Living in New York City, or even just coming for a visit, is an unforgettable experience unlike anywhere else in the world. There’s an abundance of things to do, places to go, and people to meet. For me, however, what really sets NYC apart is the restaurant scene, and not just the quality, but the sheer variety.
Not only can you be selective and get pretty much any cuisine you desire, but you can even get a bit picky when it comes to the atmosphere. Has eating at ground-level become boring?
Don’t worry, dinner on a skyscraper rooftop can solve that! Grown tired of staring at streets and buildings while you eat? That’s okay, there are plenty of restaurants by the water in NYC to choose from as well, and that’s what I’m going to cover right now.
If you’re looking to change up your dining scenery while you’re in The Big Apple, then you may want to take a look at this list down below. I’ve put together a ranking of all my favorite waterfront restaurants to check out for a beautiful view the next time you go out to eat in NYC.
The River Café
1 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
First up on my list of NYC waterfront restaurants is The River Cafe. This place is unparalleled when it comes to both food and the view. The River Cafe is located on 1 Water Street right next to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1, so it overlooks the East River, affording unbeatable views of Manhattan while you dine.
I recommend trying the duck for your main course. The crispy duck breast is seared to absolute perfection and it comes with the most elegant sides that pair wonderfully. The only thing missing is a glass of wine. Of course, the selection here at The River Cafe leaves little to be desired in that department.
Hudson River Greenway, New York, NY 10027
This next restaurant I want to mention is called The Baylander and it’s one of the best places to eat by the water in NYC because you’re actually eating on the water instead of next to it. The Baylander is built on an old Vietnam-era warship and it sits docked in the water next to the West Harlem Piers on the Hudson River.
What I love the most about The Baylander is the seafood, particularly the Angry Lobster Roll and the beer battered fish tacos, but those are just the beginning when it comes to the delicious food on their menu.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6, Bridge Park Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Fornino is up next and if you’ve never been here before, then you are in for quite a treat. This NYC waterfront restaurant is located on Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, perfect for spending a day at the park and then grabbing a bite to eat.
This place is super casual and a great place to come for lunch on a beautiful day. I really love the sandwiches they serve here at Fornino, but pizza and antipasto are both phenomenal. My favorite sandwich is soppressata and broccoli rabe, hands down.
233 West St, New York, NY 10013
Up next on my list of NYC’s greatest waterfront dining is City Vineyard. You can find this place over on West Street near the Tribeca neighborhood on Pier 26 at Hudson River Park. You get a fantastic view of the Hudson River while you dine at City Vineyard.
I thoroughly enjoy the raw bar here at City Vineyard. They offer some of the most delicious fish and shellfish I’ve come across during my time in this part of the city. I recommend trying some of the oysters, but if you can’t decide, you should just get the seafood platter that comes with a couple of everything.
1 John St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Celestine is the next place I want to mention because there is no other place I can think of that affords such an amazing view of the Manhattan Bridge from the dining room and the outdoor patio. It’s even more stunning at night, so this place is great for a romantic dinner destination.
You’ll find Celestine off John Street in Dumbo, right in front of John Street Park. When you get there, be sure to take a look at the Whole Grilled Market Fish for two or the Duo of Lamb if you’re on a date. If you’re looking for a single entree, I recommend the Slow Cooked Cod.
450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016
This next restaurant, Riverpark, is located on East 29th Street in the Kips Bay neighborhood of NYC. While this isn’t exactly waterfront per se, the rooftop terrace provides a completely unobstructed and picturesque view of the East River.
Riverpark is a New American restaurant that follows a farm-to-table philosophy for all their cuisine and it’s abundantly Cioppino, but trying something new is always rewarding when you’re dining at Riverpark. Whatever you do get, be sure to add a side of the Duck Fat Fries for a savory treat. They’re perfectly crisp and loaded with the decadent flavor of duck fat.
Giando on the Water
400 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
For this next waterfront restaurant, you’re going to want to head to Williamsburg in Brooklyn and look for Giando on the Water right before the Williamsburg Bridge on Kent Avenue. Giando on the Water is an incredible Italian restaurant that overlooks the East River and I think everyone should try it.
If you’re like me and you can be indecisive about what to order from restaurants, then Giando on the Water is the place for you. You can get a prix fixe, four-course dinner from Giando that will absolutely blow you away, not to mention it’s very affordable.
