Now that outdoor dining and drinking are permissible in Phase 2 NYC, the city is replete with al fresco options. The fees for establishments to offer outdoor seating have been waived, and restaurants have greater leeway to set up outdoor dining on sidewalks and streets, as long as tables are at least six feet apart. For the restaurant industry, this means a much-needed economic boost. For New Yorkers, this means veritable treasure trove of dining options to enjoy, while still following appropriate safety measures.
Some places are taking reservations, but beware, while getting a table at a great spot has always been challenging, now the combination of limited outdoor seating and restaurant-starved New Yorkers has made it seemingly Herculean. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it; if anything, it’s even more so. Here are some of the top spots to enjoy sidewalk-café style:
With Chef Justin Smillie back at the helm, Il Buco on Bond Street is back, to be enjoyed at the restaurant al fresco or at home via delivery or takeout. The Cavolonero, a black Tuscan kale salad, is a timeless classic, and the fish option is always a smart choice. If pasta is more to your liking, the orecchiette with heirloom sausage, snow peas and ricotta salata does not disappoint.
A reservation to this hip Thai restaurant is a must-have right now, for the food but more so for the setting. The idyllic, plant-filled backyard patio provides a calm respite amid the storm, where you can indulge in Moo Sarong — pork meatballs cozily wrapped in wheat noodles. And the Pad Prik Khing — a string bean and tofu dish — is delightfully flavorful. If in a more decadent mood, enjoy the Sen Chan Pad, a 1.5 pound lobster stuffed with delicious rice noodles.
Yes, you read that correctly — Jean-Georges is open for al fresco dining. Things are looking up! To ensure safety, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant has contactless menus accessible on your phone via QR code; food is served in covered, disposable and compostable containers; and only credit cards are accepted. They are taking reservations, but walk-ins are welcome. The restaurant has a prix-fixe menu to suit everyone’s tastes, with omnivore and vegetarian options of three to 10 courses. It’s time to enjoy and appreciate all the city has available to us.