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Grand Banks
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The 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
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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New York is all about the hustle and bustle of city life. We walk around between buildings, ride packed in subway trains and zip down busy avenues in cars. When we need an escape, we’re fortunate to have miles of waterfront to enjoy. We have stretches of oceanfront and our rivers offer recreational opportunities (ever seen the Brooklyn bridge from a kayak?), cruises and excellent waterfront dining. These waterfront restaurants in NYC combine cool breezes with great views and delicious food.

From the Hudson and East Rivers to Long Island Sound and the Atlantic, these waterfront restaurants are worth a visit. From romantic to casual, you can dine on seafood and other delights with a seafaring vibe. Dining on the water (and on rooftops) is one of the best things to do in the summer in New York, but really any time of year is a good time. When the temps climb, or when you just need some fresh air, hit up these waterfront restaurants in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Time Out Market New York's panoramic city views

  • 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
  • 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. 

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 4 of 4

One of the most romantic restaurants in the five boroughs, The River Cafe has a secluded open-air deck, heart-swelling views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan, live piano music inside and $160 prix-fixe dinner menu that secures its designation as a special occasion destination. 

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  • 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. 

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

A double-bridge tableau and a switcheroo view of Brooklyn make The Fulton a 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. 

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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. 

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

This sprawling Little Paris on the Hudson has al fresco 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
  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Tribeca
  • price 2 of 4

Gaze upon the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty from the deck of this historic schooner turned oyster bar docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. Grand Banks affords a maritime escape without having to pay those pesky yacht club fees. 

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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 4,000-square-foot and order 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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  • 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.

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

Approaching a century old, this 133-foot lightship (a vessel in lieu of a lighthouse) 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.

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  • 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 earlier this year.

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

Said to be the oldest bar on the Coney Island boardwalk, Ruby’s has characters 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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Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • The Bronx
  • price 1 of 4

Peruse overhead menus longer than cable news tickers featuring oysters, clams, lobster tails, frog legs and frozen drinks, order and pay cash inside and soak up the Long Island Sound at a picnic table on the patio. 

Looking for a higher view of the city?

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