How to Rent Your Own Private Island
95-11 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
This is Rockaway’s best bagel. Plump, hand-rolled dough in classic varieties is kettle-boiled and oven-baked, and schmeared with occasional kooky confections like Fruity Pebbles cream cheese. Wraps and sandwiches are compact eat-on-the-beach treats.
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.
87-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Start your morning with a sugary kick at this 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Beach 97th Street
You’re here for one thing: the Super Burrito ($12), stuffed with tons of chicken, carnitas, or, for an extra buck, steak -- plus Jack cheese, rice, beans, avocado, sour cream, and pico. Vegetarians can opt for the poblano burrito, and all diners should add a heavy dose of homemade red and green salsas.
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).
143 Beach 116th Street
Healthy eaters flock to this seasonal off-boardwalk restaurant that’s similar to Manhattan lunch spots like Dig Inn. Choose a main 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.
90th St & Rockaway Beach Boulevard
The seaside outpost of the landlocked LES bar of the same name hosts art shows and live music. 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.
155 Beach 95th Street
Leaving this dive with a frozen piña colada-filled styrofoam cup is a Rockaway rite of passage. Before you head back out to catch the sunset, 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.
377 Beach 92nd Street
Another popular beachside jaunt, this laid-back bar is good all day, from boozy brunch, through nighttime tide-side cocktails. Satisfy your saltwater cravings with a seafood tower stacked high with East and West Coast oysters, lobster, and clams, before filling up on a lobster roll or plate of pasta tangled with seafood.
91-11 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Unwind after a day of sunbathing in this trendy wine bar’s spacious backyard. More than a dozen well-curated wines are available by the glass for under $10, along with tapas-style bar bites like cheese plates, olives, and charcuterie.