Central Park is the heartbeat of Manhattan. Running from 59th to 106th street, this 843-acre park is bordered by many diverse neighborhoods and a variety of eateries. From cheese-centric joints in East Harlem to 100-year-old delis on the Upper West Side, here are the best restaurants near Central Park.
Amazing Restaurants and Places to Eat Near Central Park
Central Park runs from Midtown through the Upper East and West Sides, El Barrio and Harlem. It’s a diverse touchstone for many neighborhoods, and the food scene nearby is as rich and varied as the city. Whether you’re looking for a good view, a quick bite or a lavish multi-course meal, you can find it steps from the park. Read on for some suggestions of the best restaurants near Central Park!
$$ | Southern Comfort Food | Retro Setting
If you want chicken and waffles or dishes soaked in butter, Melba’s is the place for you. Located a few blocks from the northernmost tip of the park, Melba’s menu features heavy southern comfort food and dishes that pair well with a side of mac & cheese. While popular, Melba’s is still the kind of place where you can always get a table. Dine inside or out, and enjoy a friendly waitstaff and some of the best soul food in the city.
Address: 300 West 114th St, New York
$$$ | Chinese | Traditional Dishes
Shun Lee, a staple of the Lincoln Center dining scene, is also mere steps away from Central Park. Whether you’re stopping by for a mid-day meal or craving a bit of Moo Shu pork, this high-end Chinese restaurant always delivers. Above all, diners can expect very attentive service and authentic cuisine that is rich in sauce and taste. Come for the Beijing duck, stay for the glossy decor.
Address: 43 W 65th Street, New York
$$ | Deli | Cash Only | Famous Neighborhood Institution
Barney Greengrass is an Upper West Side institution. For over 100 years, this Jewish deli has graced the corner of Amsterdam and West 87th street, bringing smoked fish and their famous Bagel, Lox, Onion and Tomato sandwich to the neighborhood.
Two avenues over from Central Park, this deli is a great place for breakfast or lunch if you find yourself on the park’s west side. Grab a table in the no-frills space and enjoy salmon scrambled eggs or a hot pastrami sandwich. However, don’t forget to hit up an ATM beforehand, as this old-school joint doesn’t take credit cards.
Address: 541 Amsterdam Avenue, New York
$$$$ | French | Beautiful Views
With sweeping views of Central Park and three Michelin stars, it’s easy to see why Per Se generates so much buzz. Housed in the Deutsche Bank Center at Columbus Circle, right at the bottom west corner of the park, this high-end restaurant is the height of New York City’s contemporary fine dining.
Two tasting menus are offered daily, one for meat-eaters, the other for vegetarians. Marvel as you make your way through nine courses where not a single ingredient is used twice!
Address: 10 Columbus Circle, New York
$$$ | Waterfront Views | Al Fresco Dining | Brunch, Lunch and Cocktails Only
You can’t mention dining near Central Park without including a few key players, and the Loeb Boathouse is certainly one of them. One of only two sit-down restaurants that are actually located in the park, the Boathouse is iconic.
It’s been referenced in countless TV shows and movies and boasts one of the best views in the park. The waterfront patio extends out onto Central Park’s lake, and diners can watch rowboats drift by and turtles sun themselves in the warm months.
But the view isn’t the only reason this place has been around for nearly 70 years. The food is upscale, yet the vibe is laid back. Open only for brunch, lunch, and bar service, the menu features staples of American dining with a few unexpected twists, like fish and chips or stuffed French toast. Come for the atmosphere, stay for the cheesecake.
$$$$ | French | Old School
La Grenouille feels like old New York, and it’s just a few blocks south of the park. From the vases overflowing with fresh flowers to the plush red booths, this long-standing restaurant still maintains an old-time glamor.
While it’s hard to go wrong with any menu choice, the Dover sole and a soufflé make for an unbeatable dining experience. If you stay late on a weekend evening, you might just be treated to some impromptu jazz.
