Image courtesy of Gary Petersen
The city really comes alive during the spring, and neighborhood food festivals offer a fun and exciting way to toast the warm weather and try some new, seasonal bites from the city’s best restaurants. With live music, celebrity chefs in attendance, and activities for the whole family, food festivals have something to offer every palate. Below, we’ve rounded up the season’s best indoor and alfresco events for your tastebuds, from the Upper West and Lower East Sides to Cobble Hill to Harlem.
At Smith & Vine during the 2018 Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Spring Crawl © Kathi Littwin Photography
1. Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Spring Crawl
Saturday, May 4, from 2-6 pm
Tastings start at four tastes for $20 or 11 for $50
Take a stroll along Smith, Court, Clinton, and Henry Streets and sample well-known and under-the-radar fare from the Brooklyn neighborhood’s culinary talents. You’ll get a map and walk between participating restaurants, eating as you go. This year’s diverse options include Greek food at Avlee, egg creams at Brooklyn Farmacy, chocolate at The Chocolate Room, Filipino BBQ at F.O.B, and Venezuelan arepas at White Maize, among many other offerings. The youth-run Hip2B Healthy Market will be making an assortment of juices and smoothies near Carroll Park, where you’ll also be able to enjoy Latin music and dancing. The event benefits Seeds in the Middle, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that promotes social change through sustainable health.
Images by Natalia Bougadellis
2. Taste of the Lower East Side
Thursday, May 9 from 6 – 10 p.m.
For 18 years, the Taste of the Lower East Side has been featuring a roster of the neighborhoods best restaurants during this annual downtown food festival where “no one waits in line for food and no one ever leaves hungry.” Walk through the 50 tables hosted by eateries big and small—this year’s lineup includes Veselka, Porsena, and The Fat Radish—and pile up your plate as you go. Though the cost of a ticket is on the expensive side, it buys you unlimited tastings and access to open bars. You’ll come for the food but stay for the atmosphere: in addition to the drinks, there will be DJ’s spinning, games, raffles, and a silent auction. No matter how much you indulge, you can feel good knowing that the event supports youth mentorship programs and community services by the Grand Street Settlement.
Courtesy of Taste of the Upper West Side
3. Taste of the Upper West Side
Friday, May 17 from 7 – 10 p.m. and Saturday, May 18 from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Ticket prices vary, see website for details
A two-day extravaganza hosted by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, this year’s Upper West Side food festival kicks off with Summer in the City, dedicated to highlighting some of the most anticipated UWS debuts, this year including Tiki Chick, Fish on the Fly, Friedmans, Melba’s, Miznon, Mokum, Tacombi, and Solomon & Kuff. On Saturday, the festival continues with Best of the West, featuring the neighborhood’s best “elevated cuisine,” a dedicated mixology section mixing one-of-a-kind craft cocktails, and live music by Project Orange. This event is not child-friendly, and you’ll need to show your ID to get in on both nights.
Image courtesy of Gary Petersen
4. Taste of Tribeca
Saturday, May 18 from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Early bird tickets (through May 17): $45; Day-of tickets: $55
Over 60 of the neighborhood’s favorite restaurants come together at Duane & Greenwich Streets for this outdoor food festival and public school fundraiser. Enjoy dishes from local spots like Bouley At Home, Bubby’s Tribeca, Duane Park Patisserie, Gigino Trattoria, The Odeon, Tribeca Grill, and Walker’s, as well as live music, family-friendly activities (in previous years kids got a chance to try their hand at pasta-making), and tours of local pubs and wine shops. Tickets let you try six dishes throughout the festival. Now in its 25th year, all proceeds from the annual event support arts and enrichment programs at local public elementary schools PS 150 and PS 234.
Via Harlem Eat Up
5. Harlem EatUp
Dates and ticket prices vary, see website for details
Celebrating its fifth year, the Harlem EatUp! Festival wants to make sure that all New Yorkers and tourists know Harlem as the foodie destination it is. “Spending time in Harlem is a feast for the senses in so many ways,” said food critic and Top Chef host Gail Simmons in a statement. “Its music, food, history, architecture, and cultural relevance are unsurpassed, now more than ever.”
Guests can first enjoy a kick-off dinner with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Macy’s in Midtown on May 2. Samuelsson will dish on his favorite recipes and experiences as a co-founder of Harlem EatUp. A $50 ticket will get you dinner, a $20 Macy’s gift card, a copy of Samuelsson’s “The Red Rooster Cookbook” and access to a post-dinner cocktail party where you’ll have an opportunity to meet Samuelsson.
Friday Dine In Harlem Dinner Series, via Harlem Eat Up
The food festivities continue with the Dine In Harlem series, a week-long food tour of Harlem during which guests can pick from a range of participating restaurants (one a night) serving festival-exclusive courses paired with wines, beers, alcohol and live music. Guest chefs, including Andrew Zimmern, Leah Cohen, and Marc Vetri, will be in attendance and tickets range from $85 to $250.
Via Harlem Eat Up
And last but not least, on May 18 and 19, the Harlem Stroll will be held in Morningside Park, offering visitors a marketplace featuring local artisan vendors, a beer and wine garden, a kid-friendly area with activities, food demonstrations, and an all-day dance party. Adults can partake in the Ultimate Grand Tasting for $85 a person, which includes drink and dish samples from more than 20 of Harlem’s best restaurants.
A portion of proceeds from all events will be donated to Harlem Park to Park, Citymeals on Wheels, and Historic Harlem Parks.
6. Fairway Market Food Festival
June 9th, 10-4
Fairway is back with their second annual Fairway Food Festival, which will transform Basketball City at Pier 36 into a foodie paradise featuring 140 vendors. For just $5 you’ll be able to sample an unlimited amount of food, try new products, and attend chef-led cooking demonstrations.
- Get your sweet fix while exploring downtown Manhattan on an Underground Donut Tour
- 14 of this year’s best spring house tours in and around New York City
- NYC spring art guide 2019: Don’t-miss exhibits, events, and installations