How to Have the Perfect Rockaway Beach Day

Updated On 07/13/2017 at 06:54PM EST Updated On 07/13/2017 at 06:54PM EST
rockaway beach day guide
Cole Saladino/Thrillist
How to get there
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What you’ll need
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Where to eat and drink
King David Tacos

Surfside Bagels

95-11 Rockaway Beach Boulevard

Any New York City neighborhood worth visiting has its go-to bagel place, and Rockaway is no exception. Visit this full-service deli for plump, hand-rolled bagels in all your standard flavors along with the occasional, festively dyed creation, to be spread with Fruity Pebbles cream cheese or another out-there topping. Sandwiches, salads, smoothies also work well as eat-on-the-beach takeaway items.


Beach 106th Street

If your beach style is more Venice than NYC municipal public park, head to this California-style juice and smoothie kiosk doling out seasonal breakfast items like an egg sandwich covered in fresh greens, homemade granola with yogurt, and various types of avocado-less toast.

Rockaway Beach Bakery

87-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard

Start your morning with a sugary kick at this brand-new bakery from former North End Grill pastry chef Tracy Obolsky. Croissants, muffins, pecan-topped sticky buns, and plenty of colorful and creative specials are all baked fresh each morning for a grab-and-go breakfast to scarf down as you scout out your beach spot for the day.  

King David Tacos

Pop-up (check social media for next location)

Helmed by an Austin transplant, this breakfast taco hub serves a simple yet superb menu of egg-filled tortilla creations. Built on flour tortillas imported from Texas, these refried bean, potato, egg, and bacon creations (which you should coat in a healthy dose of hot sauce) are perhaps the best fuel for a day of laying in the sun.

tacoway beach | Michael Rudin


Beach 106th Street

Fans of the East Village original won’t be disappointed by this beloved Venezuelan restaurant’s beachside outpost. Serving a roster of popular arepas like La Del Gato (cheese, plantains, avocado) all contained in hot corn-cakes, Caracas offers up the perfect handheld beach food. To cool off, go for the sangria slushies, available in red or white -- or as a twist.

Tacoway Beach

302 Beach 87th Street

A favorite of Rockaway Beach goers from the pre-Sandy era, the newest rendition of this temporarily defunct taco joint is located inside Rockaway Beach Surf Club (which, despite the name, is not a club at all but rather an open-to-all indoor-outdoor restaurant, bar, and events venue hosting movie nights and local artwork viewings). It’s all about the fish tacos here, served fried to a delicate crisp with plenty of slaw tossed on top for extra crunch.

Chicks to Go

97-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard

Peruvian rotisserie chicken may not be your idea of beach food, but hear us out before you go running for hot dogs: This juicy, fall-off-the bone bird is made for sharing, and you’re more than welcome to use your hands to dig into the meat (which can be paired with sides like rice, beans, avocado salad, and two types of plantains). Grab a bird (and its accoutrements) to go and feast on the beach until the inevitable food coma sets in.

Super Burrito

Beach 97th Street

You’re here for one thing: the Super Burrito ($12), stuffed with tons of al pastor, carne asada, or chicken, plus Jack cheese, rice, beans, avocado, sour cream, and pico. Vegetarians can opt for the chile relleno burrito, and all diners should add a heavy dose of homemade red and green salsas.

Thai Rock

375 Beach 92nd Street

For an air-conditioned respite on a super-hot day, look no further than this curry, noodle, and fried rice-slinging Thai restaurant, complete with ocean views so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on precious beach time. If the water has you in a seafood mood, go all in for the $28 deep-fried snapper (or a slightly healthier version grilled in a banana leaf).

Cuisine by Claudette

143 Beach 116th Street

Healthy eaters flock to this seasonal off-boardwalk restaurant that’s similar to fresh-focused lunch spots like Dig Inn. Choose a main ranging from rotating options like baked salmon or grilled lemon chicken and fill up your plate with hot and cold sides like refreshing slaws and salads. Juices, smoothies, and acai bowls help chase it all down, and if you’re in a sharing mood, take a side of baba ganoush or hummus back to the beach.


92-07 Rockaway Beach Boulevard

This central Asian restaurant was one of the early newcomers to post-Sandy Rockaway, quickly becoming a favorite for mid-summer carb-loading. Uzbek, Russian, and other Silk Road staples are all on the menu, meaning various iterations of dumplings, kebabs and, of course, borscht are all available for your mid-beach binge.

Bungalow Bar

Epstein’s Beach

90th St & Rockaway Beach Boulevard

Those familiar with the rowdy Lower East Side bar of the same name will feel at home in this new tenant at the former home of the Rockaway Beach Inn. Nightly food specials (think hot sandwiches and hot dogs) as well as fruity drinks set the tone as a DJ spins dance-worthy hits and classics until 2am.

Connolly's Bar

155 Beach 95th Street

Leaving this dive with a frozen piña colada-filled styrofoam cup is a Rockaway rite of passage, but before you head back out to catch the sunset with one in hand, stay to chat with regulars at the neighborhood mainstay. Be sure to order the empanadas and, if it’s a Tuesday, check out the open mic. Last call is shortly before 4am.

Bungalow Bar

377 Beach 92nd Street

Another popular beachside jaunt, this laid-back bar is good for everything from boozy brunch to cocktails after the nighttime tide rolls in. Satisfy your saltwater cravings with a seafood tower stacked high with East and West Coast oysters, lobster, clams, and more before filling up on a lobster roll or plate of bucatini tangled with seafood.

Sayra’s Wine Bar

91-11 Rockaway Beach Boulevard

Unwind after a day of sunbathing in the spacious backyard of this trendy wine bar, featuring a dozen well-curated wines available by the glass for under $10, along with tapas-style bar bites like cheese plates, olives, and an oddly satisfying peanut butter crostini.