Where To Eat Outside When It’s Cold & Rainy In NYC
Also known as The Sh*tty Weather Guide.
Eating a delicious meal in the warm glow of a summer sunset is no longer a reality. The fact is, New York weather doesn’t care that we can’t move to California at the drop of a hat. When it comes to finding a restaurant on a day when the forecast is about as pleasant as tinnitus, use this guide. Each spot has outdoor dining with covered seating areas so you and your food won’t turn into soggier, colder, unhappier versions of yourselves.
Shukette in Chelsea makes Middle Eastern breads and dips that will distract you from the fact that New York City feels like the inside of a freezer. We especially like the crispy frena bread and deep-fried kibbeh with spicy tahini. Bring a date or a group of friends, and fill your covered outdoor table with small plates. This restaurant is run by the same team behind Vic’s and Shuka, and the high-energy atmosphere here is similar to what you find at those other places. Make a reservation on the enclosed patio ahead of time online.
Tsion in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem serves Ethiopian food with Israeli and Yemeni influence, which explains the malawach, mushroom tibs, and berbere-spiced Ethiopian coffee martinis on the menu. One perk of this restaurant is that they always have plenty of options for vegan and vegetarian eaters. Another perk? The covered back patio is one of the most idyllic places to sit in Harlem, even when it’s 30 degrees and you hate yourself for leaving the apartment.
The Best Restaurants In Harlem
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Riko Peruvian Cuisine
The Corona location of Riko Peruvian has an enclosed outdoor area where you can order several different kinds of ceviche, rotisserie chicken, salad, and Peruvian-style fried rice with beef.
This vegan Szechuan restaurant has two options for outdoor dining: a covered area with heat lamps and a few enclosed shacks with no heat lamps. Choose your own adventure based on the weather, but don’t miss the incredible cucumbers in chili oil or the cabbage-mushroom wontons.
Casa Enrique in Long Island City is serving their excellent Mexican food outdoors every day on the sidewalk. Get the ceviche, some mole poblano, and the enchiladas verde.
Mari Vanna remains one of our favorite places to drink vodka (specifically, the horseradish-infused variety) on a cold night. This Russian spot in Gramercy built an outdoor area in front of their restaurant complete with heat lamps, string lights, and plastic-covered walls so you won’t get drenched while you enjoy your hot borscht and potato vareniki.
Di An Di
Like a rain shower, a gust of cold subway wind, or a friend who tends to be too honest, the Vietnamese food at Di An Di is refreshing and necessary every few months. This Greenpoint restaurant’s noodle soups are perfect for cold nights.
The entire back patio at Miss Ada in Fort Greene is covered and heated. It’s a great place to sit with some wine, muhammara, and pita while everyone on the street shrieks about their bodega umbrellas inverting in the wind.
This Japanese spot in Chinatown opened in 2020, with regional specialties from Hokkaido like extravagant seafood and lamb cooked tableside. There are eight outdoor kotasu tables where you can sit with a group of three to six people beneath a roof and a disco ball. These tables are reservation-only, so make sure to check out the website ahead of time.
If you’re in Park Slope and you smell wet pavement, run to one of Miriam’s enclosed outdoor booths and eat their lamb shawarma. The combination of meat and atrocious skies may finally inspire you to write your graphic novel about a little lamb as an anti-hero protagonist.
Here’s an idea: Ditch work a little early and put your name in at Don Angie at 5pm. This hard-to-get-into West Village Italian restaurant built a wooden structure with a roof, cut-out windows, and outdoor heat lamps. You can also make a reservation up to a week in advance through their website.
Awadh is permanently closed
Awadh specializes in Northern Indian dishes the like clay pot meats and biryani draped with naan. It’s a great place to take someone for a nice but relatively low-key outdoor meal. Their covered outdoor patio is open every day for dinner between 5pm and 10pm.
If you’re in Bed-Stuy and looking for a place to take cover with escargots, this French bistro has covered seating available all day. If you think about it, snails always have a little umbrella whenever they need it. Lucky snails.
