Back to NYC Eats… and Drinks!
Aita, 132 Greene Ave (Clinton Hill) [ITALIAN]
– Lovely corner location with plenty of natural light; beautiful interiors, especially the bar; and a reasonably priced lunch menu (dinner here is on the pricey side). The Oxtail Burger is excellent (served only at lunch and brunch), as are the fries that accompany it. They make a great cup of coffee too! Eating here is like having a meal in someone’s house – a real neighborhood gem.
Almondine, 85 Water St (DUMBO) [BAKERY]
– Right across the street from Jacques Torres, this little bakery has a huge selection of stuff warranting repeat visits! I’ve only tried their signature Almond Croissant so far and a selection of their Macaroons – both very good. The Cappucino was great to!
Banter, 132 Havemeyer St (Williamsburg) [BAR]
– A great space, with plenty of seating at the bar and in various nooks; a superb line up of Beer on tap, and a very friendly staff. A nice neighborhood bar, and one of the few unpretentious spots in Williamsburg!
Bar Chuko, 552 Vanderbilt Ave (Prospect Heights) [JAPANESE]
– The sister establishment to the storied Ramen-ya, and located diagonally across the street from it, Bar Chuko has managed to get it all right. From the minimalist decor, to the service, to the well crafted cocktails, and stunningly prepared small plates of melt-in-your-mouth Japanese goodness! The only downside – its all too addictive, and likely to set you back a pretty penny!
Bar Olivino, 899 Fulton St (Clinton Hill) [WINE BAR]
– Cozy little wine bar, run by the wine shop a few doors down. Good selection of whites and reds, reasonably priced, with warm service to boot. The perfect spot to wait your turn at nearby Emily’s!
Barbès, 376 9th St (Park Slope) [BAR / MUSIC VENUE]
– A true neighborhood watering hole, Barbès is run by French expats, and named after a hood in Paris. Good selection on tap (Guiness and Old Speckled Hen included) and a wide selection of cocktails too. The cosy space functions as a local performance venue too.
Barboncino, 781 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [PIZZERIA]
– A gorgeous space with multiple seating areas, and split level family-style dining in the rear. If you’re alone, the best seats are at the bar or the counter facing the wood-burning Pizza oven. Friendly service, fair prices, an extensive Beer and Spirits menu, and most importantly, some excellent thin-crust Pizza!
Bar Tano, 457 3rd Ave (Gowanus) [BAR / ITALIAN]
– Awesome decor complete with vintage lighting and mirrors, good selection of beers, great Pizzas and a little patio outside – all in all, a hidden gem!
Belli Osteria, 860 Fulton St (Clinton Hill) [ITALIAN]
– Highly recommended by my Italian-American co-worker, Belli did not disappoint in the least. It is probably one of the most underrated Italian eateries in the city, and possibly the most sensibly priced too! An extensive wine list with generous pours starts of your meal, and pretty much everything on the menu is guaranteed to please – from the simple Brussel Sprouts appetizer to a side of Crostini; from their Eggplant to their Pastas, everything!
Bembe, 81 Berry St (Williamsburg) [BAR / DANCE CLUB]
– Their dance floor was under renovation when I visited but the place is interesting enough to visit on its own. For starters, great music! Hammocks to lounge in and the people working the bar do many a mean drink, including a Caipirinha!
BERG’N, 899 Bergen St (Crown Heights) [BEER HALL / MULTI-CUISINE]
– A former Studebaker repair shop turned Beer Hall, with top-of-the-line food vendors, serving up excellent fare in a communal setting – in short, another master move from the folks behind Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea!
Berlyn, 25 Lafayette Ave (Fort Greene) [GERMAN]
– A charming venue, conveniently located across from BAM, Berlyn offers a casual bar scene as well as a more formal sit down dinner. Good selection of cocktails, beer on tap and wines, and a well thought-out menu, with most of the German staples within. A bit pricey, but worth it if your in the area catching a show.
