If Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe was any indication, dining al fresco was obviously alluring way before 2020. But if the pandemic taught restaurants anything, it’s how to pivot and do things even better—and diners, in turn, have certainly learned how to appreciate their third places more.
So for those seeking something beyond a fancy “streetery,” OpenTable—one of America’s more popular online reservations platform—has just released its latest diner-reviewed list in anticipation of the country’s post-Covid reopening: Top 25 Restaurants for Outdoor Dining.
And looking at all these datasets (via the OpenTable State of the Industry dashboard) is quite interesting. Especially as it evolves.
New York City, which is arguably one of the most important dining destinations in the world, is not represented at all. (Although OpenTable’s data shows that Lupa near SoHo, Baker & Co in Greenwich Village, and Catch in the Meatpacking District are a small sampling of the city’s highest-rated and most booked spots.) Apparently, as of early April, only around sixty percent of New York restaurants that use the platform have reopened. Beyond that, seated diners at the aforementioned open restaurants are at 75% of 2019 levels—so there’s definitely some major room for growth as the industry slowly recovers.
But New York isn’t the only “snubbed” city. New Orleans, Portland, Chicago, and Charleston are among the big food cities that are noticeably absent on this roster—and that’s a shame.
As for this admittedly abbreviated nationwide list, the warmer states take the top spots. Unsurprisingly. California has the most honorees with six restaurants—including Beachcomber Café, Foreign Cinema, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, and Waterbar. Next up is Florida, with five. While the District of Columbia and Georgia are tied at third place with two restaurants each.