Hot spots for feasting alfresco
You know spring is here when restaurants sweep off their sidewalks, spritz up their cocktail menus, and start serving a dose of sunshine alongside their entrées. Lucky for us, Westchester offers a host of riverside terraces, secluded patios, and street-side tables ideal for dining, drinking, and people-watching. Get out there and enjoy the breeze.
Bistro Rollin (142 Fifth Ave, Pelham 914-633-0780; bistrorollin.com) lends a Parisian feel—owners Barbara and Arthur Bratone named the restaurant for the small street in the Fifth Arrondisement on which they lived years ago—which is why sidewalk seating features flowerpots and planters as well as a host of French specialties such as frisée salad and steak frites.
Barnacle BBQ (181 E Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck 914-777-6610; barnaclebbq.com) has lots of raw-bar offerings, plus fried clams, pulled pork, and smothered-in-sauce baby-back ribs—but it’s the ample decks (one in front and one in back) that make it ideal come warm weather. The ambience is fish shack meets Cajun road stand complete with inventive cocktails and colorful martinis.
There’s a hip vibe at Chat 19 (19 Chatsworth Ave, Larchmont 914-833-8871; chat19.net) and Chat American Grill (1 Christie Pl, Scarsdale 914-722-4000; chatamericangrill.com) that makes you feel like you’re part of the “in” crowd. Both feature large, umbrellaed terraces where sipping their famous Chat Punch (Stoli Peach, Stoli Razz, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and a splash of sour mix) is key, as is drinking in the parade of people.
Is there anything better than a sunset dinner? Or a happy hour that lasts until the sky turns a raspberry hue? At Dolphin Restaurant Bar Lounge (1 Van Der Donck St, Yonkers 914-751-8170; dolphinrbl.com), you can enjoy a cold glass of Chardonnay with grilled shrimp bruschetta or Tuscan meatballs as you watch boats sail down the Hudson. Or, simply relax and enjoy the full roster of Italian and seafood specialties. You’re never rushed, the service is impeccable, and the view is one of the best around. And, if that isn’t enough, there’s the eatery’s newly opened sister restaurant, Café Hudson (1 Van Der Donck St, Yonkers 914-338-7542; cafehudson.com), next door, where you can sink into a comfy sofa and order a round of tapas and brews. The lounge atmosphere and its postcard-perfect panorama ups the ante with the addition of live music on weekends.
Finalmente Trattoria and Wine Bar (31 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow 914-909-4787) is full of surprises, and that includes its intimate back patio where you can pair hearty entrées like lamb ragu with a gorgeous bottle of Italian wine. It feels like you’re in the garden of an old friend who just happens to be an amazing cook.
The flowering herb garden is the first thing that tempts your senses at Harvest-on-Hudson (1 River St, Hastings 914-478-2800;
harvest2000.com); the other is the stunning view. From the terrace, the Hudson sparkles, offering a ringside seat to the river’s magic, as well as a front-row perch to delicious Mediterranean-inspired food.
Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains is rife with sidewalk seating, but, for those who want to eat without the sounds of car horns honking, try the back patio at Hudson Grille (165 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-997-2000; hudsongrilleny.com), where a more refined dining experience awaits. Our picks among the interesting offerings: the vegetable Napoleon; mac ’n’ cheese with roasted jalapeños, smoked bacon, and a splash of Jim Beam; and green-pea “ravioli” with saffron butter and truffled beet salad. Arrive before 9 pm if you want to avoid the bar scene it turns into later in the evening.
From the front, you’d never know Il Sorriso (5 N Buckhout St, Irvington 914-591-2525; ilsorriso.com) boasts such a lovely backyard terrace. Entry to the area can be awkward—find it through a side door (follow the candles and laughter) or via a back room (you’ll need some guidance) but, once there, it’s pure wow. A welcome respite with a water panorama similar to what you’d find at Red Hat, Harvest, or Blue Moon—but without the wait for a table.
