Where To Get A Big Group Meal Outside In NYCInstead of having a picnic on your stoop, try one of these spots.
If you hadn't noticed, space is limited in this city. Unless you want to bring a few sandwiches to Central Park or throw a dinner party on the upper deck of the Staten Island Ferry, it can be hard to find a place to eat outside with a group. But here are a few great options. Hang on a rooftop and drink a mojito with a side of plantains, enjoy an extravagant seafood tower with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, or try one of these other spots that are all perfect for an outdoor meal with everyone in your group chat.
Montesacro has an impeccable greenhouse dining room where you can have an impromptu pinsa party with seven of your friends. The pizza-adjacent pinsa here come topped with things like sausage, tuna, and broccoli rabe, and you'll want to share a bunch of different ones with everyone at your table. Despite being one of the best outdoor dining areas in Williamsburg, there are usually tables available for a last-minute group dinner here even in the summer months.
Wayla’s idyllic backyard has one of the most unique setups in the city, with rubber plants, oversized chairs, and outdoor rugs. It’s one of Manhattan's best options for groups, because you’ll want to try everything on the menu. Get the wok-fried shrimp with Southern Thai chili paste, the whole fried branzino, and the saucy, sweet rice noodles accompanied by a whole lobster. The portions are big, but everything's so good that you probably won’t be taking home any leftovers.
Krupa’s backyard has plenty of picnic tables, and you'll want to cover one of those picnic tables with shareable plates like ricotta gnocchi, risotto balls, and fondue. The well-priced carafes of wine are another big plus, and there’s plenty of shade if you go on a particularly sunny day. You can also grab a surf and turf picnic box if you want to take the party down the street to Prospect Park.
As the name suggests, this huge rooftop terrace is meant for groups. Claim one of the big wrap-around couches, and order a flatbread, some fish tacos, or a burger. You won’t have to worry if your group gets a little loud. That sort of energy is encouraged here, and your voice will just dissipate into the Midtown sky anyway. If it gets too breezy on the terrace, move over to the semi-indoor tented area where you can watch the game on the bar TV with a fake grass floor underneath you.
One of our favorite places to eat and drink in Astoria, The Bonnie has a backyard patio that's equipped with picnic tables long enough to seat six. In addition to beer, wine, and cocktails, this gastropub serves a big menu of fancy bar food like coconut shrimp and a spicy fried chicken sandwich, and they do a great brunch as well. This is a popular patio, so make sure to get a reservation.
Rum and backyards make for a good combination. That’s partly why the back patio at Sally Roots is one of our favorite places in Bushwick. It’s loud and always full of people holding colorful cocktails and eating shareable Caribbean dishes. We especially love the braised oxtails and the intense garlic sauce that comes with the tostones. You’ll need to order seconds of that garlic sauce, mostly so you can pour it on every other dish on the table.
If you ever need to plan a casual group meal with a bunch of people who appreciate smoked meat, go to Hometown BBQ in Red Hook. You'll probably have to wait in a very long line to place your order at the counter—but it's absolutely worth it. They have a bunch of nice picnic tables for you to eat at once you get your brisket, several types of ribs, and lamb belly bánh mì. Bonus points if you take the ferry to get there.
Berimbau is the best Brazilian restaurant in the city, and they have a garden patio (which is covered when it's cold out) hidden behind their West Village space. Whenever we’re here, we order the bacon-studded farofa, smoky feijoada, a basket of stress ball-sized pão de queijo, and some not-too-sugary caipirinhas for everyone at the table. Groups of more than five people need to email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation, but they can accommodate up to 20 people in case your group dinner is more of a group banquet.
This East 70s Peruvian restaurant specializes in seafood and cocktails, like a classic white fish ceviche bathing in a zippy leche de tigre and a number of takes on the pisco sour. Plus, there are plenty of options for anyone who wants to share, including their lomo saltado and large-format cocktails. The dining room—with its wrap-around bar, indoor ivy walls, and a neon sign that reads “Tiger Milk Effect”—can feel like a club. If you’re seeking a slightly calmer energy but still want great ceviche, sit on the plant-decorated sidewalk patio (which feels secluded from the busy street).
This Greek spot in Astoria is part fish market and part restaurant, and there’s a big display in the back where you get to choose your own seafood. There’s always a good selection of things like snapper, porgy, shrimp, and octopus, and when your server delivers everything fresh from the grill, you’ll remember why simply cooked fish is the ultimate summer food. As an added bonus, this place is BYOB. The only real downside is that Astoria Seafood gets busy, and they don’t take reservations for their streetside patio. But it’s worth a wait.
Will you be the only one having a group dinner at this Italian-American spot in the East Village? Certainly not. That’s because this place has been making consistently delicious spaghetti al limone, wood-fired margherita pizzas, and chicken parm for years. But there’s even more seating at Lil Frankies now that they’ve taken over the entire stretch of the sidewalk and put up a patio structure on 1st Avenue. Book in advance, especially if you’re looking to go on a Saturday night.
Garden Cafe in Inwood serves pastas and burgers in a casual space less than a block from the A train at 207th Street. The American-leaning food is all totally fine, but the real reason you come here is for the beautiful garden patio in the back of the restaurant. The outside space has room for several massive parties and a partially-clear awning that still lets some sunshine in. Bring your family for brunch or a group of friends you haven’t hung out with in a while.
At Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria, you can eat with a group of 40. The walled-in yard here is massive and filled with picnic tables, and it feels like a public park where you can drink beer out of an enormous glass mug. To help soak up that beer, order anything from nachos and chicken tenders to bratwurst and schnitzel. The food menu is surprisingly large, and there's occasionally live music.
Need something on the fancier side? Try The Fulton, a seafood restaurant from Jean-Georges on Pier 17 at the Seaport. Book a table on the massive patio that has an unobstructed view of the Brooklyn Bridge, and enjoy a big seafood tower or some spaghetti alle vongole. The burger with gruyere and fried onions is also fantastic, in case you want to keep things simple. You'll probably spend at least $75 per person here, but if you need to impress some people with a scenic meal, it's worth it.
Operating out of a converted warehouse in Bushwick, Union Pizza Works has a menu of Neapolitan pies and a big outdoor patio full of picnic tables. It's a great option for a casual group hang when you don't want to spend more than $40 per person, and it's easy to make a reservation for a group of 10 people online. Try the focaccia pizza, which is built like a sandwich and stuffed with mozzarella and 24-month cured prosciutto di parma. For $5 extra, you can get your crust gluten-free.