We love outdoor dining, but eating a delicious meal in the glow of a warm summer sunset is no longer a reality. That fact is, New York weather doesn’t care that we’ve already had a terrible year and can’t move to California at the drop of a hat. When it comes to finding a restaurant on a day when the forecast is iffy, use this guide. Each spot has outdoor dining with table areas covered on three sides so you and your food won’t turn into soggier, colder, unhappier versions of yourselves.
Some restaurants are even offering clear, plastic domes over each of their tables. If you’re intrigued by this concept, check out our guide to NYC Restaurants With Bubble Tables.
The whole back patio at Miss Ada in Fort Greene is covered, and it’s a great place to sit with some wine, muhammara, and pita while everyone else on the street shrieks about their bodega umbrellas inverting in the wind. Plus, their backyard has outdoor heaters.
This Ethiopian restaurant’s back patio is one of the most pleasant places to sit in Harlem - even when it’s fifty degrees and raining. Tsion serves food with Israeli influence, and they have plenty of options for vegan or vegetarian eaters.
The Sunnyside location of Riko Peruvian has an enclosed outdoor area wwhere you can order several different kinds of ceviche, rotisserie chicken, salad, and Peruvian-style fried rice with beef.
Mari Vanna is one of our favorite places to drink vodka (specifically, horseradish-infused vodka) on a cold night. Although vodka-drinking has new 2020-themed motivations, you can still make memories at Mari Vanna. Their covered outdoor seating area in front of their restaurant in Gramercy has heat lamps, string lights, and plastic-covered walls so you won’t get drenched while you enjoy your hot borscht and potato vareniki.
Casa Enrique in Long Island City is serving their excellent Mexican food outdoors every day under a big, plastic roof. Get the ceviche, some mole poblano, and the enchiladas verde - which should all make your arm hair stand up when you read the menu.
Like a rain shower, gust of cold subway wind, or your friend who tends to be too honest, the Vietnamese food at Di An Di is refreshing and necessary every couple weeks to keep life in balance. Plus, the pho or bún bò huế here are both perfect on a cold night.
This Japanese spot in Chinatown opened back in the summertime, with everything from udon cooked at your table, fries with uni and anchovies to top, and karaoke nights on Mondays. Dr. Clark set up eight outdoor kotasu tables where you can sit with a group of three to six people under a roof and a disco ball. These tables are reservation only, so make sure to check out their website ahead of time.
Don Angie in the West Village built a wooden structure with a real roof, cut-out windows, and outdoor heat lamps. They’re only open for dinner from 5pm to 11pm. So despite your burning desire to eat a lasagna-for-four during a daytime drizzle, you’re going to have to wait. This upscale Italian spot holds a bunch of first come, first served seating, but you can also make a reservation up to a week in advance through their website.
Awadh specializes in dishes from the northern part of India, like clay pot meats and biryani draped with naan, and it’s a great place to take someone for a nice but relatively low-key outdoor meal. Their covered outdoor patio is open every day for dinner between 5pm and 11pm.
If you’re in Bed-Stuy and looking for a place to take cover with some quiche lorraine and escargots, this French bistro has covered seating available all day. If you think about it, snails always have a little umbrella whenever they need it. Lucky snails.
Not only is this Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown one of our best places to get a big bowl of soup, it’s also ideal for staying dry. Get the pan mee, some tea, and admire all of the details of their outdoor canopy shelter. Kopitiam has really thought of everything - they even have plastic coverings over the bottom cut-outs so you won’t get splashed by cars driving down East Broadway.
Not even our greatest enemies deserve wet chicken - and we would never wish that experience upon you. This Ecuadorian spot in Ridgewood has a couple of three-sided tents set up on their sidewalk. Stop by for some chicken, empanadas, and margaritas on a first come, first served basis.
The outdoor dining setup at this West Village Mediterranean spot is pretty ideal for cold weather, since they have a fully covered area with plastic walls, as well as heat lamps. The first come first served tables are available every day starting at 11am.
Both the Flushing and Saint Marks locations of Szechuan Mountain House have graduation reception-style tents in front of their respective restaurants. So you can enjoy their excellent Sichuan food, like mapo tofu and garlic-heavy pork belly, even when it’s raining sideways. They take reservations as well as walk-ins.
This Italian spot is serving things like pesto fusilli and kale and endive salad under a few big tents on Lexington Avenue on the UES. Bring a date, and focus on the pastas.
This French-Senegalese spot in Crown Heights has a covered outdoor dining area that will keep you dry while you eat beef mafe or a whole branzino.
Here’s the situation: your date night in Fort Greene seems to be threatened by terrible weather. You’re getting stressed. Don’t panic and cancel - just go to Dino, where they have tents with hanging space heaters above every table. The prices at this Italian spot are reasonable, especially when you factor in the big portions. If you’re into simplicity, we suggest the spaghetti limone.
Kissaki, a sushi spot on Bowery, set up a massive three-sided tent with circular windows to make you believe you’re in a protected fish bowl (all while eating raw fish). They have a few reasonably-priced sushi set deals, including one that costs $35 and comes with four pieces of nigiri and five pieces of futomaki. You can make a reservation through their website here.
