Is there anything better than taking lunch outside? Or dinner or a snack, for that matter?
When the warm days arrive, all any New Yorker wants to do is get outside and enjoy the sun before summer (and humidity) hits. And we all know that happens fast, so we won't waste any of your time.
Here are the best places to eat outside right now.
Red Hook is a food lover's paradise, but it's also hard to get to, which is part of the draw, in some ways. So no matter where you want to go or do, you're going to be trekking around a bit. If you have a bike, bring it. But once you're there and you have your eats, there are a few great spots to hit up and eat and catch some rays. Hit up Valentino Pier (Coffey and Ferris streets), a park with a long pier jutting out into New York harbor. The whole experience is very nautical. Or, head down to Fairway (480 Van Brunt St.) and sit on one of the benches right on the water.
When it comes to eats, you can't beat a lobster roll from the Red Hook Lobster Pound. It's meaty and summery and refreshing. Other options: pupusas, tacos and elotes (corn) from the Red Hook Food Vendors (Clinton and Bay streets) and sandwiches from Defonte's (329 Columbia St., closed Sunday).(Credit: Maria Boyadjieva)
Views, views, views. The Highline has views in abundance. With it's comfy lounge chairs, refreshing breezes off the river and beautiful people to watch, it's a great spot to enjoy the weather. Oh, and to eat of course. Some highlights: La Newyorkina and Delaney Barbecue's Smokeline. At Newyorkina, grab a homemade and fresh frozen ice pop and enjoy the flavors of the chef's native Mexico. At Delaney's, chow down on a pulled pork sandwich or Texas-style (smoked) brisket. thehighline.org (Credit: FLICKR/ Martha Heinemann Bixby)
Central Park is the ultimate outdoor destination in spring. The flowers are blooming, the grass is soft and the mosquitoes not yet on the assault. You can bring a beautiful picnic to the park, or grab a burger at Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien (119 W. 56th St.), or you could get food right inside the park. Rouge Tomate's Cart in the Park (64th Street and Fifth Avenue), the seasonal stand from the Michelin-starred restaurant just reopened for the season, and the newly-revamped Tavern on the Green (67th Street and Central Park West) is also open for business. At Rouge Tomate, grab a burger or just get refreshed by drinking a fruit and herb-infused water. Lunch and brunch are launching soon at Tavern on the Green, but for now grab some "Green on the Go" items, from pastries and donuts to H & H bagels, kombucha and Blue Marble ice cream. (Credit: Rouge Tomate)
Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park is where you go if you want a good meal and no chance of a bad one. Shake Shack? Check. Italian breads and cheeses? Eataly is just across the street. No. 7 Sub (yes, another No. 7, what can we say?) is a couple of blocks away, as is hipster salad spot sweetgreen. And through the end of May, the area is also home to Madison Sq. Eats, which boasts pop-up stands from some of the most popular restaurants in the city, from Roberta's to Pig & Khao to Mexicue to 100 Sardines by George Mendes, the chef of Aldea (pictured). 'Nuff said? urbanspacenyc.com/mad-sq-eats (Credit: Craig Ruttle)
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is so gorgeous you can go there starving and not even think about food, what with the unobstructed lower Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and Governor's Island views. Ok, maybe that's not true. Luckily, there's lots to eat in and just outside the park. The Smokestack Building in Brooklyn Bridge Park (pictured), today is home to two very popular eateries: No. 7 Sub and Luke's Lobster. At Luke's get a decadent lobster roll and at No. 7, a creative sub sandwich like the broccoli classic, with broccoli, lychee muchim (sort of like jam), ricotta salata, fried shallots and mayo. Also in the park: Calexico (tacos, burritos, etc.), Fornino (pizza) and Ample Hills Creamery (ice cream). brooklynbridgepark.org (Credit: FLICKR/ Stephen Rees)