The Best Restaurants
NarcissaThis time of year, Narcissa is in full bloom at The Standard, East Village. Get a table in the lush outdoor garden and try the best of summer produce. Don’t sleep on the rotisserie-crisped beets or the taco farm half chicken with baby carrots, radishes, and snap peas.
And if you just want a drink and a light bite, hideaway in the adjacent Summer Garden.
For excellent margaritas and top-tier people-watching, post up at ATLA, the all-day Mexican restaurant from Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes in NoHo. While you can’t go wrong with tacos and guacamole, order less familiar dishes like the fish Milanese and the seasonally-changing tlayuda, too.
There’s a subtle perfection to King, the debut restaurant from Jess Shadbolt, Clare de Boer, and Annie Shi, that keeps us coming back for more. Enjoy their honest, beautifully-executed fare inspired by Southern France and Italy in the light, airy dining room or al fresco.
Spend an evening on the coast of Portugal by way of Cervo’s, a little wine bar and seafood-forward restaurant in the Lower East Side. Pretend the Med is only a stone’s throw away as you wash down tuna conserva on toast and prawns a la plancha with a glass of sherry on tap.
The Standard SeaShack
This summer, The Plaza at The Standard, High Line has been transformed into The Standard SeaShack, an homage to the iconic New England fish shack. From lobster rolls and little neck clams to hush puppies and boozy popsicles, you’ll momentarily believe you’re in Maine instead of Meatpacking.
The Best Bars
Most easily recognized as the host of the annual celeb-filled Met Gala after party, Top of The Standard serves the rest of us every other 364 nights of the year. Go for sweeping sunset views of the city on the bar roof and stay for live jazz, which kicks off in the main room every evening.
Maison PremiereThis Williamsburg haunt is golden during weekday happy hour (4-7pm), when oysters will only set you back a little over a dollar each. Pick and choose from their selection of 25 rotating types of oysters and settle into their garden (open through September).
Before the L train shuts down, take it for a ride to Bushwick to see what cocktail whiz Arley Marks is shaking up. Chances are your drink of choice will also include mead (wine fermented from honey, herbs, and fruits) from their next-door operation, Enlightenment Wines.
Existing Conditions is evidence of what happens when the city’s most-respected cocktail minds form a triumvirate. A collaboration between Dave Arnold (Booker and Dax), Don Lee (PDT), and Greg Boehm (Cocktail Kingdom), this Greenwich Village bar serves cutting-edge cocktails in a low-key space.
If you’re staying at The Standard, East Village, take the elevator down to narcbar for a little high. The intimate bar, which spills out onto the sidewalk, has been pouring inventive cocktails and just got a machine for pitch-perfect frozen piña coladas.
The Best Wine Bars
There are some places that never do you wrong—for us, Wildair is definitely one of them. For anything from quick glass of fizzy pét-nat to a full-on dinner affair (think Wagyu steak for two, fried soft-shell crab with lemon and spring onion, and a chocolate hazelnut tart), this Lower East Side mainstay has you covered.
Stroll down the High Line until you hit Terroir, the seasonal outpost of punk rock sommelier Paul Grieco’s beloved wine bar. Grieco is widely known for his fearless endorsement of Riesling, which he deems the most misunderstood and underrated of grapes. Try a glass from their wide selection and decide for yourself.
While this Nolita wine bar’s list is bursting with over 600 bottles, the staff selects just one at a time to be the Mystery Wine: drinkers that identify the vintage correctly get to take the bottle home and losers still get to enjoy a glass of unexpected, delightful wine. It’s a win-win situation.
This snug Brooklyn gem boasts a killer list of natural wines from around the globe paired with a seasonal menu of deceptively simple dishes from chef Nick Curtola. Settle in for a late weekend lunch (a steal at $28 for the set menu) and let the restaurant’s casual, wickedly-knowledgeable servers pour you their favorites until it’s time to go home.
Since opening this past spring, Frenchette has quickly become the restaurant that everyone and their mother wants to get into. To increase your odds, opt for their more casual barroom and pick a bottle off of their surprisingly accessible, supremely drinkable list by the inimitable Jorge Riera.
The Best Ice Cream
There’s a reason the line outside Morgenstern’s spans the block year-round. Their artisanal, small-batch ice creams come in funky flavors like green tea pistachio, durian banana, and burnt honey vanilla that make it a perennial crowd-pleaser.
For almost four decades, The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has been scooping unique, playful flavors like zen butter (peanut butter with toasted sesame seeds), almond cookie, and black sesame on Bayard street.
These days, it seems as though a Van Leeuwen is popping up on every corner, which means that you’re never far from one of their tasty cones. With actually delicious vegan options like honeycomb and Sicilian pistachio, this shop is your go-to if dairy isn’t your thing.
In lieu of Mister Softee, swing by Mah-Ze-Dahr, where founder Umber Ahmad is slinging soft serve to order in homemade waffle cones. Go for a classic vanilla bean and dark chocolate swirl, and inventive toppings like mini-meringue or candied hazelnuts.
Il laboratorio del gelatoPerched on the corner of Ludlow and East Houston, this expansive, lab-like operation offers over 300 kinds of ice cream and sorbet. If you suffer from indecision, prep your order by checking out the list online beforehand.
The Best Activities
Take a Day Trip to Storm King and Dia Beacon
In the heat of summer, sometimes the best thing to do in the city is to get out of it. Take a day trip to the Hudson Valley and hit Storm King, a sprawling outdoor sculpture park, and Dia:Beacon, the foundation’s contemporary art outpost in Beacon.
Have a Beach Day at the Rockaways
While the Rockaways don’t hold a candle to the world’s best beaches, they’ve got everything you need, and it’s worth it to see how New York City does beach culture. Pack a day bag, get on the A train or ferry, lay out on the beach, and hit up the many cool local bars and restaurants, like Rockaway Beach Surf Club.
Ride a Citibike Over the Brooklyn Bridge
Grab a Citibike day pass and take a ride over the historic Brooklyn Bridge. When you get to Dumbo on the other side, recuperate in the sprawling waterside park before chowing down a pie at famed pizzeria Grimaldi’s.
Picnic on Governors IslandWhen New York Harbor’s Governors Island isn’t hosting hectic music festivals, it’s an extremely pleasant park that’s open to the public. Load up with picnic provisions, enjoy the breezy ferry ride over, and graze leisurely for hours.
Take a Night Stroll on the High Line
In the high season, this formerly abandoned elevated railroad track is a hive of activity. Walk the entire 1.45-mile stretch in the evening and stop for a paleta at La Newyorkina.