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Outdoor Dining Season is Here: Where to Go and What to Order

Outdoor Dining Season is Here: Where to Go and What to Order

Whether you’re looking for a hidden back patio or a raging rooftop, here are some of the best outdoor dining spots for the season. From the streets of New York and the shoreline of Cape Cod, to beer gardens in Seattle and patios in Napa Valley – we’ve got you covered.

The season for outdoor dining is officially here. Nothing beats enjoying a fresh spring salad or lobster roll among majestic palm trees standing tall above crystal blue waters. Or sipping on a refreshing margarita while being tantalized by thousands of city lights. If you’re ready to get started, we’ve gathered some of the best places to dine outdoors and recommendations on what to order while you’re dining al-fresco style. 

WAU, Upper West Side, NY

WAU, Outdoor Dining
WAU, Outdoor Dining, Image credit: WAU

This restaurant has vibrant outdoor dining is the perfect way to soak up the sunny atmosphere and enjoy the beauty of the season. The open-air enclosed patio is ideal for basking in the outdoors while enjoying a delicious meal. Chef Salil Mehta, Owner of Fungi Hospitality’s has some suggestions on what to order. Try the Crab Larb Salad ($30) a fresh and flavorful Thai salad, made with Lump crab and doused in a tangy lime dressing. For a heartier alternative, try the Nasi Lemak  ($26). This is Malaysia’s national dish, made with coconut rice, curry chicken, and sambal shrimp , anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, fresh cucumber slices and salted peanuts. Each dish is flavorful and perfect for the season, with a unique blend of savory and sweet flavors.

Dante West Village, NY

Dante West Village, Outdoor Dining. Photo Credit Dante West Village
Dante West Village, Outdoor Dining. Image Credit Dante West Village

On the corner of Hudson and Perry streets in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, the mint green–colored establishment boasts classic bistro tables, which feel more like something you’d find on the boulevards of Paris rather than the streets of New York. While outdoor dining try one of Executive Chef Mary Bartel’s favorite dishes like the Spring snap pea & asparagus salad ($24). Another is the Grilled Black Sea bass with spring vegetable medley and seasonal herbs ($42). 

The Mary Lane, West Village, NY

This charming West Village restaurant has a royal blue dining shed pushed up against the curb, offering great protection from the direct sunlight or rainfall. What to order while catching Hudson River breezes? The menu led by Chef Andrew Sutin is market-driven offering lots of seafood, a few luxury ingredients, and plenty of vegetables. If you’re brunching outdoors, order the spicy shakshuka with baked eggs($17) paired with a specialty cocktail. For dinner or lunch try the sweet potato and tuscan kale ‘lasagna’ ($28). 

Little Rascal, Greenpoint, New York

Little Rascal Outdoor Dining. Image Credit: Little Rascal
Little Rascal Outdoor Dining. Image Credit: Little Rascal

Founded by brothers Halil and Öner Gündogdu, Little Rascal is a cutting-edge cocktail bar located in Greenpoint Brooklyn. During the spring season, the bar opens it’s charming back patio that has comfy blue pillows and lush plant life for outdoor dining.  Spring special cocktails include The Dough Of Existence ($18), featuring ingredients like spiced rum and soursop nectar. There’s also the Hugh Disco ($18), a mezcal based cocktail with intriguing ingredients such as miso-washed aquavit, golden coconut milk. Lastly the Flaco and Audrey ($16), a fundy gin based cocktail, with notes of cherry blossoms, chamomile, and peach. Meanwhile dishes (only available for dinner) include Burrata ($17),  Halloumi Croquettes, ($18), Smoked Lamb Tacos ($18) and Grilled Artichokes ($16).

Fandi Mata, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Fandi Mata, Outdoor Dining. Image Credit: Fandi Mata
Fandi Mata, Outdoor Dining. Image Credit: Fandi Mata

Positioned in the heart of Williamsburg, Fandi Mata is a combination of a lounge, tapas restaurant and postindustrial jungle, offering Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Meanwhile, on the second floor there’s a mezcaleria, Little Oaxaca.The rustic and industrial establishment is shielded by sky-high ceilings, with lush, verdant foliage and colorful mosaic accents giving an indoor-outdoor feel. For outdoor dining season the delightfully bright and refreshing Red Snapper Ceviche($22) is a must have. Also you can’t go wrong with shareable Mezze Platter ($25) boasting different textures and flavors. While the restaurant is a botanical oasis, these dishes will instantly transport you to a tropical paradise. To pair with the dishes, Fandi Mata has an excellent array of cocktails and mocktails to order.

