Skip to main content

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 in Chelsea Market

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 Avenue. Website 

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Taking a Constitutional Walk

A long time ago individuals going out for a walk, especially to get fresh air and exercise, often referred to the activity as "taking a constitutional walk." The word "constitutional" refers to one's constitution or physical makeup, so a constitutional walk was considered beneficial to one's overall wellbeing. (Or, as some would prefer to call it, "wellness.") The phrase is more common in British literature than in American letters. As early as the mid-nineteenth century, many American commentators expressed concern that their countrymen were falling into lazy and unhealthy habits. Newspaper columnists and editorial writers urged their readers to take up the practice of the "constitutional" walk. One such essay, " Walking as an Exercise," originally printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and reprinted in New England Farmer , Volume 11, 1859, urges the people of farm areas to take up walking. City dwellers seemed to have the

Museums in New York Open on Mondays

Please see this post for current announcements of reopenings . Please consult the museum websites for changes in days and hours. UPDATED September 23, 2020 Advance tickets required for many museum reopenings. Please check museum websites for details. • The  Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)  reopened to the public on  August 27 , with new hours for the first month, through September 27: from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to the public; and from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  on Mondays for MoMA members on ly. Admission will be free to all visitors Tuesday through Sunday, through September 27, made possible by UNIQLO. See this  new post on WOTBA for a sense of the experience attending the museum . •  New-York Historical Society  reopened on  August 14  with an outdoor exhibition, "Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine,” in the rear courtyard. The exhibit by activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman will highlight how New Yorkers weathered the quarantine

25 Things to Do Near the American Museum of Natural History

After visiting the American Museum of Natural History, explore attractions on the Upper West Side or in Central Park. Visitors to New York often run around from one major tourist site to the next, sometimes from one side of the city to the other, and in the process, exhaust themselves thoroughly. Ambitious itineraries often include something like coffee in the Village in the morning, lunch near MoMA, a couple of hours in the museum, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry in the afternoon, cocktails at the midtown hotel, a quick dinner, and then a Broadway show. It's a wonder people don't pass out at the theater. While sitting on the steps of the American Museum of History, consider exploring the Upper West Side and nearby sites of interest in Central Park. There's a better way to plan a New York trip. Consider grouping attractions together geographically. Several posts on this site address this recommended approach. The Wild West of the Tecumseh Playground Groupin

25 Things To Do Near the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

(updated 2016) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at 11 W. 53rd Street is near many other New York City attractions, so before or after a trip to the museum, a short walk in any direction could easily take in additional experiences. Drawing a square on a map with the museum at the center, a shape bounded by 58th Street to the north and 48th Street to the south, with 7th Avenue to the west and Park Avenue to the east, proves the point of the area's cultural richness. (A map follows the list below.) While well-known sightseeing stops fall with these boundaries, most notably Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the great swath of famous Fifth Avenue stores, cultural visitors may also want to check out places such as the Austrian Cultural Forum, the 57th Street galleries, the Onassis Cultural Center, and the Municipal Art Society. The image above shows an intriguing glimpse of the tops of two Beaux-Arts buildings through an opening of the wall inside MoMA's scu

25 Things to Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

(updated) Sitting on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of those iconic things to do in New York City. On a sunny day, the wide steps can become crowded with the young and old, the tourist and the resident. It's tempting to stay awhile and soak in the sun and the sights. Everyone has reasons for lingering there, with one being the shared pleasure of people watching along this expansive stretch of Fifth Avenue, a painting come to life. Certainly, just getting off one's feet for a moment is welcome, especially if the previous hours involved walking through the entirety of art history from prehistoric to the contemporary. The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be a singular pilgrimage, uninterrupted by feeble attempts to take in more exhibitions along Museum Mile. Pity the poor visitor who tries "to do" multiple museum exhibitions in one day, albeit ambitious, noble, and uplift