Black Mountain, 415 Union St (Gowanus) [WINE BAR]
– You would be forgiven for walking right past it, for this is as tucked away and local as it gets! Beautiful interiors, a cozy space with mellow lighting – perfect for those cold winter nights – and an incredibly good selection of Wine! Their Cheese plates are great too.
Bodega, 24 St.Nicholas Ave (Bushwick) [BAR]
– Great corner location, lovely warm interiors, some cool seating, friendly service and a good choice of Wines and Beers on tap, including 2 Stouts! Just what a local should be like!!
Breuklyn Bier Merchants, 182 Grand Street (Williamsburg) [BEER SHOP / TASTING ROOM]
– A really easy going spot where it’s easy to get a place even on a Saturday night. True to their name, the Beer selection here is phenomenal, with a massive fridge lining the very length of the bar! Their tap line up is impressive too and given that they offer half servings, it’s easy to try multiple brews. Communal tables stocked with board games make it extremely conducive to groups.
Breukelen Coffee, 764 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [CAFE]
– Exclusively brewing Stumptown, this coffee shop definitely serves the best cup o joe on Franklin! Good selection of Bagels and other breakfast goodies, and plenty of seating at the back for the MacBook set. The cozy space doubles as a bar in the evenings.
Brooklyn Kolache Co., 520 DeKalb Ave (Bed-Stuy) [CAFE / BAKERY]
– You’re more likely to come across Kolache, the staple of Czech pastries, in Texas than you are in NYC, but this institution, tucked away on a nondescript stretch of Dekalb Ave., offers a large selection of the same, both savory and sweet. They also do good Coffee, a solid Breakfast Taco, and a great Cider-Tea drink in the winter. A large room at the back and a lovely patio are pluses.
Brooklyn Public House, 247 DeKalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [PUB]
– Old Speckled Hen on tap; consistently good pub fare; great service, pleasant interiors (they have booths at the back too!) and a convivial atmosphere combine to make this a real “local” for the area. Monday night bands are a plus!
Buttermilk Channel, 524 Court St (Carrol Gardens) [NEW AMERICAN]
– Simple, warm and inviting interiors, a good drinks selection, amazingly attentive service, and some outstanding food! We tried their Chicken Liver Mousse, Fried Chicken and Cheddar Waffles, Hangar Steak and Duck Meatloaf, and each one of them was unique and fabulous! Did I mention that they serve pickled Grapes and warm Honey with their Cheese plate, and that their Salted Chocolate Bread Pudding is simply divine? In short, this place is definitely worth the wait!
Cafe 232, 232 Taaffe Pl (Clinton Hill) [CAFE]
– This Korean-run establishment operates a cafe on the top floor and a Korean restaurant in its basement. Popular amongst students and faculty of nearby Pratt, the cafe offers an airy, spacious environment – with fairly eclectic decor – for the Macbook set, with an ever-changing Spotify playlist and fast internet. Stumptown Coffee and baked goods from Balthazar are an added plus!
Cafe Rue Dix, 1451 Bedford Ave (Crown Heights) [SENEGALESE]
– The first of, what I’m certain will be, a series of Senegalese spots in Crown Heights, Cafe Rue Dix serves a really good brunch (Kale Cupcakes are the way to go, with a side of Senegalese hot sauce!), a mean Michelada, and from all accounts, is worth the trip for dinner too. In a section of Bedford Ave. starved of eateries, it makes for a great neighbourhood destination. Sidewalk seating is an added bonus!
Catfish, 1433 Bedford Ave (Crown Heights) [CAJUN]
– With a spacious, well appointed interior, and a patio at the back, Catfish has plenty of nooks for groups of all sizes. Being one of the very few eateries on Bedford Ave, it’s a great go to for Cajun staples at dinner or brunch (they do a great job of their Grits), or to enjoy a drink at their very well-stocked bar, featuring rotating drafts and plenty of Bourbon.
