Let someone else make dinner tonight
It’s summer! And that’s just one reason why you might be looking for a restaurant with outdoor dining. But we know you can’t just take the kids anywhere there’s a cafe set up on the sidewalk. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best, most kid-friendly restaurants with outdoor dining NYC has to offer. Whether you want your own personal bubble or hut, a cozy backyard or maybe even a river view, we have something for you and your brood. For more of our picks on where to eat in NYC with kids, try these brunch spots, and our favorite places for pancakes.
Outdoor Dining in the Bronx
Zero Otto Nove
In this Italian restaurant, even eating indoors feels like you’re outside thanks to the open-air Italian bistro-inspired motif—complete with fake brick storefronts. Stepping inside really feels like stepping out into the streets of Italy, and the food matches the presentation, featuring Southern Italian-inspired options from an impressive variety of pizza types to hearty pasta plates. Kids will get a kick out of seeing the interior, though if you prefer to eat in the actual outdoors (and not the mock plaza inside), Zero Otto Nove’s got you covered, literally, with covered streetside seating.
2357 Arthur Ave.
Located in the heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy, Emilia’s is a warm and inviting Italian eatery. The rich Italian fare consists of many pasta dishes, as well as hearty chicken, beef, and fish options. Don’t forget to ask about their rotating menu of specials! The outdoor seating is a cozy affair surrounded by a rustic stone wall, set in a covered patio that’s heated on chilly days.
2331 Arthur Ave.
Known for its family-friendly vibes among the locals, Antonio’s Trattoria will hit that sweet spot for all members of your group. This is another gem in Little Italy, with a focus on pasta and thin-crust pizzas. The little ones will love the margherita pizza and all the kiddo-approved options on the kids’ menu, while adults can chow down on the more complex flavors on offer. Don’t forget to leave room for some cannoli! Ample outdoor seating is available under shade umbrellas, set up on inviting turf.
2370 Belmont Ave.
Paddy’s On the Bay
This bar and grill restaurant is a great place to wind down when the weather’s nice. Enjoy spacious outdoor seating with gorgeous views over the Throgs Neck Bridge. The adults in the dining party can choose from an expansive drinks menu (note that patrons must be over 23 to be at the bar, though the rest of the restaurant is open to all ages). There’s something for everyone here, whether you want to nibble on appetizers or chow down on a hearty burger.
50 Pennyfield Ave.
Outdoor Dining in Brooklyn
Although this cozy Vietnamese restaurant has a kids’ menu, the little ones will want to sample the main menu dishes right along with the adults. The house specialty is family, street, and French-influenced Vietnamese fare like crepe appetizers, a variety of meat and vegetarian mains (many of which are also gluten-free), and rich veggie sides. Outdoor seating is available in the cute garden, surrounded by lush plants and fenced-in so parents can rest easy and enjoy the food.
162 Fifth Ave.
Whether you need to wind down after a trip to IKEA or are just looking for a family night out with good nosh to boot, Brooklyn Crab is one of the most family-friendly dining experiences in NYC. Select from seafood picks like clam chowder, crab and lobster rolls, and kid-friendly sides like mac and cheese, corn on the cob, and fries. There are plenty of refreshments for accompanying adults, too, and Happy Hour is every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5 (featuring $1 oysters and $5 Modelo and Pacifico).
The “shack” has several spacious outdoor seating options which overlook the Rood Hook Channel and Hudson River. There’s a huge roof deck with a mostly open-air dining experience, a patio outfitted with picnic tables and a retractable awning for rain or shine eating and amazing views of the sunset, and Reed Park, the Brooklyn Crab’s beer garden that’s honestly more like a fairground. Getting up and moving around isn’t just ok, it’s encouraged thanks to the lawn games set up for everyone to use. Try your hand at bean bag toss, foosball, or 18-hole mini-golf!
24 Reed St.
If your family begs for Mexican night every night, treat yourselves to a family-friendly yet relaxed and affordable neighborhood spot that serves contemporary Mexican cuisine in their outdoor patio seating. At Fonda, the tortillas are hand-pressed and the guacamole is made to order. They’ve definitely got your favorite tacos and enchiladas for the little ones while grown-ups might want to try out something more adventurous like tortillas with braised duck or cod in a black bean sauce or even a mole!
434 7th Ave.
If it’s a simple and healthy farm-to-table dining experience your family is looking for, Westville has got you covered, with outdoor dining now available in almost all Westville locations. Because Westville prides itself on the freshest produce, the menu changes often to reflect that. On most days, though, you’ll find market bowl specials, salads, and sandwiches, as well as a slew of deliciously-prepared vegetable sides such as broccoli with garlic and seared tofu. Westville is that perfect place where your kids are eating vegetables but they don’t even know it.
