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The 20 Best Restaurants Near Central Park (A Local’s Favorites)

John Lennon monument in Central Park NYC, fall foliage nyc

Everybody visiting New York City should make an effort to visit Central Park (it’s a masterpiece!). But the one thing I hear most often with my out-of-town guests is that food options are limited.

Touché. Hard to argue with them.

While there are 2 restaurants in the park, they both skew towards the pricier side. As such, I thought it’d be helpful to quick roundup my 20 favorite restaurants near Central Park. I’ll break the list down into three categories: where to eat on the Upper West Side, great restaurants on the Upper East Side and a few dining options to the south of the park. Let’s dive in!

Viewpoint from Green Gap Arch, Central Park Summer 2022

Best Restaurants Near Central Park

Table of Contents: Where to Eat Near Central Park

Where to Eat Near Central Park on the Upper West Side

Best bakeries Upper West Side

Daily Provisions

Daily Provisions was opened by Danny Meyer, the mastermind behind Shake Shack (which has a cult-like following in NYC, mind). This is a personal favorite restaurant near Central Park if you’re looking for an unfussy, quick meal. Lines are inevitable, but the staff works like a well-oiled machine to provide the best service.

The cafe itself is adorable and the casual ambience is often a necessity when you have busy day or simply don’t want the whole charade of a sit-down restaurant. This cafe is famous for crullers, no doubt, but the true star of the show is the great breakfast sandwich menu, which makes this one of the best brunch restaurants near Central Park.

Address: 375 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Pull apart garlic and parmesan bread, Maison Pickle
restaurants near Central Park

Maison Pickle

Maison Pickle offers a quintessential American brunch on the Upper West Side. Expect enormous servings, beautiful presentation and a full array of adult beverages.

I recommend ordering the Hot Honey Chicken n French Toast — you won’t be disappointed. The chicken is perfectly spiced and has a great kick without being overwhelmingly spicy. And yes, the dish pairs beautifully with a Bloody Mary, in case you were wondering.

The large portions ensured you’ll have leftovers the next day (and day after, for that matter). Not only is this one of the best restaurants near Central Park, it’s also enough food for two full meals! Hard not to love that.

Address: 2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

Mamoun’s Falafel

Founded in 1972, Mamoun’s Falafel was a pioneer in introducing Middle Eastern cuisine to America. This delicious restaurant near Central Park is renowned for its affordable signature sandwiches, featuring falafel, hummus, and more, all wrapped in a pita for just $6.50. Mamoun’s is also a one of the most popular restaurants near Central Park for late night munchies. The joint stays open as late as 3 AM. 

Address: 508 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, restaurants near Central Park

Modern Bread & Bagels

Bagels are the easiest way to grab a quick bite before exploring Central Park. Heck you can even order your bagel to-go and enjoy it while walking aimlessly through the curved paths of the park.

Modern Bread & Bagel is one of the best restaurants near Central Park to load up on all your carb needs. Not only are the bagels perfectly seasoned and incredibly soft — they’re also gluten-free!

Yup! The entire menu is gluten-free with many vegan options as well. But the best part is, even if you don’t have any dietary restrictions, you’ll love the bagels just the same. Grabbing bagels is also one of the best ways to save money if you’re looking for affordable restaurants near Central Park. A bagel with schemer goes for around $6 here.

Address: 472 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

Sausage pie from Pasty's Pizza NYC

Patsy’s Pizza

Famed for being Frank Sinatra’s favorite pizza spot in NYC, Patsy’s is one of the best restaurants near Central Park. The iconic pizza shop has a grandfathered coal-oven that is tasked with churning out exceptional pies and has been since 1933.

We ordered the original pie and were taken aback by the rich complexity of three simple flavors (dough, sauce and cheese). The crust was thin, as to be expected with a coal-fired oven, and the sauce to cheese ratio was executed perfectly. My favorite part was the flavor of the sauce, it’s so memorable.

