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30 Things You Need to Eat & Drink This Summer in NYC

By Kelly Dobkin
May 19, 2014

After one of the most brutal winters in recent memory, New Yorkers are ready to start indulging in the good life once again. Begin here with our list of 30 essential food and drink items for the 2014 summer season. 

And be sure to check out our new Best Summer Ever page - we'll be bringing you the season's best eating and drinking all the way through Labor Day.

1. Fish taco with guac at Rockaway Taco
2. Frozen painkiller from Landhaus at the Woods
3. Connecticut-style lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound
4. Nutella crêpe at the Eataly Nutella Bar
5. Frozen S'more at Dominique Ansel Bakery
6. Kalimotxo or Tinto de Verano at Huertas
7. Snacks on Ivan Ramen LES's back patio
8. Fried clam and lobster roll sandwich at The Clam
9. Raspberry pink peppercorn sorbet at Oddfellows East Village
10. Shakerato at Kings Roasters in Brooklyn
11. Bacon pretzel from Bronx Baking Co. at Smorgasburg
12. The deckle from Smokeline on the High Line
13. Shrimp taco from Cafe El Presidente
14. Fernet Branca ice cream sandwich at Pearl & Ash
15. Frozen dark 'n' stormy at Battery Harris
16. A beer at Berg'n
17. Frozen limoncello at Sonny's Soda Shoppe
18. Katsu corn dog at Asiadog
19. Local sea scallops at Tavern on the Green
20. Corona from The Frying Pan
21. Leaves of Grass sorbet at Ample Hills Creamery
22. Michelada at Calexico
23. Boozy Kelvin Slushie at The Beach at Dream Downtown
24. Roasted oysters at Bo's Kitchen & Bar Room
25. Hardbody Cheeseburger from Rippers on Rockaway Boardwalk
26. Crudo at Barchetta
27. Watermelon gazpacho at Lambs Club New York
28. Pickled-carrot martini at Empire Diner
29. Spring-pea guacamole at ABC Cocina
30. Beef heart and scallop ceviche at Mission Cantina

  • Photo by: Amanda Spurlock

    Fried fish taco at Rockaway Taco

    It's worth the epic wait in line for a taste of the ultimate summer fish taco at this shack a few blocks inland from hipster-laden Rockaway Beach. The fish features an exceptionally crisp and crunchy golden-brown batter and is topped with a lime-infused mayo and pickled cabbage and radish.

    95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens; 347-213-7466

  • Frozen painkiller at Landhaus at the Woods

    The new outdoor pop-up restaurant at Williamsburg bar The Woods has brought in an array of frozen tiki drinks like a Painkiller made with gold rum, pineapple, creme de cacao, orange juice and nutmeg. 

  • Connecticut-style lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound

    It wouldn't be summer in the city without a lobster roll. Smorgasburg favorite Red Hook Lobster Pound recently opened a new Manhattan location, so we'll give them the nod, but there are so many truly exceptional lobster rolls all over the city. Here we prefer the warm butter-topped, Connecticut-style roll. 

    16 Extra Place, 212-777-7225; 284 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, 718-858-7650

  • Nutella crêpe at the Eataly Nutella Bar

    Join the throngs of summer tourists lining up for a bite of Manhattan's first and only Nutella Bar. This shop specializes in slathering just about any pastry you can think of in the hazelnut-infused Italian spread, but we recommend you order a classic crêpe.

    200 Fifth Ave.; 212-229-2560

  • Frozen S'more at Dominique Ansel Bakery

    You have to brave the line at Dominique Ansel's famed bakery just once before you call it a summer. The Frozen S'more is the perfect summer treat: Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafer crisps, served on a smoked willow wood branch and torched to order. Who needs the Cronut?

    189 Spring St.; 212-219-2773

  • Kalimotxo or Tinto de Verano at Huertas

    In Spain they like to mix soda with wine, and it's a surprisingly tasty combo. Order a Kalimotxo (red wine, lime and Coke) or a Tinto de Verano (vermouth and orange-flavored soda) at this new East Village Basque-inspired eatery and transport yourself to Costa Brava. 

