We’re months into a global pandemic and restaurants across the country continue to adapt to an ever-changing situation. By law, dining rooms remain closed in California and New York but open in Chicago and Washington, DC. But across all four regions, outdoor dining is allowed. Some have taken this opportunity to relocate temporarily to new environs. Others have repurposed rooftops and sidewalks into dining spaces. And some were just plain beautiful to begin with but are especially in-demand right now.
Here are 11 MICHELIN-recommended restaurants across the country making the most of outdoor dining.
Three MICHELIN Stars
Alinea: AIR (Chicago)
Chef Grant Achatz has taken to the skies with Alinea in Residence or simply, AIR. His flagship Lincoln Park restaurant has temporarily relocated to a rooftop in Chicago’s West Loop just across from One MICHELIN-Starred Next. No expense was spared: Custom designed plates and geometric sculptures for walls that move throughout the evening only enhance the kitchen’s creative whims.
Quince at Fresh Run Farms and McEvoy Ranch (Marin)It’s not every day that a Three MICHELIN Star restaurant tells you to wear sunglasses, hats and casual footwear for your reservation. But it’s advice worth heeding if you’re joining Chef Michael Tusk for lunch on the farm. At Fresh Run Farms, a 25-acre space in Bolinas that supplies his various restaurants, guests dine in open-air greenhouses set among the fields and even pick their own veggies. At McEvoy Ranch, a socially distanced lunch is set among 80-acres of olive trees.
SingleThread at Kistler Vineyards (Sonoma)SingleThread has partnered with Kistler Vineyards and set up in nearby Forestville at the winery’s beloved Trenton Roadhouse in idyllic Sonoma. Chef Kyle Connaughton’s 10-course dinner, dubbed the Summer Wine Dinner Series, will also feature wine pairings from the estate. *Due to the unfortunate fires in Sonoma County, SingleThread has temporarily closed its dinner series at Kistler Vineyards. The restaurant's Instagram page has updates.
Two MICHELIN Stars
Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Tarrytown, New York)
Ever wonder what a Two MICHELIN Star picnic might look like? Chef Dan Barber and his team has prepared custom picnic baskets featuring a wide array of provisions sourced across the farm’s 80-acres of fields and pastures. Seated either on the patio or on the lawn, guests are encouraged to dress casually.
Daniel (New York)
Manhattan isn’t exactly known for spacious sidewalks, but that’s exactly where guests can now enjoy Executive Chef Jean-Francois Bruel's cooking—just outside Restaurant Daniel's front door. The menu is condensed with an emphasis on a la carte classics like pâté en croûte and duo of beef with red wine-braised short ribs and filet mignon.
One MICHELIN Star
Yūgen’s pandemic pivot might be one of the more dramatic ones we’ve seen. The tasting menu is still offered in the dining room, but the Kaisho Tiki Takeover on the patio is not unlike a Japanese izakaya. Essentially a second restaurant, the patio menu offers casual items like binchotan-grilled skewers, fish collars brushed with tare and bagged cocktails (yes, bagged) are all available.
Located on the 12th floor of the Hoxton Hotel, this Peruvian rooftop hotspot offers gorgeous views of Chicago’s skyline. Greenery at every turn, a swimming pool and wrap-around glass lend to the sleek vibe. Brunch is particularly strong with Chef Stephanie Izard’s clever creations like waffles with hoisin coffee maple and spiced pineapple.