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On the Waterfront
River Café (Photo: VivaVioleta Photography/River Café)

10 Best NYC Restaurants on the Water

What better way to combat the summertime humidity than by cooling off at a breezy outdoor table? These waterfront restaurants are the best the five boroughs have to offer

It’s easy to forget that Manhattan is an island. Dining out at a waterfront restaurant will soon remind you. But not just any table will do — the food, after all, has to live up to the setting. We tracked down the best, from slurping oysters on a wooden sailboat near Tribeca to munching on gourmet burgers at a boat basin on the Hudson River to dining on rustic Italian in Battery Park City with views of the Statue of Liberty. And, with the end of summer approaching, now’s the time to check out these al fresco spots, most of which shutter their outdoor seating during the snowy months.

 

Grand Banks (Photo: Isa Wipfli/Courtesy of Grand Banks)

Grand Banks (Photo: Isa Wipfli/Courtesy of Grand Banks)

Grand Banks
A new seasonal oyster bar, Grand Banks is more than just a table by the water – here you’re actually on the water. Dine under the stars, surrounded by the lapping river waters, on the 142-foot wooden Sherman Zwicker schooner, which is docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. The cuisine is as natural as the setting, including sustainably sourced oysters, seasonal small plates and fruity artisanal cocktails. Kick off the meal with some raw Naked Cowboy oysters from New York and a round of Sherman’s Cup cocktails (white wine, seasonal berries, lemon, lime) before moving on to fried squash blossoms and red snapper ceviche. Pier 25, Hudson River Park, N. Moore St. at West St., 212-960-3390, grandbanks.org

 

Gigino (Photo: Gigino)

Gigino (Photo: Gigino)

Gigino
Can’t make it to the Mediterranean this summer? Gigino may be the next best thing. Perched on the tip of Manhattan, overlooking the harbor and Statue of Liberty, this refined Italian restaurant nails the seaside Mediterranean atmosphere, with big white umbrellas, tall frosty glasses of white wine and classic dishes like linguini with clams. This is the place to bring a group to fill one of the long tables topped with a variety of dishes to share, like bruschetta, baked eggplant with tomato and mozzarella and calamari fritti. Split a pasta dish or two, and finish off with simple grilled fish — and another bottle of white. 20 Battery Pl., 212-528-2228, gigino-wagnerpark.com

 

River Café (Photo: VivaVioleta Photography/River Café)

River Café (Photo: VivaVioleta Photography/River Café)

River Café
It doesn’t get more classic than this: Roosting under the Brooklyn Bridge, the River Café has been a favorite waterfront spot since 1977. Book your table to coincide with sunset to witness the Manhattan skyline flicker to life, as New York Harbor water traffic glides by the windows, from billowing sailboats to yachts festooned in lights. Plan on a leisurely, indulgent, multi-course evening – try the grilled octopus with warm Yukon potatoes and bright chimichurri sauce, a juicy rack of lamb with a mint and mustard glaze and the rightfully famous chocolate Brooklyn Bridge for dessert. 1 Water St., Brooklyn, 718-522-5200, therivercafe.com

 

Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill (Photo: Pier 66 Maritime)

Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill (Photo: Pier 66 Maritime)

Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill
Sometimes, the best waterfront dining is all about simple pleasures. At Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill, which sits on a floating railroad barge on the Hudson River, that means a Pat La Frieda sirloin burger grilled to order and served on a brioche roll. For dessert, devour an ice cream sandwich, like the aptly named “Bold,” made with salted peanut cookies stuffed with Sixpoint Brownstone Ale ice cream. On the lighter end of the menu are creamy hummus, steamed lobster and a bright and fresh watermelon salad. 207 12th Ave., 212-989-6363, pier66maritime.com

 

 

Manhattan by Sail: Shearwater Champagne Brunch Sail (Photo: Manhattan by Sail)

Manhattan by Sail: Shearwater Champagne Brunch Sail (Photo: Manhattan by Sail)

