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The best restaurants and bars in Coney Island

Cap off a beach day at the best restaurants and bars in Coney Island, from hot-dog stand to boardwalk watering holes

Photograph: Christian Kozowyk

A day down at Coney Island—one of the best New York beaches around—is one of our favorite things to do in the summer in NYC. And of all the colorful things to do at the beachy Brooklyn destination, eating tops the list. From world-famous hot dogs to New York pizza icons and funky dive, these are the best restaurants and bars in Coney Island that you’ll want to scope out on the boardwalk and beyond.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Coney Island in NY

Best Coney Island restaurants

1

Totonno’s Pizzeria

For many Brooklyn pizzerias, the red-sauce slice is the standard, from the Sicilian squares at Di Fara to the Neapolitan rounds at Patsy’s. But at Totonno’s—a Coney Island beacon since Anthony Pero opened its doors in 1924—the pizza de résistance is the top-notch white pie. Sand-dusted pizza lovers make the trek from the beach for the off-menu garlicky round: It’s covered in gleaming white house-made mozzarella and pecorino romano, leopard-spotted with crispy char marks. It’s the best thing on the menu, and given delicious alternatives, like the purist Margherita pie, that’s saying something.

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2

Nathan’s Famous

This hot dog stand isn’t famous for nothin’. Grilling up franks since their flagship shop opened in 1916, you can get the same great dog and bun they’ve always done, alongside crinkle-cut fries, thick-battered corn dogs and a curbside clam bar serving up East Coast oysters and littlenecks on ice.

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3

Ruby’s

At the oldest bar and grill on the boardwalk, named for the late Ruby Jacobs, you can expect plastic cups of beer and fantastically greasy seashore favorites like plump corn dogs, breaded jumbo shrimp and waffle fries, perfect companion foods for a day of seaside drinking and sunning.

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4

Williams Candy

Satsify your sweet tooth at this nostalgic candy shop located right next to Nathan’s. They’ve got all the usual sugar fixes, as well as more retro-inspired options like shiny caramel apples coated in sprinkles and fluffy marshmallow kebabs dipped in chewy caramel and peanuts.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Sheryl Yvette

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5

Gargiulo’s

For something a bit more refined by the seashore, this Italian seafood joint pulls out all the stops, in its chandeliered dining room outfitted with aquariums full of live lobsters. Time in the sun earns filling, traditional pasta dishes like creamy fettuccine alfredo and penne marinara, alongside hearty beef braciola and shrimp scampi. Word to the wise: bring a change of clothes after your beach excursion. No shorts allowed.

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6

Tom’s Coney Island

Get a bite of Brooklyn nostalgia at this all-American boardwalk diner. The mom-and-pop restaurant—outfitted with photos of vintage Coney Island and cheery-red barstools—does the classics well: Thick battered onion rings, saucy brisket wraps and hand-spun milkshakes in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or cookies and cream. Sidle up to the bright red barstools to eat, or take it all to go and make it a beachside picnic.

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7

Coney Island Brewery

In between catching rays on the beach, head to this boardwalk brewery for a pint, a flight or to-go growlers of one of eight house-brewed draft beers, with options like the Mermaid Pilsner, the Overpass IPA or limited-edition stuff like a Kettle Corn Cream Ale and a watermelon-wheat Tunnel of Love.

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8

Tatiana Grill

You’ll get a “Zdravstvujte” before a “Hello” at this serene Russian waterfront spot, a ten-minute boardwalk stroll from bustling Coney Island. The casual, beach-friendly sibling to nearby Tatiana Restaurant has pages upon pages of Eastern European staples, like cold green borscht and puffy pelmeni dumplings. For a refreshing choice after a day at the beach, opt for the beet salad—al dente cubes of root vegetable with ruffles of arugula, crunchy walnut halves and creamy goat cheese in a light vinaigrette.

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9

Paul’s Daughter

A prime people-watching spot just outside Luna Park, this Coney Island staple turns out beachy favorites like fresh littleneck clams, fried calamari and frozen Italian ices.

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10

Place to Beach

After years spent revamping Coney Island’s Luna Park, Central Amusement International moved its improvements to the boardwalk, opening this lighthouse-inspired Tex-Mex cantina. The Chipotle-style counter setup supplies soft tacos filled with fired-braised chicken and marinated pulled pork; crunchy tortilla chips with thick guacamole; and South of the Border brews (Negra Modelo, Pacifico). Kick back at a patio picnic table with a fresh margarita—on the rocks or frozen—and a trio of grilled skirt steak tacos: tender, seared beef topped with bright cilantro-lime rice, black-bean–corn relish and spicy pepperjack.

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