A Foodie’s Guide to the Rockaways: Top 10 Places to Eat

Just a train ride away from one of the most formidable foodie havens in the world is a beach town holding its own on the food front, even in the long shadow of its neighbor to the north.

Rockaway Beach is known for Florida living while just an hour train ride away from the bustling streets of Manhattan. Scattered amongst the dunes and residential streets, popular restaurants, cafés, and bakeries take center stage as wonderful additions to the laid-back beach town atmosphere.

If you’re looking to move into a Rockaway Beach rental full-time, it’s important to pinpoint the best of the best eateries so you can fully enjoy every mealtime. Use these top 10 restaurants in Rockaway Beach to determine where to start.

Let’s Begin with Breakfast

Rockaway Roasters

Ditch the chain coffee joints and grab your morning cup of joe at this hip, gourmet coffee shop. Rockaway Roasters was started by two self-proclaimed “surf bums” who know coffee as well as they know the waves.

If coffee isn’t your thing, they also offer a delicious selection of fresh juices, smoothies, and healthy snacks such as acai bowls and chocolate balls. The shop operates all year long, and partners with delivery services such as Uber Eats so you can enjoy your snacks while lounging on the beach or in the comfort of your own home.

Rockaway Beach Bakery

Another local gem in the breakfast scene is this cash-only establishment. Known around the area for their fresh-made pastries and hearty breakfast meals, Rockaway Beach Bakery is a destination for locals and beach-goers alike. The bakery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-4pm, however, because the items are made fresh in-store, an afternoon visit may mean they’re sold out of some tempting goodies.

Walk away with a ham and cheese croissant and a cup of coffee for the perfect breakfast or visit later in the day for a generous helping of fresh-baked, seasonal pie.

If You’re in the Mood for Lunch

Dredsurfer Bar and Grill

Located along the boardwalk in Far Rockaway, enjoy a casual dining atmosphere at Dredsurfer while digging into their popular Surferburger or Jerk Chicken Platter. And if that’s not tempting enough, their Homemade Onion Rings and Mac & Cheese are also favorites among locals and seasonal visitors alike.

Dredsurfer is the perfect lunch spot, but they also offer a dinner menu and host special musical and karaoke nights every weekend throughout the summer.

Bungalow Bar

Open all year long with lunch offerings every day of the week, experience a casual eatery with indoor and outdoor, water-front seating options. Their menu is robust, featuring delicious entrees such as grilled salmon, lobster rolls, and barbeque ribs. For a lighter fare, order an Avocado Quinoa bowl or their popular New England Clam Chowder.

Also, open in the evenings with a full-service bar, the Bungalow Bar offers spectacular views of the Crossbay Bridge and the picturesque Rockaway waterfront.

Lobster Joint

Fancy a New England lobster roll or crab roll? The Lobster Joint is a favorite stop along Shorefront Parkway and is known for their simple menu and authentically New England atmosphere. Grab a lobster roll and park yourself at one of the nearby picnic tables. Spend the rest of a sunny afternoon watching the waves and the people in true Rockaway local fashion.

Tacoway Beach & Rockaway Beach Surf Club

Underneath the A train line on Rockaway Beach 87, a shack with Cali vibes and brightly painted walls stands ready to welcome locals and tourists into a good time. Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a bar that operates day in and day out from 11am-11pm while Tacoway Beach, a casual taco joint attached to the bar, offers a mouth-watering selection of small dishes.

Known up and down the beach for their fish tacos and guacamole, Tacoway Beach is a local treasure that serves as a delicious standalone restaurant or the perfect complement to the bar. So, if the moment is right, don’t forget to grab a signature cocktail at the Surf Club and let the good times roll all the way until dinner. Just be sure to have some cash on hand or be prepared for ATM fees at this cash-only establishment.

Down for Dinner?

Magic Soul Food

For traditional soul food that will leave you with a smile on your face, Magic Soul Food is the place for you. Enjoy a platter of hearty Chicken and Waffles cooked to perfection or order the Down Home BBQ for a taste of the South. Reasonable prices, heaping portions, and home cooking ensures you Magic Soul Food experience will be genuinely magical.

Finish off the night with a slice of their Sweet Potato Pie or Peach Cobbler and expect to roll all the way back to your Rockaway home.

Whit’s End  

This evening-only, Italian restaurant is known up and down the beach for its authentic ingredients and freshly made entrees. The menu offerings are second to none in flavor and the pizzas are a bit of a legend. So, if you’re in the mood for a whole pie, this is the place for you.

With almost 200 reviews and 4 and a half stars on Yelp, it’s obvious Whit’s End is a Rockaway gem. Make sure to follow them on social media if you’re curious about their other entrees as they post many, mouth-watering photos of their dishes.

Thai Rock

Known for their fine Thai cuisine and signature cocktails, Thai Rock is an excellent dinner choice if you’re in the mood to be transported to Southeast Asia for an evening experience. Their entire menu lives online if you enjoy planning your meal before the waiter approaches or if you are interested in their convenient takeout or delivery options. Thai Rock is a small, family-run business so feel good when you order knowing your contribution is supporting a Rockaway local.

Belle Harbor Steak House

No foodie tour of Rockaway Beach would be complete without a mention of the traditional American steakhouse, Belle Harbor. Located close to the water near Rockaway Park Station, it’s a no-frills, mellow restaurant with decidedly good food. Local recommendations include ordering the steak, chicken marsala, and rice pudding for a true Rockaway treat.

So, no matter when you find yourself strolling along the Rockaway shoreline – morning, noon, or night – don’t forget to stop along the way for a taco, coffee, pizza, or all three. You may just find yourself wanting to stay.