Cent’Anni, 742 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [ITALIAN]
– A warm, inviting space, complete with soft lighting, candles et al., and a beautiful patio in the rear. A lovely bar area up front too, if you’re just there for a drink. The specialty here is handmade Pastas and slow-cooked Ragus, and they certainly do a good job of both! The service is excellent too. A little pricey for the neighbourhood but worth it, if your craving good Italian!
Char No. 4, 196 Smith St (Cobble Hill) [AMERICAN]
– A lovely bar area, with a huge selection of Whiskeys, and Bourbon Cocktails too! 3 separate seating areas so despite the Sunday brunch crowd, getting a table didn’t take long at all. Friendly staff, good service, huge helpings and all reasonably priced! Some of the best Baked Beans I’ve had, an excellent Bourbon Bloody Mary, complete with Pickle, and some decent Coffee too! Shall be back to try their full menu soon..
Chavela’s, 736 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [MEXICAN]
– This corner Mexican restaurant has a beautiful interior, complete with high ceiling, exposed brick, elegant lights and a colorful bar. Even the restroom hasn’t escaped the overall aesthetic! They have great lunch specials and their Brunch is a good deal too, with all the Mexican staples one would expect, and some stellar hot sauce to go with it! Good service and fair prices.
Chez Oscar, 211 DeKalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [FRENCH]
– Along with the Public House, Chez Oscar has become one of my neighborhood favorites of late. Great corner location, with ample sidewalk seating for the warmer months; cozy interiors, warm service on each visit, a great Lamb Burger, and consistently good French fare. Their happy hour, dinner specials and deserts are great too!
Choice Market, 318 Lafayette Ave (Clinton Hill) [CAFE / FOOD MARKET]
– As the name would suggest, this corner cafe cum marketplace has a great spread of hot and cold prepared foods, as well as desserts, pastries and other baked items. Coffee is from Brooklyn Roasting Co., and they sell some quality loaves of bread too. Seating is strictly communal and the vibe within is local and friendly.
Christina’s, 853 Manhattan Ave (Greenpoint) [POLISH]
– Awesome Pierogies, cucumber salad and Blintzes, and a chance to try some great Polish Beer – Żywiec (pronounced Jivi-etz) – all of this at throwaway prices and served by a hot waitress no less 😉
Ciro’s on Smith, 307 Smith St (Carroll Gardens) [ITALIAN]
– This new Italian spot is a great find, thanks to my friends who live in the vicinity. Warm and inviting interiors, with lovely old black and white photos adorning their walls. Service is excellent, their menu doesn’t read like a thesis (thankfully!), and the servings are plentiful. Everything we ordered was great, most notably the Antipasti Salad, Roasted Pork Loin and the desserts – save space for them! Good selection of Italian Wines too!
Clover Club, 210 Smith St (Carrol Gardens / Gowanus) [COCKTAIL BAR]
– Chic decor, hot hostess, attractive clientele and a fancy a** cocktail menu – next level stuff!
Die StammKneipe, 710 Fulton St (Fort Greene) [BAR / GERMAN]
– Die StammKneipe, or simply DSK, is a laid back little Biergarten (sidewalk seating in warmer months) in a quieter section of Fort Greene. Excellent selection of German brews, and all the food staples one would expect, in a warm, convivial setting.
Dino, 222 Dekalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [BRUNCH / ITALIAN]
– Great new (relatively speaking) addition to the hood. Haven’t eaten dinner there, but they have a fairly brief Italian, all of which looks promising. I can vouch for their brunch though, best enjoyed in their lovely back patio (they have sidewalk seating too). Don’t miss out on their Eggs & Polenta! Good service, fair prices and a great selection of brunch goodness. They do a good Bloody Mary too!
Donna, 27 Broadway (Williamsburg) [BAR]
– A great space, with beautifully designed lights, set amidst vaulted ceilings. A split-level layout, the bar has plenty of nooks for groups, big and small. Amongst the Cocktails, I tried the Cuba Libre, which was excellent! While essentially a Cocktail bar, they have a good selection of Beers too.
