Here’s Where To Find the Best Food on Governors Island
Tens of thousands of visitors travel to New York City every year to see a Broadway show, visit its many famous museums, take a walk in Central Park, and more. However, a trip to NYC cannot be complete without taking advantage of its spectacular culinary offerings.
New York City is known for its restaurants and food trucks offering pizza, bagels, cheesecake, and beyond. You can find gourmet pasta in Little Italy, dumplings in Chinatown, and Greek food in Astoria. The options can feel endless, and enticing choices sit in every area of the city.
Governors Island, sitting between lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, has become a small oasis for city dwellers and visitors alike. Residents of the five boroughs flock here, looking to take advantage of all that New York City has to offer while still feeling connected to nature.
Like the rest of the city, this small island is home to plenty of delicious treats. These are a few of our favorites.
Sitting right on the water, Taco Vista boats the best tacos and the grandest views of New York Harbor on the entire island. While the original Taco Vista is located in Montauk, almost a three-hour drive from Manhattan, the Governors Island location is just under a 10-minute ferry ride away.
When stepping up to the window to order, you can choose from a wide selection of margaritas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and other classic options. Take your meal to one of their many brightly colored, beachy picnic tables, and enjoy your food while admiring the spectacular, unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline.
If you are in the mood to find the best taco on Governors Island, also check out Gitano Island. This modern Mexican restaurant and Mezcal bar offers tasty options to enjoy in their waterfront lounge.
After choosing an appetizer, entree, and dessert, take your meal to their seating area. Since this restaurant is located further down the western shore, you will have an up-close look at the bay and the Statue of Liberty.
Additionally, you can’t help but be impressed as you walk, with sand under your feet, into their waterfront lounge. You will be greeted with spacious and comfortable seating options, lush plants, a disco ball, and a DJ for weekend entertainment.
Although New York City could hardly be considered “tropical,” Governors Island is still just that — an island. Island Oyster takes inspiration from the tropics, and this summer hotspot features summer fare, a colorful cocktail menu, and a gorgeous waterside view.
This walk-in-only restaurant is situated at Soisson’s Landing, maintaining a relaxed ambiance with waterside picnic and high-top tables to enjoy your meal. After grabbing a seat, choose your favorite dish from their beachy menu, which features oysters, clam chowder, lobster rolls, and more.
Pair your meal with one of their curated cocktail pairings, and enjoy your mini tropical getaway.
Little Eva’s is a well-loved Red Hook restaurant that was brought over to Governors Island in 2017. Featuring a take-out counter and on-site seating, Little Eva’s is often flooded with hungry diners due to its delicious menu options. They are known for their diverse menu that changes to reflect current culinary trends while using local produce and staying true to their Brooklyn influences.
Some of the menu highlights include a satisfying quinoa salad, a fruity cocktail list, and the Red Hook Cuban. Regardless of which option you choose, you are guaranteed to have a farm-to-table experience with exceptional service.
You might even be able to meet the namesake of the restaurant, as Eva Moore works alongside her parents, Kevin and Caroline, to run this family business.
Last but certainly not least, a visit to New York City would not be complete without a slice or two. Massimiliano Nanni came to New York City in the ‘90s and has been providing New Yorkers with traditional Italian food ever since. He has operated many successful restaurants in the city, including Piadina and Saraghina, and has recently opened Pizza Yard on Governors Island.
Known best for its Neapolitan-style pizza, you must carve out time to visit Pizza Yard. Whether you prefer pizzas with minimal toppings, a variety of toppings, no cheese, no sauce, or a little bit of everything, this is the spot for you.
Additionally, you can visit in the morning for a class Italian breakfast of pastries and coffee.
If you want to extend your Governors Island day trip into an outdoor weekend getaway, Collective Retreats can provide you with a remarkable culinary experience alongside our top-of-the-line accommodations.
While sampling cuisines from the island’s restaurants is a fun way to spend the day, Collective Retreats offers a gourmet culinary experience crafted by expert chefs.
Next, enjoy a midday meal prepared on an outdoor Argentine Grill that is set against a beautiful backdrop featuring Lady Liberty.
For dinner, indulge in our à la carte dinner menu carefully prepared by the on-retreat chef. Including locally sourced food and a unique assortment of flavors, this farm-to-island assortment of options is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Lastly, end your night sitting around a campfire and roasting marshmallows for s’mores. Sampling these classic outdoor treats while gazing at the stars and admiring the New York skyline will be the perfect end to your day.
If you decide to turn your day trip into a weekend getaway, you can rely on Collective Retreats for comfortable accommodations. As the only accommodation option on the island, Collective Retreats strives to immerse guests in the beauty of the island while providing them with the luxurious amenities they expect from a high-end retreat.
The most popular option, the Summit Tent, is a wonderful choice for guests looking for an outdoor/indoor living experience. While you can enjoy the waterside proximity and private deck that each Summit Tent comes with, you can also rely on the en suite bathroom and king-sized bed to ensure a restful weekend away.
Additionally, as a Collective Retreats guest, you will have access to a variety of on-site activities that highlight the unique features of Governors Island.
You may have noticed while taking the ferry that no cars are allowed on the island. Take advantage of the serenity and open space provided by the carless environment with a relaxing bike ride. Contact our concierge, who can reach out to a bike rental company — the local Blazing Saddles Bike Tours, for example — for an afternoon and take a beautiful ride around the entirety of the island.
If you want to walk off some of the culinary indulgences while also partaking in a restorative and relaxing morning activity, sign up for one of the on-site morning yoga sessions. Designed to strengthen your muscles while also centering your mind, you will be able to start your day feeling energized and refreshed.
Honorable Mentions on Governors Island
If you’re still looking for places to enjoy a bite on Governors Island, check out the following honorable mentions:
Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights, a long-running Jamaican Food Cart open weekdays and weekends
Perros Y Vainas, home to Governors Island’s best Venezuelan Hot Dogs
People’s Pops, a shop that makes delicious gourmet popsicles
The Meat Hook, a place to stop for premium quality grass-fed beef
Threes Brewing, a taproom that runs a pop-up stand in the Liggett Terrace Food Court
While there are countless ways to fill your itinerary on a trip to New York City, many people are drawn to the area solely for the wonderful culinary options. Whether you choose to take the ferry in for an afternoon for a sampling of oysters, tacos, and pizza or make a weekend trip out of it and rely on Collective Retreats for a gourmet culinary experience, Governors Island will provide you with top-of-the-line options.