81 Washington St.
Time Out Market
When you’re out enjoying the DUMBO waterfront area, Time Out Market is a must-visit. The space houses 21 different restaurants and three bars, and sports outdoor seating both on the bottom and top floor. (If all the seats are taken, you can always take your meal to one of the pier benches for an impromptu picnic). From gourmet pickles to Mexican food with a NYC spin, this upscale market hall has a ton of options, for those times when everyone in the family can’t agree on what to get. Plus, the market is located right up against the waterfront, making for a great day out and some gorgeous evening views.
55 Water St.
Opera Cafe and Lounge
Get some fresh air while you nom on authentic Turkish food at Opera. The outdoor seating right on the Bay makes this one a nice spot for al fresco meals any time of day. Picky kids will also love the all-day breakfast and the extensive Turkish dessert menu. This one’s touted by many locals to be the best place to grab a bite on the Bay.
2255 Emmons Ave.
Outdoor Dining in Manhattan
Ellington in the Park
Ellington is the place to go for scenic Riverside views and picnic-style, family tables as well as some smaller tables—and even some couches. Take a break from a day in the park playing beach volleyball, soccer, and softball to rest up in the middle of Riverside Park. The menu is simple and no-frills, for a down-home dining experience, and a kids menu at 9 has all the kid favorites to choose from and comes with a juice box (with 100% juice). Since this is an outdoor-only restaurant, it’s only open from April through October. Bring Spot along—it’s also dog-friendly!
Riverside Dr, W 105th St
Upper West Side
Pell Street, Chinatown
Dining in Chinatown is always a good idea, especially if you’re headed to Pell Street. Thanks to the Chinatown Business Improvement District, it’s always closed to traffic on weekends from morning to evening. That means it’s a festive and colorful spot to dine outdoors and have a true NYC experience. Try Joe’s Ginger for soup dumplings, House of Joy for Dim Sum, and Vegetarian Dim Sum House for meat-free eats. And while you’re there, don’t forget to leave space for a pit stop at the legendary Chinatown Ice Cream Factory!
Every day is Taco Tuesday at Gina Mexicana. Kids and adults alike will enjoy chowing down on meat or seafood tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and other Mexican favorites. The outdoor space is a little oasis of relaxation, with trees and greenery, a couch, and even a pretty pink hammock in the corner. Stop by in the evening for an especially magical meal brightened by string lights hanging from umbrellas above the tables. As a bonus, Gina Mexicana boasts the self-proclaimed “best cocktails in town”!
145 E 61st St.
Upper East Side
Jones Wood Foundry
This Upper East Side restaurant features locally sourced British fare, a sidewalk terrace, and a “hidden garden” with a retractable awning. Feel like you’ve crossed the pond by ordering some British-style fish and chips, Welsh rarebit fondue on toast, English pea soup, and more from a menu that changes with the seasons and ingredient availability. Weekend brunch serves up more British classics like the Yorkshire pudding pop-over and even an entire plate of traditional British breakfast. To complete the British pub ambiance, adults can order from a long list of draft, canned, or bottled beers.
401 E 76th St.
Upper East Side
Cafe du Soleil
Ever wish you could sit in a bubble and watch the world pass you by? Cafe du Soleil can do that for you with its cute outdoor seating pods. What started as an exercise in social distancing has persisted because of how cozy these heated/air-conditioned pods are. Besides the pods, there are lots of outdoor tables set up to enjoy a summer meal in the fresh air.
The French family-owned bistro aims to transport diners to France with its classic dishes. Kids will enjoy the Thursday-Sunday brunch menu—which includes burgers, egg breakfasts, Nutella crepes, pancakes, french toast, and more—while adults can partake in the more unusual fare, like garlic parsley escargot and pan-seared swordfish steak. Bonus: If you’re not a meat-lover, a veggie brunch menu is available, too!
It’s hard to go wrong eating at Chelsea Market, but we’re highlighting MIZNON because they offer standout Israeli cuisine and have awesome outdoor tables. If you know you’re heading to Chelsea, we suggest going sooner rather than later, as they tend to sell out of certain dishes quickly. Best known for their pita-filled delicacies such as lamb kebab or the perfectly simple pita pocket filled with cauliflower and tahini, MIZNON also serves a vitamin-filled whole sweet baked potato the kids are bound to love, as well as Israeli meatballs with mashed potatoes. A good choice for walking off a hearty meal is a stroll on The Highline.
435 West 15th St.
Bring your terrible T-Rexes to the Dinosaur BBQ and snag one of the picnic-bench-style seats outside for a family lunch everyone will love. Besides being home to some of the best meats in the city, the BBQ house also boasts one of the most expansive kids’ menus for the under-12 crowd we’ve ever seen. For $8, kids can enjoy sliders, wings, ribs, grilled cheese, chicken fingers, or mac and cheese, as well as two sides (choices include coleslaw, Creole potato salad, BBQ beans with pork, and more). Woah!
