While dining trends can turn on a dime, eating al fresco never goes out of style. Indulge in the great outdoors at any one of Luxury Attaché’s top picks.
With not just one, but two unique al fresco dining options, Tom Colicchio’s river-side Riverpark shines. Fine dining on their patio seamlessly takes the refined, farm-fresh fare from the bustling interior kitchen to the great outdoors. Alternatively, the more casual, communal terrace, peppered with picnic tables, sets the stage for stunning East river views and beautiful plates to match. Standouts from the restaurant’s seasonally changing menu, such as a bright avocado and hamachi salad and the tenderest of pork chops with grilled peaches, truly elevate the experience.
450 East 29th Street, between First Avenue and the East River
2 Bar Pitti
This NYC gem has had the stylish set and the jet-setting elite spilling out onto the sidewalks of Greenwich Village for years. And there are no signs of stopping. The warm, convivial din, matched with the controlled chaos of Sixth Avenue, gives off a flair that is undeniably European; so too does their cash-only, no reservations, see and be seen mantra. Tuscan whims are fully explored in uncomplicated, simply delicious plates of caprese and prosciutto di parma and hearty helpings of penne all arrabbiata. Take a note from the Italians themselves and hunker down with a frothy cappuccino, dip that spoon into a perfect slice of Torta della Nonna and watch the world go by--or at least a celebrity or two.
3 Gramercy Terrace
Gramercy Terrace atop the Gramercy Park Hotel is an exclusive, gorgeous, rooftop oasis. Featuring various areas to enjoy incomparable views of the skyline and escape the bustling city below, complete with lush wrap-around gardens, a retractable roof and secret garden make this the perfect escape. Indoor spaces, populated by masterpieces from Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst are seamlessly interwoven, adding yet another twist. The space is only open to the public for breakfast, lunch as well as weekend brunch which features bespoke cocktails and an innovative New American menu from Jeff Seizer--a premier member of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The space lends itself to events and is quickly becoming the most sought after outdoor venue.
Gramercy Park Hotel | 2 Lexington Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Streets
Keith McNally can do no wrong, and in fact, when it comes to this bustling hotspot, he does everything right. In what could very well be Balthazar’s Italian cousin, Morandi has staked its claim as a downtown mainstay on an unparalleled piece of people-watching realty. Coveted outdoor tables may be close together, but somehow, the heightened volume and unparalleled energy just plain works. The trendy meets homey vibe of service, matched with authentic flavor pairings and internationally-hailing bartenders makes this ‘it’ spot one to visit over and over again. Equally favored for a date night, or a celebration with guests, the Chianti always flows into the wee hours, proving that here, dining in the great outdoors, is even more than great, it’s perfetto!
211 Waverly Place, between Charles Street and Seventh Avenue
Gabriel Stulman’s reinvention of French favorites took its time to get it right, undergoing multiple menu revisions and a complete overhaul of the space. Now, the latest member of the Little Wisco family has given hungry city-dwellers something to celebrate: a beautiful outdoor space smack dab in the middle of Chelsea. While the sardine-like specs of the interior are part of Montmartre’s charm, it’s the airy--sultry even--ambiance of the trellaced back patio that stands out. A stellar list of creative tipples, shaken and stirred at the outdoor bar no less, is a perfect match for the roasted and braised duck for two or the moorish, award-winning moules frites. With wooden tables and dim lights abound, this is rustic dining in its finest hour.
158 Eighth Avenue, between 17th and 18th Streets