Dandelion, Eastwind Oliverea Valley, Big Indian, NY

Outdoor Dining, Eastwind Oliverea Valley, Photo Credit: Lawrence Braun
Outdoor Dining, Eastwind Oliverea Valley, Photo Credit: Lawrence Braun

Nestled in the serene Catskill Mountains, Eastwind Oliverea Valley is home to Dandelion, serving up a menu featuring “forage-to-table,” plant-forward, international comfort food on their open-air patio. Dandelion’s outdoor patio allows guests to feast on the bounties of the Catskills region while taking in the natural splendor of the area. Standouts from the menu include seasonally-focused favorites like the House-Made Cavatelli ($32) with wild mushrooms, locally foraged herbs, and parmesan. And Lohikeitto,($38) a Finnish-style stew featuring locally farmed steelhead trout, freshly picked dill, and carrots.

Ocean Terrace at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, Cape Cod, MA

Outdoor Dining, Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, Photo Credit: Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Outdoor Dining, Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, Photo Credit: Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

This signature restaurant offers diners a plethora of fresh seafood, including oysters and Raw Bar, complemented by juicy ribeyes, risottos, and more. The views are second to none, with cascading views of the picturesque Cape Cod Bay. The Ocean Terrace menu is designed to complement the beautiful natural surroundings while outdoor dining on a sun-kissed patio. Native and local seafood is the focus and paired with Spring ingredients. A few standout spring dishes on the dinner menu include Seared Scallops ($19) and Chatam Mussels ($15).

Via Mare, Greydon House, Nantucket, MA

Outdoor Dining, Greydon House, Photo Credit: Greydon House
Outdoor Dining, Greydon House, Photo Credit: Greydon House

Springtime in Nantucket equates to beautiful daffodils blooming during the Daffodil festival, the sunshine warming up the coastline, and delicious cuisine that can be tried at Via Mare, the Roman & Williams designed restaurant and bar inside the boutique Greydon House hotel on Nantucket Island.  A whimsical take on the Venetian tradition of small plate dining & drinking , Via Mare looks to Venezia’s long history as a central hub in the spice trades & adventurously follows these trade winds in curating their eclectic cuisine, wine & cocktail programs. The outdoor dining experience is reminiscent of being in secret garden, paired with bistro lights that gives an enchanted glow at night. For eats, it’s recommended to try takes on New England classics, like Mussels ($27), cooked in coconut curry and the Fresh Pesco Del Giorno ($44). Make the experience more exciting by ordering the Mcdade Sunrise ($17), made with tequila, lime, orange juice and agave.

Calypso Bar and Grille, Virginia Beach

Serving up fresh seafood and great cocktails at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Calypso Bar & Grill boasts the largest covered patio at the beach. Their outdoor seating comes with panoramic oceanfront views provide the perfect backdrop for a regular lineup of some of our favorite Virginia Beach bands. It’s a must to partake in happy hour while taking in views of the Atlantic Ocean beachside at this beachside bar. Whether its a Domestic Beer $2 paired with BBQ Chicken Flatbread ($8) or glass of wine ($4) with Oysters ($0.99 each). 

Southernmost Beach Café, Southernmost Beach Resort, Key West, FL

Outdoor Dining, Southernmost Beach Resort, Photo Credit: Southernmost Beach Resort
Outdoor Dining, Southernmost Beach Resort, Photo Credit: Southernmost Beach Resort

Just 90 miles from Cuba with the beach as its backdoor, the Southernmost Beach Cafè, inside the Southernmost Beach Resort, Soak up the Cafè’s eclectic atmosphere that combines iconic Key West design with the sophistication of a French-Caribbean bistro. If you’re dining for dinner, Executive Chef Alex Kruger-Springer suggests ordering the Daily Fresh Catch ($45).It’s a that dish pops with freshly caught local fish, encrusted in a macadamia nut crust, surrounded by other fresh ingredients. The Argentinian Clams  ($16) are also great for ordering. This dish speaks to the Spanish roots here in Key West. It has an abundance of flavors, starting with the savory notes from the Argentinian chorizo and finishing with the bright saffron wine sauce. All topped with a fresh herb focaccia crostini—a perfect appetizer for Spring. Lastly, try the Garden Pasta ($29) it’s a dish that screams Spring. 

