20+ Restaurants For Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining in NYC
New Yorkers have proven their hardiness time and again in the year and a half since the pandemic struck, altering nearly every aspect of city living, but perhaps nowhere is that hardiness more clearly on display than when it comes to eating out. These local restaurants have weathered the storm (literally and figuratively) with their creative, heated outdoor dining setups, and New Yorkers have shown up day and night, in snow, rain, and under sunny skies to enjoy a night out, literally.
Though indoor dining is back on for vaccinated patrons, these outdoor dining setups are sticking around, getting New Yorkers through the changing seasons with a restaurant-quality meal, cool ambiance, and a tale for the ages—not to mention safety and comfort.
You can find more great spots in our Family-Friendly Restaurant Guide, and remember, these venues have faced a pandemic roller-coaster, so tip generously. If you prefer to stay in, consider ordering takeout or delivery from a local restaurant.
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Before heading out, keep in mind: Many restaurants require reservations for their outdoor dining tables. Waitstaff and restaurant employees must wear masks at all times, while patrons ages 2 and up must wear masks whenever they are not seated at the table. You may be given single-use menus or be asked to use your phone to peruse the menu. Credit card payments may be required to minimize contact.
It's a good idea to visit each restaurant's website to review any specific guidelines, too, and definitely bundle up. While these outdoor dining setups help, they don't quite manage to replicate the magic of indoor heating.
Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building from the dining igloos at the 230 Fifth Rooftop.
Manhattan Restaurants With Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining
1. 230 Fifth Rooftop – Midtown
Normally, this swanky rooftop bar in the trendy Flatiron District caters to a 21+ crowd, but crazy times call for creative measures, which is why its heated, transparent igloos are open to all ages with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights after 7pm. If you want to enjoy this stunning view, though, you'll pay a hefty minimum upfront: $250 for Sundays-Thursdays and $600 on Fridays and Saturdays, though the fee is credited toward your purchases. Reservations can be made online.
2. Chelsea Market – Chelsea
The Chelsea Market is one of our favorite kid-friendly food halls, and the pandemic hasn't changed that. A trip here means everyone can have their pick of the food options and the outdoor dining setup is cozy, heated log lean-tos lining 15th and 16th streets. Plenty of space, plenty of choices, and plenty to do nearby make this an easy, family-friendly pick.
Quality Bistro has an enchanted outdoor dining setup.
3. Quality Brand Restaurants – Manhattan
The Quality Brand of restaurants including Quality Eats, Quality Bistro, and Quality Meats have set up sophisticated, whimsical outdoor dining cabins, huts, and booths that will have you eating in style. The outdoor dining booths at Quality Eats are entirely covered with little green petals evoking a winter garden. At Quality Meats, enjoy your steak in a rustic, woodsy cabin with velvet curtains that you can leave open or draw closed for extra privacy.
Bella Ciao NYC's tasty pasta and friendly service warm even the coolest nights. Photo by Sara M.
4. Bella Ciao NYC – Little Italy
You'll be treated like family at this Italian spot, which serves homey comfort food with a side of excellent customer service. They even let our pup hang out with us during dinner in the well-heated, well-ventilated outdoor dining setup. Its location in the heart of Little Italy means you can make a stop at Caffe Palermo's Cannoli King to grab dessert to-go when the kids have reached their limit.
5. Il Violino – Upper West Side
Dine curbside in Il Violino's cozy, heated outdoor dining enclosures, with festive decorations that change with the season. The family-owned Italian restaurant serves comforting fare that matches its setup, and there are plenty of kid-pleasing pastas on the menu. A prix fixe brunch menu is particularly appealing with little ones in tow, and the included cocktail is the icing on the cake.
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Pier 17 has reinvented itself for cozy winter dining with its Cabins.
6. Cabins at Pier 17 – South Street Seaport
Lunch and dinner options are available seven days a week on the Rooftop at Pier 17, aka "The Greens," which is self-described as "upstate downtown." Each of the heated cabins, can accommodate up to 10 people and includes virtual fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling views of downtown Manhattan, and a Molekule air filter. Details are still being finalized but the cabins are set to reopen at the end of November.
7. Don Angie – West Village
This Michelin-starred Italian restaurant is a neighborhood favorite. Inspired by family recipes, owners Angie and Scott have created a modern, Italian-American restaurant that has won rave reviews and awards. For the diners wishing to sit outside, Don Angie has self-contained, heated booth-style seating on the roadway, completely covered from the elements. Each booth is separate with three walls. The booths are stylish to boot—painted in a bright red and trimmed with black and checkerboard. Reservations are highly recommended and can be booked up to a week in advance.
Dine in warmth in the cozy popup Yurt Village at Fairfax.
8. Yurt Village at Fairfax – West Village
If you love the idea of dining in a yurt, Fairfax has got you covered—literally. It also provides regular outdoor seating if all the yurts are full. Most of its tables are covered by umbrellas or awnings. Fairfax dubs itself an "all-day neighborhood cafe" and offers options from morning pastries and coffee to burgers and Old Bay tots in the evenings.
Friend of a Farmer's charming outdoor dining shields visitors from the elements.
