Al fresco aficionados rejoice: It’s finally time to dine outdoors (fingers crossed for some sun). Restaurants all over the city are opening their shuttered patios and rooftops for springtime sipping and noshing.
“New Yorkers work really hard and spend so much of their days in crammed spaces in offices,” says Josh Laurano, executive chef at Mario Batali’s La Sirena restaurant. “So when they get a chance to dine outside at La Sirena, we want to make it a really majestic and serene experience.”
The buzzy Italian restaurant at Chelsea’s Maritime Hotel opened in February and boasts a 38-foot-long quartz-top bar and a well-heeled Meatpacking District crowd hungry for trattoria-style dishes like ricotta with asparagus ($16) and spicy octopus pasta ($24).
This week, La Sirena unveiled an outdoor patio that seats more than 100 people. It’s lined with citrus trees strewn with glowing globe lights inspired, Laurano says, by the Amalfi coast.
It’s a gas: Service Station
(500 E. 62nd St.; ServiceStationNYC.com)
Yes, this place used to be a gas station — in fact, it still has garage doors. Since it opened in November, people have been fueling up on Giulio Adriani’s Neapolitan-style pies ($13 to $28), from the classic margherita to ones topped with Kalamata olives, pine nuts and artichokes.
Now those garage doors open onto an outdoor patio that can seat more than 100 people at its communal tables under string lights — and a view of the Queensboro Bridge.
Garden of eatin’: Kingsley
(190 Avenue B; KingsleyNYC.com)
This East Village brunch spot opened in February, serving a mélange of French and American dishes. Now you can dine on its cozy back patio, amid the herbs, tomatoes and peppers that chef-owner Roxanne Spruance uses in her celery root agnolotti ($17) and white asparagus soup ($13). She suggests nibbling on a ricotta, hazelnut and baby green salad ($11) and sipping a Roselle (hibiscus, pisco, cava; $13) while you soak in the afternoon sun. Dress is casual. As Spruance notes, “You shouldn’t have to get dressed up to get great food.”
Flicks, Fries & more: Social Drink and Food
(570 10th Ave.; SocialDrinkAndFood.com)
This groovy rooftop at Hell’s Kitchen hotel Yotel opened this month — all 7,000 square feet of it. There are basket-weave sofas and a neon bar, along with some decidedly folksy checkerboards. The menu is homey as well, full of American bar staples like personal pizzas, fish and chips, and beef sliders, priced from $9 to $17.
True to its name, Social Drink and Food will keep things lively with movie screenings of Hollywood classics like “Casablanca” and “Roman Holiday,” plus weekly board-game nights where happy-hour clients can mingle over chess and Monopoly.
Peruvian slush fun: Llama Inn
(50 Withers St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; LlamaInnNYC.com)
Former Eleven Madison Park chef Erik Ramirez wanted to put a sleek spin on Peruvian cuisine when he launched Llama Inn in November. Look for specialities like tuna tiradito laced with avocado ($17), cashew-topped quinoa ($14) and the Dolly Llama cocktail (pisco, red wine, strawberries; $13).
“We wanted to marry the traditions of Creole dishes with NYC dining,” Ramirez explains.
Starting next week, he’ll be serving those traditions on his rooftop. Not only can it accommodate more than 25 guests, but he’s putting a slushie machine up there to churn out frozen pisco sours. We’ll drink to that!