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Make no mistake: Not all aspects of New York City are as pretty as the view from the Brooklyn Bridge. (Like, say, the teetering trash pile you had to sidestep as you left your apartment this morning.) But there are still a handful of spots that give us that starry-eyed, so-lucky-to-live-here giddiness, thanks to sweeping vistas of the Manhattan skyline and one of the greatest urban parks in the world. Here’s where to dine within view of the city’s backyard. 

RELATED: 14 Legendary NYC Restaurants to Put on Your Bucket List

tavern on the green patio nyc
Tavern on the Green/Facebook

Tavern on the Green

If it’s park views you’re after, you can’t do much better than from, uh, inside the actual park. This institution has been a destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike since 1934, and before it was a restaurant, the building housed the flock of sheep who grazed on the 15-acre preserve adjacent to it (aka Sheep Meadow) as far back as 1870. The interior features wood paneling, ornate ceilings and plush booths, but—weather permitting—the best seats in the house are in the light-strewn courtyard.

Central Park (near E. 67th St.); 212-877-8684 or tavernonthegreen.com

loeb boathouse central park nyc
Loeb Boathouse

The Loeb Boathouse Central Park

Anyone who’s ever ventured into Central Park for a walk or a run has likely stumbled upon this magical lakeside restaurant located in its very center. True to its name, it's accompanied by a fleet of rowboats available to rent in warmer months (as well Venetian gondola tours, if you’re feeling fancy and/or lazy). Along with postcard-worthy surroundings, you’ll find an appropriately decadent menu featuring dishes like coffee-chili-rubbed pork loin and cedar plank salmon with kaffir-lime butter.

Central Park (near E. 72nd St.); 212-517-2233 or thecentralparkboathouse.com

park room restaurant nyc
Park Lane Hotel

Park Room

Located on the second floor of the iconic Park Lane Hotel, the floor-to-ceiling windows in this joint offer spectacular views of the southernmost side of Central Park from pretty much any seat in the house. Whether you’re enjoying a casual brunch with some friends or an intimate dinner date, you risk forgetting that you’re in the center of New York City when you’re surrounded by the greenery outside.

36 Central Park S.; 212-521-6200 or parklanenewyork.com

asiate mandarin oriental nyc

Asiate at Mandarin Oriental

On the 35th floor of the luxe hotel, next to avant-garde cocktail den the Aviary, you’ll find this fine-dining spot with quite arguably the best vantage point in all of the city—we’re talking straight-up panoramic views. As if that weren’t enough to hold your attention for the entire meal, the second focal point of the restaurant is a tree-branch sculpture that hangs from the ceiling. Oh, did we mention the huge wall of wine showcasing over 1,300 bottles?

80 Columbus Cir.; 212-805-8881 or mandarinoriental.com

the view restaurant nyc
The View

The View Restaurant & Lounge

True story: My now-husband took me here on our one-year anniversary of dating…and I’m pretty sure it’s what sealed the deal. Located on the 47th and 48th floors of the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, this rooftop restaurant doesn’t just have great views—it revolves. Yep, over the course of your dining experience, you’ll catch sight of not just Central Park but iconic NYC landmarks in every direction.

1535 Broadway.; 212-704-8900 or theviewnyc.com

porter house restaurant nyc
Porter House

Porter House Bar and Grill

Created by native New Yorker (and one of the original Food Network personalities) chef Michael Lomonaco, this restaurant is not one to miss—not just for its jaw-dropping view from above Columbus Circle but because it’s a damn good steakhouse. Some favorites on the menu include, unsurprisingly, the eponymous cut for two, along with butter-poached lobster and towers of chilled raw-bar goodness.

10 Columbus Cir.; 212-823-9500 or porterhousenyc.com

bobby vans steakhouse central park south nyc
Bobby Van’s C.P.S.

Bobby Van’s C.P.S.

The quintessential steakhouse’s newest location sits directly across from south end of the park. In other words, it’s a great place to watch the tourists parade by while feasting on dry-aged, USDA prime filet mignon (or robiola and truffle oil pizza).

40 Central Park S.; 212-369-4000 or bobbyvans.com

landmarc time warner restaurant nyc
Landmarc/Facebook

Landmarc

Chef Marc Murphy’s longstanding Tribeca restaurant recently became an events-only venue, but fortunately its uptown spin-off continues to serve its famous French onion soup, crème brûlée and award-winning wine list from its photogenic perch in Time Warner Center. Pro tip: This is a great place to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, if you’re into such things.

10 Columbus Cir.; 212-823-6123 or landmarc-restaurant.com

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