Craving a taste of Italy? Check out Nessa (325 N Main St, Port Chester 914-939-0119; nessarestaurant.com), where outdoor seating comes with a view of a bocce court—and an invitation to play. The patio is on the side of the restaurant and features café seating that makes it easy for families with little ones to let them run around, especially during Sunday brunch.
Daylight streams into the tented garden at Opus 465 (465 Main St, Armonk 914-273-4676; opus465.com), where a high white picket fence and some well-tended landscaping add to the bright mood (the sunshine also helps). Its cheeriness makes it an ideal perch for a burger and a salad.
There’s no place more synonymous with fun in the sun than Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar (1 Playland Parkway, Rye 914-967-1020; pier
restaurantandtikibar.com) and its sister restaurant, Seaside Johnnies (94 Dearborn Ave, Rye 914-921-6104; seasidejohnnies.com), where the beachy backdrop offers a dash of tropical ambience. Add a sip of your favorite vintage or the house-made
sangria and you’ll soon be in an island state of mind.
Red Hat on the River (1 Bridge St, Irvington 914-591-5888; redhatbistro.com) offers two outdoor seating options: the main terrace on the first floor or the rooftop bar, where you can lounge with a cocktail and watch the orangey glow of the setting sun. You can’t go wrong at either—after all, this restaurant is practically the granddaddy of alfresco dining.
Treat yourself to stunning scenes of the river, courtesy of The Cove (5 John Walsh Blvd, Peekskill 914-739-0337; thecove
charlespoint.com), where exposed brick walls and wood floors create a friendly, convivial atmosphere. The action takes place outside on the spacious balcony, where you can debate over the list of specialty cocktails and watch boats trickle in and out of the marina.
The large front patio of The Olde Stone Mill (2 Scarsdale Rd, Tuckahoe 914-771-7661; theoldstonemill.com) is rife with history (the building dates to the 1800s), though you may be too absorbed in the specialty sorbet-tinis to notice. Manager Dina Gwin’s specialty creations include two ounces of house-made fruit sorbets, various flavored vodkas, and fresh juices in varieties that include mango, blueberry, blood orange, and lime.
Scalini Osteria (65 Pondfield Rd, Bronxville 914-337-4935; scaliniosteria.com) features a secluded courtyard, complete with heat lamps, making this a cozy, European-like hideaway. The delicious Tuscan-inspired food changes seasonally. Prefer people-watching to the enclosed back terrace? No worries. There’s more outdoor seating in the front.
Music Meets Outdoors
It’s akin to an outdoor street party complete with live music come July and August (weather permitting) in Peekskill. That’s when 12 Grapes, Division Street Grill, and Rubens Mexican Café, all on North Division Street, open their doors Saturday nights and offer outdoor seating—in the closed-off street.
Beyond Our Borders
Looking for someplace airy beyond Westchester? Here, sun-worthy options from our neighboring counties:
Bronx: Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant (2 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 718-885-2086) Expect picnic tables and a view of Long Island Sound. It’s not fancy, but the fried lobster, shrimp, clams, and assorted fish piled high on a mountain of fries has drawn crowds since 1950.
Fairfield: L’Escale (500 Steamboat Rd, Greenwich, CT 203-661-4600; lescale
restaurant.com) A Provençal ambience captures the sea breezes and evocative scents of Southern France.
Putnam: The Terrace Club (825 S Lake Blvd, Mahopac, NY 845-621-5200; the
terraceclubrestaurant.com) is the perfect shorts-and-T-shirt casual eatery with stunning views of Lake Mahopac.
Rockland: Hudson Water Club (606 Beach Rd, West Haverstraw, NY 845-271-4046; hudsonwaterclub.com) Dramatic river views, excellent service, and delicious seafood make this waterfront restaurant a destination worth driving to.
Jeanne Muchnick, author of Dinner for Busy Moms (dinnerforbusymoms.com) and Managing Editor of ProjectYou Magazine (projectyou
magazine.com), is a sidewalk hog who admits she’s happiest when dining (and drinking) with a dose of Vitamin D.
Caption: (Above) Chat American Grill’s patios have gas heaters so alfresco dining can continue even on cool summer nights.