St Anselm’s huge backyard is usually just a place to drink Belgian beers from Spuyten Duyvil while waiting for a table inside, but now you’ll find a bunch of tent-covered tables where you can order a butcher’s steak and pan-fried mashed potatoes any day until 10pm.
Koreatown is one big outdoor dining party. A lot of the spots on this stretch have coverings, including one of our favorite places to drink soju, Pocha 32. They have a tent with curtains that close when the weather is gross. Get a hollowed-out watermelon full of it, as well as an order of budae jjigae (a big metal cauldron of ramen stew loaded with spam, rice cakes, kimchi, and hot dogs).
The Middle Eastern kubeh here are filled with things like lamb or fish, and they’re served in soups like Persian chicken. In other words, you should be eating them in the cold weather under their three-sided tent.
All of the tables on Mudville’s canopy-covered outdoor patio have a view of whatever game’s on the big screen in front of this Tribeca sports bar. Reserve one of them by calling 212-964-9464, and then order any of their 30 draft beers along with some truly excellent buffalo wings.
If you’re in Soho and you smell wet pavement, you can run to one of Raoul’s enclosed tents and eat their excellent steak au poivre while staring at a rainy, touristless Prince Street. We encourage this New York experience, if only because the combination of peppery meat and atrocious skies may finally inspire you to write your graphic novel that personifies a piece of steak as an anti-hero protagonist.
If you’re near 116th Street in Harlem and little puddles are beginning to form in your sneakers, seek refuge on the massive outdoor patio in front of Harlem Tavern. There’s a big red tent with speakers attached to the corners where you can order chicken tenders and frozen drinks while you let your shoes dry.
Rain or not, this semi-formal Indian restaurant serves filled kulcha breads and precious scoops of delicious kolhapuri salad. While they do have a la carte and tasting menu options for both lunch and dinner, the best value is the $38 prix fixe lunch that comes with two courses of your choice.
The outdoor dining options at Le Crocodile make NYC look like the kind of city that has tons of open space. There’s sidewalk seating and two separate garden areas separated by a tiny staircase. When it’s rainy, this hotel French bistro can cover both patio areas so that you feel like you’re sitting on a big porch in Williamsburg. And, if you’re trying to plan ahead, know that they’re accepting reservations.
This Italian wine bar on Staten Island has a covered back patio that looks like the sort of place you could attend a wedding reception, only instead of watching someone’s brother fumble through a toast involving a Good Will Hunting quote, you get to enjoy charcuterie, wine, and gnocchi. Reserve a spot online ahead of time or show up for one of their first come, first served tables.
Akrotiri’s patio seating is perfect if you’re looking for a place in Astoria where you can make a reservation, even if there’s a chance of rain. The menu here has a bunch of things like lobster pasta, truffled squid ink taramasalata, and a saganaki with quinoa and tiger shrimp. But we prefer the more traditional Greek dishes like the various types of whole fish, the sliced octopus over black eyed peas, and the grilled Greek sausage that’s just about perfect once you squeeze some lemon over it.
This Thai restaurant’s backyard could be in a magazine about patio fountains. In addition to the fountains, there’s a large wooden pergola with plants weaving in and out of it. If it’s pouring, you may get a little wet but consider this the best light-intermittent drizzle option in Woodside. Order the pork leg that falls apart as soon as you touch it and a plat of soft-shell crab. Just keep in mind that Sripraphai is cash-only.
This South Slope beer garden used to be a gas station. While that’s a pretty neat fact on its own, we’re telling you this so you know there’s enough outdoor space to conceivably play hide and-seek. Almost every table here has its own tent set up above it, so you can post up on a rainy afternoon and eat some bar food with a friend. They’re open until midnight every day, and fortunately for all those who suck at bocce ball, know that Greenwood Park’s bar games are currently unavailable.
Virginia’s on Avenue C makes one of our favorite burgers in the neighborhood, and they’re currently serving said burger (along with a bunch of other seasonal dishes) under a plastic roof outside. You can make a reservation ahead of time online, and we wouldn’t not bring a date.
Maybe you had plans to meet a friend in Prospect Park. Well, nature selfishly disagrees with that plan. Instead of spending precious time shaking your fists at the sky, head to Mayfield’s covered backyard tent and eat a patty melt (and other American comfort food) in peace. Their back patio in Crown Heights has its very own entrance, and the tent will keep you dry even if the wind is blowing so hard you think it may start to sing at you.
This Roman flatbread spot in Williamsburg has a beautiful garden with a retractable roof. They’re currently accepting online reservations so you can commit to not eating a pizza with stracciatella and broccoli rabe in the pouring rain.
Say you’re looking for a special occasion spot and the forecast says it may thunder between 7pm and 10pm. We’d suggest booking a reservation at this Korean skewer restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. They have a covered, raised patio area with outdoor heat lamps so that you won’t get soaked while eating their $75 tasting menu, which comes with seven courses. They’re accepting walk-ups as well as reservations, and you can find more information about their menu and hours on their website here.
Think of this Sunnyside spot as an overachieving Irish pub where you can drink craft beers in a big booth with a galaxy of hanging bulbs overhead, and no freezing rain to bother you. Maggie Mae’s is open from 3pm to 11pm every day of the week.