Perched on the northeastern tip of the Central Park Lake with views of the midtown skyline in the distance, the Loeb Boathouse provides one of New York’s most idyllic spots for a meal. That said, you’re paying for the setting. While the food is generally good (crab cakes are the standout), the service can be indifferent.
If you want to experience the location without having to lay out the bucks, a better bet is to hit the adjacent open-air bar, where you can enjoy cocktails on the lake. In winter, the indoor bar area (to the left as you enter) is also a decent option for a drink with a view. The dour express cafe is set back from the lakeside windows but still has partial views.