Ditch the Sandy Sandwiches! 18 Best Rockaway Beach NY Restaurants

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Rockaway Beach NY restaurants can give a great view of Manhattan.
Manhattan is not so far from Rockaway Beach. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Rockaway Beach, part of the Rockaways Peninsula, is a part of Queens that many outsiders have never heard of. In fact, even some New Yorkers never venture to this part of the city, a beach community that has a burgeoning food scene.

Gone are the days of eating a sandy sandwich at Rockaway Beach. This little slice of heaven in Queens, New York, has great places to eat along the boardwalk and nearby.

Along the concrete ‘boardwalk’ which runs from Jacob Riis Park to Far Rockaway (with a couple of gaps) there are clustered takeout stands selling freshly made tacos, pizza, lobster rolls and smoothies. You can get fresh watermelon juice, frozen piña coladas, local beers and artisan iced coffee.

Many of the best restaurants in the Rockaways are casual takeout places that aren’t open year-round.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include Tacoway Beach, whose patio leads into the Rockaway Beach Surf Club.
The patio of Tacoway Beach, leading into the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Photo credit: Judy Antell

1. Tacoway Beach

The summer only Tacoway Beach has fish tacos, vegan carnita tacos, elote and fresh juices. Get the chips and guacamole to munch on while you await your takeout, or order online. There are also picnic tables for dining in.

If you are caught in a sudden rainstorm, bring your food into the connected Rockaway Beach Surf Club, a dive bar that uses fresh pineapple in its piña coladas.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include Tacoway Beach, where you can get Vegan mushroom ‘meat’ tacos with guacamole, radishes, cabbage and salsa.
Vegan mushroom ‘meat’ tacos with guacamole, radishes, cabbage and salsa. Photo credit: Judy Antell

2. Cuisine by Claudette

You can pick up Cuisine by Claudette at three different places in the Rockaways, including takeout from the Greenhouse Cafe at the Rockaway Hotel. You can also get the Mediterranean food delivered to you on the boardwalk.There are yummy pastries, smoothies and savory food like falafel, hummus, pita sandwiches and bowls.

3. Bungalow Bar

Bungalow Bar has indoor and outdoor dining. There is a raw bar, guacamole and chips, burgers, grain bowls and pasta. Weekend brunch includes a farmer’s market omelet, avocado toast and special brunch cocktails.

This year-round restaurant at Beach 92nd St is right by the Crossbay Bridge.

4. Sayra’s Wine Bar & Biergarten

Sayra’s wine bar has live music, chef pop-ups and other events.

5. The Rockaway Hotel

The Rockaway Hotel, one of the best places to stay in the Rockaways, has several places to eat, including:

  • The Pool House has a raw bar, salads, sandwiches, hummus and guacamole. If you’re staying at the hotel you can get food delivered to your lounge chair or cabana.
  • Margie’s, which serves brunch on weekends, has the same raw bar and salads, but adds pasta and main dishes like steaks and miso glazed tuna.
  • For the best view, the Rooftop Bar has lobster sliders, pizza, dips, and bottle service. Note that on Friday and Saturdays after 6pm, you must be at least 21 to go to the Rooftop Bar.
  • If you are looking for a cold brew or artisan ice pop to fuel a boardwalk stroll, the Greenhouse Cafe, a takeout-only coffee shop, has you covered.
Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include Vegan arepa at Caracas.
Vegan arepa at Caracas. Photo credit: Judy Antell

6. Caracas Arepa Bar

Head to Caracas in Rockaway Park for arepas and empanadas. The Venezuelan takeout stand has a large restaurant in Brooklyn, another in Manhattan and the seasonal beachfront location.  The beachfront stand is open from mid-May through September. The yellow Caracas sauce is good on everything, from the vegan arepa with black beans, plantains and jackfruit, to the vegetarian arepa with cheese, plantain and avocado, to the  ‘pulled pork’ jackfruit empanadas. There are also traditional Venezuelan meats used in the arepas if that’s your jam.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include pizza on the beach at Seany Pizza.
Pizza on the beach. Photo credit: Judy Antell

7. Seany Pizza

Personally, I’m not a pizza on the beach gal. Then again, I shudder when I see snowboarders drinking iced coffee. To each his own. That said, the best pizza in the Rockaways has that sea salt tang.