9. Friend of a Farmer – Gramercy Park
An all-day brunch menu at this farm-to-table spot is definitely a draw in our eyes. Enjoy pumpkin, blueberry, or apple pancakes (and plenty more) in its cozy outdoor seating. The wood structure is lit with twinkling lights and warmed with heaters. Plexiglass barriers keep parties separate from one another.
Lolo's Seafood Shack brings the flavor with its Caribbean-inspired fare.
10. Lolo's Seafood Shack – Harlem
The backyard at this Harlem eatery is a hidden gem and has long been a favorite for its easy, beachy vibe and menu to match. It's built a winter-ready enclosure to get us all through the chilly season while noshing on Caribbean-inspired seafood classics and dreaming of summer days.
11. Cafe du Soleil – Upper West Side
This popular, long-standing French eatery enjoyed a bit of insta-fame with the installation of its "space bubbles" for outdoor dining early on in the pandemic. A wide-ranging menu includes plenty of classic French dishes no matter the time of day.
RELATED: NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide
Haenyeo offers two types of outdoor seating options, including heated sidewalk seating. Photo by Chieun Ko-Bistrong
Brooklyn Restaurants With Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining
12. Haenyeo – Park Slope
Up to six people can enjoy Korean-style home cooking in private heated pods located just across the street from the main restaurant at Haenyeo. It also offers an outdoor dining setup where 75% of the heated space is closed, allowing a fresh, wintery breeze to accompany kid-friendly dishes like glass noodles, vegetable pancakes, handmade dumplings, and wings, served sauce-free for the spice averse.
13. Le Crocodile – Williamsburg
If you're looking for a cool outdoor eating experience in the unabashedly hippest corner of Brooklyn, perhaps you'll enjoy French fare in a stunning "secret garden" at Le Crocodile, which boasts plenty of outdoor heaters to keep you warm while you dine. While its dinner fare may be too high-brow for some petite New Yorkers, its breakfast and lunch menus are more approachable.
14. La Cigogne – Carroll Gardens
Tiny houses dot the exterior of this cozy French eatery in the heart of Carroll Gardens. Kids can go to town on bacon-topped mac-and-cheese and truffle french fries, while adults sip a lovely mulled wine and dine on more upscale delights.
Slurp up some warming ramen at Ramen Danbo.
15. Ramen Danbo – Park Slope
A cozy bowl of ramen is practically made for outdoor dining, and that's exactly what you'll find at this spot, which also has a West Village outpost. Your custom bowl of tonkatsu ramen can be slurped up inside your own heated tent.
16. Lea – Ditmas Park
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available in "the greenhouses" at Lea. The small, transparent huts are first come, first served, but staff can often accommodate same-day reservations with a quick phone call. High chairs are available. Smaller houses seat 2-4 people; larger houses seat up to six. Kid-friendly menu items include Margherita pizza, mozzarella sticks, and cottage fries with rosemary served alongside housemade garlic aioli and ketchup. It also has mini potpies, spaghetti with butter sauce, burgers, sandwiches, two fresh soups daily—a vegetarian option, and chicken soup. After your meal, peruse its market—indoors and out—for some take-home goodies, including homemade bread and pastries.
17. Hamilton's – Windsor Terrace
Hamilton's provides comfortable outdoor dining opportunities in its enclosed, heated patio and its open-street heated dining area, which offers each group its own enclosure. Plexiglas and curtains create cubicles where kids can enjoy hits like a 3-ounce mini-burger or grilled organic chicken breast sandwich with cheese and potato wedges. High chairs are available, and the amazing Greenwood Playground is just around the corner, making Hamilton's a sweet family destination.
18. Nowadays – Bushwick/Ridgewood
Warm up with ramen in Nowaday's garden which has been winterized with illuminated yurts and heated tables with fire pits. There are two ramens offered—one made with traditional tonkatsu and the other a veggie option. You can also nosh on other Japanese-inspired dishes like blistered shishito peppers, a wagyu burger, and an izakaya tempeh sandwich. Reservations are highly recommended.
Indulge in banana splits, egg creams, malts, and milkshakes from the comfort of your igloo at Eggers Ice Cream Parlor.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining in Queens and Staten Island
19. Eggers – Richmond Town, Staten Island
Save room for dessert, and stop by Eggers Ice Cream, one of our favorite sweet shops, where your family can indulge in treats inside your very own igloo. Igloos will be located at the Verrazano Little League Fields and are rented by the hour. They also make an over-the-top spot to host a party, too.
20. Amylos Taverna – Astoria, Queens
Allow yourself to be whisked away to the Mediterranean with the outdoor dining setup at this beloved Greek restaurant on Astoria's main drag. A vine-draped enclosure lit with twinkling lights and adorned with space heaters over every table is a welcoming sight. The classic Greek cuisine is sure to please palates both old and young.
21. Blend – Astoria, Queens
Latin-fusion restaurant Blend has debuted its outdoor covered dining area, complete with brightly colored murals from a local artist. Decorated with palm trees, it's a beachy respite from winter's cold. Though no kids' menu is advertised, kid-friendly offerings include grilled chicken strips, french fries, pasta, and quesadillas. Blend has high chairs and is stroller-friendly
Unless noted, all photos courtesy of the restaurants