Thoreau’s, Wequassett Resort & Golf Club, MA

Springtime on Cape Cod is perfect for enjoying time outdoors. As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, Wequassett Resort & Golf Club’s grounds come alive with the colors and fragrances of blooming flowers, vibrant foliage, and lush green grass. The resort’s bar, Thoreau’s offers the perfect summertime coastal dining experience on the Cape. It has a relaxed yet elegant vibe with peaked canopies and the fresh ocean breeze. Dive into the menu featuring a spin on cape cod classics like Fish and Chips ($28), Traditional Lobster Roll ($40-$65) while soaking up the mesmerizing views.

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Cibo Urban Pizzeria, Phoenix, Arizona

A chic restored 1913 bungalow houses the main restaurant of this urban downtown pizzeria, but you’ll want to find a spot on the patio, where light-wrapped trees and soft live music create a cozy sense of romance. To complement the romantic mood, order a glass of wine paired with an artisan pizzas ($12-17) and or a bowl of handmade pasta ($16-$18). 

Citizen, Seattle, Washington

In the warmer months, Lower Queen Anne’s all-day cafe is a popular place to chill outside in its sun-drenched cafe. Their beer garden is  one of the largest patios in town, with astro turf carpeting, fire pits, and a separate outdoor bar. There, you can grab great drinks ranging from a Double Espresso White Russian ($10.95) and Frozen Boozy Slushies ($12) to a Nutella Mocha ($5) that tastes like you’ve been transported to Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Food include tasty Korean-Mexican food like Bulgogi Nachos ($13.95), Bulgogi Tacos ($13.95) and Bulgogi Burritos ($14.95).

Olive & Hay, The Meritage Resort & Spa, Napa Valley, California

Outdoor Dining, Olive & Hay, The Meritage Resort & Spa
Outdoor Dining, Olive & Hay, The Meritage Resort & Spa

The Meritage Resort & Spa is home to the farm-to-table Italian-inspired restaurant Olive & Hay. After a pilates class and deep massage at the resort, satisfy your hunger cues by booking a table outdoors.  In the warmer months, Chef de Cuisine, Rachel Medeiros recommends ordering the Burrata ($16), this dish features strawberries which are one of the first fruits of the spring season. Also the Spinach Gnudi ($26) boasts the sweet and delicate flavors of Spring. It has a classic spinach and ricotta cheese pairing with fresh asparagus, sweet peas, and radishes.

VASO, AC Hotel Columbus Dublin, Ohio

Outdoor Dining, AC Hotel Columbus Dublin
Outdoor Dining, AC Hotel Columbus Dublin

At VASO visitors can enjoy an evening of creative cocktails and tapas with a front-row rooftop seat in the sky. This hidden Midwest gem boasts a swanky atmosphere and a Spanish-inspired menu with panoramic views of the Scioto River and blooming redbuds unlike anything else in Columbus.  Executive Chef David Belknap recommends ordering the Oysters Rockefeller Succotash. It’s one of his favorite dishes and with the weather warming up, oysters will be meatier. Secondly, Succotash is a long-standing staple in the Midwest, especially once fresh beans and produce become available. Put the two together, and you end up with a harmonious dish with the best of the season. 

Percheron, Crossroads Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri

Outdoor Dining, Percheron, Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Outdoor Dining, Percheron, Photo Credit: Tim Williams

Springtime means that Kansas City’s favorite rooftop Percheron reopens for the season. The beautiful rooftop offers sweeping views of the city. Rooftop dining calls for cocktails. And this seasonal bar at Crossroads Hotel has a few to choose from. Sip on the Ya, Ya($13) and Sure, Sure slushies ($13) and an array of newly added cocktail additions including the Strawberry Negroni ($14) and Za’atar Paloma. ($14)  As for eats, Percheron recently released a new Mediterranean menu, with Spanish, Lebanese and Israeli influences. Dish highlights include Kofta Skewers ($16) and a dessert of Baklava pops, ($10) to help combat the heat.

The Apparatus Room Detroit Foundation Hotel , Detroit, Michigan

Located in the heart of Motor City, Detroit Foundation Hotel offers a charming spring dining experience at The Apparatus Room. The outdoor patio area offers sunny al fresco dining allowing guests to take full advantage of the weather. For brunch try a favorite like the House Prime Smash Burger ($19) and dinner it’s a must to start with the night with the 13 year old Sourdough with fennel butter ($9).

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