At Beach 92nd St., Seany Pizza has vegan margherita pizza ‘Call the Fire Department’ with Mike’s hot honey, pickled jalapeno and two kinds of spicy meat, and The Villain, with no mozzarella, but loaded with red sauce, roasted pineapple, pepperoni and pecorino cheese.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include Rippers takeout.
No shirt necessary for Rippers takeout. Or wear one on your head. Photo credit: Judy Antell

8. Rippers

Rippers, on the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk at 86th St. has live music on weekends, and room to dance. Eat on the patio or get takeout for your beach blanket The limited menu has burgers, including a vegan burger, fries, beer and wine on tap and fresh juice

Tip: try the kraut on a burger. Who says sauerkraut is just for hot dogs?

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include the Red Hook Lobster Pound.
Queens or Maine? Red Hook Lobster Pound will transport you. Photo credit: Judy Antell

9. Red Hook Lobster Pound

When I was young, my friends and I used to dare each other to eat raw oysters in Coney Island. The Brooklyn beach area was so run down, we couldn’t imagine the seafood would be fresh. Red Hook Lobster Pound, which started in Red Hook, Brooklyn, years ago, has impeccable fresh shellfish: raw oysters shucked in front of you, lobster rolls, fish tacos, and lobster grilled cheese.

The Beach 97th Street takeout stand has a burger spot next door, with a sad plain vegan hot dog. But you’re here for the “lobsta”. [The guacamole fries are also a solid choice; regular fries, served with guac. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?]

10. Wharf Bar & Grill

Stop here before getting on the ferry back to Brooklyn or Manhattan. Sit outside and sip a frozen cocktail – pina colada? – and get a sandwich or a burger.

11. Rockaway Bagels

Rockaway Bagels, on Beach Channel Dr, is a year-round destination for bagels and deli sandwiches. The bagels are not the best in NYC, but if you are here from outside New York, they are guaranteed to be better than anything you have back home.

12. Rockaway Roasters

You can get acai and pitaya bowls at Rockaway Roasters, along with smoothies, coffee drinks and pastries. At lunch there are sandwiches, avocado toast and shakshuka.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include  Happy Jack’s Burger Bar, across from the valet parking for The Rockaway Hotel.
Happy Jack’s Burger Bar, across from the valet parking for The Rockaway Hotel. Photo credit: Judy Antell

13. Happy Jack’s Burger Bar

Open year-round, Happy Jack’s Burger Bar has burgers, fish tacos and salads. You can eat there, or order takeout or delivery. Happy Jack’s is across the street from The Rockaway Hotel.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include Cevicheria.
Too early in the day for ceviche. Photo credit: Judy Antell

14. Jacob Riis Park

Jacob Riis Park has seasonal food vendors, open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They are part of the Riis Beach Cooperative, a group of food and retail vendors, bars and live music.

Food includes burgers from Space Burgers and Poke bowls, dumplings and fried clams from Shanty’s. A Peruvian place, La Cevicheria, has vegan ceviche made with hearts of palm. Very refreshing on a hot day.

Rockaway Beach NY restaurants include Davey's Ice Cream, which offers shaded picnic tables.
Shaded picnic tables are a welcome respite from the sun. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Davey’s Ice Cream, a small New York City chain, started in Manhattan and expanded to Brooklyn and Queens. Get your brunch on a cone with brunch Ice cream: brioche french toast pieces, cinnamon-maple syrup, and coffee-glazed bacon. The Brooklyn-made ice cream has year-round shops in Greenpoint, the East Village and Moynihan Train Hall.

Beach Bar has frozen cocktails like pina coladas, beer, cider, wine and other mixed drinks, to sip while you dance to the live music.

More Rockaway restaurants to consider:

15. Kimo’s Mediterranean

For solid falafel, pita and hummus or other Greek or Egyptian food, head to Rockaway Beach Blvd where Kimo’s Mediterranean serves up food year-round.

16. Uma’s

Also on Rockaway Beach Blvd, Uma’s serves destination Uzbek food.

17. RBQ

RBQ in Far Rockaway is a year-round barbecue restaurant. There is a beyond burger for vegetarians dragged here by barbecue-loving friends.

18. Thai Rock

This live music venue serves Thai food year-round.

Judy Antell is an empty-nester mother of 3 who spends a lot of time visiting her daughters. Why don’t they live in Brooklyn? Judy and her husband love to travel, by bike, car, or plane, whether to see their kids or have friend or couple adventures, mostly centered around vegetarian food.
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