The Best Cafes and Restaurants in Central Park: Where to Eat in Central Park

5:09 pm  |  25.08.2021

When exploring Central Park in New York, sooner or later your stomach will definitely get in touch. In the middle of the nature of the huge park, you will quickly be tempted to have hot dogs or pretzels. 

There are some of the best restaurants in New York and many recommended cafes around Central Park. We have therefore summarized our favorite food spots in and around Central Park for you. From low budget to high end, there is something for everyone for small to large appetites.

The famous snack bars on wheels sell typical New York hot dogs, pretzels, ice cream, and other small snacks throughout Central Park. After an eventful day in New York’s largest park, this will hardly satisfy your hunger.

For this reason, we tell you here where you can find the most idyllic restaurant in Central Park, which restaurant conjures up the sunny Mediterranean, and where New Yorkers get the best sandwich for a small price.

Since there are only three restaurants directly in the park, we mainly provide you with tips for restaurants and cafes near Central Park. You will see that it is worth leaving the park for a few meters to eat.

Lakeside Restaurant am Loeb Boathouse

Loeb Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park

The Lakeside Restaurant at the Loeb Boathouse is located on the northeastern tip of Central Park Lake, right on the water. With a view of the calm lake, the romantic rowboats, and the Manhattan skyline behind the treetops, this restaurant is one of the most idyllic restaurants in New York. Accordingly, the food in the Lakeside Restaurant is really very good, and many visitors swear by the crab cake. If you just want to have a bite to eat or something cool to drink, the open-air bar is also a good choice.

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The special setting is of course also reflected in the restaurant prices. If you’d rather go easy on your wallet, we can recommend the Express Cafe instead of the restaurant. There you can get inexpensive hamburgers, salads, soups, drinks, and snacks.

In winter, the indoor bar area at the entrance on the left is also a good option for a warming drink with a view.

Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green in Central Park

The popular restaurant Tavern on the Green is located directly on the western edge of Central Park. A chic ambiance with English charm and a cozy outdoor terrace await you here. However, a reservation is essential for a place in the beautiful garden area. The menu is seasonal and based on local ingredients.

Similar to the Loeb Boathouse, there is also a practical alternative here, the Tavern to Go. There you can get inexpensive sandwiches, salads, soups, snacks, and drinks to take away.

Le Pain Quotidien


In the middle of Central Park on the edge of Sheep’s Meadow, a café-restaurant of the Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidien invites you to lunch or a small lunch. There you can get fresh salads, baguettes, sweet baked goods, beer, wine, and huge cups of café au lait. Seating in the Mineral Springs Pavilion is very limited, but there is a nice outdoor terrace in summer.

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Of course, you can also simply put together a packed lunch to take away and have a picnic in the park. There is also a special menu for children.

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Central Park Cafes

In addition to these three restaurants, there are also a few cafes in Central Park, most of which are only open in summer. There you can get burgers, sandwiches, snacks and of course drinks. These include the Kerbs Boathouse Café, the Harlem Meer Snack Bar, a café at the Wollman Rink, the Dancing Crane Café at the Central Park Zoo, and our favorite, the Ballfields Café.

If you are hungry, you should quickly find something there.

The Ballfields Café

The cute little brick café has snacks such as salads, sandwiches, and burgers. The special thing about Ballfields Café is that you can often watch baseball games there while you eat.

The Ballfields Cafe in Central Park

There is usually enough indoor and outdoor seating here.

Restaurants & Cafes near Central Park

Here you will find a few more café and restaurant tips, for which it is definitely worth leaving Central Park for a moment. They are all within walking distance of the park and can be reached in a few minutes. Most of our restaurant favorites are located on Columbus Avenue at the west exit of the park. You can also just stroll along here and spontaneously decide on a nice restaurant or café.

The Cantor Roof Garden Bar

The fantastic view from the Cantor Roof Garden Bar

One of our favorite food spots is located in one of the most famous museums in the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you go to the Cantor Roof Garden Bar on the 5th floor of the Met, you can look forward to interesting art, delicious coffee, light meals, and excellent food from May to October Cocktails, and above all a sensational view over Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.

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In the Met, there are also many restaurants and cafés in winter or in bad weather. In the elegant dining room on the 4th floor, there is star cuisine with a view of the park, cocktails, and small Mediterranean dishes in the Great Hall Balcony Bar on the 2nd floor, as well as small, inexpensive dishes with self-service and a fantastic view of Central Park in the Petrie Court Café On the 1st floor.

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