There’s a good chance you haven’t been to the South Street Seaport since your mom visited town eight years ago. And that’s OK – we’re afraid of tourists too. But the Seaport has changed a lot over the past few years. The area was hit badly by Hurricane Sandy, leading to the closure of a ton of the neighborhood’s restaurants. But with time, a slew of new places have opened and the Seaport has become a surprisingly nice place to spend a Saturday afternoon – and one of the best places to drink outside while it’s still warm enough. There’s also an all-summer outpost of Smorgasburg, plenty of restaurants and bars, and even a bunch of surprisingly cool stores.
And with the recent announcement that Jean Georges will take over the Seaport’s famous Fulton Fish Market in 2017, the area’s only due to get better. Most of what you’ll find now isn’t going to win any awards, but there is at least one good place for all your basic needs should you find yourself in the area. And yes, we do consider tacos and lobster rolls to be basic needs.
A taco and burrito shop in a random parking lot-type corner with an Airstream parked outside. Yes, this is a real thing. And it’s most definitely our #1 Seaport recommendation.
Right in the middle of all the Seaport action, there’s a surprisingly good lobster roll to be found. This place also has a pretty top-notch beer and bourbon selection. Now you know.
One of the better sit-down dinner places around here, Acqua serves classic Italian food. The name might lead you to think this is a seafood restaurant, but it’s really more of a pasta kind of spot.
The restaurant formerly in this space, Barbarini Alimentari, was shut down for a while after Sandy, but its owners reopened as a new Italian place called Barbalu. You’ll find simple pastas, salads, and sandwiches, in a clean, modern environment.
Pizza place. Not life-changing, but solid pizza. That’s what you need to know.
A veteran of the Seaport, Fresh Salt is useful for a reasonably priced brunch or post-work drinks. The food is OK, but the place has been around for years and has a good, non-touristy vibe.
Looking to hang out over buckets of beer and chips? Cowgirl Seahorse is another spot with good vibes and passable food for just that.
From Memorial Day through October, the Seaport has semi-permanent little huts for Smorgasburg vendors. Ramen Burger is the big draw, but you’ll also find Red Hook Lobster, Pizza Moto, Cemitas El Tigre, and more. There’s a beer and oyster vendor as well.
Just a block or so outside of the Seaport, you’ll find an outpost of our favorite sort-of healthy Asian comfort food diner. Get some crawfish dumplings and a miso salmon plate.
Jack’s, which now has several locations, makes some of the best coffee in the city. This is your best bet for a coffee fix around these parts. There’s plenty of seating as well.
Touristy? Most definitely. But if you want views of the water, the outdoor couches here are the best place to have a drink.