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The Golden Hour
Photograph: Courtesy Katie June Burton

The 20 most delicious things to eat and drink this summer

Chow down on these summer-only dishes and drinks before they're gone by Labor Day

By Jake Cohen and Alyson Penn

We don't know about you guys, but when watermelon soft serve and queso-dipped waffle fries make their summer debuts, our beach diets go straight out the window. Knock these seasonal treats off your bucket list at outdoor restaurants and ice cream shops across the city while you're still sporting your short shorts and strapless rompers.  

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

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What-a-Melon at Dominque Ansel Kitchen
Photograph: Jake Cohen

What-a-Melon soft serve at Dominique Ansel Kitchen

Restaurants French West Village

Leave it to Ansel, master purveyor of viral sweets, to make us want to eat fruit again. For this beauty, served out of his summer soft-serve window, he fills slices of watermelon studded with little chocolate "seeds" with homemade watermelon ice cream. $10.

Squash blossom pizza at Loring Place
Photograph: Courtesy Liz Barclay

Squash blossom pizza at Loring Place

Restaurants American creative Greenwich Village

Chef Dan Kluger, who’s cultivated close relationships with farmers, always makes a point of highlighting ridiculously fresh produce on his menu. And in the summer, squash blossoms take center stage, topping his whole wheat pizza crust alongside mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheeses and a drizzle of hot honey. $19.

Purple Haze at Roberta's
Photograph: Courtesy Kombrewcha

Purple Haze at Roberta’s

Restaurants Pizza East Williamsburg

The tagline is "Kom chill," but, no, this isn’t a 2am text, but a violet-hued frozen cocktail mixed with Kombrewcha Berry Hibiscus, tequila and fresh pineapple juice. Think of it as a fruity, boozy and refreshing way to wash down all the slices you’re going to order at the pizza mecca. $12.

Mr. Dips waffle fries
Photograph: Courtesy Noah Fecks

The Dirty Dipped waffle fries at Mister Dips

Restaurants Hamburgers Greenpoint

As the name suggests, this isn’t clean eating. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s food truck, parked on the William Vale’s alfresco promenade, is serving up waffle fries (which are arguably the best type of fries) showered with queso and scallions for a serious upgrade to the classic fast food fare. $6.

Mah-Ze-Dahr soft serve
Photograph: Courtesy Mah-Ze-Dahr

Soft serve in a waffle cone at Mah Ze Dahr Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries West Village

This West Village bakery has built a cult following around all things sweet. Available during the summer months, rotating flavors of soft serve like tangerine and salted caramel are delivered in a stroopwafel-inspired waffle cone with your choice of three toppings like homemade fudge, cookie shards and brownie chunks. $8.

Frozen negroni at the Golden Hour
Photograph: Courtesy Katie June Burton

Frozen negroni at The Golden Hour

Restaurants Global Chelsea

For a chill aperitif, head to the courtyard of the Chelsea hotel to sip the frozen negroni from the expert team behind Maison Premiere. Drink in both the gin, Campari, Spanish vermouth and orange-blossom oil cocktail, as well as the surrounding lush greenery. $14.

Grand Banks oysters
Photograph: Courtesy Grand Banks

Oysters champagne at Grand Banks

Restaurants Seafood Tribeca

You’re on a boat, mothershucker. There’s no better way to pretend like you’re escaping the city than planting yourself on this ship docked at Pier 25 and throwing back a half-dozen oysters on the half shell, dressed with shishito peppers and a champagne vinaigrette. $25.

Bar SixtyFive
Photograph: Courtesy Rainbow Room

Lobster corn dog at Bar SixtyFive

Bars Midtown West

It’s carnival food done with New York panache and Empire State views. This Rainbow Room special is lobster dipped in a corn-butter batter, fried and topped with a smoked cocktail sauce and a house-made cabbage-apple-yuzu-kohlrabi slaw. The stick is optional. $21.

Sunday in Brooklyn heirloom tomato
Photograph: Courtesy Gary Landsman

Heirloom tomato for two at Sunday in Brooklyn

Restaurants American Williamsburg

What would a summer eats list be without an appearance from the bounty of rouge beauties making their way into the city? The popular Brooklyn spot is dressing cold-smoked heirloom tomatoes with tonnato, black olive oil and a salad of basils for a vibrant taste of the season. $24.

