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
Best Coney Island restaurants
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.