700 W 125th St.
Tavern on the Green
Originally built in the 1880s to house sheep, Tavern on the Green has been serving meals to visitors since 1934—and it’s a must-try at least once in your NYC life. Located in southwestern Central Park, the place is known for its fantastic outdoor seating and family-friendly meals. There’s a fairly lengthy children’s menu with classic options like mac and cheese, crispy chicken fingers, beef sliders, and a few more choices. Sit in the main courtyard or relax in the beer garden in front. In the warmer months, you can also order to go and take your food anywhere in Central Park!
W 67th St.
This cozy, cute cafe is just a stone’s throw from Central Park. It’s an especially good spot for breakfast and weekend brunch dishes with a twist like Lemon & Ricotta Pancakes topped with blackberries. Sides and savory picks are also sure to be crowd-pleasers if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth. The cozy outdoor seating looks out at the park, where kids can spot an occasional horse-drawn carriage ride past and adults can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
40 Central Park South
Lolo’s Seafood Shack
If you’ve found yourself daydreaming lately about being stranded on a Caribbean island, we totally know the feeling. You can get your fill of those Caribbean vibes at Lolo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem. The minute you walk into Lolo’s, your family will feel transported as the light blue and green colors of the water dominate the restaurant’s decor and you feel like you’re about to eat lunch at a beachside wooden shack with some friends. Lolo’s is well known for its peel-and-eat shrimp and crawfish boils, but you’ll also find some hearty warm grain bowls with a variety of proteins to choose from. If you decide to come for brunch, it’s the grits you’ll want to try! Lolo’s only has a few outdoor tables, so it’s worth calling the restaurant directly to book a seat at this island getaway.
303 West 116th St.
The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens
Escape from the hustle and bustle of Times Square by heading up to The Terrace Gardens on the roof of the Times Square Edition Hotel. This dining experience is on the classier (and, yes, more expensive) side, but it’s a unique treat for families who want something a bit more upper-class but still family-friendly. Your jaw might hit the floor when you uncover this hidden garden in the middle of the city—palm trees and hanging plants decorate the interior while outside feels like a Parisian park with potted trees and shrubs. The space is especially stunning at night when it’s lit by candles. The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as weekend brunch.
701 7th Ave.
Junior’s Times Square
Junior’s offers the classic American diner experience. Outdoor seating lets you enjoy your meal while watching the throngs of New Yorkers and tourists pass you by. There’s a “Junior Menu” for $11.95 for kids under 12 consisting of all the kid menu staples and served with soda, juice, or milk. The full menu is sure to be a hit with kids, too, whether they prefer a loaded sandwich or Hungarian beef goulash (and why not). Junior’s also serves breakfast fare and, of course, the dessert menu—with everything from their signature famous cheesecakes to “mountain-high sundaes”—is to die for. Tip: Junior’s will give you a free slice on your birthday if you join their Birthday Club mailing list and visit the restaurant on that day!
1515 Broadway, 45th St. B/W Broadway & 8th Ave
Pier I Café
This seasonal outdoor café, located along the Hudson River in Riverside Park South, has plenty of umbrella-covered seating. Get your fill of beautiful river views while you peruse a menu that includes everything from lobster rolls to burgers and even a spicy watermelon salad. There’s no table service here, but an easy ordering system instead, keeping things casual. Sit and watch the boats go by or take in a sunset as you sip freshly-made lemonade and the kids nosh on an ice cream sandwich.
West 70th Street in Riverside Park South
(park entrance at W 68th Street & Riverside Blvd)
Upper West Side
Brunch is always a favorite with kids thanks to its mashup of sweet and savory flavors, and Bubby’s does brunch best. Pick up pancakes made just the way you like them, sandwiches and burgers, breakfast classics, and more. And make sure you leave room for dessert because you’ll want to get a slice of Bubby’s amazing homemade pies. Bubby’s has set up plenty of outdoor seating intended for family sharing. Say hi to the cute cow statue while you’re there (who was kidnapped and subsequently reclaimed in 2014)!
120 Hudson St.
Mac and cheese is taken up a notch at S’MAC (Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese), a specialty restaurant full of personality. This cozy nook serves up steaming hot mac and cheese right on the skillet (keep those little hands well away!) from the relatively tame cheeseburger mac to more creative combinations of flavors like the Parisienne (brie, roasted figs, shiitake mushrooms, and rosemary) or the Masala (mac with Indian spices). Vegan and lactose-intolerant diners, don’t fret—the cheesy shop has a vegan version for you!
