New Yorkers may flaunt their city’s world-class museums and sights, but most boast loudest about the incredible food scene. To come unprepared would be a sin. So, we cooked up a list of our must-haves for this summer. Try as many as you can during your next visit. Just don’t blame us if your swimsuit doesn’t fit the next time you go to the pool.
Grab your blanket and head to one of New York City’s many amazing parks to enjoy a picturesque picnic. The summer is a prime time for alfresco dining since most locals are traveling, leaving plenty of shady spots under the best trees.
Create a gourmet smorgasbord by packing some portable NYC classics, like sandwiches from Katz’s Deli, smoked fish and bagels from Russ & Daughters or Ess-a-Bagel, and don’t forget to pick up some cookies from Levain Bakery.
Locals wait all year to savor summer’s quintessential sip but, of course, they have to take it up a notch when that time finally arrives.
Only in NYC will you find a 14-room pop-up dedicated to the wine. Open through October, Rosé Mansion is a themed abode filled with endless photo opportunities, such as a life-sized swinging chandelier and a bathtub filled with roses built for the sole purpose of posing.
You can even sample eight varieties of rosé while getting an education in the chilled pink favorite. When that ends, stick around and choose from the country’s largest selection of the blush varietal at the Grand Tasting Lounge downstairs — there’s also an array of caviar and charcuterie.
For something a little more classic, The Rainbow Room also hosts a seasonal Rosé Bar. Perched 65 floors above Rockefeller Center, this pop-up lounge affords some of the most spectacular views in the city. Enjoy rosé-inspired snacks, desserts and surprisingly affordable glasses of wine. But be sure to check the website before planning your night out — this unique retreat is only open on select summer nights (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays).
I scream, you scream, we’ll all scream for these unique scoops of ice cream.
If you’re braving the summer heat in Brooklyn, head to the rooftop park of trendy hotel The William Vale to savor soft-serve creations at Mr. Dips, a 1974 Airstream cooking up classic burgers and creamy treats like the Chocolate PBD (dark cocoa soft serve and salted peanut butter drip).
Or head uptown to Harlem’s Sugar Hill Creamery to try savory scoops like roasted corn and jalapeño (trust us) or blackberry pistachio.
In downtown, Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream is a must for exotic flavors, such as Vietnamese coffee, banana curry or burnt sage.
You also don’t want to miss the chance to get a fish-shaped cone that’s filled with black sesame and matcha soft serve at Chinatown’s Taiyaki NYC.
Few things are better than ice-cold seafood on a hot summer day, and nowhere will you find a more fantastical display than at Mastro’s. The tiered seafood tower at this classic steakhouse is epic. The smoking skyscraper showcases the freshest seasonal shellfish and is worth the splurge — if only to make your Instagram followers salivate.
If you’re after oysters or lobster rolls, make the short trek to Island Oyster on Governors Island, where the views of Manhattan can’t be beat.
Another seafood-focused spot that’s worth the drive is City Island Lobster House. Bring your crew (and your appetite) and order the Lobster House Ultimate Feast for massive portions of steamed lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari, all served over pasta.
Major Food Group (the geniuses behind Carbone, Parm and Dirty French) just opened a new tiki-themed bar near Times Square. Featuring a menu of colorful cocktails from renowned bartender Brian Miller, The Polynesian is a true taste of summer.
To make the most of your visit, we recommend ordering one of the oversized tipples built for sharing, like the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, a blend of rum, clairin (Haitian cane sugar rum), blue curaçao, coconut tea syrup, absinthe and tropical juices, served in a fish bowl. This drink easily serves four partygoers.
Fill up on tropical favorites like coconut shrimp, crab rangoon or the three-tiered Polynesian pu pu platter, if you’re feeling famished between sips.
Believe it or not, classic French cuisine is having a moment this summer in New York. Bistro Pierre Lapin offers inventive takes on traditional Parisian fare. Try the escargot served with a sunny-side up egg, fava beans and spring garlic, but save plenty of room for dessert — the sweets menu is a showstopper.
Frenchette is also a can’t-miss for those seeking a creative spin on the traditional French brasserie. We suggest the duck frites and a side of charred carrots.
It isn’t summer without a few fun, fruity cocktails. Luckily for us, the city has no shortage of clever concoctions this season.
Head to The Springs in Brooklyn, where the classic Aperol Spritz has been made even cooler — it’s served here as a grown-up slushy. This alfresco, resort-inspired oasis is reminiscent of Palm Springs circa the 1950s, complete with floating flamingo drink holders.
We also adore The Knickerbocker Hotel‘s Bryant Park Spritz , a creative cocktail served up at the St. Cloud Rooftop bar. Composed of vodka, vermouth, coconut charcoal and garnished with a lemon twist and pearl onion, this black-tinted beverage is one of the most distinctive that we’ve seen all season.