Address: 61 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023

Charles Pan Fried Chicken

The story of how Charles Pan Fried Chicken became one of the best restaurants near Central Park is a loaded with hard-work over several decades, I’ll give you the quick run-down. Charles Gabriel was born in 1947 as one of 21 (yes, 21) kids in a family of sharecroppers. He learned to cook in his mother’s kitchen before moving to New York City at the age of 17. 

Once in New York Charles started working at restaurants, learning and building a career through hard work and talent. In the 80’s Charles decided to start working for himself, setting up a table outside of his apartment building in Harlem and selling chicken to his neighbors. 

The table turned into a food truck and eventually into brick and mortar locations (with the flagship in Harlem). From then on Charles Pan Fried Chicken has become the pinnacle of soul food in New York City. The secret lies in how they fry the chicken – in a large cast iron pan, flipping each piece individually. It’s more arduous than using a deep-fryer, but the results are hard to argue with. 

Address: 146 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

Chicken burger and cheeseburger from Shake Shack in NYC, things to do
restaurants near Central Park

Shake Shack

If this is your first time visiting New York City, consider eating at Shake Shack one of the best things to do in NYC (it’s the standard NYC initiation, I don’t make the rules). Not only is this one of the best restaurants near Central Park, it’s a block away from the Natural Museum of History as well.

When I have out-of-town guests, I like to start our morning with a walk through the park, then popping into the museums before wrapping up with burgers at Shake Shack.

Address: 366 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

Further Reading: Need more options? Here are 20 Tasty Restaurants on the Upper West Side (Worth the Trek).

Restaurants Near Central Park (on the Upper East Side)

La Grand Boucherie Midtown

La Grande Boucherie

La Grande Boucherie is a French restaurant that feels more like an elegant museum. The romantic interior could make anyone fall in love and the food is exceptional. 

I’ve been to La Grande Boucherie more times than I’d like to admit, but I am a sucker for the brunch –especially the Eggs Norwegian (eggs Benedict with smoked salmon). The eggs are poached to perfection and the hollandaise sauce is full of flavor.

This is one of the best restaurants near Central Park, so make sure to plan ahead and make reservations. If you can’t get a reservation for the morning, don’t worry, the dinner menu is just as good!

Address: 145 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

Iconic Restaurants New York City
restaurants near Central Park

J.G Melon

JG Melon has been around since 1972 and has become not only one of the best restaurants near Central Park, but one of the most iconic restaurants in New York City. Think perfectly juicy and flavorful patties sandwiched between buttery buns, it simply doesn’t get better than this. The fries are worth an order and the decor alone warrants a visit. 

It’s a cash-only establishment frequented by prominent New Yorkers, like former mayor Michael Bloomberg who calls these the best hamburgers in the world. But apparently he’s not the only one, Gigi Hadid and Bobby Flay have also shared similar sentiments. With all the (well deserved) fanfare it’s safe to call JG Melon one of the most famous restaurants near Central Park.

Address: 1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

Spicy Lamb noodles at Xi'an Famous Foods

Xi’an Famous Foods

Named after Xi’an, one of the easternmost cities in China (and last stop on the Silk Road!) Xi’an Famous Foods is not only one of the best restaurants near Central Park, it’s one of the most affordable. Traditional noodle-centric meals are made from family recipes with the motto, “if it’s not spicy it’s not as good”. 

Now the food won’t make your tongue go numb (unless you want it to) but bear in mind the house made chili oil is what adds the kick, but it’s also what packs the flavor. Most dishes have a customizable spiciness level so you’re fully in control. 

Address: 328 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075

Emmy Squared Pizza

Emmy Squared looks like a modern, trendy restaurant rather than a hole in the wall Upper East Side pizza joint. They specialize in Detroit style pizza, which is square and with a thick crust, and extremely satisfying if I do say so myself.

This isn’t the place to come if you’re after a quick slice. Emmy Squared is one of the best sit-down restaurants near Central Park.

