Elevated Outdoor Cuisine: The Upper West Side's Finest Al Fresco Experiences
The culinary scene of the Upper West Side has burgeoned in recent years, becoming known for its international flair and indoor-outdoor ease. In the New York City’s warmer months, dining outdoor is a favorite pastime. Many of the Upper West Side’s restaurants take advantage of the leafy greenery of this Central Park-adjacent neighborhood, allowing for the perfect outdoor dining experience.
From Parisian bistros to fresh seafood houses, each restaurant on this list is sure to impress your taste buds while immersing you in the vibrant, beautiful atmosphere of the Upper West Side.
1. Nice Matin (adjoins The Lucerne!)
As the name may suggest, Nice Matin is an airy restaurant that draws inspiration from the French Riviera. With a warm decor inside and out that calls to mind the sunny French coast, Nice Matin offers a charming setting for a leisurely meal. Nice Matin specializes in French classics, including Coq au Vin, Bouillabaisse, and Crème Brûlée, among others; indulge your taste for hearty French cuisine here.
2. Cibo e Vino
Nestled on Broadway, Cibo e Vino effortlessly combines rustic northern Italian fare with an inviting, warm ambiance. The restaurant is known for its outdoor seating, which is set apart by its cozy tables, vines, and twinkling lights. The perfect place for date night, this romantic restaurant will awe you with their extensive wine list and enchanting dishes. Try their classic Eggplant Parmigiana or their homemade ravioli — no matter what you choose, the flavors will transport you straight to the Italian countryside.
Find yourself on the Mediterranean coast with a visit to Bodrum, an energetic Turkish eatery known for its inviting atmosphere, incredible service, and impeccable Mediterranean fare. Its energy is the same indoors and outdoors, where diners are shaded from the street by umbrellas and plants; Bodrum’s food is an escape from the heat of the summer. Fan-favorites at Bodrum include the aromatic lamb kebab, the vegetarian dishes, and the brick-oven pizzas.
4. Crave Fishbar
Billed as New York City’s first 100% sustainable seafood restaurant, Crave Fishbar is delightful on many levels. Its outdoor seating is beautifully minty, reminding visitors of the seaside, while the indoors have a rustic, light wood charm. Crave Fishbar is known for its Oyster Happy Hour, where prices range from $1.50 to $2; their fish tacos, lobster rolls, and handcrafted cocktails are also well worth a try.
5. Salumeria Rosi
Nestled on the Upper West Side, Salumeria Rosi offers a genuine taste of Italy in its charming outdoor setting. The restaurant's outdoor seating captures the essence of a traditional Italian piazza, where you can savor a variety of delectable Italian meats, cheeses, and antipasti. The ambiance pairs perfectly with the rich flavors of Salumeria Rosi's offerings.
6. Cafe du Soleil
Like Nice Matin, Cafe du Soleil will make you wonder if you’ve somehow hopped a plane across the Atlantic. This romantic, relaxing bistro is the perfect combination of casual and elevated. Cafe du Soleil’s outdoor seating was renowned during Covid for their use of ‘space bubbles’ to separate tables; though those are no longer in use, the outdoor area remains unparalleled. The dishes offered at this bistro are also straight from the French Riviera, like a classic Niçoise salad or a Mediterranean seafood stew.
7. Jacob’s Pickles
An Upper West Side institution famed for its southern comfort food, Jacob’s Pickles’ homey outdoor seating appeals to everyone. The restaurant is oh-so-cozy, a mood that matches the comfort of its menu, which highlights dishes like Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Biscuits and Gravy. There’s also, of course, the classic Pickle Plate, an assortment of house-made pickles that ensures the restaurant lives up to its name.
With a name that comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘olive,’ Eléa leans into the clean, bucolic Mediterranean atmosphere with its decor and its menu. Its terraced outdoor seating is shaded by bright roses, while its interior is all white and light wood. The food here is mostly casual Greek food, including tzatziki, hummus, souvlaki, salad, and baklava.
9. Boulud Sud
Boulud Sud, located on the Upper West Side, captures the essence of the Mediterranean with its al fresco dining area. The outdoor seating exudes a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere, complementing the restaurant's focus on Mediterranean flavors and ingredients. From tantalizing seafood dishes to innovative takes on classic Mediterranean fare, Boulud Sud promises a culinary journey through the sun-soaked regions of the Mediterranean.
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