Dining Out: The Best Outdoor Restaurants In NYC
Now that the weather is getting nicer, it's the perfect time to grab a seat outdoors and enjoy a great meal. Here are five of our favorite outdoor restaurants serving up delicious food and spectacular views. By Carly Petrone.
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Who can say no to a dinner with a view of the New York Harbor and Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges? Head over to Watermark Bar, the 3,500 square foot venue located on the edge of Pier 15 at South Street Seaport and enjoy a meal along the waterfront. The simple menu makes it easy to order – may we suggest the house-made guacamole or vegetable spring rolls to start? Let mixologist Jeremy Strawn create a signature Dark & Story ($10) or Watermark Mojito ($12) cocktail for you to sip on while you take in the panoramic views surrounding you.
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Craving some fresh guacamole and chips? Cantina Rooftop recently opened up its doors to bring New Yorkers modern Mexican cuisine, expertly crafted drinks, and year-round rooftop nightlife. Executive Chef Gonzalo Colin, a Mexico City native, is busy serving up traditional items like stone ground Nixtamal tortillas (made fresh and in-house by La Senora del Comal – the lady of the griddle) as well as specials ranging from barbacoa de carnero (maguey-braised lamb shank, consommé with guajillo sauce and comal corn tortillas) to pollo campestre (chicken in Grandma's Mole Negro served with green rice). If you're in the mood for something a little lighter definitely try one of their antonjitos ("little cravings) like their enchiladitas poblanos or camarones locos (tequila fire Gulf shrimp, Mexican chile and spicy salt). Don't miss out their mezcal list, including the Cantina Margarita, made with Fidencio Mezcal, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar, and Tajin spice rum. Bottoms up!
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Now grabbing a drink at the beach is just a quick train ride away thanks to the re-opening of Surf City Bar in Jersey City. After the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, the space underwent a multi-million dollar restoration and opened up its doors again last week. Executive Chef Franco Robazetti is cooking up quite the menu. From lobster rolls and burgers to crab cakes and seafood pots, this megabar and restaurant is offering the perfect foods for a hot spring or summer day. Customers can enjoy the Manhattan skyline along the sandy beach with fire pits or dine at one of their four dining decks. Those looking for a fun night out can take advantage of the three indoor bars and three outdoor bars that are also available. Try one of their frozen drinks like the Caribbean Dream ($11) – mango, strawberry, pinocolada, and rum - or sip on a refreshing Captain Lawrence Sunblock – an American wheat ale that's lightly sweet with hints of lemon and orange. Whether you're meeting friends out for a day of eating and drinking or you're ready to party until 3 a.m., Surf City is a great place to relax and unwind.
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Cool down with a brew at Clinton Hall, the craft beer garden located on the corner of Washington and Rector. Step out into their large courtyard filled with communal tables and sip on one of the 20 draught beers and ciders. Pair your drink with a traditional bratwurst or sausage from Schaller & Weber but make sure to try one of their many kinds of french fries. You can't go wrong with the truffle flavor ($10) – fried fingerling, truffle oil, and parmesan – and don't forget the dipping sauce! The lemon curry aioli and ginger honey basil aioli are excellent alternatives to ketchup. Or grab some small plates for the table like the Baked German Potato Pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce or the spatzle. Finish off your meal with a house-made Belgian waffle or house-made chocolate pudding with whipped cream.
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If you're looking for something casual, head up to Harlem and grab a seat at the back patio of LoLo's Seafood Shack. The term "lolo" refers to a small traditional restaurant where you can taste the flavors of the local cuisine. In this case, customers can enjoy the food of the Caribbean and Cape Cod like steampots of seafood (ranging from shrimp to snow crab legs to crawfish) with their choice of signature sauce and perfectly crispy conch fritters. It's a great destination for someone on a budget, since everything on the menu is no more than $12. At these prices, it's easy to dive on in! (Closed on Mondays)
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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.
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