January 2, 2016

Walk and Eat: 10 Manhattan Food and Drink Places to Pair with Walks

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Walking Off the Big Apple is a big fan of walking, of course, and also a big fan of food and beverages. Therefore, any sort of resolution to cut back on said food and beverages is met with an increased to determination to walk it off. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s pretty easy to walk off a big apple, but not so easy to walk off a pastrami sandwich and a slice of cheesecake.

I’d like to share some of my favorite food and beverage places. I’ve frequented many of them in solo walks this year, and I’ve taken visiting friends to these spots. They’re on this list because they tend to be convivial, comfortable, and reliable, and they are near great places to walk.

The restaurants are listed in geographical order from Lower Manhattan to the tippy top of the island.

10 Manhattan Food and Drink Places to Pair with Walks 

Pier A Harbor House
Pier A Harbor House. 22 Battery Place. Lower Manhattan. The long bar and window seating at this spacious bar and restaurant offers pleasant views of New York Harbor, especially when the weather cooperates. The vibe is casual and fun, making this spot overlooking the water a good place to bring company. Solo travelers may also find the views soothing, especially in the afternoon. Pier A Harbor House makes a good beginning or finale for a walk on the Battery Park Esplanade or the Financial District. Website

Los Tacos No. 1. Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave. Chelsea Market features dozens and dozens of good places to eat, including The Lobster Place and an outpost of Freeman’s, but the outstanding tacos at this stand-up counter are worth any wait in line.  Their choice of corn or flour tortilla is most welcome. Chelsea Market makes an excellent companion for a High Line stroll. Website

Los Tacos No. 1


Pete’s Tavern. 129 E. 18th St. Gramercy/Flatiron. Classic bar and restaurant on Irving Place near Gramercy Park. Sometimes, you want to go old school, such as a dark-paneled bar with lots of literary history and celebrity photos. Make yourself at home at the bar. Years ago, I brought in a baker’s dozen of fun-loving Canadian visitors, and Pete’s extended a most gracious welcome to one and all. The food tends toward the standards. A good place for conversation, Pete’s makes a romantic stop for a walk around the Gramercy and Flatiron neighborhoods, especially in the colder months. Website

Brendan's
Brendan's Bar & Grill. 42 W. 35th St. Herald Square/Garment District. I discovered Brendan’s a couple of years ago following an episode when a taxi bumped into me, not critically, after shopping at Macy’s on the 4th of July. I was more shocked than hurt. After a few words with the driver, my first impulse was to locate a bar. I’ve been to many Irish bars, especially in Midtown, but I was not prepared for the physical beauty and elegance of Brendan’s. The back dining area, in a repurposed space of an old hotel, is suffused in a golden light. I usually get the turkey burger, but the Maryland CrabCakes are excellent. If you go after work on a weekday, you will not be alone. Walk down W. 35th to Fifth AvenueWebsite 

Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant. 89 E. 42nd St. Midtown West. Grand Central Terminal, lower level. Oyster bars were once plentiful on Manhattan Island, and happily, many more bars and restaurants are serving oyster specials these days, especially at the happy hour. Here, under the tiled vaulted ceilings, oysters rule the day and night. A dozen Blue Points, a few crunchy seeded crackers, and a glass of crisp wine, and I’m good to walk another mile. Pair the Oyster Bar with a long walk east or west on 42nd Street. Website

La Bonne Soupe
La Bonne Soupe. 48 W. 55th St. Midtown. 48 W. 55th St. Near MoMA. Sometimes, all you ever want is a good bowl of French onion soup. Come here for the special, and you’ll not be disappointed. A little wine, a salad, an onion soup with much melted Gruyere, and a crème caramel will indeed provide sustenance for a long walk north in Central Park or through the galleries of nearby MoMA. Website 

Santa Fe. 73 W. 71st St. Near Columbus Avenue. Upper West Side. Good Southwestern fare located within easy walking distance of museums, Lincoln Center and more. I’m all about the black bean dip and margaritas. If you live way uptown, like I do, and have friends that live downtown, Santa Fe is a good place to meet. The B and C trains are a block away. Central Park highlights such as Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Fountain are nearby. A favorite building in the neighborhood is the Pythian Temple on W. 70th between Columbus Avenue and Broadway. You must see it. Website

Kitchenette. 1272 Amsterdam Ave. Morningside Heights/West Harlem. Cute, yes, but southern home cooking has to be better than cute. Kitchenette fits the bill with turkey meat loaf, crisp fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and all sorts of burger variations. Etc, etc. You’ll want these items because Morningside Heights is hilly, and you’ll be traipsing through cathedrals and walking through an Ivy League campus and such. Website 

Coogan’s. 4015 Broadway. Washington Heights. The owner of this venerable Irish restaurant and bar got into a sparring match outside the establishment, and the video was put on the Internet. (Story on DNAinfo.com) During the tussle, he assumed the classic boxing stance, the kind depicted in many of the boxing posters that line the walls of the restaurant. Coogan’s has a nice selection of food and drink. When I’m in the mood for bar food, I’ll go here. Where to walk? The Morris-Jumel Mansion, of course. Coogan’s is a good launching pad for exploring the Heights and New York’s uptown colonial history. Website

Indian Road Café. 600 W. 218th St. Inwood. The Inwood neighborhood is endlessly fascinating with its Irish and Dominican roots, hilly terrain, and Art Deco-era apartment buildings. It’s a friendly neighborhood with great parks and lots of dogs. Locals know about Indian Road Café, situated on the corner of W. 218th and Indian Road, the only “road” in Manhattan. Aside from its friendly vibe and good coffee bar with early morning hours, the food here - farm to table - is rather excellent. Walk around the nearby cove in Inwood Hill Park and commune with the geese and the ducks. Website

A map, yes:


Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from 2015.

1 comment:

Gwen said...

Excellent list and ideas.