Dough, 448 Lafayette Ave (Clinton Hill) [CAFE]
– So popular has this tiny corner store become that they’ve gone and opened a larger location in Chelsea! They are solely responsible for my recently revived interest in Doughnuts, and they do an absolutely stellar job of the same. The Passion Fruit and Lemon-Poppy Seed remain my favorite here.
Dutch Boy Burger, 766 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [AMERICAN]
– A humble, diner-style seating area up front, which leads in to a much larger drinking venue, Franklin Park! Surprisingly, the selection of Beers up front is limited but not so their line up of Burgers. I’ve only had the Lamb Burger here so far but suffice to say it was delish, as were the accompanying sweet potato fries. Prices are reasonable but service tends to be spotty!
Emily, 919 Fulton St (Clinton Hill) [PIZZERIA]
– Solidifying Brooklyn’s reputation as the best place for Pizza in NYC, Emily is up there with the very best, serving up delicious pies in an intimate space, without burning a hole in your pocket. Save space for desert, if you can, cause the S’mores Calzone is every bit worth it!
Endless Summer, 525 Dekalb Ave (Bed-Stuy) [SANDWICHES]
– Literally a hole in the wall, this hipster-run joint (they also have a Taco truck by the same name) at first looks pretty out of place in this section of Clinton Hill / Bed-Stuy, but their sandwiches more than speak for themselves. Creative fillings, good servings and decent prices. For a change, the Veggie options here outshine their carnivore-friendly counterparts.
Fairway Deli, 480-500 Van Brunt St (Red Hook) [DELI / CAFE]
– Their little Deli does most things well but the winner for me is their Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese! Sit outside on their patio and tuck in, all the while enjoying unhindered views of Lady Liberty!
Fette Sau, 354 Metropolitan Ave (Williamsburg) [BBQ]
– Some of the best Brisket I’ve had in the city, outstanding burnt-end Baked Beans, and great thick-cut Bacon! Queuing up for all of it is worthwhile too – not just for the great food that lies ahead, but also to take in the whole ambience. The quintessential smokehouse aroma is all-pervasive, and the high ceiling, all wood space, feels like a large dining room in the country somewhere! Nice little bar area, which has a good selection of Beers and a impressive line up of Bourbons. They have outdoor seating too (with heating lamps for the winter) in the long corridor that leads to the restaurant. Last but not the least, pricing – extremely democratic!
Fort Defiance, 365 Van Brunt St (Redhook) [BAR / NEW AMERICAN]
– This is the first of what I hope will be several visits to Van Brunt street – one that is fast becoming the Smith street of Red Hook! Cool interiors, friendly staff, a good selection of local Beers, and great bar food. I’m still to try their main menu though!
Four and Twenty Blackbirds, 439 3rd Ave (Gowanus) [BAKERY / CAFE]
– The interiors here are like someone’s extended living room; the service is warm, and the Pies are to die for! When in doubt, the Salted Caramel Apple is sure to please!
Franny’s, 295 Flatbush Ave (Prospect Heights) [PIZZERIA]
– Another one checked off the list – let me rephrase that – another great one checked off the list! Brooklyn-chic interiors, good service (despite everything one has heard!), a well-stocked bar, great appetizers and some excellent Pizza! Easily the thinnest Pizza base I’ve ever sampled, as close to Indian bread as one can get! All that, and the fact that they are eco-friendly (menus on recycled paper, locally sourced produce, fair-trade Coffee, what have you!) earns them a Top 5 in my humble, albeit ever expanding, Pizzeria list!
Gather, 341 7th Ave (Park Slope) [BAKERY / CAFE]
– A lively and colorful, if somewhat tiny, space located along bustling 7th Ave, and quite the place to “gather” for locals. Well curated selection of small eats and beverages (their hot chocolate is great!) and an assortment of baked goods, all prepared in the kitchen next door.
