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New York City Restaurants: Best Waterfront Dining

Enjoy the view and the food at these fantastic NYC restaurants.

A beautiful backdrop while dining can take the experience to a whole new level. Dining along the waterfront with clear blue skies or underneath the stars sets the perfect tone for a light lunch or evening out. In New York, some days, it gets a little crazy, and you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Luckily, you don't have to travel far to do this.

From dining on an island to historic ships alongside the Hudson and East River, there are many options when finding the best waterfront view. Here are five of the best restaurants with waterfront dining in New York.

Industry Kitchen

Industry Kitchen sits along the East River next to the historic South Street Seaport. The 5,000 square foot venue plays off the seaport's vintage industrial setting featuring reclaimed plank wood and raw concrete. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow unobstructed views of the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges and Brooklyn Skyline. Guests have the option of dining in Industry Kitchen's open-kitchen space with a wood-fire oven or around the freestanding bar. 

The menu features an array of options for the entire family, including wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan items. Don't forget to try the "Lobster" pizza with diced lobster, roasted tomato, asparagus, wild mushroom and mozzarella. Compliment your meal with a craft beer, signature cocktail or choose your favorite wine from the restaurant's extensive wine list.

Industry Kitchen is open at noon daily for lunch and dinner service and brunch service on the weekends. 

Industry Kitchen Bar New York | WhereTraveler
Industry Kitchen Bar (Courtesy Industry Kitchen)

Drift In

There's nothing more relaxing than dining at Drift In. The casual dining atmosphere includes an outdoor patio covered with trees and a fantastic view of the Hudson River. The restaurant draws a crowd, and there is plenty of outdoor seating available. The beverage menu features island-inspired cocktails, wines and beers.  Try the "Tropicalia," a refreshing cocktail with watermelon, cucumber, lime and vodka. Graze on a fresh "Tomato & Watermelon" salad or feast on  the hearty "Hanger & Brisket Burger." The restaurant makes for great people-watching.

Drift In is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

Cocktails at Drift In New York | WhereTraveler
Cocktails at Drift In (Courtesy Drift In)

Island Oyster 

Island Oyster is an outdoor restaurant located on historic Governors Island. It is situated in the heart of New York Harbor between Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Waterfront. Guests arriving on the island will need to take a ferry, and once at Island Oyster, they will enjoy unparalleled views of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

The restaurant was designed using retired shipping containers to create an airy, eco-friendly design. Surrounded by water and the wind blowing through your hair, sitting here makes you feel like you have been transported to a tropical island.  Guests feast on oysters, and other seafood delights like "Shark Tacos" and the "Lobster BLT." Try one of the specialty cocktails like the "Permanent Vacation," which combines Caribbean rum, blue Curacao with coconut, pineapple and orange flavors.

Island Oyster is open on Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday from noon to 10 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

Harbor View at Island Oyster New York | WhereTraveler
Harbor View at Island Oyster (Courtesy Island Oyster)

Grand Banks

Dining at Grand Banks is an experience. You get to sit on a historic, wooden ship called F/V Sherman Zwicker which is docked on the Hudson River at Pier 25 in Tribeca. The menu showcases "wild-caught and sustainably harvested East and West Coast oyster."  The "Grand Banks" oyster selection features the complete Pan-American oyster experience served with Champagne vinegar and ramp mignonette, red wine vinegar and shallot mignonette, cocktail sauce and lemon. Entrees include soft shell crab, sea scallops and lobster rolls.

Grand Banks is open from 11 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 2 p.m. to midnight on weekends. 

Feast at Grand Banks New York | WhereTraveler
Feast at Grand Banks (Courtesy Grand Banks)

Brooklyn Crab

Located steps from the Hudson River, Brooklyn Crab is a casual restaurant that specializes in, you guessed it, crabs. The outdoor decks feature picnic-style dining, and the backyard area has miniature golf and cornhole games set up to keep guests entertained. Brooklyn Crab is a great place for a night out with friends or a family dinner.  The dining experience is fun where you will have the chance to wear bibs, pass around buckets of crab and not worry about getting a little messy. Be sure to order some Mac & Cheese on the side.

Brooklyn Card is open daily from noon to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended.