Like twin Bengal cats eating tuna in matching turtlenecks or a pair of polka dot cowboy boots on a sale rack, Woodside and Sunnyside are two great things that happen to be right next to each other. These neighboring areas in Queens are surrounded by some of the best Thai, Peruvian, Tibetan, and Salvadoran restaurants in NYC, and you’ll find all of the best spots open for outdoor dining on this guide. So if you’re looking for a daydream-worthy meal just outside of Astoria and LIC, you’re in the right place.
SriPraPhai is a Woodside classic, and it’s still where you should go when you want to eat a plate of soft-shell crab on a huge outdoor patio that, if you squint, could pass for Oprah’s backyard. This is an especially good spot for curries, seafood, and some fragrant pork leg that falls apart as soon as you touch it. Keep in mind that Sripraphai is cash-only, so you’ll need to bring enough money for dinner and some takeout desserts from the fridge on your way out.
If sitting at a table in the street and eating a crunchy square slice or a chewy neapolitan pie is what you seek, head to Philomena’s. This Sunnyside pizza place is known for its dough, which undergoes an intimidating three-day fermentation process. If you want to try it for yourself, there are three small tables surrounded by a plant-filled patio barricade right in front of the shop, and you can use them from 4 to 9pm daily.
A summer without ceviche is like a king size bed without pillows, a car without a steering wheel, or a cell phone with no provider — there’s just no point. Thankfully, the Sunnyside location of Riko Peruvian is serving several different kinds of ceviche including things like white fish, sweet potato, squid, and mussels in halved coconuts on their sidewalk patio. You can also order things like rotisserie chicken, salad, and Peruvian-style fried rice with beef here.
For years, this mosaic-covered Mexican spot right under the 7 line on Roosevelt Ave has served Pueblan-style dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Starting at 8am, you can stop by for a basket of fresh breakfast pastries or a slice of rhubarb and strawberry pie. If you’re not a morning person, try the chicken enchiladas covered in mole poblano or jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab meat at one of their socially-distant sidewalk tables during lunch or dinner. Be sure to check out their Instagram before you visit, because that’s how you’ll hear about their weekend specials, like tamales and soft shell crab.
If you don’t start your meal at this friendly Himalayan spot in Sunnyside with a plate of momos, we might have to block you. We also like the lightly spicy lamb soup with chunks of radish and the tender beef tongue mixed with bok choy that comes with a big, fluffy whole wheat tingmo. Whatever you decide, we can guarantee that you’ll want to come back and try more dishes on their elevated parking lot patio this summer.
Like your first ice cream cone, the revueltas pupusa from this Salvadoran spot in Woodside is a dish you won’t forget. It’s full of refried beans, cheese, and chicharrón all packed in tight inside the warm embrace of sweet masa. When you bite into it, you’ll begin to wonder how such a big combination of flavor fits into something that’s only about the size of a silver dollar pancake. There are also a bunch of other great pupusas and dishes like birria tacos, consome, and tamales that you can take to-go or enjoy at one of the two outdoor tables.
Does every great beer bar need to have a nice back patio, metal chairs, and a friendly bartender with an Irish accent? No, but it helps. And that’s what you’ll find at The Beerkeeper in Woodside. We can’t actually guarantee your bartender will be Irish (the employee schedule is not publicly available), but we can promise good beers on draft and to-go cocktails.
Aubergine is a corner cafe in Woodside where you can eat sandwiches, salads, bagels, or pastries at a sidewalk table on Skillman Ave. But unlike most neighborhood spots, this one has cocktail options like nectarine sangria that you can swap out for your usual glass of white. They also have tons of desserts like oreo cheesecake, plus some vegan and vegetarian options available from 8am to 4pm every day except Tuesday.
Another spot that’s right along the 7 train on Queens Blvd is Maggie Mae’s. Think of this Sunnyside spot as an overachieving Irish pub, where you can drink craft beers, spiked Prosecco popsicles, and frozen mango margaritas on a parking spot patio. And if you get hungry, order a hot dog or popcorn to your curbside table.
Maybe you’re in the mood to eat some wood-fired pizza on a big patio with oversized string lights. That’s when you should head to Sotto Le Stelle in Sunnyside. It’s the neighborhood spot we all wish we had, and in addition to pizzas, you’ll find calzones, frozen cocktails, and plenty of seafood on its menu.
Soleluna is another good Italian restaurant in Sunnyside from the people behind Sotto Le Stelle. And it’s where you should go for a plate of pasta al pomodoro in the area. The sidewalk tables make this an ideal outdoor birthday dinner spot, but you could also come here for any other occasion when you might want to bite into some speck wrapped baked asparagus with truffle burrata and smile.