Glady’s, 788 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [NEW AMERICAN]
– From the team behind the Morris Truck, Glady’s is a true neighborhood gem. The space – part cafeteria, part living room – has a lovely vibe to it, with great music, friendly service and a refreshingly simple menu. Their sandwiches are excellent – all grilled to perfection in their wood-burning oven, and the baked eggs at brunch are fabulous too! A good selection of Beers as well.
Gloria’s, 764 Nostrand Ave (Crown Heights) [CARIBBEAN]
– This tiny corner eatery serves up excellent Caribbean fare (the Roti and Doubles in particular), with a killer hot sauce and some down-to-earth prices. Apparently, this humble joint caught Bourdain’s attention a couple of years ago!
Gueros, 605 Prospect Pl (Crown Heights) [MEXICAN]
– A true hole-in-the-wall space (with sidewalk seating in better weather) which serves up some delish Tacos, great Guac and Chips, a mean hot sauce and a solid Margherita. My only grouse – they should double up on their Tortillas!
Hanson Dry, 925 Fulton St (Clinton Hill) [BAR]
– One of the best spots to drink at on the otherwise commercial drag that is Fulton St. Friendly bar keeps, good selection of drinks, always a good soundtrack to tap along to, and a patio at the back.
Henry Street Ale House, 62 Henry St (Brooklyn Heights) [BAR]
– A lovely bar and a neighborhood staple in one of the prettiest sections of Brooklyn, the Ale House is a short walk from the Clark St subway stop. Plenty of brews on tap to choose from, a friendly atmosphere all around, and some decent pub grub to boot. All very well priced too.
Hoja Santa, 250 DeKalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [MEXICAN]
– An interesting space, with plenty of seating options (including outdoors in the warmer months), and some cool decor. The Guacamole here is very good, as are their Burritos. They make a decent Michelada too! Overall, a good option if your hankering sit-down Mexican in Clinton Hill.
Jacques Torres, 66 Water St (DUMBO) [CHOCOLATIER]
– They have a few locations in the city but this is the only one I’ve been to. Recommended pit stop if you’ve just walked across the Brooklyn Bridge! Step in for their Hot Chocolate or sample any of their chocolates!!
Juventino, 370 5th Ave (Park Slope) [AMERICAN]
– Airy, bright, well designed interiors, with a great patio at the back. A large collection of food books provide the backdrop for the elegant bar area. Am sure the space feels quite different by night but this is a great spot during the day, and especially so for brunch. Probably the best Steak & Eggs I’ve ever had, so much so that I didn’t even miss the carbs! The house salad is excellent too. Coffee, nice and strong, is served in a French Press – just the way I like it!
Le Sajj, 8221 5th Ave, Brooklyn (Bay Ridge) [LEBANESE]
– For a little slice of Beirut living in NYC, Le Sajj is the place to go. And if you do go, make it very late on a Saturday night! First come the appetizers (each one of them fantastic!), then the Hookahs, then the music, and finally, after a lot of impromptu dancing by patrons, the Belle Dancers! The show carries on till the wee hours of the morning, so go with a big appetite and no urgency to leave! The live music nights attract a premium on the food tab, but it’s worth it just for the sheer variety and quality they serve you. Service tends to be a little over enthusiastic!
Little Zelda, 728 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [CAFE]
– This cute little cafe can best be described as a slice of Europe on Franklin Ave! Cozy space, friendly staff, great selection of baked goods and good coffee too!
Lot 5, 51 S 3rd St (Williamsburg) [BAR]
– With an understated exterior, industrial decor and a sun-drenched deck, Lot 5 is an amazing space all around. Not that Billyburg was ever in short supply of drinking destination, but still, this is a great addition.
