We love outdoor dining, but eating a delicious meal in the glow of a warm summer sunset is no longer a reality. That fact is, New York weather doesn’t care that we’ve already had a terrible year and can’t move to California at the drop of a hat. So this is what we’re working with. But now that outdoor dining has been extended indefinitely, some of the city’s restaurants adapted for days when it’s as gloomy outside as a Tim Burton set. The next time it’s rainy and cold, here’s where to find bubble coverings, three-sided tents, and more.
This French bistro on the UWS installed clear plastic domes to cover each of their outdoor tables. So, instead of wind gusts and rain, moule frites, wine, live jazz, and friends or a date will have your full attention. These domes can be reserved through the restaurant’s website.
Both the Flushing and Saint Marks locations of Szechuan Mountain House have graduation reception-style tents in front of their respective restaurants. So you can enjoy their excellent Sichuan food, like mapo tofu and garlic-heavy pork belly, even when it’s raining sideways. They take reservations as well as walk-ins.
Industry Kitchen has installed a few personal table coverings to block undesirable weather. Unlike Cafe Du Soleil’s bubble domes, this pizza and salad spot on the East River has table tents that look more like tiny clear houses. In fact, some real estate broker could probably list one on StreetEasy for $1,500 a month on the Lower East Side - utilities not included. Industry Kitchen is open from noon to 10pm every day, and you can reserve a table here - but we’d suggest giving them a call to ask about tent availability.
Here’s the situation: your date night in Fort Greene seems to be threatened by terrible weather. You’re getting stressed. Don’t panic and cancel - just go to Dino, where 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.
If you’re looking for another option right on the water (without water being the thing that actually ruins your meal) consider Estuary in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They have private table coverings which we’re formally going to start calling “table houses.” Make a reservation and check out their menu of American dishes like trout with butternut squash, lobster rolls, and a burger with smoked gouda here.
Koreatown is one big outdoor dining party, but when it’s cold and rainy outside, Pocha 32 is where you should go to take cover. They have a tent with curtains that close when the weather is gross. This also happens to be one of our favorite places to drink soju in the area. Get a hollowed-out watermelon full of it, as well as an order of budae jjigae (a big metal cauldron of ramen stew loaded with spam, rice cakes, kimchi, and hot dogs).
Maybe you had plans to meet a friend in Prospect Park. Well, nature selfishly disagrees with that plan. Instead of spending precious time shaking your fists at the sky, head to Mayfield’s covered backyard tent and eat a patty melt (and other American comfort food) in peace. Their back patio in Crown Heights has its very own entrance, and the tent will keep you dry even if the wind is blowing so hard you think it may start to sing at you.
This Italian wine bar on Staten Island has a covered back patio that looks like the sort of place you could 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. Reserve a spot online ahead of time or show up for one of their first come, first served tables.
If you’re in Soho and you smell wet pavement, you can run to one of Raoul’s enclosed tents and eat their excellent steak au poivre while staring at a rainy, touristless Prince Street. We encourage this New York experience, if only because the combination of peppery meat and atrocious skies may finally inspire you to write your graphic novel that personifies a piece of steak as an anti-hero protagonist.
Kissaki, a sushi spot on Bowery, set up a massive three-sided tent with circular windows to make you believe you’re in a protected fish bowl (all while eating raw fish). They have a few reasonably-priced sushi set deals, including one that costs $35 and comes with four pieces of nigiri and five pieces of futomaki. You can make a reservation through their website here.
This rooftop restaurant in FiDi opened back in July, and each of their outdoor tables have their own clear hut. You have to call to reserve one of their enclosed outdoor tables at least seven days in advance. Find more information and take a look at their Italian menu on their website.