Getting a table at Emmy usually isn’t an impossible task, but if you’re planning to visit on the weekend I’d still encourage reservations. The last thing you want is to miss out on one of the best restaurants near Central Park due to poor planning. 😉

Address: 1426 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028, United States

Bluestone Lane NYC brunch
restaurants near Central Park

Bluestone Lane 

Bluestone Lane is always full of people and the lively chatter that accompanies large groups. Having to wait in line is practically guaranteed during the weekends, but the colorful Aussie brunch menu is worth the wait. Their coffee is half the draw, which is why I consider this one of the best restaurants near Central Park.

I typically come here once a week after I wrap up at The Met (here’s 20 epic art pieces you can’t afford to miss). My husband and I have made a museum visit our Sunday tradition and never pass up the opportunity to brunch at Bluestone Lane. 

Address: 1085 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128

best bakeries UES

Breads Bakery

Breads Bakery is my favorite bakery near Central Park, and I (gladly) make the trek into the Upper East Side for the black and white cookies at least once a week. Most famous for babka (voted the best in NYC), this traditional Jewish bakery turns everything to gold.

Seriously, anything you order at Breads is bound to impress, especially the croissants and seasonal delights. Every baked good is executed to perfection, so swing by if you’re in the area!

Address: 1294 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

Further Reading: Need more suggestions? Here are 8+ Satisfying Cafes in the Upper East Side.

Luke’s Lobster roll

Opened in NYC in 2009, Luke’s Lobster is a family owned business bringing Maine style lobster rolls to the masses. It didn’t take long for the small shack to expand, heck, it now operates in 10 states! I know seafood can be pricey, but believe me the premium is worth it. Luke’s Lobster buys directly from trusted fishermen and you can taste the quality with every bite.

The quality leaves little room to wonder why Luke’s Lobster is one of the best restaurants near Central Park. The nationally recognized lobster rolls are the star of the show, but the menu has a few other options. There’s also crab and shrimp rolls, as well as lobster mac & cheese and an amazing clam chowder. 

Address: 242 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028


A Spanish restaurant and tapas (appetizers) bar, Boqueria is one of the best Upper East Side restaurants near Central Park for date-night. The space is warm and inviting and the food is reminiscent of a classy Barcelona restaurant.

The tapas are tasty and made with fresh, seasonal ingredients so you’ll find yourself wanting to try all of them. Plus, Boqueria has one of the best seafood paellas I’ve ever had (rice, monkfish, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels). And trust me when I say the Nutella churros at Boqueria are one of the best desserts in New York City

Address: 1460 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075

Restaurants Near Central Park (Central Park South)

Smoke salmon Benedict from Sarabeth's


Established in 1983 on the Upper East Side, Sarabeth’s quickly became a favorite among locals and is a staple on lists of the best restaurants near Central Park. Known for its hearty home-style cooking, especially during brunch, Sarabeth’s offers a menu filled with breakfast classics.

The smoked salmon eggs Benedict and lemon & ricotta pancakes are standouts. And as one of the larger restaurants near Central Park, Sarabeth’s is always ready to host you and your friends. There’s no need to shy away whether you’re with a group or just a partner.

Address: 40 Central Park S Located in: 40 West 59th 

Carnegie Diner

One of the best restaurants for brunch near Central Park is Carnegie Diner & Cafe because it was a spot created for the people. The atmosphere is cozy and feels home-y and the red booths add to the old school diner charm.

The restaurant is the kind of place where there is food for all different kinds of hunger and needs. The menu is extensive and while all the dishes are tasty, I personally think Carnegie Diner & Cafe has perfected breakfast plates.

If you pop out of the park onto West 59th Street, the diner is a short two minute walk away. And since it’s conveniently located at the southern most end of the park, it’s a natural stopping point after you’ve concluded your walk through the park.

Address: 205 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

Cafe Serafina

There are Serafina’s sprinkled all across Manhattan, dotting a map like a starry night. Cafe Serafina is an extension of the Serafina restaurants, but meant to be a more casual eatery. You’ll find the closest location on 7th Avenue, less than a block from Central Park.

Like cafes in Italy, Cafe Serafina serves hearty, casual meals and is one of the best restaurants near Central Park. The menu consists of all day breakfast, paninis, pizzas and salads. The cafe is a great pit-stop to load up on some carbohydrates after a morning exploring the park. Even if you swing by for just a pastry and a cup of coffee.

