Finally, this past weekend, summer arrived! So that means it’s time to scout out some outdoor dining options on the Upper West Side.
This is the time of year when the Upper West Side shines. The neighborhood brims with outdoor cafes, hidden gardens and other warm weather dining spots.
Later this week, I’ll list some outdoor eateries elsewhere in the city. But here are some of my favorite summertime hangouts in the neighborhood:
1. Hudson Beach Cafe. This verdant spot at 105th street in Riverside Park has simple pub grub like burgers, a cold shrimp platter and beer and wine. It’s a relaxing place to watch people stroll in the park or to catch a glimpse of dogs frolicking in the dog park across the way. Plus, if you sit on the top level of this bi-level eatery, you can glimpse the shimmering Hudson River through the trees. For sports enthusiasts, there’s almost always a volley ball game going on at the adjacent athletic field.
105th St. in Riverside Park.
2. Boat Basin Cafe. If you want more action in Riverside Park, then this is the place for you. Here, the bustling scene is more important than the food. There’s great views of the boat basin—and if you’re lucky of smashing sunsets over the Hudson River.
W 79th St in Riverside Park
3. Café du Soleil. It’s unbearably noisy inside. That means the sidewalk café—yes, there are blaring car horns and the roar of the M-104 bus—is by comparison an oasis of tranquility.
104th St. and Broadway.
4. Bello Giardino. There’s a charming backyard patio adorned with a grape arbor.
71 W. 71st St., nr. Columbus Ave.
5. Henry’s. For well-prepared American fare like burgers, salads and steaks, Henry’s fits the bill. You can sit on the patio and watch the usual mélange of Upper West Side types walk by—from moms pushing strollers to packs of Columbia students.
2745 Broadway, at 105th St.
6. Isabella’s. It’s the scene at this neighborhood Italian. Sit yourself down in their sidewalk cafe across from the Museum of Natural History if you want to see and be seen.
359 Columbus Ave., at 77th St.
7. La Rural. The steaks are surprisingly tender and affordable at this Argentine grill which sports a garden for warm weather dining.
768 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 97th St.
8. Nice Matin. This is where the famed five napkin burger originated, and there are Provencal themed choices as well. The sidewalk cafe is always bustling at this busy Upper West Side corner.
201 W. 79th St., at Amsterdam Ave.
What’s your favorite Upper West Side outdoor dining spot?