    107 First Ave.; 212-228-4490

  • Snacks on Ivan Ramen LES's back patio

    The new full-service eatery from ramen expert Ivan Orkin is open for biz, and soon its backyard space will also offer alfresco seating for the summer season. While ramen isn't the most seasonally appropriate summer food, enjoy an array of izakaya-style snacks like pickled daikon XO (shaved daikon, dried shrimp and scallop chile oil) or a Tofu Coney Island (miso-mushroom chili, yellow mustard, scallion).

    25 Clinton St.; 646-678-3859

  • Fried clam and lobster roll sandwich at The Clam

    Imagine eating a sandwich containing both fried clams and a lobster roll - is your head exploding yet? Get down to the mollusk-devoted West Village eatery from Mike Price and Joey Campanaro and sample this thing firsthand.

    420 Hudson St.; 212-242-7420

  • Raspberry pink peppercorn sorbet at Oddfellows East Village

    At the second outpost of this Williamsburg-based ice cream shop specializing in unique and unusual flavors, you'll find a host of rotating selections from pastry chef Sam Mason. Right now we like the raspberry pink peppercorn sorbet.

    75 E. Fourth St., 917-475-1812; 175 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, 347-599-0556

  • Shakerato at Kings Roasters 

    This off-the-beaten-path coffee shop and roaster in Red Hook specializes in cold-brewed coffee and shakeratos - a shot of espresso poured over ice cubes and simple syrup, then shaken. It's an Italian thing.

    37 Carroll St., Brooklyn; 718-232-7736

  • Bacon pretzel from Bronx Baking Co. at Smorgasburg

    Summer in NYC wouldn't be complete without a warm pretzel from an outdoor vendor. We like this bacon-wrapped number at Bronx Baking Co.'s Smorgasburg stand because, well, it's a bacon-wrapped pretzel.

    90 Kent Ave., Brooklyn

  • The deckle from Smokeline on the High Line

    Daniel Delaney's ingenious brisket-smoking techniques are best enjoyed with a view of the Hudson River atop the High Line on a sunny day at his Chelsea outpost, Smokeline. The deckle is our favorite sandwich, which features the peppery brisket, housemade pickles, raw onion and a toasted, buttered roll. 

    Chelsea Market Passage on the High Line (10th Ave. and 16th St.)

  • Photo by: Cherie Cincilla

    Shrimp taco from Cafe El Presidente

    This recently opened Mexican answer to Eataly features a juice bar, tortilleria and a taco stand that's making some seriously excellent Veracruz-inspired Mexican fare. We like the shrimp tacos à la plancha for this summer, which features freshly seared shrimp marinated in mojo de ajo and topped with shredded cabbage.

    30 W. 24th St.; 646-429-8284

  • Fernet Branca ice cream sandwich at Pearl & Ash

    So there are million and one ice cream sandwiches to try this summer, but why not go for the one with booze in it? At the end of a meal at wine-centric Bowery hotspot Pearl & Ash, order one of these delicious creamy treats featuring the trendy Italian digestif. 

    220 Bowery; 212-837-2370

  • Frozen dark 'n' stormy at Battery Harris

    When warm weather calls, there's nothing like the outdoor area at this Williamsburg Jamaican-inspired eatery and bar. The perfect slushie summer beverage is their frozen dark 'n' stormy on tap (dark rum and ginger beer) garnished with a cinnamon stick.

    64 Frost St., Brooklyn; 718-384-8900

  • Photo by: The Greyhound

    A beer at Berg'n Beer Hall

    The soon-to-open Crown Heights beer hall and food court from the Brooklyn Flea/Smorgaburg folks will feature food from Asiadog, Pizza Moto, Ramen Burger and Mighty Quinn's, plus a yet-unnamed massive selection of brews. While we can't tell you which one to get just yet, we can recommend that you wash down some suds here at some point this summer.

    899 Bergen St., Brooklyn

  • Frozen limoncello at Sonny's Soda Shoppe

    The brand new Sonny's Soda Shoppe on the roof of the Mondrian SoHo offers stunning views of the city as well as cocktails, gelato and food. Inspired by a 1950s-era beach club, the indoor/outdoor penthouse is 3,000 square feet and features food from downstairs eatery Isola, including a selection of pizzas. But we recommend you knock back a frozen limoncello at this rooftop hot spot this summer.

