Your wooden spatula has started to whittle down like a fire-starting tool. Your seven-year-old is now the one homeschooling you. It’s possible you may be ready to take a quick vacation from your UES apartment, and check out a great neighborhood restaurant with outdoor seating. Whether you’re looking to book a reservation for a sushi dinner date night or find a spot with Happy Hour margaritas for a socially-distant reunion with a friend, use this guide for our favorite outdoor dining options between East 60th and 110th Streets.
If you’re not quite ready to check out a restaurant in the neighborhood, we’ve got plenty of ideas for planning a picnic in Central Park and over 500+ options for takeout and delivery around the city.
Here’s a quick list of charming things to appreciate on the UES right now: a baby duck bathing in the pond by the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park, a sunset ferry at 90th Street, and the tiny cafe tables outside of Via Quadronno. This Italian restaurant is serving spritzes and summer specials like crab soup and asparagus, as well as their typical menu of panini, gelato, and espresso.
Moti Mahal Delux
Moti Mahal Delux is one of the best Indian restaurants in the neighborhood, and they’re running outdoor service on their patio every day for lunch and dinner. Whenever you go, order their incredibly rich (and famous) butter chicken.
PQR is mostly a takeout place, however, you can sit at one of their sidewalk tables right now and eat a rectangular slice by yourself. The pizza here comes covered in things like broccoli rabe, burrata, sausage, and pumpkin. It’s all a little bit fancy, and the crust is crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
Each patio table here has its own flower pot centerpiece, which we can only assume is to remind you that you’re among nature and that JoJo is the sort of place that nails the details. This Jean-Georges spot makes French-leaning dishes, including one of our favorite roast chickens in the entire neighborhood. Come for a nice date, or direct someone here who wants a cool uptown spot for when they convince a relative to watch their kids for the night.
The menu at this Georgian spot on East 73rd Street has things like lamb, roast chicken, and about 20 types of bread. You can check out their outdoor seating any day from noon to 9pm, or book a table ahead of time online. Make sure to order the lamb kebabs and dumplings, called khinkali.
Eat something that feels distant from anything that could conceivably come out of your kitchen, like a $59 nine-piece omakase from Sushi Ishikawa. This Upper East Side spot is offering its excellent sushi during 6pm and 8pm seatings on Tuesday through Saturday.
This upscale Italian spot might have the best outdoor dining set up on this list, complete with an elevated platform, string lights, and teal umbrellas that appear to have been meticulously placed in a straight line. You should come here when you want to celebrate something over a plate of veal milanese, arctic char, or one of their red sauce pastas.
While this is mostly a craft beer bar, you can still eat things like wings, tacos, flatbreads, and nachos along with your double IPA on the outdoor patio. The Rochard is open from 2pm to 10pm Tuesday through Sunday, so if you’re looking to spend a weekday afternoon outside of the sauna you once called your apartment, this is a great spot to know about.
Emmy Squared makes thick, rectangular pies with sauce on top of the cheese (Detroit-style), and the UES location now has outdoor patio in the parking lane in front of their spot on 3rd Avenue. If you don’t want to stress about securing a table, you can always make a reservation for dinner and weekend lunch online.
photo credit: Alison
This neighborhood spot on 104th Street and Lexington Avenue built an impeccable curbside patio that looks like it came straight out of a Home Depot ad. They’re open weekdays from noon to 5pm for Happy Hour, and until 10pm for dinner. Stop by for East and West Coast oysters, as well as pancakes or a smoked salmon croissant during weekend brunch.
photo credit: Chris Stang
J.G. Melon has a takeout window and seat-yourself tables available every day from 11:30am to 10pm. Consider this iconic 3rd Avenue burger spot whenever you want something quick and delicious, or if you’re looking to minimize your contact and avoid waiter service altogether. Even though the burger is the star here, J.G. Melon’s cottage fries are just as important. They’re round, tiny, and will make you wonder why more burger places don’t make fries like this.
If you’re looking for the kind of UES night that involves long crunchy breadsticks, lemon-y veal scallopini, and bucatini amatriciana, you can’t do better than this Roman-style restaurant in the East 80s. Their outdoor seating is reservation-only, and you can book your table online or by calling 212-288-7374.
The Upper East Side location of this taco chain has a few tables set up on their corner space on 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue. Here’s how it works: you order at the counter, seat yourself, and then patiently wait for your food to arrive while you fantasize about gargantuan tortas, buttery grilled corn, and chunky guacamole.
Bangklyn East Harlem
In addition to doubling as a cool vintage clothing store, this relaxed counter-service spot serves a wide range of Thai food, like Southern fried chicken, creamy coconut curries, and khao mun gai (steamed chicken). They have a few wooden tables set up outside their shop in East Harlem where you can sit after you get your food. Order the tamarind coconut milk noodles with crab - it’s sweet and nutty, and comes with enough crab to be confused with the vermicelli noodles they’re mixed with.