Pier i Cafe
Riverside Park, 500 W 70th St On the Hudson River at in, New York, NY 10023
Pier i Cafe is another great place to eat by the water in New York City on the Upper West Side. Pier i Cafe overlooks the Hudson River for a beautiful view while you enjoy fresh, delicious food.
There’s no better way to start your day than with breakfast on the water here at Pier i Cafe. I love to come here in the mornings for one of their B’fast Burritos; they come with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese inside of a fluffy flour tortilla. Pair that with a fresh, hot cup of coffee and I’m ready to take on whatever the day throws at me!
12th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Pier 81 is another floating restaurant in NYC that you should definitely try if you want a delicious meal while you gaze out at the Hudson River from the upper deck. They have some absolutely delectable seafood dishes here, but the menu is pretty eclectic, so you’re bound to find something land-based as well if you’re in the mood for that.
What I love the most about Pier 81 is the fact that it’s right near Hell’s Kitchen and the Garment District, so it’s conveniently located near lots of other things to do with your day after or before you eat.
Pier 25 Hudson River Park, New York, NY 10013
When you want to eat on the water in New York City, Grand Banks is always one of the ebay places that comes to mind if you ask me. Grand Banks is located at Pier 25 Hudson River Park aboard the historic wooden schooner, Sherman Zwicker. This beautiful vessel is only half as impressive as the mouth-watering food, however.
Whenever I have the pleasure of visiting Grand Banks, I always go for the oysters first because that’s what they’re known best for. Just about everything on their menu is absolutely delicious, though, so there are no wrong answers.
Merchants River House
375 South End Avenue Hudson River, Esplanade, New York, NY 10280
Merchants River House is up next and this place is going to really blow your mind. You’ll find this place right near the Brookfield Place shopping mall, overlooking the Hudson River. Thanks to the location of Merchants River House, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more scenic sunset spot in the city.
I always love coming to Merchants River House for brunch on the weekends. My favorite brunch food to order here is the Classic Eggs Benedict and the Omelet, by far. There are so many other tasty options though that you’re bound to find something you like.
207 12th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Up next is Frying Pan and I really love the atmosphere this place provides while you enjoy your meal. It’s built on a docked Coast Guard lightship and you can find it on Pier 66 at Hudson River Park from May to October. That’s right, it’s only seasonal, unfortunately, so plan accordingly!
What I always get from Frying Pan is a Barge Burger and a Crab Cake. These two together are the ultimate combination of surf and turf for me, but you have to come on an empty stomach to take both of these on at once.
Blend on the Water
45-40 Center Blvd, Queens, NY 11109
Blend on the Water is a stunningly immaculate restaurant on the water that I can’t recommend enough for anyone either living in or visiting New York City. You get incredible views of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park from your dinner table.
I always opt for the camarones a la diabla when I eat at Blend on the Water, but don’t let that distract you too much from some of the other amazing menu items like the crispy arepas or the chorizo mac n cheese. Everything served at this fiery Latin American restaurant is sure to please.
55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Cecconi’s Dumbo is a Dumbo restaurant on the water that I think everyone needs to try when they’re spending time in this part of the city. Even if you’re not in the area, I believe it’s definitely worth the drive.
You can find Cecconi’s Dumbo off of Water Street in Brooklyn, right in between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.
This place does pizza like no one else on the waterfront. I always go for a pizza with spicy salami, mozzarella, and tomato on top. They do very traditional pizzas here, which I like a lot.
21 South End Ave, New York, NY 10280
Last, but not least, is Miramar. This restaurant is located on South End Avenue near South Cove Park and the Museum of Jewish Heritage. If you ask me, no one does steaks and seafood like Miramar. At least, no restaurant with a view this nice.
The one thing I recommend the most from Miramar is the Miramar Mediterranean Whole Grilled Fish. It consists of the fish of the day grilled to perfection, served with house rice and grilled asparagus. It’s undeniably tasty and I can’t wait to go back and order it again the next time I’m in the city.
As you can see, New York City has the best of all worlds when it comes to dining. If you want to escape the concrete jungle during your meal, just head to any of these places to eat by the water for mesmerizing views while you dine.
If you’re not interest in NYC waterfront dining, then you should check out my favorite NYC pizza places instead!
If you prefer your drinks with a view, check out the best rooftop bars for a view of the Big Apple!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!