The outdoor seating is just as fun and on-brand. On nice days, the walls are opened up, turning S’MAC into a covered, open-air space. When you’re ordering for yourself, consider buying a donation meal for $11.90. For each meal donated, S’MAC will put three meals into the community fridge just outside the restaurant, which offers free meals for those who need them.
197 1st Ave.
When you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Governors Island is just a seven-minute ferry ride away. Make a left as you exit the Manhattan ferry landing (stopping, of course, to let your kids ring the bell by the entrance to the visitor’s center), to find Taco Vista, an outdoor taqueria with a relaxed beachside vibe. Tackle traditional tacos like carne asada and carnitas, or choose one of their burritos or burgers (a plain kids’ burger option is available for any picky little ones). Relax on picnic benches by the water with Manhattan views, and make a day of exploring what the historic island has to offer.
And if you get hungry for more, Governors Island also has food trucks located at Liggett Terrace, where kids can play in a water fountain and in a natural-style playground, as well Little Eva’s Beer Garden and Grill, and Island Oyster (open only in the summer).
140 Carder Road
Outdoor Dining in Queens
Mom’s Kitchen and Bar
Coming to Mom’s really feels like coming home, with delectable comfort food, all-day brunch, and humongous, absolutely bonkers shakes—think vanilla shake topped with fruity pebbles, lollipops, and a mini-cupcake on whipped cream (for $7, adults can add some boozy goodness to theirs). Dine on delish classics like house-special burgers or chicken and bacon waffles, or dig into some of the more unique picks, like the mac and cheese pancakes or a sausage, egg, and cheese stuffed pancake burrito. All this is served with a side of 90s nostalgia. Outdoor seating is fairly standard, with tables and chairs along the venue’s side and in a covered detached spot on the turf.
3301 31st Ave.
This steakhouse and bar is ideal for winding down with a drink while the kids (and four-legged kids—the space is dog-friendly) explore and play on the large waterfront patio. Picnic tables and regular seating are spaced out and family-sized, and the space is often used for children’s parties. The menu is simple but there’s something for everyone: Kid favorites include corn on the cob and hot dogs while accompanying adults might prefer the steak, chorizo, or any of the nice selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. Note that this spot is cash only (though an ATM is available on-site).
4-40 44th Dr.
Long Island City
Can’t get enough of the water? Bungalow Bar is another waterfront outdoor dining experience the fam won’t want to miss. While the vibe gets more adult in the evenings as the outdoor Tiki bar serves up drinks and live music and DJ sets, during the day the patio is a great hangout for families who want a casual spot to just sit and chill. The kids’ menu consists of pizza, chicken fingers and fries, burger, chicken sandwich, pasta, or pizza for $8-9 each, and there’s plenty of other American finger food to keep them sated. Weekend brunch is also a popular option for families. There’s tons of space outside to sit or explore, including a little turf lawn with comfy seats facing the breathtaking views of the water.
377 Beach 92nd St.
Outdoor Dining in Staten Island
Staten Island has no shortage of waterside venues, and the Marina Cafe is one of the most beloved ones. Gaze out on Great Kills Harbor’s docks and water as you and the family nom on upscale seafood dishes and the adults enjoy a drink from the famous Tiki Bar, which has a separate entrance and a more limited food menu. Plus, if you stop by for lunch, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg—lunch mains are only $22 and come with a seasonal soup or house special salad. Dinners do get quite a bit pricier, especially for the more high-end specialty treats like the Zuppa di Pesce (a seafood mix in tomato-basil broth served over squid ink pasta). Plus, you can enjoy this venue outside all year long thanks to their “endless summer” heated tents that’ll keep you nice and warm—even when the weather outside isn’t.
154 Mansion Ave.
The Stone House at Clove Lakes
If you’re in the vicinity of Clove Lakes Park, the Stone House is a must-visit. Situated on a little island in the middle of Clove Lake, this rustic restaurant is absolutely gorgeous, surrounded by water and nature. The restaurant serves up lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, as well as desserts and drinks galore. There’s plenty of space for kids to explore outside, and the venue often hosts live music and other events. After your meal, you can rent a rowboat or paddleboat from The Stone House and enjoy the scenery from a different perspective.
1150 Clove Rd
South Fin Grill
This stylish restaurant on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk makes a great rest stop for a long day out. The eatery boasts a nautical-inspired color scheme with crisp whites and navy blues, as well as tons of wood befitting a boardwalk spot. As you dine, you’ll get an amazing view of the waterfront, beach, and the Verrazano Bridge. The menu has some varied options but it’s an especially great pick for seafood lovers. Stop by Thursday through Sunday evening to catch a live performance.
300 Father Capodanno Blvd.