At Mountain Bird, you’ll find dishes like chilled corn soup and ratatouille on their rotating experimental French menu - and you can eat it all on a sidewalk table underneath a tent. Check out their Instagram to stay up to date with weekly menu changes, and book a reservation through their website here.
In case you’re looking to eat some ramen and a few gyozas on the Upper East Side, Naruto is a good place to get big portions of both while spending less than $20. There are a few small tables on their sidewalk where you can eat and appreciate the sensation of slurping noodles out of a large bowl.
Unlike so many other sidewalk set-ups in Manhattan, Tiramisu’s patio has enough to space to allow you and a friend to gaze at pedestrians and their goldendoodles from afar. The thin-crust pizzas, salads, and pastas here come in massive portions, and the complimentary garlic focaccia might be better than anything on the menu.
Congratulations Upper East Siders, you happen to be neighbors with the perfect deli sandwich. It comes on soft rye with delicate, lean meat from Pastrami Queen. Order one at the counter inside at this iconic deli and take it one of their seat-yourself tables in the covered parking lane. If you’re not feeling pastrami for some reason, the roast turkey is also excellent.
In case you need a late-night meal that includes creamy gnocchi, lots of wine, and a big plate of cured meat, check out Uva’s outdoor dining on Sunday to Thursday until 11pm and Friday and Saturday until midnight. This casual Italian restaurant has sidewalk seating and a back patio with first come, first served tables.
If you live in the East 70s, you probably know Up Thai as your neighborhood depot for pad see ew and crispy duck covered in tamarind sauce. Or at least you should. You can stop by their outdoor tables every day until 10:15pm (and 11:15pm on Fridays and Saturdays).
The East Pole
You go to The East Pole’s outdoor tables in pursuit of pork chops, a beautiful brownstone background, and the perfect martini. This upscale spot in the East 60s is s open for outdoor dining on Monday to Saturday from noon to 10pm, and on Sunday from noon to 9pm.
If we were dads who made dad jokes for sport, we’d call this sidewalk seating, “Heidi’s Outdoor Tables By The Side Of The Road.” OK, sorry we put you through that. What’s really important here is that the outdoor seating is first come, first served, and that Heidi’s is serving their perfectly crispy mac and cheese. You can stop by between 4pm and 10pm every day.
East Harlem Bottling Co.
If you like beer and live in the area, you probably already know about this neighborhood bar and restaurant between 107th and 108th Streets on Lexington Avenue. But you might not know that this is one of the best places to get a pub burger in the neighborhood. Or, that they’re currently serving lunch and weekend brunch outdoors on their plant-covered patio.
Kaia Wine Bar
For South African wine, shrimp rolls, and oysters on the UES, head to Kaia Wine Bar. They have eight outdoor tables spread across their sidewalk where you can try a glass of something you’ve probably never had. If you happen to love it, make sure to pick up a bottle from their cafe before you leave.
We typically rely on this Japanese spot for everything from ramen to pork tonkatsu, but they recently started serving sushi and cold ramen if you prefer to eat something that isn’t as hot as the air you’re sitting in. Stop by for a casual, socially distant catch up with a friend.
San Matteo Pizzeria e Cucina
This neighborhood Italian restaurant in the East 70s has a strip of turf in their parking lane with a bunch of spaced-out tables for outdoor dining. San Matteo makes pizzas, calzones, and a glorious item known as panuozzi (which are essentially very large sandwiches made with pizza dough instead of bread) - try one stuffed with prosciutto and arugula.
If you’re skimming this guide for “HAPPY HOUR,” you can stop scrolling. This Mexican restaurant on 64th Street and 1st Avenue has bottomless brunch and Happy Hour from noon to 4pm on Tuesday to Friday with $10 margaritas and $7 beers.
If you want to sit outside and eat a whole roast chicken and a tarte tatin, La Goulue is open for outdoor dining. This French restaurant on East 61st Street has sidewalk seating out front, and you can make a reservation online.
Felice 83 usually has outdoor seating in the summertime where people sit and monitor the traffic on 1st Avenue while slurping pasta, and this summer is no exception. It’s owned by the same team as Sant Ambroeus, if that gives you any sense of the experience here.
If you’re looking for a new kosher spot to try, Rothschild TLV is an upscale option on the UES where you’ll find things like a short rib flatbread, lamb shank, or a nice piece of fish. They’re taking online reservations for their curbside patio seating, which has leather chairs and a surprising number of small palm trees.
Emack and Bolio’s is one of the best places to get ice cream in the city, whether you live near the UES institution or not. Most of the flavors here are available as ice cream or soft serve, and if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can get yours in a waffle cone covered in things like rice crispy treats or Oreos.