The arrival of spring signals a new dawn for pandemic-era dining, and those of us who have kept eating outside, through the snowy days and 20-degree nights, couldn’t be more thrilled. The pandemic’s silver lining for New York restaurant-goers is a newfound appreciation for al fresco meals, no matter the weather.
With sidewalk seats and backyard tables abound, it’s worth paying tribute to the places with an eye for exterior design and a knack for creating the most stellar of patio experiences. Here are 14 of the restaurants that surpass our expectations for what outdoor dining can be, whether natural wine amid Scandanavian sleek in Williamsburg, or hand-cut soba amid pink lanterns by Union Square. We’re here for all of it. And if you’re looking for even more ideas, don’t miss our always-updated guide to outdoor dining options of all sorts.