With summer upon us, New Yorkers search for neighboring beaches. A favorite among locals is a peninsula known as Rockaway (or the Rockaways). While a certain taco shop has been a draw for many beach-goers, the Queens shoreline has so much more to offer. On this map of Rockaway food favorites, find everything from Venezuelan street fare and wood-fired pizza to refreshing açaí bowls and stand-out sticky buns.Read More
Where to Eat Near the Boardwalk in Rockaway Beach
Arepas, pizza, tacos, and more beachside food and drink
1. Carnal at Riis Park Beach Bazaar
Rockaway Park, NY 11694
Carnal, a popular Smorgasburg stand, is a new addition this summer to Riis Bazaar’s Bay 9. Founders Aaron Saurer and James Zamory — alumni of the NoMad, Betony and Roberta’s — whip up modern barbecue that pulls inspiration from Kentucky slow cooking, a nod to Sauer’s home turf. The rotating selection of sizzling proteins might include pork belly with sour cherries, bourbon, and anise syrup, or short rib slow-cooked in bone marrow and tomatoes.
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2. Cuisine by Claudette at Riis Park Beach Bazaar
Rockaway Park, NY 11694
This summer, local healthy Mediterranean joint Cuisine by Claudette, which has been around since 2012, is even closer to the water with a new outpost at Riis Bazaar’s Bay 9. Find cauliflower rice-based bowls, turkey sliders, falafel, and juices at this new location.
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Closer to Rockaway Park, Pico is a solid sit-down option with crowd-pleasing Mexican fare like Los Angeles-style burritos, chicken quesadillas, and carnitas tacos. Pico also serves a very proper margarita.
4. Pickles & Pies Food Market & Deli
Rockaway Park, NY
When a sandwich is needed after a day drinking underneath the Rockaway sun, this super simple deli is the answer. Pickles & Pies is open 24 hours.
5. Caracas Arepa Bar (Rockaway Beach Concession)
New Yorkers familiar with Caracas will find solace at its Rockaway location. The waterfront stand and its many picnic tables are filled with diners feasting on arepas, maduros, fries, and empanadas. Expect a line.
Housed in the former Playland Motel, this barbecue spot from Rockaway locals opened in 2018 with tons of meat. Choose from options like pulled pork or chicken on Texas toast, or the “bird & bone” platter for two, with a half rack of ribs, half chicken, and choice of two sides. There are also appetizers like wings or fried pickle slices, plus a handful of salads, burgers, or sandwiches.
7. Whit's End
The new location of this nautical-themed Rockaway pizza favorite is still serving the wood-fired pies that gained the original Riis Park location its following. Look for toppings like sausage, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, and clams, and non-pizza options including a burger, ravioli, and lamb.
Head to High97 to satiate a fish and chips craving, which batters up rockfish and serves it alongside fries, slaw, and turmeric tartar sauce. The simple, brief menu also includes a fried “fish sammy” (or fried chicken option for the seafood-averse), a cheeseburger, and grilled cheese.
9. La Cevicheria
Rockaway Beach, NY 11693
Cool down with marinated raw seafood at La Cevicheria, a stand at Rockaway Beach Club (aka the beachside concessions at 97th Street). In addition to Peruvian ceviches, non-seafood picks are available, too, like aguadito, a cilantro chicken soup served with a lime wedge to squeeze in.
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10. The Bungalow Bar
Come for a seat on the waterfront deck with panoramic views, stay for always-stellar dishes like a fried cod sandwich on brioche, mussels with marinara, and fried calamari. The year-round hangout frequently hosts live music, and serves brunch on the weekends.
Palenque is another Smorgasburg regular with a summertime outpost at 97th Street that’s open on weekends through Labor Day. Arepas are the star of the show: corn, quinoa, or multigrain iterations are piled with toppings like cheese, disks of Colombian chorizo, or portobello mushrooms. Sides include empanadas, yuca fries, and plantains.
A Rockaway trip is best ended with a visit to this classic pub. The move at Connolly’s is any of the frozen drinks, but the piña colada never disappoints.
13. Rockaway Roasters
Rockaway locals and regulars know that a decent cup of coffee can sometimes be hard to come by. But a few years back Rockaway Roasters opened and brought along with it very good pastries and açaí bowls.
There’s warm hospitality and a quirkiness at this Uzbek restaurant, with a menu of lagman (hand-rolled noodles), borscht, labne salad, manti (dumplings), kabobs, and plov (rice pilaf). This is the place for a respite from the rain or harsh rays.
15. Sayra's Wine Bar
Sayra’s is a lovely place for some drinks and snacks, whether sitting inside this Rockaway wine bar or out on the patio. The food menu includes items like meatball sliders, crostini, and a cheese plate. All the wines on the by-the-glass list fall under $12.
16. Rockaway Beach Bakery
Experienced pastry chef Tracy Obolsky (Esca, North End Grill, Cookshop) has her own bakery, where the sticky buns reign supreme. It’s the right stop pre-beach for mid-morning snacks like scones, croissants, danishes, cookies, and quiche.
17. Rockaway Beach Surf Club (aka Tacoway Beach)
Rockaway Taco is legend at Rockaway, even though it no longer exists. But Tacoway, from a Rockaway Taco founder, lives on inside Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Bonus: The new digs make for much more seating and the option to order alcohol. Cash only.
Further east on the boardwalk at number 86, Rippers is serving always-great burgers including one called the Hard Body, a double patty with double cheese. Other Americana beach snacks on the menu include hot dogs, a fish sandwich, and soft serve.
19. Taco Bay at Rockaway Brewing Company
At Rockaway Brewing Company, a hops spot near the A train stop, there’s outdoor food stand Taco Bay, which is helmed by a new chef this summer: Sarah Peltier, formerly of Rockaway Taco. Filling options include grilled shrimp and mushroom tinga, while non-taco offerings are available, too, like the nachos with beef shank.