Address: 922 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Quality Bistro restaurants open on New Year day NYC
restaurants near Central Park
Image Courtesy The New York Times

Quality Bistro

For anyone looking for a great steak and delicious appetizers, I can’t say enough good things about Quality Bistro. Luckily for us, Quality Bistro is one of the best restaurants near Central Park. The interior of the restaurant is amazing and the low-lighting adds a romantic feel to the space.

You can’t go wrong ordering anything off the menu, but if you need some guidance I hope to help. To say I suggest ordering the French onion soup or tuna tartar to start, would be an understatement. It’s not a want, but a need! 

That paired with the steak frites and any of the delectable desserts — you are in for quite the night, my friend. This is a perfect spot for a date night or catching up with some friends. Just make sure to make reservations since it’s one of the more popular restaurants near Central Park.

Address: 120 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

Burger Joint

Burger Joint looks like it belongs on the side of a seldom traveled highway. Its wooden booths and tagged walls scream hole in the wall, but instead you’ll find it tucked away the elegant Thompson Hotel on 56th Street, hidden behind a red-curtain wall in the lobby.

It’s one of the best restaurants near Central Park for a no frills, hearty meal. Burgers (including plant-based), fries, shakes and brews dominate the menu. But word is out on the Burger Joint and its quirky nature means a lot of folks want to give ‘em a try. Lines are common so if you’re in a rush I’d stop by one of the other restaurants near Central Park.

Address: 119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

Halal Guys

It goes without saying, the Halal Guys have stands everywhereThey started their business out of carts in 1990, and have continued expanding to now include brick and mortar restaurants.

With so many locations the popular NYC cheap eats destination is rarely far from from wherever you might be. Since most of their locations are (at least) open until midnight their carts make for some of the best late night food near Central Park.

The menu is simple, either a gyro or a platter. Inside each you’ll get rice, a choice of either chicken or beef (you can also order a combination) lettuce, tomato, and their famous white sauce. The word halal is Arabic for “lawful,” meaning in line with the practices of the Quran and Islam. Similar to how a Jewish person must keep Kosher, a Muslim person must follow Halal guidelines. 

Address: 6th Avenue &, W 53rd St, New York, 10019

The Best Food Near Central Park

  1. Modern Bread & Bagels 
  2. Patsy’s
  3. Daily Provisions
  4. Maman
  5. Maison Pickle
  6. Mamoun’s
  7. Gray’s Papaya
  8. Charles Pan Fried Chicken
  9. Shake Shack
  10. Emmy Squared Pizza
  11. Bluestone Lane
  12. Breads Bakery
  13. J.G Melon
  14. Luke’s Lobster Roll
  15. Xi’an Famous Foods 
  16. Boqueria 
  17. Sarabeth’s
  18. Carnegie Diner
  19. Cafe Serafina
  20. Quality Bistro 
  21. Burger joint 
  22. Halal Guys
  23. La Grande Boucherie 

Further Reading for Cafes Near Central Park

Cafes on the Upper West Side: 10 Charming Upper West Side Cafes (Local’s Guide)
Brunch on the Upper East Side: 15 Flavorful Brunch Spots in the Upper East Side (You’ll Keep Coming Back To)
Best Bakeries on the Upper West Side: 12 Delicious Upper West Side Bakeries
Upper East Side Bakeries: 10 Delicious Upper East Side Bakeries (You Can’t Help But Love)

Iconic Spots in NYC Everyone Needs to Try

Best Pizza in NYC: 15 Best Pizza Joints in New York City
Iconic Restaurants in NYC: 10 Iconic New York City Restaurants Every Local Needs to Try
Mouthwatering Bagels in NYC: 15 BEST Bagels in New York City
Unbelievable Brunch Spots in NYC: 18 Prime Brunch Spots in New York City Worth the (Inevitable) Wait

Where to Eat Near Central Park NYC (Helpful Map)

And there you have it, the best restaurants near Central Park. As always, don’t hesitate to let us know if we missed anything — we love hearing from you.