The Finest Outdoor Dining in the Big Apple
April 13, 2010 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Visiting New York City this weekend! Got any recommendations for fantastic barbecue joints with outdoor seating? How about restaurants of any kind with scenic outdoor seating?

As Chicago experiences its spring awakening, a multitude of awesome restaurants are opening their outdoor dining areas. Including the delicious BBQ place Smoke Daddy. They have a generous sidewalk seating area and they make a mean pulled pork sandwich. I'd like to find something like Smoke Daddy in New York.

Beyond BBQ places, please recommend restaurants of any kind with to-die-for outdoor areas, like Chicago's La Cocina de Frida, which has a beautiful patio with hanging plants, flowers, and little waterfalls.

I'm staying in Manhattan one night and Brooklyn another, so either borough works. I'm seeking brunch as well as dinner rec's. Thanks, MeFi!
posted by Lieber Frau to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Fette Sau (which has excellent barbecue) has outdoor seating. I'm not sure if I'd call it "scenic," though.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:37 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Not sure about the BBQ, but this site will show you where to find restaurants with outdoor seating in NYC.
posted by prettaygood at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'd second Fette Sau for good barbecue and outdoor seating.
posted by ecab at 10:58 AM on April 13, 2010

I don't know if this matches your criteria, as it's more "neat!" than beautiful, but Surf Bar in Williamsburg has a great, sandy patio that, on a warm night, makes you actually feel like you are on the beach: several inches on sand on the floor, picnic tables, umbrellas, festive lights.
posted by lunasol at 11:20 AM on April 13, 2010

Third Fette Sau! Barbecue, beer and other delicious things. Gets very busy though.
posted by foodmapper at 12:03 PM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: Fette Sau looks fantastic. I plan on calling them to ask, but if I were to arrive Friday at 9:30 or 10 PM, what are the chances I would be able to get a seat for 3 people? Would the wait be insane?
posted by Lieber Frau at 12:13 PM on April 13, 2010

Outdoor seating and good BBQ: in addition to Fette Sau in Brooklyn, check out Blue Smoke in Manhattan, but be warned that they don't have a lot of outdoor tables and are typically quite popular. I dunno about Fette Sau but in my experience, the smaller BBQ joints will often run out of certain items by the end of the night. It's not easy for them to replenish on the fly since it takes hours and hours to cook a batch.

For outdoor seating and brunch: Aquagrill (enclosed sidewalk space), August (garden), Back Forty (backyard garden), Bar Boulud (sidewalk but Broadway is noisy), Five Points (but they don't have that many tables out front), Locanda Verde (sidewalk seating), Morandi (on the sidewalk but next to a small park and they don't enclose their tables), Pastis (a fairly large outdoor seating area and the neighborhood has good people watching).

BTW, just because a place in New York City has outdoor dining doesn't always mean its scenic. Sometimes the restaurant will place its sidewalk cafe on the sidewalk and be unlucky enough to have a lot of vehicular traffic going by. Including garbage collection vehicles. IMO, the nicer outdoor seating areas are backyards and gardens. Or places that have doors that can be opened out onto the sidewalk, but you're still sitting indoors.

Additionally, because real estate in NYC is so expensive, these outdoor seating areas are very popular. Outdoor tables are typically first come, first served and often cannot be specifically reserved. A restaurant may have seating available inside with no wait, but have a long wait for an outdoor table.

See also this OpenTable page on outdoor dining, New York Magazine's restaurants directory.
posted by kathryn at 12:58 PM on April 13, 2010

Fette Sau has big communal line up to get your food and then carry it to your seat on a tray. At 9:30 on Saturday it'll be crowded and you'll probably have to wait in line for a while (30 mins?), but once you get your food it shouldn't be too hard to find space for three people to sit. There's a bar so you can have a drink while you're in line and chat with your friends.
posted by mr frosted at 1:17 PM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: Scenery is in the eye of the beholder! I should have specified that when I said "scenic", I didn't mean "pastoral vistas". As long as there isn't a waste management strike, I'm sure I can handle a little NYC stank & bustle. I used to live there and I know how awesome the people-watching can be. For instance, it ain't pretty, but the White Horse Tavern's seating area offers plentiful sidewalk drama.

That said, not all sidewalk seating areas are created equal, so hit me with your best!
posted by Lieber Frau at 3:14 PM on April 13, 2010

Internet Fraud - Perhaps you're thinking of B Bar? Always have wanted to go there, but a little too pricey for the likes of me!

And, although it isn't quite as scenic, I can't comment in a BBQ thread without mentioning Bone Lick Park. If the weather's nice, you might be able to score a table outside. But the real reason to go is the fantastic $3.25 margaritas and mojitos! Also, the food smells pretty good too (coming from a vegetarian!).
posted by bloody_bonnie at 4:23 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bone Lick Park.
posted by The Whelk at 5:38 PM on April 13, 2010

There is somewhere with a nice outdoor seating area near Cooper Union. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

I assume you mean Gemma in the Bowery Hotel? They have wooden tables on the sidewalk, and it's not enclosed. Pretty room, too. Haven't heard good things about the food.
posted by kathryn at 6:54 PM on April 13, 2010

I was just at Rub the other week for lunch, and man, I had an excellent pulled pork sandwich. It's on 23rd st and 7th which isn't the most scenic area, but the front was open so you could sit right on the street.

Having written this post, I may go back tomorrow and get some brisket. I've heard it's pretty epic..
posted by gchucky at 7:33 PM on April 13, 2010

There is somewhere with a nice outdoor seating area near Cooper Union. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

That'd be Dallas BBQ on 3rd Ave at St. Marks Place. Skip it and go for Bone Lick Park or Fette Sau instead. (RUB is pretty solid too.)
posted by D.Billy at 8:30 PM on April 14, 2010

That Dallas BBQ is actually on 2nd Avenue and St Marks. All of the "Dallas BBQ" locations are barbecue in name only. The barbecue at Dallas BBQ is not smoked (it's steamed or baked and then finished on the grill). The main attraction seems to be the large, brightly colored drinks served in gigantic glasses, with umbrellas.
posted by kathryn at 12:43 PM on April 15, 2010

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