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If you don't have the time or cash to head out of town for a waterside weekend, you can still eat some fried clams, lobster, and other good eats with waterfront views. Don't trek to the Cape or the Hamptons, just hop on the subway or the LIRR and check out these spots. It's the cheapest way to feel like you're on vacation.
At Randazzo's (Julia S./Foursquare)
Randazzo's Clam Bar
Located on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, this clam bar has been serving up fresh blue point crabs, fried calamari, and other decadent eats for decades. Randazzo's is also known for its red sauce and pasta. Although not officially on the water, it's across the street from the bay. After you fill up on fish and pasta, be sure to walk across the foot bridge that runs over the scenic waters.
Johnny's Reef (Vania F./Foursquare)
Johnny Reef's Restaurant
A trip to City Island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Johnny Reef's restaurant. Take a seat at one of the many picnic tables on the patio that overlooks the Long Island Sound, and dine on fried lobster tails and other seafood favorites. This casual restaurant has a timeless appeal. In a city where the waterfront is in a state of constant development, Johnny Reef's is a throwback to old school New York.
The Wharf (Kelsey S./Foursquare)
The Wharf Bar and Grill
Although it's not as trendy as Rockaway Taco or some other spots in the Queens beach community, this popular local haunt dishes out tasty fresh seafood. Forget the credit cards, it's cash only at this casual seafood restaurant in Rockaway Beach (Beach 116th Street). The Wharf's waterfront deck is a great spot to watch the sunset. If you want some pre-beach eats, the Wharf also serves brunch.
Baked clams at The Old Time Vincent's Clam Bar and Italian Restaurant (Yelp)
The Old Time Vincent's Clam Bar and Italian Restaurant
For an authentic outer borough experience, head to Howard Beach in Queens and get a table with a view of the water at The Old Time Vincent's Clam Bar and Italian Restaurant. Get the clams and some red sauce Italian eats and listen to the locals chat at the other tables.
The Brooklyn Crab Royale (Sam Horine/Gothamist)
Brooklyn Crab is a restaurant you'd find in any seaside town, but not a place you'd expect to see in Red Hook. Once you step inside and catch a glimpse of the décor, you'll forget that you're just steps from Fairway and Ikea. Order off the raw bar menu, have a draft beer, and soak in the views from the patio at this atmospheric Brooklyn restaurant.
Grill cheese with lobster at Peter's (Yelp)
Peter’s Clam Bar
Peter's Clam Bar has been on Long Island since 1939, just a short walk from the LIRR on the main strip in Island Park. This seasonal waterfront restaurant is a pit stop for many flocking to Long Beach in the summer months, and it's the perfect spot to fill up on fried fish and chips before hitting the waves. Competitive eaters should note that last year, Peter's Clam House hosted their first annual clam eating contest. Down the road is another Island Park gem, Jordan's Lobster Farm. Grab a table along the waterfront and dine on seafood staples like lobster bisque soup. The restaurant packs a serious crowd, so get there early or be prepared for a wait (it's worth it).
Alison Lowenstein, Gothamist Getaways editor, is the author of NYC guidebooks and the Brooklyn expert at About.com. She has covered travel for National Geographic Traveler, Newsday, NY Daily News, Travelandleisure.com, etc. When she isn't planning trips, she enjoys jogging around the streets of NYC. Despite her athletic pursuits, her favorite food is the donut. You can find her on Twitter at @cityweekendsnyc