Imagine for one (very upsetting) moment that you could only eat at restaurants in one NYC neighborhood. We’re not going to say the East Village would be the “right” answer, but we will say it definitely wouldn’t be the wrong one. From Alphabet City to Bowery, each street and avenue warrants one of those kind of catchy, kind of corny, unofficial, intra-neighborhood nicknames. So it’s no surprise that, with more restaurants than ever offering outdoor seating, it’s still a fantastic place to get brunch, lunch, or dinner. For proof, check out this guide. We’ll be adding places every day, so if you know of any spots we missed, please let us know at email@example.com.
This Southern spot has a very nice streetside patio covered in plants, and a canvas roof that’ll give you comfort on afternoons when the clouds can’t decide how they want to proceed. The first come, first served tables are available for dinner any day, as well as weekend brunch, and whenever you go, make sure to focus your order on the sweet tea-brined fried chicken served with honey tabasco sauce.
This popular Vietnamese spot in the East Village now has a few sidewalk tables that can seat up to four people. So whether you’re in the mood for chicken pho, papaya salad, or a brisket banh mi, Hanoi House has you covered. They’re open every day except Monday and if you stop by over the weekend, you can get breakfast options like an egg banh mi and Vietnamese coffee.
Oh you’ve had Rubirosa? Did you know that Rubirosa wouldn’t exist without the cracker-thin pies at Joe & Pats? Did you also know that the East Village location of this famous Staten Island pizza place has a somewhat-secret back patio where you can sit outside now. OK we will stop asking questions. Focus on the vodka or a white clam pie, and ask if you can sit in their backyard (even though they also have sidewalk seating available).
When the martini mood strikes and your freezer is out of vodka, head to Anyway Cafe’s outdoor area for Russian snacks, live guitar, and all of the vodka-based cocktails you could ever want.
Say you’re in more of a tequila and guacamole mood than a vodka and guitar mood, you can bop across the street from Anyway Cafe to Rosie’s. This Mexican spot is taking reservations for their outdoor tables ahead of time online, and they’re open for dinner on the weekdays and brunch and dinner starting at 1pm on weekends.
After a few months of takeout, this Korean restaurant in the East Village is now offering sidewalk seating. The restaurant is asking customers to make a reservation online ahead of time (there are a bunch of 90 minute slots available) but they’re also accepting walk-ins. If you go, get the dry aged steak burger with kimchi mayo.
Calling Ruffian a wine bar feels misleading considering we’d absolutely go just for their constantly changing menu of Eastern Mediterranean dishes. But not calling Ruffian a wine bar also feels inaccurate considering their wine list, which includes more than 250 bottles from small producers around the world, could keep us occupied for a very long time. Semantics aside, you should go to Ruffian, which is currently offering a $30 three-course tasting menu for the first time ever. You can reserve a table or walk-in from 4-11pm any day except Tuesday.
From the same people as Ruffian, Kindred is another great spot to drink natural wine and eat small plates in the East Village. Their sidewalk tables are under a big tent covered in hanging lights, so you won’t panic-sprint to the nearest scaffolding at the first sign of rain. Make a reservation ahead of time through their website, and order some orange wine and housemade corzetti with spicy ’nduja any day from 4-10pm (11pm on weekends).
Virginia’s on Avenue C makes one of our favorite burgers in the neighborhood, and they’re currently serving said burger (along with a slew of new menu items like BBQ ribs and New England-style shrimp rolls) in their parking lane patio area. The planters and wooden fences here look really pleasant, and you can make a reservation ahead of time online. We wouldn’t not bring a date.
At Empellon Al Pastor on St. Marks, you order your tacos and drinks at their takeout window, seat yourself at one of their two-tops, and they’ll bring out your food when it’s ready. In addition to things like tiny, delicious al pastor tacos, Empellon is also serving bar snacks like corn dogs and an all-day breakfast burrito. They’re open at 4pm on weekdays and 1pm on weekends.
