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Eat and Drink

Waterfront restaurants NYC: The best outdoor dining options this summer

Outdoor patios and rooftops have their charms, but there's nothing quite like dining by the water.

If you're looking to grab the best seat in the house, consider these restaurants.

City Island Lobster House

Just to the left of the bridge as
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

Just to the left of the bridge as you drive onto the island, this restaurant's convenient location means you won't have to fight traffic for a satisfying seafood meal on a sunny summer day. The outdoor terrace offers views of Long Island Sound and the Lobster House's very own marina. Signature dishes here include the twin lobster tail plate, jumbo shrimp scampi and baked day boat sea scallops. If you're looking for the food coma experience, order the Lobster House Ultimate Feast for two, a pile of mixed seafood served atop a bed of linguine with your choice of red or white sauce. 691 Bridge St., the Bronx, 718-885-1459, cilobsterhouse.com

Bierstrasse

Located under the 12th Avenue viaduct in view
Photo Credit: Bierstrasse via Facebook

Located under the 12th Avenue viaduct in view of the Hudson, this Harlem beer garden comes courtesy of the team behind the nearby Grange Bar & Eatery. Boasting space for nearly 300 people, the spot features a two-story building as well as a 4,000-square-foot patio, armed with its own bar. Pair German beers (Krombacher, Erdinger and Spaten) with classic biergarten snacks (bratwursts, schnitzels and pretzels), and then head inside to shoot pool or catch the game on one of 21 TVs. 2346 12th Ave., bierstrassenyc.com

The Brooklyn Barge

This floating bar in Greenpoint reopened for the
Photo Credit: Jason Burke

This floating bar in Greenpoint reopened for the season in early May. Guests can enjoy rum punch, frozé and beers on tap while seated along the East River's edge. The barge itself features a horseshoe bar and several picnic tables, while the kitchen, housed in a red shipping container, dishes up pulled pork sliders, grilled fish tacos and crispy chicken sandwiches with kale slaw and Sriracha mayo. To further please Brooklynites, the spot even serves as a launch point for free kayaking as well as fishing, diving and sailing lessons. 3 Milton St., Greenpoint, 929-337-7212, thebrooklynbarge.com

Grand Banks

This oyster bar aboard the historic hand-built wooden
Photo Credit: Grand Banks

This oyster bar aboard the historic hand-built wooden schooner the Sherman Zwicker will transport you back to New York in the 19th century, when "oyster barges" lined the Manhattan waterfront. Find a fresh selection of East Coast and West Coast oysters, including a couple of varieties harvested around New York ($3-$4), and small plates of sea scallops, burrata and the like. Specialty cocktails ($15-$16), wine and craft beer are also on board. And you can see Lady Liberty from here. Pier 25, Hudson River Park, grandbanks.org

Frying Pan

You'll find this West Side destination for day
Photo Credit: The Frying Pan

You'll find this West Side destination for day drinking on the floating barge docked near West 26th Street. On deck, order up buckets of Corona beers, pitchers of white sangria and glasses of rosé, as well as classic bar foods -- smoked wings, burgers -- and seafood selections like fish 'n' chips and steamed littleneck clams. Moored alongside the barge is the Lightship Frying Pan, a historic steel vessel rescued from the bottom of Chesapeake Bay; explore it while waiting for a table to open up. 530 W. 26th St., 212-989-6363, pier66maritime.com

Battery Gardens Restaurant

Get close to the harbor sights without stepping
Photo Credit: Battery Gardens

Get close to the harbor sights without stepping foot on a boat at this Battery Park establishment, located at the southernmost corner of the park along the water's edge. While you dine during lunch or dinner (or just settle in for day drinking at the beer garden) enjoy views of New York Harbor, including Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. If you're looking for a three-course meal, you have two prix fixe options, one priced at $45, the other at $65. A la carte dishes cover a lot of seafood territory, from Manhattan clam chowder ($10) to wood oven-roasted octopus salad ($22) to miso-glazed Chilean sea bass ($40). 1 Battery Park, 212-809-5508, batterygardens.com

Beaubourg

The outdoor terrace of this restaurant at Le
Photo Credit: icrave

The outdoor terrace of this restaurant at Le District, the French food hall and marketplace at Brookfield Place, offers views of the Hudson River. Beaubourg is named after an artistic neighborhood in Paris full of cafés and patios. Start your day off here with a French breakfast of cafe au lait, baguette, jam, fruit and orange juice ($12). For lunch and dinner, there's plenty of "fruits de mer" and cheese platters to share with the table, as well as entrees such as lemon fettuccine ($26) and hanger steak with asparagus, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise sauce ($36). 225 Liberty St., 212-981-8588, ledistrict.com

