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Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs
Photograph: Christian Kozowyk

The best bars and restaurants in Coney Island

Cap off a beach day at the best eateries in Coney Island, from hot-dog stands to boardwalk watering holes

By Christina Izzo and Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo
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Planning the perfect day at Coney Island—one of the best beaches in NYC—is one of our favorite things to do in the summer. 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 dives, these are the best bars and restaurants in Coney Island that you should scope out on the boardwalk and beyond.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Coney Island in NY

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Best Coney Island restaurants

Totonno's Pizza
Photograph: Dominic Perri

1. Totonno’s Pizzeria

Restaurants Pizza Coney Island

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.

2. Nathan’s Famous

Restaurants Hot dogs Coney Island

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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Corn dog and waffle fries at Ruby's
Photograph: Alex Strada

3. Ruby’s

Restaurants American Coney Island

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.

4. Williams Candy

Shopping Chocolate and candy Coney Island

Satsify your sweet tooth at this nostalgic candy shop that's been next door to Nathan’s for more than 75 years. 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. 

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Gargiulo's
Photograph: Courtesy Gargiulo’s

5. Gargiulo’s

Restaurants Italian Coney Island

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.

6. Tom’s Coney Island

Restaurants Diners 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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Al Capone hot dog at Feltman's Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy of Feltman's Kitchen

7. Feltman’s Kitchen

Restaurants Hot dogs East Village

Nathan's Famous may have the brand-name recognition but Feltman's has the historical bona fides: German immigrant Charles Feltman invented the hot dog in Coney Island back in 1867, nearly 50 years before its Surf Avenue rival. Get the snappy tubers loaded with sauerkraut, mustard and onions; chili and cheddar cheese; sausage gravy and even vodka sauce and grated Parmesan. 

Coney Island Brewery
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Johnny Prime C.

8. Coney Island Brewery

Bars Coney Island

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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Kitchen 21
Photograph: Courtesy Kenneth St. George

9. Kitchen 21

Restaurants American Coney Island

This expansive food hall is home to a clam bar, fast-causal café, craft beer pub, and rooftop wine bar—all inside a landmark Spanish revival building on the boardwalk. Run by the same hospitality groups behind the culinary programs at Yankee Stadium and restaurants like David Burke Kitchen, the massive eatery sits adjacent to the 5,000-seat Ford Ampitheather, making it an ideal pit-stop before a live show, or a simple refuel after a day in the sand and sun.

Boardwalk seating at Tatiana Grill
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Kate S.

10. Tatiana Grill

Restaurants Cafés Brighton Beach

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. Sporting ship wheels and novelty anchors, the eatery unsurprisingly cooks up plenty of seafood as well, such as whole pan-fried flounder, shrimp- and scallop-studded paella, and balsamic-glazed salmon.

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Margarita Island
Photograph: Courtesy Margarita Island

11. Margarita Island

Bars Cocktail bars Coney Island

Sip boozy concoctions from whole pineapples, coconuts, and watermelons at this alfresco tiki bar tucked beside the iconic Wonder Wheel. Sprawling across a whopping 10,000 square feet, the boardwalk's late-night hot spot features live music performances, DJ sets, and a 5-D cinema that engages your senses as you watch flicks beneath the stars.

Paul's Daughter
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Johnny Prime C.

12. Paul’s Daughter

Restaurants Coney Island

A prime people-watching spot just outside Luna Park, this Coney Island staple has been turning out beachy favorites like fresh littleneck clams on the half shell, fried calamari, soft serve and frozen Italian ices for hungry beach-goers and rollercoaster fiends for more than six decades.

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Steeplechase Beer Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Cesar I.

13. Steeplechase Beer Garden

Bars Beer bars Coney Island

Inside the former home of Peggy O'Neil's, this sunny pavilion sports a large outdoor garden encased in hops vines, as well as a music stage. The open-air bar taps into the neighborhood's history—it's named after the Steeplechase Amusement Park, which stood on the same site from 1897 to 1964—with hyperlocal brews (Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner, Brooklyn Greenmarket Wheat), standard pub fare (sauced wings, soft pretzels, cheeseburger sliders) and vaudevillian accents like fun-house mirrors, arcade games and live entertainment.

Place to Beach
Photograph: Courtesy Facebook / Place to Beach

14. Place to Beach

Restaurants Mexican Coney Island

This lighthouse-inspired Tex-Mex cantina 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 cheese.

Looking for more fun after the beach?

Coney Island Boardwalk
Photograph: Luciana Golcman

The best things to do at Coney Island

Things to do

From dressing up for the Mermaid Parade, screaming your guts out on the Cyclone, and stuffing your face with hot dogs at Nathan’s Famous, these are the best things to do at Coney Island.

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