From quick lunches in the park to sunset nibbles by the river, there are many springtime excuses for a picnic in New York City. Pick up something fresh and healthy at one of the following Clean Plates-rated spots to kick off the return of the breezy outdoor eating season.
Office Workers at Lunchtime
The Plan: Stop in City Bakery, Picnic in Union Square
City Bakery is known for its seasonal menus with ingredients sourced from the Union Square farmers market two blocks away. For a quick lunch, you can hit their fresh salad bar buffet complete with sandwiches, salads and soups. Some of our favorite lunchtime options include soba noodles with shiitake mushrooms and bok choy, and Israeli couscous with yellow peppers, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.
Leisurely Weekend Lunch
The Plan: Order from Otto, Picnic in Washington Square Park
Why wait in the ever-present lines at Otto when you could be picnicking in Washington Square Park? Simply call ahead to order all your picnic materials. Start with some small plates from the vegetable menu, such as roasted beets and horseradish or lentils Toscana. Appealing salad options include cucumber and fennel, or escarole and sunchoke. The main event could be pasta, such as linguine with anchovies, capers, olives, and roasted tomato, or pizza: Try the asparagus and goat cheese.
Sunset Evening Picnic
The Plan: Order from Friedman’s Lunch, Picnic on the High Line
Friedman’s Lunch can be found in the middle of Chelsea Market; order online or call to place an order for a sunset evening picnic. Start with one of the big salad bowls, such as the grilled Atlantic salmon salad with romaine, red onion and cucumber. Friedman’s sandwiches make perfect picnic fare, especially the garden veggie with hummus, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, avocado, cucumber, lettuce and tomato on grilled sourdough. For a more substantial picnic, try the free-range roasted chicken with grilled escarole and roasted fingerling potatoes.
With these healthy restaurants, you won’t have to cook to have a delicious and healthy spring picnic.
(Headed to Brooklyn? Find our favorite picnic spots here.)
Image courtesy of David Berkowitz.