Grab another glass of rosé, because we’re back to take a bite out of New York’s vibrant al fresco dining culture.
376 West Broadway (Broome and Spring Sts.)
The more casual version of Harry Cipriani, uptown, epitomizes European-style glamour. (The restaurant also has locations in Miami, Ibiza, Istanbul, and elsewhere, and the original — Harry’s Bar — is in Venice.) You’ll hear more than a few languages spoken on the enclosed sidewalk patio, which is heated in chillier times and is always an excellent perch for crowd-watching, while sipping a sparkling house bellini, bien sur. The Italian-American menu doesn’t run cheap (a cheeseburger is nearly $30), but it’s the price you pay for fabulous.
242 Mott St. (Prince St.)
There’s a vacation feel to the sidewalk seating at this hip Nolita hang, where the royal blue paint job and red-and-blue tick-striped patio umbrellas channel the French Riviera, and the crowd is just as glamorous. With only four outdoor tables, you may need to wait at the charming, funky bar inside to secure one, but that’s no hardship, particularly with a wine or espresso in hand. The pan-Mediterranean menu spans all the way to Morocco: couscous with chicken or merguez sausage is a house favorite.
20 Prince St. (Elizabeth and Mott Sts.)
The moody bistro interior is dim and sexy, but sidewalk seats out front are just as coveted among the Euro and Middle Eastern crowd that frequents this place. French classics like onion soup and moules-frites mingle with a few North African dishes (couscous, a merguez sandwich). Pre- or post-dinner drinkers might want to repair to the subterranean bar, 1534, which specializes in craft cocktails.
The Mulberry Project
149 Mulberry St. (Grand and Hester Sts.)
An unmarked, low-slung door on one of Mulberry Street’s most touristy blocks leads to this find — a destination for cocktail enthusiasts. Head to the back and up a flight of stairs to the walled-in garden where it’s wise to have a reservation or you may find every seat taken. House quaffs like the Formosa (gin, tangerine, and grapefruit bitters) are expertly prepared; you can also go the “bespoke” route by choosing seasonal ingredients from a chalkboard menu and letting the bartender fix you a corresponding drink. Food consists of upscale bar fare like lobster roll slider and lamb-chop lollipops.
51 Ave. B (3rd and 4th Sts.)
This rustic little nook has been an Alphabet City favorite for years, particularly beloved for its well-priced, tasty pastas (try the beef lasagna, which is made with white bechamel instead of tomato sauce). While the antique-decorated interior is cozy during chilly months, in summer the fun spills out into the secluded garden furnished with funky mismatched tables. If there’s laundry hanging overhead from the neighboring apartment building, it only adds to the Italian-village charm.
Pure Food & Wine
54 Irving Pl., nr. 17th St.
The raw, vegan dishes at this upscale restaurant are so fresh and flavorful you won’t notice anything’s missing. And you don’t have to skip every vice, with the restaurant’s selection of organic and biodynamic wines, plus sake cocktails. This kind of vibrantly healthy, veggie-driven cuisine is a natural fit for the huge garden that sprawls out back behind the Gramercy townhouse digs, adorned with plants and colorful pillows, and warmly illuminated by night.
101 St. Marks Pl. (First Ave. and Ave. A)
The laid-back appeal of this French-Moroccan standby mirrors the energy and vibrance of the East Village itself. Scuffed bistro chairs, glass lanterns, and vintage photographs are charming, but the spot’s most infectious fixture is its teeming sidewalk patio, with bubbles over with conversation — in English, French, and other languages — most times of day. The menu — including a well-loved brunch lineup — is equally polyglot, spanning Middle Eastern, Moroccan, and French favorites.
268 Sixth Ave. (Houston and Bleecker Sts.)
This see-and-be-seen-stretch of Sixth Avenue just above Houston is reminiscent of a European town square, with its row of buzzing alfresco dining spaces. The most classic is longtime fixture Bar Pitti, whose spacious patio with quaint wooden tables beckons to passerby. Even boldface types like Jay-Z are known to pop in for the restaurant’s much-loved Northern Italian signatures, including veal meatballs and black truffle pasta, which pair well with a lightly effervescent glass of Lambrusco.