From Orchard Beach to Coney Island, Where to Eat When Driving to NYC Beaches
Crab cakes, breweries, and classic boardwalk eats.
For most of the year, New Yorkers shuffle between the subway system and taxis to get around. But come summer, there’s nothing like taking the reins of our own driver's seat for a beach road trip to escape the city grind. And if you’re anything like us, the first order of business after scheduling a beach day is figuring out where to eat.
Luckily, not only does NYC boast some stellar beaches within city limits, but we’re spoiled with a bevy of great food choices as well. So, whether you’re headed to Orchard Beach in the Bronx or the amusement parks at Coney Island, we’ve got you covered. From new spots to iconic institutions, read on for seven excellent food destinations to hit up when driving to NYC beaches.
The new kid on the block in the Rockaways, Bar Marseille is inspired by coastal fare from the south of France. Think moules frites, beef tartare, and oysters Rockefeller. It’s perfect for an outdoor meal: not only do they have a 75-seat patio, but the roof boasts an additional 50 seats as well. Francophiles should not miss the cocktails, which feature many French favorites like Lillet, Chartreuse, pastis, and crème de cassis.
Cost: Entrees from $23
Uyghur or Uzbeki food may not be your typical beach eats, but if you’re anywhere close to Brighton Beach, a stop here is necessary. And, while the menu may veer towards rib-sticking, we promise it’s worth the potential food coma. Don’t miss the hand-pulled lagman noodles served with a pile of aromatic veggies and mixed meats, or the manty, a hearty meat dumpling.
Cost: Entrees from $9.50
The Original Crab Shanty
Fun fact: this legendary spot on City Island that’s a short drive from Orchard Beach has been in operation since 1977, and some of the original waitresses and staff are still there. Obviously, people flock here for all manner of seafood—mussels, oysters, clams, even crabby clams—but we think the star is the “Banquet for Crab Lovers,” which includes a feast of crab cakes, hard-shell garlic crabs, stuffed Dungeness crab, softshell crabs, and snow crab legs.
Cost: Entrees from $19.99
Riis Park Beach Bazaar
If you’re having trouble deciding what you may be in the mood for, pop over to this quasi-food hall, where multiple vendors will tempt you with everything from pulled pork sandwiches to avocado toast. Last year’s lineup included Cuisine by Claudette’s Mediterranean-inspired pita sandwiches and bowls, and Rockaway Clam Bar’s fresh, fried clams and lobster rolls.
Rockaway Brewing Company at the Beach
Sometimes you might want a liquid lunch and there’s nowhere better to do that than at this cheerful spot at Rockaway Beach. Their beer selection includes everything from IPAs to Pilsners; we recommend starting with The Original: ESB, their house ale which has notes of toffee and biscuit. And if you do get hungry, don’t worry: there are snacks on hand like pretzels, brats, vegan chili, plus pizza from Seany Slices every Saturday.
Cost: Beers from $6
Ruby's Bar & Grill
Slinging burgers and hot dogs in Coney Island since 1934, Ruby’s is a true classic of New York boardwalk cuisine. Aside from the requisite sandwiches, there’s also a robust seafood selection at this counter-service spot, including fried clams, shrimp, and crab cakes. If that’s not enough deep-fried action for you, Ruby’s also offers French fries, waffle fries, and sweet potato fries.
Cost: Entrees from $4
As one of the city’s most beloved seasonal stands, Tacoway Beach is a must-stop if you’re spending the day at Rockaway Beach. The breezy spot is especially famed for its fish tacos, which feature flaky, moist seafood encased in a perfectly airy and crispy shell. We definitely recommend adding their creamy guac onto top of your tacos, but it’s not a bad idea to get an extra order of it with chips as well.
Cost: Tacos from $3.50