Best Outdoor Dining in Brooklyn at Family-Friendly Restaurants

Eat on the rooftop at Fornino on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6. Photo by Lisa Seibold-Winder
Eat on the rooftop at Fornino on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6. Photo by Lisa Seibold-Winder
5/12/23 - By Diana Kim

Now that outdoor dining season is upon us, you'll be pleased to know Brooklyn boasts its share of restaurants with outdoor seating that go far behind simple sidewalk tables. We know parents are looking for more spacious outdoor dining at restaurants with patios, a backyard, picnic tables, and sometimes even a bit of grass!

Just in time for summer, we've rounded up our favorite restaurants for outdoor dining in Brooklyn. These family-friendly restaurants feature ample outdoor space, serve delicious food, and welcome families with children. If you're in the mood for variety, we've included a mix of cuisines: Japanese, Mexican, Cuban, southern comfort, and, of course, pizza, barbecue, and new American.

Headed to Brooklyn from a neighboring area? Browse our Brooklyn Kids Guide to take full advantage of the borough while you're there, or peruse our NYC Restaurant Guide for more family-friendly eats.


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Family-Friendly Restaurants with Outdoor Dining in Brooklyn

1. Risbo – Prospect Lefferts Garden

This "fast-casual rotisserie + bar" serves a mashup of globally inspired dishes, celebrating Brooklyn's vibrant immigrant roots. The vibe is distinctly casual and cool. Kids love hanging in the idyllic patio, which is covered with floor cushions, string lights, and colorful poofs, plus shrouded in shade from the beautiful greenery in this garden oasis. The menu features various kid-friendly dishes like roast chicken, a hummus plate, mac and cheese, potatoes, and a selection of desserts. It's counter-service only, and seating is first come, first served.

2. Layla Jones – Cobble Hill

This laid-back spot is the perfect place to enjoy spaghetti and homemade meatballs while letting your kids roam around in the communal atmosphere. The kids' menu offers all of their favorite pasta options, along with a chicken and mozzarella pressed sandwich. Save room for a dessert-inspired Nutella pizza. Head out back to enjoy your food at one of the picnic tables where no one minds loud voices or wandering toddlers.

3. Somtum Der – Redhook

Enjoy authentic Thai cuisine in Somtum Der's creative backyard patio in Red Hook. The dishes are meant to be shared and, while Somtum Der is known for its spicy dishes, many can be prepared with less or no spice for kids. Give the kids a new experience and order jaew hon, a Thai hot pot that's meant to be shared. A clay pot of broth is heated at the table with a bowl of greens, raw meat or fish, egg, and some dipping sauces. Kids also love the grilled sticky rice and snow ice with syrup for dessert.

RELATED: 15 Manhattan Restaurants with Backyards and Patios

Outdoor dining in Brooklyn: Alma
Adults and children alike enjoy the stunning views of Manhattan from the rooftop deck at Alma.

4. Alma – Columbia Waterfront

With its year-round roof deck offering breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, this Mexican restaurant is a favorite outdoor dining destination. Its three stories include a full bar on the first floor, but you'll want to head to the roof terrace for the views. Menu favorites include guacamole, fajitas, and tacos. Kids' menu offerings include quesadillas and rice-and-bean combos. High chairs are available, but there are no changing tables in the small bathrooms. Take note: Strollers must be left on the ground floor as the steps up to the roof are narrow and steep.

5. Greenwood Park – South Park Slope

Families flock to this South Park Slope beer garden that sits in a former gas station and boasts a combined 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Parents can enjoy 60 beers on tap. The menu offers everything from classic tater tots to Greek salads. Its warm pretzels are a big hit with the kids. This place does fill up, and it is strictly 21 and older after 7pm.

6. Tacocina – Williamsburg

What could be better than tacos al fresco you ask? How about tacos al fresco next to a stunning, destination-worthy playground? That's just what you'll find at Tacocina in the always-happening Domino Park. The menu here is packed with kid-pleasers from nachos and quesadillas to a selection of sweet paletas for dessert. Nosh in a spacious picnic-inspired patio while you take in views of the East River, or set the kids free in the adjacent playground and enjoy an app while they romp.

RELATED: Kid-Friendly Brooklyn Beer Gardens

Parents can relax and chill while kids play in the sandbox or on the mini-golf course at Brooklyn Crab.

