When you think of neighborhoods with a ton of restaurants, Long Island City probably isn’t near the top of the list. But whatever it lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. It’s home to some of the best Indian, BBQ, and Mexican in the city, all of which are currently open for outdoor dining. You’ll find those spots, along with some neighborhood staples and bars on the water, on this guide.
From butter chicken with too many flavors to count, to everything coming off the tandoor grill, this Indian spot is one of your best dining options in LIC. And now for the first time, they’re serving their fantastic food outdoors, with eight tables available by reservation from 5-9pm any day except Monday.
When you see nothing but blue skies and sunshine from your apartment, going somewhere with outdoor seating seems like a great idea. But when you’re taking ice cubes out of your vodka soda to rub on your neck, you start second guessing your decision. Fortunately, that’s not an issue at this Eastern European beer hall, as all of its outdoor tables are covered by an awning. That means you can eat giant pretzels and bacon cheeseburgers in peace, and not have to order a vodka soda at a beer hall.
Lots of foods have nicknames - flapjacks, frickles, za - and most are pretty uninspiring. A notable exception is burnt ends, also known as Kansas City caviar. Almost as important as finding ways to use that term as often as possible, is eating them at John Brown Smokehouse. It might be the best bite of BBQ in the city, and like everything on the menu, it’s available in their backyard every day from 12-8pm.
Like its sister restaurant, John Brown Smokehouse, Mothership Meat Company is one of the two places in LIC you should go for smoked meat. Prioritize the ribs and sausage, and know that they have a great craft beer list as well.
The two things we like most about Beebe’s are its big back patio, and its thin, crispy pizzas. Put the two together, and throw in some rosé or aperol spritzes, and you have a very good reason to head to this Italian spot in the Boro Hotel. It’s open for lunch and dinner every day, and whenever you go, head up to the hotel’s roof afterwards for drinks overlooking Manhattan.
Because it’s located behind some warehouses in Long Island City, Anable Basin doesn’t tend to get as crowded as other outdoor bars, let alone ones on the river with unobstructed views of Manhattan. You can take advantage of that any day from 3-11pm, or from 12-11pm on weekends.
Any discussion about the best Mexican food in NYC needs to include Casa Enrique, so, naturally, any conversation about where to eat in LIC should as well. Dishes like chile relleno in a perfectly sweet tomato sauce, and chicken covered in rich, chocolate-y mole are available at first come first served sidewalk seating out front.
Woodbines is a neighborhood bar with great cocktails, and an afternoon drinking on their front patio would be an afternoon well spent. But drinks are only half the picture here, and you should absolutely explore the long menu of bar food as well. It ranges from Irish sausage rolls and curry fries, to short rib spring rolls and a lamb burger with goat cheese, all of which is available daily from 11am-10pm.
With a long menu of Peruvian dishes, like lomo saltado or an avocado stuffed with shrimp and quinoa, you might scoff at the idea of ordering rotisserie chicken. But that’s exactly what you should do at The Inkan. The juicy, crispy bird is their specialty, and should be part of your order, along with pisco sours and any of the various types of ceviche.
Every neighborhood has plenty of American spots serving burgers and natural wine, and every neighborhood has one place that does it better than the others. In LIC, that place is LIC Market. Seating on the sidewalk and in the covered back patio is available on a first come first served basis until 9pm Wednesday through Sunday. You can also get some excellent pancakes during weekend brunch, which runs from 12-3pm.
This high-end American spot opened in March, and while you’ll have to wait to see the big indoor space and oversized raw bar, you can get duck quesadillas, pizzas, and fried chicken and waffles right now. Their outdoor seating along Gantry State Park is available every day from 5-10pm (11pm on weekends).