Eating in Central Park - Where to Find the Best Food
So you've been exploring Central Park for a couple of hours and all of a sudden the hunger pangs strike. Where do you go to satisfy your stomach?
Thankfully, Central Park has endless food options, from meat on a stick to high-class restaurants. And you don't even need to cross Fifth Ave. or Central Park West to get to them. Let's take a look at some of your options.
A Look at Dining Options Across the Park
» Dancing Crane Café: This café at the Central Park Zoo is open to both zoo visitors and outside patrons. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, and features relatively inexpensive fare, such as sandwiches, snacks and drinks. It is located at 64th St. and Fifth Ave.
» Boathouse Restaurant: Overlooking the Lake, the Boathouse Restaurant has an express café as well as a more formal dining option. It is located at E. 72nd St. and Park Drive North.
» Tavern on the Green: This restaurant is one of New York's iconic dining spots. It is currently closed for renovation until the summer of 2013. When open, it attracts thousands of diners every year, and it has been known as the place to be seen in New York City.
» Le Pain Quotidien: Located just north of Sheep Meadow on the Mineral Springs Pavilion, Le Pain Quotidien provides light fare such as sandwiches and bakery items. There are sit-down options both inside and on the terrace. You can also walk up to place your order and take it to go. The café provides extended-range Wi-Fi so you can check your email either on the pavilion or in nearby Sheep Meadow. It is located mid-park at 69th St.
» Petrie Court Café and Wine Bar: If you want to sit and sip an alcoholic beverage in an elegant setting, this café is for you. Located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Central Park as a backdrop, this European-style restaurant by day serves lunch, Sunday brunch and afternoon tea, and by night transforms into a swank wine bar. It is on Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
» Kerbs Boathouse Café: The Kerbs Memorial Boathouse is east of Conservatory Water, also known as the Model Boat Pond. The café serves light snacks and beverages and it provides the perfect fare for you as you sit and watch the boats pass by. It is on the east side of the park at 74th St.
» Ballplayers' House: Next to the famed Central Park carousel and the Heckscher Ballfields, this café serves sandwiches, burgers and other snacks. You can sit outside and watch a ballgame on a Sunday morning or listen to the sweet sounds of kids as they enjoy the carousel. The Ballplayers' House is located mid-park at 65th St.
» Ferrara Italian Café: Located on the plaza of Merchants' Gate at Columbus Circle, Ferrara Italian Café operates two kiosks. One serves gelato and smoothies; the other serves pastries, coffees and other light fare. There are a number of tables and chairs where you can sit for a bite to eat as you either enter or exit the park
Pack a Picnic or Food on the Go
Of course, if none of these options appeal to you, you can always pack a picnic, either by going to one of the grocery stores or delis within a short distance of Central Park and buying some picnic supplies, or by using one of the many home meat slicers on the market to cut your own deli meat for a sandwich.
In addition, there are many food carts or trucks around Central Park where you can pick up an ice cream or an ice cold drink. These are especially convenient if you are biking around the park and can't stop for a long period of time, or if you just need to satisfy a quick craving.
— by Kathryn Sucich
Kathryn Sucich is a freelance writer. When it comes to food, she is a big fan of hamburgers and dreams of owning an electric meat grinder so she can make her own fresh burgers someday.