Address: 3 East 52nd Street, New York
$$ | Southern Comfort Food | Craft Cocktails | Great Brunch
Just south of Barney’s Greengrass on Amsterdam Avenue, Jacob’s Pickles brings southern flair to Manhattan. Yes, they make their own pickles, which are certainly worth a try, but that’s not the only reason to hit up this delicious spot. The food here is heavy yet ideal for brunch.
The fried chicken, egg, and cheese sandwich is one of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city, and the biscuit it’s served on is top-notch. Pickles find their way to the menu in other unexpected ways as well, and it’s worth trying a Bloody BLT (jalapeño pickled egg anyone?) or a spicy brine margarita while you’re there.
Address: 509 Amsterdam Avenue, New York
Tavern on the Green
$$$ | Gorgeous Setting | American Fare
Much like the Boathouse, you can’t mention food in Central Park without including Tavern on the Green. While it can sometimes be maligned by critics, this historic restaurant is still a centerpiece of park dining.
The tavern has a view that overlooks Sheep Meadow, the sprawling open field at the park’s south end, and the beautifully renovated garden is an idyllic place to sit on a warm day. With high prices and food that isn’t always spectacular, this is a place that is often more enticing for its setting than its menu, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a trip—and a meal.
Address: W 67th Street, New York, NY
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$$ | Peruvian | Fully Handicap Accessible | Top Notch Wine Menu
Contento, just a few blocks away from the northernmost corner of Central Park, was created to serve elegant yet accessible Peruvian fare to everyone. With a layout designed specifically with physical accessibility in mind, Contento is a thoughtful dining experience that is a rarity in New York.
Two of the owners use wheelchairs themselves, including sommelier Yannick Benjamin, who has put together an eclectic and illuminating wine list that will satisfy any oenophile.
Address: 88 East 111th Street, New York
$$$ | Varied Menu | Good for Kids | Excellent Brunch
Just a half a block away from Strawberry Fields, the park’s famed memorial for Beatles star John Lennon, The Ribbon is a perfect place to grab breakfast or lunch before a stroll through the park, or for dinner afterwards. Owned by the restaurateurs behind the popular Blue Ribbon restaurants, The Ribbon is one of the best spots to dine on the Upper West Side.
The menu is a crowd-pleaser, designed with all kinds of palates in mind. The dinner options include cheese plates, appetizers that range from escargot to hummus, burgers and Scottish salmon, and a handful of entrée-sized salads. Brunch offers several avocado toast options, eggs any way you like them, burgers, caesar salad, and an unbeatable hot chicken and cheddar chive pancake.
Like its menu, the bar also has mass appeal. It’s the type of place you can bring your kids, grab a beer, or enjoy an intimate meal. If you want a likeable place that also delivers on quality, this is your spot.
Address: 20 West 72nd Street, New York
$$$$ | Amazing Steak | Rowdy Vibe | Centrally Located
Quality Meats is at the base of Central Park, a few steps from the Center Drive entrance. This is the steakhouse offshoot of the popular Quality Eats and Quality Italian restaurants that are scattered throughout the city. As the name suggests, the meat here is top-notch. Whether you’re ordering the bone-in sirloin or the mega double rib steak for two (a 64-ounce slab of beef), the meat will exceed expectations.
Quality Meats has a rowdy vibe, and if you’re teeing up for a night on the town, this is a great place to get started, though it’s not the best place for a kid-friendly meal. Pair your steak with a cocktail or glass of red—you won’t be disappointed.
Address: 57 W 58th Street, New York
Earl’s Beer and Cheese
$$ | Craft Beers | Sports Games | Cheese Heavy Menu
East Harlem’s Earl’s Beer and Cheese is a must-try if you find yourself in the northern part of Central Park. This is a spot that feels more Milwaukee than New York City, and that’s part of its charm.
From the deer wall mural and communal table to the craft beers and mac and cheese, this casual eatery will cure your cravings. Enjoy brunch as you watch a game or post up at the bar on a Friday night. Whatever it is that brings you in, you’ll certainly want to come back.
Address: 1259 Park Avenue, New York, NY