Now that the April holidays have passed, it's officially time to start fantasizing about the warmer months coming up just around the bend. One surefire way to tell that spring is on the horizon is the outdoor furniture and expanded alfresco dining rooms at restaurants around town.
Plenty of restaurants offer outdoor seating during the spring, summer, and fall, but some do a better job with it than others. Alfresco service can be tricky because restaurants have to make sure customers don't feel crowded by diners waiting to be seated, they can't take up too much precious sidewalk space, and they must offer comfort against impending poor weather conditions.
Of course, some of the most important factors for great alfresco dining are the view and surroundings - restaurants that offer stellar food and a unique, breathtaking skyline view or waterfront setting make the experience of dining outside extra special.
Cliff's Edge, Los Angeles
Located in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cliff's Edge serves locally inspired Italian cuisine in their dining room and expansive outdoor patio. The central feature of the backyard space is a large tree that's illuminated by strings of lights in the evening - the patio structure is draped with light fabric on top to keep the strong breeze from blustering through and the wooden walls add to the rustic atmosphere.
Riverpark, New York City
Riverpark is Tom Colicchio's most recent dining venture, and it's located in an urban garden in Manhattan overlooking the East River. There are two outdoor spaces available to diners - the patio and the terrace. The patio is lined with couch-like slate blue banquettes and pillows and modern dark wood tabletops. The terrace has a more casual setting, complete with communal steel and wooden picnic tables. The patio serves the fine dining menu available in the dining room, as well as the less formal menu available on the terrace.
Back Forty, New York City
This East Village spot has an outdoor patio that's covered, surrounded by wooden fences and decorated with long white tables and chairs in primary colors. The serene setting offers an escape from the bustle of Manhattan and the neighborhood fare, complete with a signature burger and dishes filled with farmers market produce.
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