Summer weather in NYC is as random as the city’s garbage collection schedule or the timing of your upstairs neighbor’s HIIT workouts. One minute it’s 91 degrees and sunny, and the next, the earth is throwing a temper tantrum. When it comes to finding a restaurant on a day when the forecast is iffy, use this guide. Each spot has outdoor dining with fully-covered tables so you and your food won’t turn into soggier, unhappier versions of yourselves.
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 awnings as well as a tent set up on their sidewalk. Stop by for some chicken, empanadas, and margaritas on a first come, first served basis.
If you’re looking for an outdoor living room of sorts, stop by The Armory’s garden patio and order some charcuterie and cocktails. Sure, they don’t have games or couches, but we’re guessing they can make better drinks than you can (plus, you won’t get soaked if it rains). Check out their menu here.
Counterintuitively, the best way to stay dry near Brooklyn Bridge Park is to go as close to the water as humanly possible and get on a boat called Pilot. This oyster bar has yellow-striped awnings set up all over its boat space. They’re only holding a limited number of spots for walk-ins, and you can go through their website here to make a reservation (or, if it’s raining while you’re reading this, see if there are currently any tables available.
La Esquina on Kenmare Street in Soho has perhaps the best accidental awning situation our fair city can offer: scaffolding. Hang out for a margarita and some juicy carnitas tacos the next time you need a covered pit-stop.
The set up at this Indian restaurant on 51st Street is kind of like a block party, but with onion kulcha and tandoori prawns instead of half-deflated bouncy castles and six-year olds maniacally chasing you with a bubble wand. They have a big tent in the parking lane with string lights and spaced-out tables, and you can watch a video of their service during a rainstorm below.
Shanghai You Garden has a few tents sent up in the parking lane on their street in Flushing. They’re open every day from 6pm to 10pm, and if you spend at least $10, you get a free order of their pork soup dumplings. This is good news considering any order of their soup dumplings are worth getting rained on while you walk to the restaurant.
Basquiat’s Bottle is a restaurant, cocktail bar, and event space in Bed-Stuy. While they can’t host any parties in their indoor gallery right now, they’re still serving to-go cocktails and snacks at their spot on Fulton Street. You can order takeout online, or stop by for outdoor dining on their covered patio (and stay connected to their Instagram page here for announcements about future outdoor events).
If you’re in Soho and you smell wet pavement, you can run to one of the tents outside of Raoul’s and eat their excellent steak au poivre while staring at a rainy, tourist-less Prince Street. We encourage this New York experience, if only because the combination of peppery meat and rainfall may finally inspire you to write your graphic novel that personifies a piece of steak as an anti-hero protagonist.
The outdoor dining options at Le Crocodile make NYC look like the kind of city that has tons of open space. There’s sidewalk seating and two separate garden areas separated by a tiny staircase. When it’s rainy, this hotel French bistro can cover both patio areas so that you feel like you’re sitting on a big porch in Williamsburg. And, if you’re trying to plan ahead, know that they’re accepting reservations.
When it rains, Yatenga near 135th Street in Harlem can extend their awning to cover a few picnic tables underneath it. This means you won’t have to eat their French food while looking like a kitten after a bath. They’re open for outdoor dining from Wednesday to Sunday. Rain or shine, make sure you get their mac and cheese.
This South Slope beer garden used to be a gas station. While that’s a pretty neat fact on its own, we’re telling you this so you know there’s enough outdoor space to conceivably play hide and-seek. Almost every table here has its own tent set up above it, so you can post up on a rainy afternoon and eat some bar food with a friend. They’re open until midnight every day, and fortunately for all those who suck at bocce ball, know that Greenwood Park’s bar games are currently unavailable.
The whole back patio at Miss Ada in Fort Greene is covered, and it’s a great place to sit with some wine, muhammara, and pita while everyone else on the street shrieks about their bodega umbrellas inverting in the wind.
The awning at Dante in Greenwich Village covers a handful of tables on their sidewalk. It gets fairly busy here, so we’d recommend showing up earlier in the afternoon (they open at noon every day). If you get a table, order a negroni and try not to look too smug while all of the wet people walk past. You can also book a table ahead of time online.
This Roman flatbread spot in Williamsburg has a beautiful garden with a retractable roof. They’re currently accepting online reservations so you can commit to not eating a pizza with stracciatella and broccoli rabe in the pouring rain.
Whenever it rains, this neighborhood French bistro on the UWS puts out a big tent with string lights (which you can see here). They serve a bunch of wine for about $10 per glass, and we think it’s very important that you order mussels in a dijonnaise sauce while you ponder whether or not mother nature cares about us at all anymore.
Chela & Garnacha in Astoria is serving their Mexican food outdoors every day, even when it’s rainy. They have big, sturdy umbrellas that stick out over each of the tables (not flimsy ones that will fall over with the slightest whisper of wind). Get the masa cakes with shredded chicken and whatever torta makes your arm hair stand up when you read the menu.
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.
The East Village is full of sidewalk seating, but very few spots have covered outdoor space. 886, a Tawainese restaurant that serves dishes like an excellent fried chicken sandwich and a pork belly rice bowl, is one such place. There’s a big purple tent that will keep you and a friend from getting completely soaked.
Say you’re looking for a special occasion spot and the forecast says it may thunder between 7pm and 10pm. We’d suggest booking a reservation at this Korean skewer restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. They have awnings so that you won’t get soaked while eating their $65 tasting menu, which comes with seven courses. They’re accepting walk-ups as well as reservations, and you can find more information about their menu (which includes a $55 five-course tasting menu) and hours on their website here.