Manhattan by Sail: Shearwater Champagne Brunch Sail
Why wait in an interminable brunch line on land? Instead, take to the waters on a  vintage schooner yacht for a hearty spread of fat bagels, smoked salmon, croissants, fruit and, perhaps most importantly, plenty of prosecco. The 2-hour Shearwater Champagne Brunch Sail casts off from the Hudson River’s North Cove Marina in Battery Park City, and along the way you’ll be treated to screensaver-worthy views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. The ship’s interior rivals the views, with historic state rooms, Art Deco furniture and an all-marble bathroom. Departures every Sunday from North Cove Marina in Tribeca, $81pp (get tickets!), 212-619-6900, manhattanbysail.com

 

The Water Table (Photo: The Water Table)

The Water Table (Photo: The Water Table)

The Water Table
A self-proclaimed “New England tavern on the water,” the Water Table is a relaxed restaurant on the Revolution, a historic Yard Patrol boat that was built for the U.S. Navy in 1944 and is now fully refurbished with gleaming woods and communal tables. Gaze out at breezy views of the East River and tuck into New England seafood and chilled beer — you may just forget you’re in Manhattan. There are two types of tickets: a 2.5-hour cruise on Friday and Saturday evening or a 2-hour cruise on Sunday evening. On Friday and Saturday, a 3-course meal is served, including a Maine lobster roll with summer panzanella salad and an ice cream float. On Sundays, a 2-course meal includes lobster mac and cheese. There’s also a long list of cocktails and beers, including sidecars and negronis as well as Brooklyn Summer Ale and Allagash White. FDR Dr. at 23rd St., 917-499-5727, thewatertablenyc.com

 

Boat Basin Café (Courtesy: Boat Basin Café)

Boat Basin Café (Courtesy: Boat Basin Café)

Boat Basin Café
Happy hour doesn’t get happier than here: This longtime favorite for sundowner cocktails and ice-cold beers, the 79th Street Boat Basin is also a great spot for a summer al fresco meal. Juicy burgers are cooked to order and served on a sesame seed bun; a classic Cobb salad is piled high with bacon, hardboiled egg, avocado and blue cheese; and a Black Angus steak sandwich arrives on ciabatta with horseradish sour cream. Plus, the menu also includes an array of light dishes to share, from fish tacos to steamed edamame. With the backdrop of boats bobbing around the docks, this is the perfect spot to watch the sun dip into the horizon. W. 79th St., 212-496-4522, boatbasincafe.com

 

La Marina (Photo: La Marina)

La Marina (Photo: La Marina)

La Marina
Fresh seafood, gorgeous views of the Hudson River and live Latino music — what more do you need? Located in Upper Manhattan, La Marina is a softly lit restaurant, cocktail bar and beach lounge that sits just beneath the Cloisters. Enjoy the tastes of summer, including simple classics like oysters and lobster, as well as spicy lobster jambalaya, grilled pork ribs and shredded Brussels sprouts salad. Wash it all down with icy cocktails, like tangy, mint-infused mojitos. Live music on Wednesdays and Thursdays includes Brazilian samba and Cuban salsa. All are encouraged to get up and dance. Olé! 348 Dyckman St., 212-567-6300, lamarinanyc.com

 

Water's Edge (Photo: Water's Edge)

Water’s Edge (Photo: Water’s Edge)

Water’s Edge
Brooklyn isn’t the only place with fabulous views of the Manhattan skyline. Head to the appropriately named Water’s Edge, in Long Island City, Queens, for dazzling views of the Manhattan cityscape. The menu leans towards seafood — try appetizers like shrimp and scallion dumplings in a red curry sauce or seared razor clams with piquillo peppers and lemon. Seafood platters (oysters, clams, lobster, tuna tartare) appeal to raw enthusiasts, while carnivores salivate over tempting entrees like a Long Island duck breast with truffle glaze or a New York strip steak with an onion ring tower. 401 44th Dr., Queens, 718-482-0033, watersedgenyc.com

 

Pier A Harbor House (Photo: Pier A Harbor House)

Pier A Harbor House (Photo: Pier A Harbor House)

Pier A Harbor House
The opening of a new waterfront dining destination is something to get excited about — especially if it’s from the team behind the award-winning Dead Rabbit cocktail bar. Opening in late summer in Battery Park, this massive multi-level restaurant/lounge will have an oyster bar, refined cocktail list and dishes inspired by the ingredients of the Hudson River Valley, along with dozens of craft beers in the Long Hall. Cheers! 22 Battery Pl., 212-344-0500, piera.com

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