Pack up those heavy coats, New Yorkers. Spring is finally upon us, and summer is just around the corner. It's time to enjoy the city again. The sun and the gorgeous weather helps remind us why we live in New York and why the hustle and bustle is ultimately worthwhile.
Warm weather is a fine excuse for lazy weekends and brunch with friends. Al fresco dining in the city is perfect for starting a leisurely day or nursing a bad hangover. There are plenty of places to eat outdoors in New York, so you might not know where to start or when. We've picked 10 great places to have an outdoor brunch in Manhattan to make your search a little easier and your weekends a little better.
A.O.C. L'aile ou la Cuisse
Though A.O.C. is located in the West Village, its decor and ambiance are distinctly Parisian. Chef and owner Romain Bonnans specializes in delicious French fare, including Feuille de Brique (ham and Swiss cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry), traditional French toast with bacon and home fries, Les Moules Marinères (mussels in white sauce), and poached eggs. The quaint outdoor garden offers a wonderful respite from the frenetic pace of the city. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. 314 Bleecker St., at the corner of Grove St.; aocnyc.com
For a rustic brunch and some fine people-watching in Chelsea, Cookshop is the place to be. In the 1800s, the current restaurant space was a private home. Now it's a must-go for brunch in Manhattan, especially for foodies concerned with sustainability and environmentally responsible eating. Chef Marc Meyer along with his wife Vicki Friedman and their fellow co-owner Chris Paraskevides use locally grown produce, which means the menu changes with the seasons based on availability. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. 156 10th Ave., at 20th St.; cookshopny.com
Friend of a Farmer
Friend of a Farmer may be down the street from exclusive Gramercy Park, but it offers a rustic farm-to-table experience. First opened in 1986, the restaurant has always focused on locally grown produce and having a seasonal menu to reflect this. There are no brunch reservations, so get there early or be ready for a line. Friend of a Farmer opened a second location in Brooklyn Heights, which also features al fresco dining. Brunch is served at the Gramercy Park location on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. 77 Irving Pl., btwn 19th St. and 18th St.; friendofafarmer.com
Located right next to the Bowery Hotel in the East Village, Gemma can maybe be described as rustica à la mode. Picture an Italian restaurant with the look and feel of a French brasserie and you have Gemma. The food itself is Italian through and through. It's delicious as well. The weekend fare for the brunch crowd includes polenta and eggs, baked eggs with avocado and prosciutto, frittatas, and wood-fired pizzas. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. 335 Bowery, btwn 2nd St. and Bond St.; theboweryhotel.com
Don't be thrown by the name. Hotel Chantelle is NOT a hotel. Named after a French WWII safe house, Hotel Chantelle is actually a restaurant, lounge, and event space that's home to a trendy Lower East Side crowd. The rooftop restaurant is a great spot to start or end your weekend, with brunch fare by Executive Chef Seth Levine. This includes bananas foster waffles, stuffed French toast, special cocktails, and skate (not plain old cod) and chips. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. 92 Ludlow St., btwn Broome St. and Delancey St.; hotelchantelle.com
Lafayette French Grand Café & Bakery
Serving breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner, this NoHo brasserie offers French cuisine various regions of the country, each bite tinged with a warm nostalgia. The brunch menu includes lemon pancakes, a brisket burger with raclette cheese, and oatmeal with cognac-sweetened fruit and toasted almonds. Lafayette's bakery offers cream puffs with orange cream filling and elderflower glaze, various eclairs, and other sweets and cake. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. 380 Lafayette St., btwn 4th St. and Great Jones St.;
The Standard Grill
Nestled under the High Line in the trendy Meatpacking District, The Standard Grill is located at the bottom of The Standard hotel and near The Standard Biergarten. The Standard Grill offers cafe-style sidewalk seating for people who want to take a break from strolling The High Line or are en route to The Whitney to take in some art. Given its location, you can expect a solid brunch fare and some excellent brunch cocktails. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm. 848 Washington St., btwn 13th St. and Little W. 12th St.; thestandardgrill.com
You might not expect Midtown East to be a spot for brunch, yet Tavern 29 is a good place to consider should you be around Kips Bay or NoMad on the weekend. If you ascend to the top floor of Tavern 29, you wind up on a rooftop German beer garden. Resting on wooden benches above the traffic is a fine way to pass a weekend morning or afternoon. The rooftop is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. 47 E 29th St., btwn Madison Ave. and S. Park Ave.; tavern29.com
If you don't know about Hudson Clearwater, you'll just pass it by. The red wall and green door at the entrance don't call attention to themselves but step inside and you find a charming place for brunch, lunch, and dinner in the West Village. Head chef Wes Long describes the fare as rustic American, which is evidenced not just by the dishes but the décor. There's limited seating in their garden patio, but even indoor dining feels lovely as if you know a fine secret about the city. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. 447 Hudson St., btwn Morton St. and Barrow St.; hudsonclearwater.com