Dining al fresco: Spain’s outdoor dining culture in NYC

Outdoor dining in Spain

Spain’s culture of enjoying outdoor dining on restaurant and bar patios, or terrazas as they’re known in Spanish, is one of the easiest customs in the country to spot. Walking through the squares, you can always find patio tables filled with people enjoying a coffee or some tapas from one of the various bars or restaurants that line the plaza. In Spain, there’s a strong culture of dining al fresco, enjoying drinks and food outdoors, whether in rain or shine. 

Most restaurants and cafes have tables and chairs specifically for outdoor dining that they’ll place in specified zones during open hours, adding large umbrellas or heaters depending on the weather. If the restaurant isn’t situated in a plaza or a pedestrian street, its tables will be placed on the sidewalk. Patios and outdoor seating are necessary for some of the smaller establishments since many of the restaurants and cafes can only fit a few people inside. With outdoor dining, people can still enjoy their favorite places, food, and drinks even if the tables are all occupied indoors.

Outdoor dining and restaurant patios are especially important to the diners, who like to enjoy their food and drinks al fresco. This way, they can watch the happenings along the street, they can wave to their friends they might spot passing the restaurant, and they can watch as their children play around the plaza or near the restaurant. They also like the extra room they have to spread out since the outdoor patios are much more open. 

Outdoor dining in New York City

New York City’s three Socarrat locations embrace this tradition of patio dining and outdoor seating, expressing their Spanish influence through their spaces as well as their food. You can experience the Spanish culture in NYC’s Midtown, Nolita, and Chelsea neighborhoods, dining on patios reminiscent of Spain. 

Nolita’s sidewalk patio tables sit in the shade of tall trees and large umbrellas, with boxes of lush green plants separating you from the street, allowing you to enjoy your food and drinks while soaking up the ambiance of New York City.

Our Midtown restaurant also offers sidewalk dining, as well as an upstairs outdoor balcony overlooking the street where you can watch city-dwellers going about their day, while you relax with a sangria in hand and enjoy delicious Spanish cuisine.

In Socarrat Chelsea, you can choose to dine on the sidewalk, surrounded by green plants, strong trees, and the buzz of NYC, or you can enjoy your food and drinks in our backyard garden, designed specifically to resemble an Andalusian patio. 

For ages in the south of Spain, the white-washed walls of Andalusian courtyards have been decorated with hanging plants. Terracotta pots are filled with colorful flowers and hung in geometric lines to create living walls of art. In fact, each year in Cordoba, a special festival, recognized by UNESCO as a new World Heritage Event takes place offering views of 50 flower-filled patios throughout the city.

In New York City, you can dine in our backyard garden, surrounded by the white walls and colorful hanging planters of Andalusia, and be transported to Spain’s sun-soaked south.

Spanish cuisine at Socarrat

Like our outdoor dining spaces, we’ve made sure that our menu reflects Spanish culture so you can experience a part of Spain in New York City. With an extensive list of Spanish wines and drinks, tapas, mains, and desserts, you’ll find something to hit the spot on our brunch menu, lunch menu, and dinner menu.

During brunch at our Chelsea and Nolita restaurants, you can try our Huevos a la Flamenca, a dish that is rooted, like our backyard patio garden, in Andalusia. The perfect brunch-time dish, Huevos a la Flamenca is a baked egg casserole, smothered in tomato sauce and filled with chorizo, potatoes, asparagus, and fava beans. Ours is also served with a crostini so you can dip your bread—a very typical Spanish custom.

Our tapas menu also offers those in New York a variety of Spanish food, like Pulpo a la Gallega, a traditional dish from Galicia in the north of Spain which spotlights one of the country’s most regarded ingredients: octopus. The recipe’s essence is simplicity and high-quality food with Galician octopus, a delicacy, and potatoes, coming together to create a delectable Spanish dish.

Stop by any one of our three Socarrat locations for a taste of Spain and to enjoy the culture of outdoor dining in New York City.

About us

Socarrat is a Spanish restaurant since 2008 offering a wide variety of tapas, paella, sangria and an extensive selection of wines with three locations in the heart of Manhattan.


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