It’s summer time and when not torrentially down pouring, New Yorkers want one thing: garden dining! Between the exhaust fumes, honking horns, curious dogs, and nosy passerbyers, even sidewalk tables can sometimes be more trouble than the fresh air is worth. No, we want to leave behind all the commotion for an hour or two and simply relax in a peaceful, preferably European, garden. Of course living in one of the biggest, busiest, most crowded cities in the world such leisurely outdoor ambience can be hard to come by. That’s why we’ve compiled a best-of list of the top garden restaurants in the city. Escape to any of these green getaways and you might even forget you’re still in Manhattan!
1. Barbetta (321 West 40th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue) The oldest Italian restaurant in New York, their garden is a sought after oasis in the hustle-and-bustle of the Theatre District. The outdoor area is as elegant as the lavishly designed interior, with century old trees and the soft wafting scents of magnolia, jasmine and oleander. The high stone walls eliminate outside noise and a bubbling fountain contributes a calming background sound.
2. Le Jardin Bistro (25 Cleveland Place between Spring and Lafayette Street) Serving classic French fare the bistro won Cityguide’s Best Outdoor Dining and Most Romantic Restaurant two years in a row. The large garden maintains a nice open atmosphere and the thick grape vine hangings and planted vegetables give the whole place a rustic country feel. Great for a night under the stars.
3. Palma (28 Cornelia Street near Bleecker Street) A salvaged farmhouse that serves Mediterranean and Italian food. The garden maintains the simple farmhouse feel with green ivy crawling up the walls and the scent of fresh herbs dug into the ground. The quarters are slightly closer than others, giving the garden a cozy and festive feel.
4. August (359 Bleeker Street between Charles and West 10th Street) Another Greenwich village bistro serving regional European fare, ranging from Mediterranean to Norwegian dishes. Heated atrium by winter, open aired garden by summer, the restaurant’s courtyard recreates the atmosphere of traditional European outdoor dining. Candle lit tables make this a great choice for date night.
5. Crispo (240 West 14th Street between 7th and 8th Ave) Northern Italian cuisine served in an outdoor seating area that’s open all year long! With the wide stone archways and several small fountains, the patio area maintains an intimate feel despite being quite large.