7. Brooklyn Crab – Red Hook

Parents-in-the-know head to this seafood spot loaded with rustic charm in the warmer months for its "Reed Park" section, open seasonally, which offers outdoor seating in its generous backyard, including Adirondack chairs and an impressive sandbox for kids. There's even an eight-hole mini-golf course, cornhole, and more games. The year-round bar and restaurant offer an abbreviated menu in Reed Park, but there's still plenty to choose from for the kids, including the standard hot dogs, chips, and mac n' cheese. Crab rolls, New England beers, and oysters are available for grown-ups. It's all served with a view of the New York harbor. Seating is first come, first served, but there are often plenty of picnic tables up for grabs in other sections of the multilevel restaurant.

8. Fornino – Brooklyn Bridge Park

A go-to for pizza, this location is nestled right along the water in Brooklyn Bridge Park near the epic string of hidden Pier 6 playgrounds right off Atlantic Avenue. Come early so the kids can expend their bountiful energy on the slides and swings (or splash pad), then head to Fornino's rooftop restaurant to enjoy the sunset with views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty over brick-oven pizza. Note: The restaurant is open seasonally, weather permitting, from April-October.

9. Osaka – Cobble Hill

This solid Cobble Hill neighborhood spot is a local favorite. The staff is super-friendly, and the backyard is spacious. Go early, and it will feel as if you're in a private backyard. Sushi gets rave reviews for its freshness and creativity. Kids can ring the gong and fill themselves with rice and tempura. High chairs are available but beware: The bathroom is tiny.

RELATED: 10 of Our Favorite Places to Picnic in NYC

Outdoor diningin Brooklyn: Lavender Lake
Tucked away in Gowanus, Lavender Lake has a great backyard to enjoy when it's sunny out.

10. Lavender Lake – Gowanus

This awesome little restaurant along the edge of the Gowanus Canal boasts a gorgeous backyard area with picnic tables and a small menu that appeals to kids, too. Grab a cocktail and a spot out back to nosh on modern American fare. There is always shade to be found—umbrellas make this a solid destination even during peak sunny hours.

11. Lobster Joint – Greenpoint

What is a better way to ring in the warmer months than digging into lobster rolls on a patio? The large picnic tables are welcoming to families, and kids love the menu just for them, featuring fish sticks and chicken fingers.

12. Popina – Columbia Waterfront

This special Italian spot features a menu full of delicious pasta and, for the grown-ups, bottles of housemade negroni. The backyard is quite magical, with tables nestled under a massive tree and a giant bocce court that keeps the whole family entertained.

RELATED: NYC Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Outdoor dining in NYC: Roberta's
Enjoy pizza outdoors at Roberta's backyard in Bushwick.

13. Roberta's Pizza – Bushwick

What's better than eating pizza outside? This famed Bushwick pizzeria has a large outdoor garden where seating is communal at large wooden tables, and the atmosphere is casual, cool, and hipster Brooklyn. Kids love seeing their pizzas cooking in the wood-burning ovens. This spot is worth a trip to Bushwick at least once. Or better yet, score weekday lunch with the kids over the summer for a more family-friendly crowd (and wait).

14. Threes Brewing – Gowanus

This super-hip brewery boasts a huge outdoor space and a food residency program in which different restaurants take over its kitchen. Parents can enjoy a drink from the vast selection of handcrafted beers and cocktails and join kids in trying cuisine from Insa Korean BBQ, Roberta's Pizza, Franny's, or Buttermilk Channel, to name a few. High chairs are available; strollers must be left out in front.

15. L & B Spumoni Gardens – Bensonhurst

Slices of square Sicilian-style pizza get the party started at this legendary Brooklyn restaurant, where a spacious side yard has tons of picnic tables to accommodate parties large and small. There are plenty of Italian classics on the menu, too, and kids can have their pick of pint-sized portions. No matter what you have for dinner, save room for its namesake dessert.

RELATED14 Great Ice Cream Shops in NYC for a Cool Summer Treat

Outdoor dining in NYC: Ten Hope
Let the ambiance and flavors whisk you away to the Mediterranean at Ten Hope. 

16. Ten Hope – Williamsburg

Mediterranean fare is on the menu at this lovely eatery in Williamsburg. Its vine-and-twinkle-light-draped patio serves relaxing vibes to match. Small plates are great for sharing and sampling a variety of flavors. Its flatbread-and-dip combos are crowd-pleasers, particularly its pistachio-laced whipped feta.

17. Falansai – Bushwick

Good vibes, delicious food, and cooking from the heart and soul are promised at this restaurant by chef-owner Eric Tran, who serves a menu tinged with Vietnamese and Mexican flavors. Its outdoor garden is protected from the elements, filled with art and greenery, and centered around a koi pond that's sure to impress little ones.

Originally published in 2016.

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