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The Fulton
Photograph: Courtesy of The Fulton

The 20 best waterfront restaurants in NYC

Take in gorgeous city views with dinner and drinks at the best waterfront restaurants in NYC.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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There is a reason why we long to touch the surf, why kids skip stones on creeks, young lovers kick off their shoes to wade into river beds and aspiring villains ascribe intrigue to international waters: The sea is beguiling. And in New York City, we have plenty of places to get close enough to almost see our refracted reflection on its surface. 

Some of those opportunities are at our beaches, others are aboard boats, and many of the best are at restaurants and bars near the water. With views of the Hudson and East River, the Atlantic Ocean and the nautical breeze to match, these are NYC’s best seasonal and year-round waterfront destinations.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Time Out Market New York
  • Restaurants
  • DUMBO

We curated every last detail at the Time Out Market: the food, the cultural experiences, the drinks, the space—everything including the breathtaking view, which is the perfect backdrop for the “best in New York City” experience. At the Rooftop Terrace at Time Out Market, you can discover impressive bites from culinary rockstars while relaxing sipping cocktails overlooking the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge.

Best waterfront restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Financial District
  • price 3 of 4

A double-bridge tableau and a switcheroo view of Brooklyn make The Fulton a year-round waterside destination for the person who has everything. Or, the person who has every selfie with Manhattan in the background, in this case. The food and drinks are good, too: we’ve previously enjoyed the black sea bass, longevity noodles with Maine lobster and the JG Manhattan. 

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Red Hook
  • price 2 of 4

Lawn games, barrels of seafood, buckets of beer, frozen margarita fishbowls and 250 seats span three stories at one of Red Hook's most popular summer haunts. Brooklyn Crab strongly resembles a massive ramshackle ship with much drier Instagram opportunities. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Governors Island
  • price 2 of 4

We love bivalves on land, but they’re even better at sea. Take the $2 ferry from Brooklyn or Manhattan to Governors Island and tip back a few sustainable oysters and craft suds at this casually stunning seasonal walk-in spot. 

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Pilot
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Somewhat understated, Pilot is one of the most fashionable boat bars in Brooklyn or beyond. Its wooden finishes and navy color scheme have pops of gloss with the occasional varnished surface and one cheery splash overhead in the white and yellow awning shading the bar. But even a 147-foot schooner crowds pretty quick once people start filing in for oysters, soft shell crabs and cocktails, so go before sunset, once it reopens later this season.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Battery Park City
  • price 2 of 4

This sprawling Little Paris on the Hudson has al fresco on dining its the terrace along Battery Park City Esplanade, where you can sip French wine and watch yachts set sail out of North Cove Marina.

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  • Bars
  • Roosevelt Island

Though Panorama Room won't put you as close to the waves as some waterside spots, it has one of the most beautiful views your dedicated dining out dollars can buy. Its brief menu is mostly seafood-centric, and a full complement of drinks is available. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Brighton Beach
  • price 2 of 4

For “meet me tonight in Atlantic City” vibes without having to get on the turnpike, Tatiana is the Boss. The Brighton Beach boardwalk spot handily leans on its natural beach scene for decor and sports red and green borscht, potato vareniki and all manner of sea fare on its menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Tribeca
  • price 2 of 4

Gaze upon the lower Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty from the deck of this historic schooner turned oyster bar docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. Grand Banks is now open for 2022, and affords a maritime escape without having to pay those pesky yacht club fees. 

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

The 22nd floor of the William Vale hotel has a wraparound terrace ideally situated for outdoor dining, drinks and cynicism-smashing views. Visit on a not-too-hot day, order an effervescent cocktail and lower your shades for a nourishing look at the NYC skyline.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • DUMBO
  • price 3 of 4

A sparkling riverside Mediterranean-influenced restaurant in the shadow of the handsome Manhattan Bridge, Celestine is close enough to the water to hear the waves dancing with the shore. Its terrace frames all that in its tableau, plus a nice wide expanse of the Manhattan skyline. 

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Coney Island
  • price 1 of 4

Said to be the oldest bar on the Coney Island boardwalk, Ruby’s has character for miles. Beyond its fire engine red exterior, weathered sepia prints line the walls, burgers, dogs, clams and fried shrimp populate and menu, and boozy slushies and beer slosh precariously to the edge of plastic cups. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

Bar Blondeau's recently reopened terrace on the sixth floor of the Wythe Hotel overlooks the East River and the NYC skyline. The restaurant and bar also has abundant space inside, seafood-leaning menus and plenty of beer, wine, cocktails, frozens and zero-ABV drinks.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Financial District
  • price 2 of 4

Another Seaport standout, Industry Kitchen has room for 300 along the East River. Spy the Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges from your seat on the patio outside, and choose from seafood starters like crab cakes and ahi tuna nachos and duck confit risotto, New York strip steak and lobster ravioli mains. In addition to the expected cocktails, wine and beer, Industry Kitchen also has frozen drinks for the season. 

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  • Bars
  • Harlem

Previously the world’s smallest aircraft carrier, Baylander Steel Beach is now stationed at the West Harlem Piers in Upper Manhattan off 125th Street. Hit the recently reopened, 4,000-square-foot spot for loosely-themed cocktails like the Captain’s Colada and rummy pirates punch with torpedo dogs, pilot wings and stealth tacos. Or just get the guac.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Midtown
  • price 2 of 4

Approaching a century old, this 133-foot lightship (like a lighthouse of the seas) has had a lot of lives. The former service ship was eventually decommissioned, abandoned and sank before the late 1980s restoration that turned it into the west side’s watery party destination by the end of that decade. We should all be so lucky.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 2 of 4

Cruise the Hudson in hour increments on this former Florida gambling ship that seems paradoxically just as well-suited to first dates as post-work team-building sessions. With its time limit, lobster rolls, cocktail pitchers and SHOTS! (caps and punctuation theirs), we bet you won’t tire of this brief voyage. North River also opened a similar taco boat last year. 

Looking for a higher view of the city?

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