of chefs and innovators seriously. This is why they have started Fulgurances, Laundromat, a revolving incubator for upcoming and coming chefs and food stars to spread their wings and showcase their talent. Here, every few months the head chef rotates, offering a new a spin to what the Laundromat serves. Till the end of August, Greg Wong & Soomin Yoon are steering the ship, explore Asian-American fusion with enthusiasm and creativity.


6. Soothr

 

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Soothr (correctly pronounced “Sood” meaning recipe) is a gastronomic Thai road trip; stopping along the way for sights and sensations that will have your mouth watering. Started by friends who were all raised in varying regional cities in Thailand, Soothr offers a warm embrace of familial recipes, passed down for generations, where you can taste the love and care in every delicately balanced bite. The restaurant also takes inspiration from street food, and true authentic Thai recipes that are representative of what locals have every day. While this menu is bursting with must-try items, some that dazzle above the rest include the Ba Mii Pru (crab noodles), Khao Soi (rated the number one soup in the world), and Koong Karee (shrimp sautéed in an flavourful creamy egg sauce). Of course the meal would not be complete without a little touch of mango sticky rice, a sweet and dynamic pairing that Soothr has mastered without question.


7. Sant Ambroeus

 

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Sant Ambroeus’s West Village location is everything you could ever dream of for a dining experience. It’s quaint and nostalgic atmosphere infuses you with a Nora Ephron drama, just waiting for Billy Crystal to casually stroll by and admit he made a huge mistake by not calling you back. However immaculate the vibes are, the food is even better. Taking homage from traditional neighbourhood Italian recipes, the fresh and vibrant ingredients do all the talking. Try the Melanzane alla Parmigiana, a spin on eggplant parmesan so rich and succulent, you won’t have any leftovers. For mains, although ultra classico, the Spaghetti al Pomodoro e Basilico cuts straight to the chase; clean and uncomplicated perfection.


8. Palma

 

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Palma gives a Midsummer Night’s dream fantasy, combined with an intimate, rustic setting that calls on inspiration from luminous Italian evenings. It’s a fragrant oasis located on Cornelia Street, mimicking the likes of a greenhouse, brimming with incredible tablescapes and natural décor that takes you out of city life. The restaurant offers a beautiful central terrace covered by a crystal skylight, casting romantic and sunny shadows on diners below. Started by a husband and wife, the food is curated from biodynamic farms and local farmer’s markets, and this dedication to quality is celebrated through the food. They offer the best of each selection of dishes, offering to-die-for Ravioli cacio-e-pepe and pappardelle alla-bolognese.


9. Hudson Clearwater

 

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Hudson Clearwater is a West Village gem. Surrounded by gorgeous rust-red bricks and blooming trees draped around the tables, this is a hidden neighbourhood hotspot that is perfect for chilled afternoon cocktails. With a menu that celebrates super dynamic ingredients, and extraordinary flavour combinations, the whole menu is a treasure trove of zest and char. To beat the summer heat, try the vegan sweet corn and yellow tomato gazpacho or the east coast oysters; both will make your palate dance.


10. Darling Park Lane

 

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Settled on top of the 47th floor, sits a lively and dashing bar, one of the only ones to nest among billionaire row. Have a sip of blood orange margarita’s while sitting on a satin sofa, reminiscing about the weekly shenanigans, and people watch for sport. Indulge in the ravishment of fresh seafood towers, and lobster club sandwiches. Hey, you never know, maybe Jay Z will walk through the door.


11. Dumbo House

 

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After sparking a social media craze, Dumbo House has bewitched the world with it’s views of the city from it’s aquamarine pool-side deck. There is probably no place more popular to bask the days away than here at Dumbo House. Take a seat at one of the most glamorous terraces in the world, eating crunchy crudités and sea bass ceviche. Come early in the day and plan to stay till evening, this is a place you could never tire of.


12. The Waverly Inn

 

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The Waverly Inn is a secluded rustic paradise that alludes to the styling of a British pub, but with the sleekness of New York City design. It’s champagne-coloured glow from the windows, facing the street, calls to anyone who passes by. It’s lantern-lit courtyard is the most wonderful location for a romantic dinner for two. What was once a semi-private dining club for Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair’s Editor, can now be enjoyed by all. Come rub shoulders with sequinned clad gossips, and neighbourhood locals alike.


13. Aurora Williamsburg

 

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More of a garden than a restaurant, Aurora has amplified indoor outdoor dining to the max. Calling upon imagery of bubbling brooks and dense forest greenery, Aurora’s visual thumbprint speaks to its magical authenticity. Serving Italian classics whipped ricotta on sourdough, and panzanella with juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes, there is no better place to go on a Friday for delicious nibbles and Italian wines.

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