From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan

(revised 2017) How long does it take to walk from Penn Station/Madison Square Garden to well-known destinations in Manhattan? What are the best walking routes ? What if I don't want to see anything in particular but just want to walk around? In addition to the thousands of working commuters from the surrounding area, especially from New Jersey and Long Island who arrive at Penn Station via New Jersey Transit or the Long Island Rail Road, many people arrive at the station just to spend time in The City. Some have questions. Furthermore, a sporting event may have brought you to Madison Square Garden (above Penn Station), and you want to check out what the city offers near the event. This post if for you.  The map below should help you measure walking distances and times from the station to well-known destinations in Manhattan - Bryant Park , the Metropolitan Museum of Art , the Empire State Building , Times Square , Rockefeller Center , Washington Square Park , the High Line

An Architectural Guide to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route

The 85th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, November 24, 2011 beginning at 9 a.m. will follow a path from Central Park West at 77th Street down to Columbus Circle , then take a quick jog east on Central Park South before heading down 7th Avenue to 42nd Street. Here the parade takes another little jog east to 6th Avenue and then continues south to 34th Street. The finale moves one block west on 34th to Herald Square, the location of Macy's . Balloons from an earlier year try to pump themselves up the night before the big parade.

14 Useful Mobile Apps for Walking New York City

Texting and walking at the same time is wrong. Talking on the phone while strolling down the street is wrong. Leaving the sidewalk to stop and consult the information on a cellphone, preferably while alone, is OK. What's on Walking Off the Big Apple's iPhone: A List Walkmeter GPS Walking Stopwatch for Fitness and Weight Loss . While out walking, Walkmeter tracks routes, time, speed, and elevation. This is an excellent app for recording improvised or impromptu strolls, especially with many unplanned detours. The GPS function maps out the actual route. The app keeps a running tally of calories burned while walking, useful for weight loss goals. Another welcome feature is the ability to switch over to other modes of activity, including cycling. An indispensable app for city walkers. $4.99  New York City Compass , designed by Francesco Bertelli, is an elegant compass calibrated for Manhattan, with indications for Uptown, East Side, Downtown, and West Side. While facing a cert

The High Line and Chelsea Market: A Good Pairing for a Walk

(revised 2017) The advent of spring, with its signs of growth and rebirth, is apparent both on the High Line , where volunteers are cutting away the old growth to reveal fresh blooms, and inside the Chelsea Market, where new tenants are revitalizing the space. A walk to take in both can become an exploration of bounty and surprise, a sensual walk of adventure and sustenance. A good pairing for a walk: The High Line and Chelsea Market Walking the High Line for a round trip from Gansevoort to W. 30th and then back again adds up to a healthy 2-mile walk. Regular walkers of the elevated park look for an excuse to go there. Especially delightful is showing off the park, a model of its kind, to visitors from out of town. A stroll through Chelsea Market. Time check. If you haven't stopped into Chelsea Market lately, you may want to take a detour from the High Line at the stairs on W. 16th St. and walk through the market for a quick assessment or a sampling. Among the sampli

Visiting New York on a Monday

Mondays are OK. Let's have a look at some of the museums open Mondays - • American Museum of Natural History • Jewish Museum • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) • National Museum of the American Indian • Neue Galerie • Guggenheim Museum • South Street Seaport Museum Any of these museums could be paired with a nearby restaurant or bar, making a complete full afternoon or day in New York. Monday is especially good for a museum visit, because the crowds tend to be thinner, and restaurants, too, tend to be less busy than on a weekend. A fun museum and bistro walk on the Upper West Side would be a combination of the American Museum of Natural History and the nearby Cafe Lalo on W. 83rd St. I also would suggest a pairing of the Neue Galerie with a nearby cafe, but the two cafes inside the musuem are so good, why go anywhere else? Image above: The Guggenheim on left and Beaux-Arts townhouse on right. View from E. 88th St. by Walking Off the Big Apple.