The River Cafe

The historic and well-loved River Cafe was forced
Photo Credit: The River Cafe

The historic and well-loved River Cafe was forced to close after superstorm Sandy but reopened to much fanfare in 2014. The perfectly located restaurant, directly under the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. It has a Michelin star, is loved by critics and the restaurant even claims the term "free-range chicken" was first used by chef Larry Forgione at the restaurant. Michelin inspectors praise the wild shrimp appetizer, served with spring white asparagus and a citrus Maltaise sauce, the crabcake dressed up with uni vinaigrette and the dark chocolate marquise topped with a replica of the nearby bridge. A three-course menu will cost you a pretty penny, $138 per head. 1 Water Street, Brooklyn, 718-522-5200,therivercafe.com

La Marina

Travel all the way uptown to this 75,000-square-foot
Photo Credit: La Marina

Travel all the way uptown to this 75,000-square-foot restaurant and lounge on the Hudson River for an al fresco dining experience complete with a beach. House favorites from chef Lucy Puca's kitchen include spicy chicken lollipops with blue cheese dressing ($13) and a Boca de Yuma fish sandwich served on a King's Hawaiian roll with cole slaw and french fries ($18). La Marina hosts DJ'd events on weekends, so it's the perfect place to party on a clear summer night. 348 Dyckman St., 212 567 6300, lamarinanyc.com

Pier A

This historic New York City landmark, established in
Photo Credit: Pier A

This historic New York City landmark, established in 1886 as the headquarters for the New York Harbor Police and Department of Docks, opened to the public for the first time in nearly 130 years in 2015. The three-story pier features four spaces created by the partners behind the ever-popular cocktail bar Dead Rabbit: the Long Hall, a nautical-themed bar surrounded by an outdoor promenade with dining tables; the Oyster Bar, offering draft pints, bottles of craft beer, house cocktails and views over the Hudson River; the Commissioner's Bar, sporting teak walls, aperitif-forward cocktails, a big selection of Champagnes and an intimate balcony with views of the harbor and the river; and BlackTail at Pier A, a space that channels the American-expats bars in Cuba during Prohibition. When you get hungry, we recommend ordering just-shucked oysters on the half-shell, a plate of lobster and clam poutine ($22) and some cornbread ($4). Hudson River and Battery Park, piera.com

Vetro

Vetro primarily functions as a private events space
Photo Credit: Vetro

Vetro primarily functions as a private events space for weddings and other special occasions, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a classy Italian meal of risotto pescatore ($15) and pork osso bucco ($24) on the outdoor waterfront patio, or hit up the rooftop lounge for a glass of chianti or pinot grigio and panoramic views of the nearby Jamaica Bay. For the fancy folks who own boats, there's a marina for docking. 164-49 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach, 718-843-8387, vetronyc.com

Anable Basin Sailing Bar and Grill

This East River-adjacent spot offers picnic table seating
Photo Credit: Anable Basin Sailing Bar and Grill

This East River-adjacent spot offers picnic table seating with views of Roosevelt Island and the Manhattan skyline, making it perfect for drinks or dinner around sunset. Order a pint of one of the local craft beers on tap or a glass of the house white or red wine to start off your evening. Once you've worked up an appetite, consult an eclectic menu featuring dishes as divergent as Polish kielbasa, served with pita bread and sauerkraut, and Brazilian-style skirt steak with farofa, a toasted cassava flour mix. 4-40 44th Dr., Long Island City, anablebasin.com

Liman

Turkish-style seafood is the focus at this restaurant
Photo Credit: Liman

Turkish-style seafood is the focus at this restaurant on the southern Brooklyn waterfront. Highlights on the menu include the whole grilled branzino, the spicy ezme salad and the char-grilled octopus. With a name that translates to "seaport" in Turkish, Liman takes its nautical theme seriously: You'll find fishing nets hanging from the ceilings, a bar shaped like a boat hull, and items like anchors and steering wheels on the walls. If the floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining room aren't bringing you close enough to Sheepshead Bay as you like, ask for one of the open-air tables. 2710 Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay, 718-769-3322, limanrestaurantny.com

Ruby's Bar & Grill

This Coney Island boardwalk mainstay, dating to 1972,
Photo Credit: Ruby's Bar & Grill

This Coney Island boardwalk mainstay, dating to 1972, features full-service dining with beach views. Typical waterfront eats like hot dogs, fried clams and corn on the cob appear on the menu, but the real draw here is the ambience: The wooden bar, tables, walls and chairs, for example, are constructed out of Coney Island's original boardwalk. Ruby's, which narrowly escaped closure in 2011, prides itself on being named one of the Travel Channel's "21 Sexiest Beach Bars in the World." 1213 Boardwalk West, Coney Island rubysbar.com

Tatiana

Brighton Beach's Tatiana is the best place in
Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz

Brighton Beach's Tatiana is the best place in the city for freezing cold bottles of vodka, cabaret singers and chicken Kiev. It also sits right on the boardwalk, for views of the beach and ocean. If you go the traditional "banquet" route, you'll pay $75 per person on a weekday, but you do get to try all sorts of traditional Russian dishes, like eggplant "caviar" Odessa, meat pies and shish kabobs. As for a la carte options, those include red borsch, chicken schnitzel with mashed potatoes and housemade black currant ice cream. 3152 Brighton 6th St., tatianarestaurant.com

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