We recently walked by Niagara’s outdoor seating and overheard someone say “Yeah, Johnny was really big in the metal scene in the ’80s.” This person was pouring a pitcher of beer and eating a bag of chips. That’s Niagara in a nutshell. They have a bunch of covered outdoor tables right next to Tompkins Square Park, but know that their menu only includes drinks and bar food like burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
Hosting a birthday party with three friends? Looking for brunch that involves lots of colorful cocktails? Miss Lily’s 7A is prepared for you. They have outdoor tables set up in their parking lane every day.
It’s 10:30am on a Saturday, and you want to sit outside and drink a caipirinha. Go to Esperanto, a neighborhood restaurant in Alphabet City that serves Caribbean and Latin American food. It’s also a great option for a casual dinner with a friend, which you can do any night by making a reservation through their website.
If eating a burger under an umbrella sounds appealing to you in the near future, know that David’s Cafe on St. Marks is open for outdoor service When you order their burger, ask for extra burger sauce on the side, and use it as a dip for the mountain of fries that comes with it.
Another solid burger and bar food option is Whitman’s on East 9th Street. This part of the block stays relatively calm, so keep this in mind when you decide you are no longer interested in loud noises and people drinking pitchers of margaritas.
This Georgian spot on Avenue B serves some of our favorite food in the neighborhood to go when we get a specific desire to eat multiple types of cheesy bread and lamb kebab. The menu has things like lamb, roast chicken, and about 20 types of bread (order at least one), and we especially like the lamb kebabs and dumplings (called khinkali). You can make a reservation for one of Oda House’s sidewalk tables ahead of time online.
Poco is another busy brunch spot on Avenue B that’s been offering outdoor seating for years. The food here is a mix of Spanish, American, and Mexican, which means you can order guacamole to go with your lobster mac and cheese, and shrimp and leek croquetas. They recently started taking reservations for their outdoor area (which you can make on Yelp), and they’re serving a bottomless deal every weekend.
From lunch with an ex-colleague who has strong opinions about east versus west coast oysters, to dinner with three friends who all have wildly different ideas about what the word “casual” means, The Smith is always there when you need it. This American spot’s East Village location has a bunch of patio seating, which you can reserve through their website, for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch.
Mimi Cheng’s is offering outdoor seating for walk-ins from 1-9pm. Get some chicken and zucchini or pork and chive dumplings on their patio on 2nd Avenue, and then pick up one of their frozen dumpling kits to-go, which you can order ahead of time through their website.
Somtum Der on Avenue A makes eight different different versions of papaya salad, and it would be reasonable to visit their sidewalk seating area several times to try them every kind. Our favorite, though, is the one with fermented fish sauce and crab. Pair that with a spicy mountain of larb ped and sticky rice, and the grilled coconut pork skewers.
Like this Italian spot’s West Village locations, Fiaschetteria on East 11th Street is open every day starting at 5:30pm. But what’s different about their East Village location is not only the pasta specials - spaghetti vongole and tagliatelle with black truffle - but also the fact that they take reservations. You can make one by calling 212-777-3355.
If you’re looking for vegan options outdoors, Double Zero on 2nd Avenue is serving its plant-based pizzas on their patio from noon to10pm from Monday to Wednesday, and noon to 11pm Thursday to Sunday.
Supper works for pretty much any situation that involves eating spaghetti al limone and drinking wine outside. When you find yourself in one of those situations, make a reservation at this East Village Italian spot through their website or by calling 212-420-0040.
This Filipino spot on 1st Avenue has some outdoor tables available in their sidewalk cafe from 4pm-9pm. If you’d rather eat their sisig, lumpia, or burger at home, you can place an order for pick up or delivery between Wednesday and Sunday from 2pm to 9pm.
Royale is still one of the best patios and best burgers in the East Village. Along with their backyard, they now have seating out front as well. Reservations are encouraged, and you can make one by calling (212) 254-6600.
The spicy salami pizza, chicken parm with spaghetti pomodoro, and all of the other dishes that make this Italian spot an East Village staple are being served every day from 11am-11pm. Reserve an outdoor table ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This massive Mediterranean spot from the people behind Tao has a less massive outdoor patio in front of the Moxy East Village. Dishes like steak frites with escargot butter and scallops with summer squash ratatouille are available for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with reservations available through their website.
Every outdoor table at Westville East comes with its very own wooden cubicle-like wall. This way you can feel fully separated from the table next to you fighting over who is ordering fries.