14 Places On Caviar To Pick Up Food For A Park Hang In Manhattan
Produced by The Infatuation with
At this point, you'd think you'd have the picnic thing figured out. But when another Sunday park hang rolls around and you're considering bodega cheese and crackers again, take a step back. Use this guide to find 14 great restaurants right near Manhattan's parks where you can place an order for pick up on Caviar. Get a shareable spread of anything from lamb kefta skewers, to classic NYC pizza to cubanos, easily ordered through the app like you'd planned an elaborate feast this whole time.
Teranga in Harlem serves a variety of delicious West African bowls, with your choice of things like stewed black eyed peas and okra, spicy-sweet fried kewele, dry-rub suya beef, and a heap of jollof rice that might be the true star of the meal. This place far surpasses any other fast-casual restaurant serving grain bowls with proteins and multiple vegetables, and it’s an especially useful place to know about for picnics because it’s located right across the street from the 110th Street entrance on the east side of Central Park.
When large groups meet in parks, they like to eat pizza. It’s just one of the things that works for a near-infinite number of people. And, if you’re meeting somewhere like Washington Square Park (or you’re ever meeting up with someone who is gluten-free), Rubirosa is your best pizza option. They serve Staten Island-style, cracker-thin pies, and we pretty much always order the version with vodka sauce. You should also feel good about the tie-dye pie, which adds pesto in a swirling target formation.
Cafe Mogador opened in the East Village in 1983 serving Moroccan staples. To this day, the restaurant remains incredibly busy most days and weekends (especially during brunch). Rely on their comforting food - like mezze dips, tabouli salads, and lamb kefta skewers - anytime you’re having a picnic in Tompkins Square Park. Even if that simply means a solo chicken tagine scenario.
Mighty Quinn's Barbecue
The full Mighty Quinn’s experience includes beautifully-cooked brisket, a pulled pork sandwich. But you really shouldn’t head to nearby Tompkins Square Park without picking up some sides, like the burnt end baked beans and the sweet potato casserole.
This Israeli restaurant has locations in places like Paris, Tel Aviv, Chelsea Market, and on the UWS. For the purposes of a picnic, ordering pitas will be your best approach. The fillings range from crispy ribeye to corned beef to eggs or ratatouille, and they’re all worth trying. If you’re okay with somewhat of a mess, the roasted cauliflower head is a showstopper (even on a picnic blanket).
There are slice shops on every street in the city striving for that mix of foldable crust, stretching mozzarella, sweet tomato sauce, and droplets of grease - but few of them achieve the optimal balance like Joe’s. The Carmine Street pizza spot makes one of our favorite slices in New York. These things fold like they’ve been constructed to have a perforated edge through the middle, and the evenly-coated mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce are in ideal proportion to the crust.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Dominique Ansel Bakery is a Soho bakery helmed by a famous French pastry chef. You may have heard a lot about their cronuts between the years 2013 and 2018. But that’s not to say that it’s no longer an excellent place to pick up something sweet and very buttery before you sit by the Hudson for a couple of hours.
As much as we enjoy dumping a bunch of grocery store snacks in the middle of a picnic blanket and telling our friends to have at it, showing up to the park with Melba’s Southern food is more exciting for all parties involved. Get some crispy fried chicken, plates of Buffalo wings, catfish strips, and candied yams. Also napkins. You’ll need those.
This Cuban restaurant on 8th Avenue starts serving food at noon every day. So if you’re coming from the Hell’s Kitchen area, stop by for a Cubano or rice and beans with a side of maduros. Also, you should make mental note to come back to Guantanamera during the evenings when they have a live band and a kind man selling hand-rolled cigars.
This Harlem spot specializes in rice bowls, which will be easy to carry considering you may need to cover a few of Central Park’s 843 acres to find a suitable place to sit. Each one, with grains ranging from jollof to China black pineapple fried rice, is filling and costs around $15. We always like to add toppings like shrimp and scallops or BBQ brisket.
Breads Bakery makes, without a doubt, the best chocolate babka in America. OK, at least in New York City. It’s made with a combination of Nutella and dark chocolate, and tastes as delicious as you’re currently imagining it to be in your head. If you’re near Union Square or Lincoln Center and need to pick up something for a casual daytime hang, Breads is always the first place we recommend.
2nd Ave Deli
At this classic UES deli, you’re going to want a massive pastrami or corned beef sandwich on rye, and a bowl of matzo ball soup with a softball-sized sphere of fall-apart matzo sitting in the middle. In the event that you want to save some room for chocolate rugelach, order the half-sandwich combo. And in the event that you want to do the opposite of save room, get a triple-decker sandwich, like the one that comes with turkey, brisket, chicken fat, and a whole lot of delicious house Russian dressing.
In a perfect world, there would be a Daily Provisions in every neighborhood. So far, the only progress that’s been made on that front is on the Upper West Side and near Union Square. This is an all-day counter-service spot that makes specialty pastries, juicy rotisserie chickens, and simple but excellent sandwiches. Make sure to come early if you’re set on trying the crullers, and no matter what time of day, get a sandwich (the BEC, the BLT, and the roast beef are our favorites).
Every once in a while, you want to sit outside somewhere and eat a burrito. It’s a natural urge. The next time this happens near Central Park, go to Playa Betty’s. It’s a California-style Mexican restaurant filled with palm trees and Christmas lights, and you can get a good steak burrito, some tacos, or a plate of tater tots covered in cheese and guacamole here.