Lobster roll at North River Lobster Company
Photograph: Courtesy North River Lobster Company

Lower East Side lobster roll at North River Lobster Company

Restaurants Seafood Hell's Kitchen

Everything is everywhere. And where better to eat the popular seasoning than on a lobster roll on a boat? The bagel-inspired sandwich is packed with lobster chunks, scallion cream cheese, red onions, chives and everything seasoning on an everything potato roll. $22.95.

The Campfire at Chef's Club Counter
Photograph: Courtesy Dina Coloma

The Campfire at Chef’s Club Counter

Restaurants Fast food spots Nolita

Edible cookie dough sensation, DO, is setting up camp (literally) at Chef’s Club Counter from now through September. Aptly named Camp Cookie DO, the pop-up is serving soft serve cones and cookie dough ice cream sandwiches all sporting nostalgic flavors like campfire s’mores. $9.

Spicoli's hot dog
Photograph: Courtesy Spicoli's

Bacon-wrapped hot dog at Spicoli’s Clam Bar

Hotels Midtown

This seasonal pop-up at the Arlo Nomad hotel is kicking the standard summer hot dog up fives notches thanks to this bacon-wrapped and fried hot dog sandwiched between a sweet King’s Hawaiian bun and topped with a sour house-made onion relish. $10.

Photograph: Courtesy Gary He for Cote Korean Steakhouse

Frosé at Cote

Restaurants Korean Flatiron

Messy, sloppy, beefy barbecue doesn’t usually pair with glasses of pretty-in-pink rosé. But then again, most ‘cue joints aren’t Michelin starred. Enter Coté, the Korean BBQ restaurant serving seasonal frosé made with a Campari-Aperol blend, Cantalupo Nebbiolo Rosato, pineapple liqueur and cute flamingo straws. $16.

Photograph: Courtesy Fortina

Boozy Peach Italian ice at Fortina

Restaurants Italian Downtown Brooklyn

Just because we’ve grown up, doesn’t mean we still don’t crave some of the nostalgic treats of our childhoods. The beloved plastic cup of icy refreshment gets a boozy revival at Fortina with the addition of rosé and fresh peach juice. $6.

Frozen beer at the Standard
Photograph: Courtesy Markus Marty

Frozen Beer Extravaganza at Standard SeaShack

Restaurants American Meatpacking District

When it comes to beer, more is more. Get a pint and a half at the pop-up “shack” in front of the Standard hotel in Meatpacking. Wash down lobster rolls, hush puppies and fried clams with a glass of the Standard Brauhaus lager crowned with an iceberg of foam—a frozen mix of the lager, Smuttynose IPA and a thickening agent. $12.

Sangria Rosa at the Turf Club
Photograph: Courtesy The Turf Club at Westlight

Sangria Rosa at Turf Club

Bars Hotel bars Greenpoint

Talk about raising the bar: The sky-high Westlight launched a summer weekend-only, all-day lounge on its roof fitted with an Astroturf lawn, cornhole games and cocktails to drink in with the view like this fruity wine concoction served with fresh orange and blackberries and a pink flamingo stirrer. $12.

Dog Haus
Photograph: Courtesy Constance van Heule

Dog Haus hot dogs at Chef’s Club Counter

Restaurants Fast food spots Nolita

It’s been said that New York is a dog-eat-dog city, but we’re also just a general ‘dog-eating city. The latest pop-up in Chef’s Club Counter is the West Coast chain, Dog Haus, offering your choice of base—beef hot dog, chicken-sake sausage or Red Thai currywurst— loaded up with toppings. $9-$10.

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photograph: Courtesy Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Shaved Dark Chocolate Ice at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolates

Restaurants French Midtown West

Shaved ice gets the fancy French treatment from Michelin-starred chef-turned -chocolatier Gabriel Kreuther. A 70% dark chocolate ganache is frozen and shaved to order with a drizzle of fudge and toppings like raspberry puree or mango-aleppo syrup for equal parts indulgence and refreshment. $5.50.

Zen Taco
Photograph: Courtesy Zen Taco

Popsicles at Zen Taco

Restaurants Mexican Upper West Side

Ditch the mundane cherry and lemon-flavored ice pops in favor of these house-made, Mexican-inspired flavors at an outdoor street cart: Avocado Tortilla is a mix of blended avocados, honey, lime zest and fried tortilla strips, while the Horchata Peanut Butter is made with horchata syrup and the nutty spread. $5.50.

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