Lucali, 575 Henry Street (Carrol Gardens) [PIZZERIA]
– The wait can be tiring but you won’t regret it! As of this update, this is THE BEST Pizza I’ve had in the city. And I had a Vegetarian one at that, which is saying a lot for me! BYOB and a great ambiance only adds to the overall experience! Pity they don’t accept plastic or take reservations!
Lula Bagel, 816 Nostrand Ave (Crown Heights) [CAFE]
– My go-to spot for Bagels when I lived in the hood. Lovely corner location, friendly staff and good Bagels – what more does one want on a weekend morning? Oh, they also carry bread from Balthazar!
Madiba, 195 Dekalb Ave (Fort Greene) [SOUTH AFRICAN]
– Awesome interiors, a buzzing sidewalk scene full of regulars, friendly service all around, and some excellent food! Leaving aside Nando’s in London, this was my first introduction to South African cuisine and I’ve loved every bit of it! From the Bobotie to the Peri-peri spiced wings to the Durban Bunny Chow, Madiba has never once fallen below expectation. Great house cocktails too, and a massive selection of South African Wines. Madiba may just be one of my favorite places in the neighborhood – only wish I had discovered it a lot sooner!
Marietta, 285 Grand Ave (Clinton Hill) [NEW AMERICAN]
– A massive space, with a separate bar area and dining room, and plenty of natural light, Marietta’s has a friendly vibe to it, serving up reasonably priced, quality fare, in a casual setting. Have only been there for brunch so far but heard good things about dinner too.
Martha 184 Dekalb (Fort Greene) [NEW AMERICAN]
– A relative newcomer to the hood, Martha offers only a dozen or so items on their menu, almost all of them Asian influenced. The creative fusion provides for a good twist on your every day staples. Plates are meant to be shared – there are definitely some stand outs (Brussel Sprouts, Eggplant and Pork Ribs) amongst them – and servings are generous. Prices are reasonable and the cocktail menu is affordable too. For brunch they do Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits and spicy Honey!
Meme’s, 707 Nostrand Ave (Crown Heights) [CAFE]
– Another Senegalese-run establishment, and one of the recent entrants to Nostrand Ave., Meme’s has a good selection of breakfast goodies (if only they’d open a little sooner!), both baked and prepared hot; decent coffee, and a friendly, homey vibe to it.
Mile End Deli, 97 Hoyt St (Boerum Hill) [JEWISH DELI]
– This tiny space (they have a branch in the East Village nowadays), set along a quiet section of Hoyt St., has a larger selection of craft beers than items on its food menu, but none of that matters really, cause they do an exceptionally good Smoked Meat Sandwich, one that is up there, if not better, than the more storied establishments like Katz!
Mayfield, 688 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [NEW AMERICAN]
– In terms of decor and ambience, Mayfield probably takes top honours on Franklin Ave! Right from the signage outside through to the Art Deco detailing within, this restaurant is all class. A short but well thought out menu, a good selection of Beers and Wines, very good service and overall, not too pricey. The Chicken Liver Mousse is delightful, and the dessert I got – can’t remember the name unfortunately – was fantastic!
Nathan’s, 1310 Surf Ave (Coney Island) [AMERICAN]
– You get their brand all over the city but you haven’t tried a genuine New York Hot Dog if you haven’t eaten at the original Nathan’s! It’s as simple as that. Their fries and lemonade are great to. Worth the trek!
Olea, 171 Lafayette Ave (Clinton Hill) [MEDITERRANEAN]
– Located on a quiet residential corner of Clinton Hill, you could be forgiven for walking right past it! Olea is every bit an understated neighborhood spot, serving delicious Mediterranean fare (I can only speak to the brunch, so far) in a cosy, convivial setting, that could only be likened to someone’s living room.
Ozzie’s Coffee & Tea, 57 7th Ave (Park Slope) [CAFE]
– Great selection of organic fair trade coffee and tea in a Wi-Fi enabled eclectic setting, typical of Brooklyn! Being an independently owned Coffee House – another plus!
