5 Picnic Pairings on the Upper West Side!

A picnic basket with strawberries, grapes, and cheeses on plates on a colorful striped picnic blanket in a park with green grass during the day.
Photo Credit: bonappetit.com

The Upper West Side is filled with prime spots for picnicking. Pick your favorite spot in Central Park, Riverside Park, or head to the steps of Lincoln Center to sit out and enjoy yourself. Oh, and we can’t forget about the spots scattered between micro-parks and flowering gardens! If you can’t wait go be outside and enjoy these beautiful summer days, pack your picnic blanket and wine glasses! We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite Upper West Side restaurants that will prep a perfect picnic basket for you, and paired them with the perfect spots.

Fresh and colorful picnic food from Maoz Vegetarian on a wooden counter with three bright sauces and crisp green salad.
Photo Credit: Maoz Vegetarian

Picnic With Dietary Restrictions: Maoz Vegetarian

Think of Maoz as the Chipotle for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free folks. You can pick your base (pita, rice, salad, hummus), and add toppings galore from there! They also have a juice and smoothie bar, making for an easy way to pack in the nutrients and stay cool. Maoz’s signature sandwich is the Maoz Falafel- steaming hot falafel balls, crisp veggies, and your choice of sauces and dressing packed into a freshly baked pita pocket. Plus, the location at Broadway and 71st Street makes it a hop, skip and a jump away from NYC’s smallest park, Septuagesimo Uno. It’s seriously adorable for a mid-day picnic or romantic sunset spot.

An outdoor picnic on a wooden table with glasses of water, pasta salad, paninis, fresh bread and olive oil with two apples in the sunlight outside.
Photo Credit: travelzoo.com

A Picnic Prepped For You: Pappardella 

The folks at Pappardella had the right idea when they started to offer specialized picnic baskets to-go. A basic picnic package for 2 includes 2 paninis, an antipasto platter, pasta salad, fresh Italian bread with olive oil, biscotti, lemon bars, 2 bottles of mineral water, and an adorable picnic cloth to lay out the spread on. Dining for more than 2? Upgrade your basket to feed 4! Since Pappardella is located at Columbus and 75th, head to Central Park and dine in Strawberry Fields, the area of the park with the Imagine memorial dedicated to John Lennon. As an extra bonus, you’re almost guaranteed to hear some great guitar playing by Beatles fans while you’re dining.

For A Greek Inspired Picnic: Kefi

If feta and olives with pita are your idea of a perfect picnic, look no further than Kefi. The Greek cuisine is everything you’d hope for, and the prices are reasonable ($10 for appetizers and $18 and under for mains). Choose from sun dried tomato hummus, white bean soup, and their oh-so authentic meatballs with tzatziki, lemon, and pita. Located on Columbus between 84th and 85th, Kefi is the spot to order takeaway before heading to The Great Lawn, which is mid-Central Park from 85th Street down to 79th. An extra bonus? After your picnic, head to the top of nearby Belvedere Castle for some amazing photos of the lush park!

A picnic basket and reuseable bag from Zabar's with freshly baked bagels, black and white cookies, a bag of ground coffee and freshly baked bread.
Photo Credit: Zabar’s

A Picnic With NYC’s “Bests”: Zabar’s

The options at Zabar’s are known just as well as the Empire State Building. Stop here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and load your basket with the best from NYC: gourmet breads, Kosher bagels, fresh fruit, and local cheese options. Have a sweet tooth? Us too! Help yourself to one (or two) of their famous black and white cookies or classic New York cheesecake. Located at Broadway and 80th, we suggest heading directly west to Riverside Park to set up your picnic station. And if you can time your picnic around sunset, well, we can pretty much promise watching the sun set will be one of those NYC moments you never, ever forget.

Daniel Boulud sitting outside on a sunny day in a park with green grass having a picnic with a man with a prepared picnic basket and bottle of wine.
Photo Credit: bonappetit.com

French-Filled Picnic From A Top Chef: Epicerie Boulud

When Epicerie Boulud opened a few years ago, it was if the picnic Gods heard our cry for affordably priced dishes from celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. From mouth-watering artisan cheese selections, mini vegetarian quiches, and truffled macaroni and cheese (to die for), dishes serve an average of 4-6 people. AND, since everything is prepared in fair portions, they’re perfect for packing up and strolling across the street to Lincoln Center! It’s a green rooftop perfect for people watching, catching up with friends, and maybe even catching a free outdoor performance. Oh, and definitely don’t forget the gluten-free cookie platter!

We’d love to know… What’s your perfect picnic pairing on the UWS? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook and let us know!

Posted in manhattan living, NYC Dining, Top Picks, Upper West Side, Westside |