Not even our greatest enemies deserve wet chicken—and we would never wish that experience upon you. This Ecuadorian spot in Ridgewood has a couple of heated tents set up on the sidewalk. Stop by for some rotisserie chicken, empanadas, and margaritas on a first come, first served basis.
Szechuan Mountain House 川山甲
The Flushing location of Szechuan Mountain House has graduation-reception-style tents in front of their restaurant. So you can enjoy their excellent Sichuan food, like mapo tofu and garlic-heavy pork belly, even when it’s snowing sideways. This place takes reservations as well as walk-ins.
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This Italian spot is serving things like goat cheese agnolotti and kale and radicchio salad under a few big tents on Lexington Avenue on the UES. Bring a date, and focus on the pastas.
Cafe Rue Dix
This French-Senegalese spot in Crown Heights has a covered outdoor dining area that will keep you dry while you eat beef mafe or a whole branzino. It’s fully heated inside, and there are string lights in case being well-lit feels thrilling to you and your dinner companion.
Here’s the situation: your date night in Fort Greene is in danger of being cancelled due to terrible weather. Just go to Dino. They have tents with hanging space heaters above every table. The prices at this Italian spot are reasonable, especially when you factor in the big portions. If you’re into simplicity, we suggest the spaghetti limone.
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Akrotiri’s patio seating is perfect for when you want to make a reservation in Astoria, and there’s a chance of rain. The menu here has a bunch of things like lobster pasta, truffled squid ink taramasalata, and a saganaki with quinoa and tiger shrimp. But we prefer the more traditional Greek dishes like the various types of whole fish, the sliced octopus over black eyed peas, and the grilled sausage that’s just about perfect once you squeeze some lemon over it.
Koreatown is one big outdoor dining party. A lot of the spots on this stretch have coverings, including one of our favorite places to drink soju, Pocha 32. Stop by and get a hollowed-out watermelon full of soju in addition to a big metal cauldron of ramen stew loaded with spam, rice cakes, kimchi, and hot dogs.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
If you’re near 116th Street in Harlem and little puddles are beginning to form in your sneakers, seek refuge on the massive outdoor patio in front of Harlem Tavern. There’s a big red tent with speakers attached to the corners where you can order chicken tenders and frozen drinks while you let your shoes dry.
photo credit: Adam Friedlander
Vinum Wine Bar & Cafe
This Italian wine bar on Staten Island has a covered back patio that looks like the sort of place where you’d attend a wedding reception—only instead of watching someone’s brother fumble through a toast involving a Good Will Hunting quote, you get to enjoy charcuterie, wine, and gnocchi here. Reserve a spot online or show up for a first come, first served table.
This Thai restaurant’s backyard could be in a magazine about patio fountains. In addition to the fountains, there’s a large wooden pergola with plants weaving in and out of it. If it’s pouring, you may get a little wet, but consider this the best light-intermittent drizzle option in Woodside. Order the soft shell crab and the pork leg that falls apart as soon as you touch it. Just keep in mind that Sripraphai is cash-only.
This Roman flatbread spot in Williamsburg has a beautiful garden with a retractable roof. They’re currently accepting online reservations, so commit to not eating a pizza with stracciatella and broccoli rabe in the pouring rain.
Say you’re looking for a special occasion spot, and the forecast says it may spritz between 7pm and 10pm. We’d suggest booking a reservation at this Korean skewer restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. They have a covered, raised patio area with outdoor heat lamps, so you won’t get soaked while eating their tasting menu. They’re accepting walk-ups as well as reservations, and you can find more information about their menu and hours on their website here.
Maggie Mae's Bar
Think of this Sunnyside spot as an overachieving Irish pub where you can drink craft beers in a big booth with a galaxy hanging bulbs and no freezing rain to bother you. Maggie Mae’s is open from 3pm to 4am Monday through Thursday and 12pm to 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.