    9 Crosby St.; 212-389-0000

  • Katsu corn dog at Asiadog

    It wouldn't truly be summer without a snack on a stick. We like this Asia-inspired corn dog from Asiadog, which features an all-beef frank wrapped in a crunchy panko batter and deep-fried to perfection. Enjoy one at their Nolita shop or at Smorgasburg on Saturdays.

    90 Kent Ave., Brooklyn; 66 Kenmare St., 212-226-8861

  • Local sea scallops at Tavern on the Green

    The newly revamped and reopened Tavern on the Green will certainly be a summer destination this year. Chef Katy Sparks' local sea scallops with citrus butter, fried shallots and capers are the perfect summer bite that can be enjoyed in the eatery's massive outdoor courtyard.

    67th St. and Central Park West; 212-877-8684

  • Corona bucket at The Frying Pan

    An NYC summer classic, The Frying Pan is a barge turned bar at Chelsea's Pier 66 that specializes in bar snacks and Corona buckets.

    530 W. 26th St.; 212-989-6363

  • Leaves of Grass sorbet at Ample Hills Creamery

    A fresh mint mojito sorbet with a heavy splash of rum in the mix is the perfect boozy summer frozen treat at this Prospect Heights ice cream specialist.

    623 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn; 347-240-3926

  • Michelada at Calexico

    This spicy Mexican summer concoction mixes beer, hot sauce and lime juice (and often a salted rim) to make the perfect warm-weather cocktail. We prefer to enjoy this drink while sitting at Calexico Greenpoint's outdoor cafe in between bites of tacos, but you can also order one at any of the chainlet's many locations.

    Multiple locations

  • Boozy Kelvin Slushie at The Beach at Dream Downtown

    This seasonal poolside cafe at the Dream Downtown recently received a menu revamp from Bodega Negra's Michael Armstrong, but its boozy Kelvin Slush cocktails still remain. We like the Ginger Colada Slush and an order of guacamole as a summer starter. 

    355 W. 16th St.; 212-229-2336

  • Roasted oysters at Bo's Kitchen & Bar Room

    Get into the summer spirit at this New Orleans-inspired Flatiron eatery with this fresh roasted oysters dish featuring Montauk Pearl oysters with soubise and grana padano. 

    6 W. 24th St.; 212-234-2373

  • Hardbody Cheeseburger from Rippers on Rockaway Boardwalk

    This boardwalk snack shack, brought to you from the folks at both Roberta's and The Meat Hook, is a summer classic. Take a stroll along the ocean while chowing on a Hardbody Cheeseburger: two Meat Hook patties, grilled onions, pickles and special sauce on a potato roll. Perfection.

    86th St. beach boardwalk, Queens

  • Crudo at Barchetta

    Seafood expert Dave Pasternack's latest restuarant, Barchetta in Chelsea, specializes in Italian crudos - the perfect summer appetizer. Order up any variety of what's fresh and seasonal that day à la carte or via a crudo flight.

    461 W. 23rd St.; 212-255-7400

  • Watermelon gazpacho at Lambs Club New York

    Geoffrey Zakarian's Midtown New American hot spot in the Chatwal Hotel puts a refined spin on the traditional Spanish chilled soup, gazpacho, by adding fresh watermelon.

    132 W. 44th St.; 212-997-5262

  • Pickled-carrot martini at Empire Diner

    Veggie-infused cocktails are all the rage right now, but we prefer to skip the kale infusions and get our veggies as a garnish, like in this pickled-carrot martini at the newly reopened Empire Diner. Bonus: the sidewalk seating makes for great summertime people-watching in West Chelsea.

    210 10th Ave.; 212-596-7523

  • Spring-pea guacamole at ABC Cocina

    Dig into guac with a fresh summer twist at ABC Cocina, where spring peas and pine nuts are melded into a creamy guacamole and topped with plenty of fresh lime juice and cilantro.

    38 E. 19th St.; 212-677-2233

  • Beef heart and scallop ceviche at Mission Cantina

    Danny Bowien's LES Mexican outpost Mission Cantina puts an interesting spin on the summer classic, ceviche, with this beef heart and scallop variation. 

    172 Orchard St.; 212-254-2233

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