Peaches HotHouse, 415 Tompkins Ave (Bed-Stuy) [SOUTHERN]
– Hands down some of the best Fried Chicken I’ve had in the city, and legitimately hot at that! The sides – everything we ordered and shared – were great too! Save space for desert if you can! The wait, on an especially cold night, was exasperating, but the meal that followed more than made up for it! The place definitely lives up to its name. Totally worth the trek there!
Pequena, 86 S Portland Ave (Ft.Greene) [MEXICAN]
– Along with Hoja Santa, this quaint little cantina fills the neighborhood void in Mexican cuisine. Cute interiors, friendly service, huge portions, good food and delicious Margaritas! They do a crazy spicey Michelada too!
Peter Luger’s, 178 Broadway (Williamsburg) [STEAK HOUSE]
– Don’t expect menu’s or gushy service here – quietly order Porterhouse for the table and sit content! Save room, if you can, for their Creamed Spinach on the side, and Cheese Cake for desert – both highly recommended! Tip – go there for lunch – its cheaper!
Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop, 727 Manhattan Ave (Greenpoint) [CAFE]
– I’ve never actually been to this establishment but have sampled their goods on more than one occasion, thanks to some thoughtful co-workers. Suffice to say, the few times I do indulge in Donuts, this is one of the few places that I would consider as my go-to!
Petite Crevette, 44 Union St (Carrol Gardens) [FRENCH]
– If this tiny French Seafood Bistro doesn’t make you feel like you’re in Europe, I don’t know what will! Cute interiors, excellent food, personalised service and good prices! Oh and BYOB to! Bon Appétit!
Picket Fence, 1310 Cortelyou Rd (Ditmas Park) [AMERICAN]
– Great spot for weekend brunch or even for dinner, if you happen to be in the hood. Reasonable prices, generous helpings and a garden patio at the back!
Pies N Thighs, 166 S 4th St (Williamsburg) [SOUTHERN / COMFORT]
– A nice corner location with a mom n pop store feel to it; service is friendly if not a little laid back but the food is the real deal here – some of the best Fried Chicken I’ve had in the city, a great biscuit to accompany it, stellar side of Pork smoked Collards and some killer Blackberry Pie! Big helpings, reasonable prices and a limited but well curated selection on tap.
Pilar Cuban Eatery, 393 Classon Ave (Bed-Stuy) [CUBAN]
– They are expected to move to a larger digs along Bedford Ave. soon, but till then, their tiny kitchen continues to serve up hearty Cuban fare, in a homey space. Great lunch and dinner specials, sandwiches and Empanadas, and one of my favorite deserts in the hood, Guava-Cream Cheese Pie!
Pillow Cafe, 505 Myrtle Ave (CLINTON HILL) [NEW AMERICAN]
– A friendly, inviting space, with colourful interiors; plenty of pillows – of course – and a cute little patio at the back. They do a good job of their house Bloody Mary and their brunch offerings are extremely satisfying. Good service, and well priced too.
Pio Pio Riko, 996 Manhattan Ave (Greenpoint) [PERUVIAN]
– Another one of those ‘Pio Pio’s’ you would think but this one doesn’t just do good Rotisserie Chicken, they also do some great Ceviche and a handful of authentic Peruvian dishes you’re unlikely to find elsewhere! I know, because I went with a handful of Peruvians 😉 Spanish does help in this authentic little eatery!
Pok Pok NY, 127 Columbia St (Red Hook) [THAI]
– So authentic is the decor here that you could be forgiven for believing you’re in Chiang Mai! And even though all the waitresses may not be Thai, the service is excellent too! Most importantly, however, is the food – hands down the best Thai I’ve had in Brooklyn! Noteworthy amongst the dishes we ordered were Muu Kham Waan (charcoal grilled Pork neck), Da Chom’s Laap Meuang (spicy hand-minced Pork salad), and a house special – I think it might have been Duck – spicy, and served on chilled Mustard Greens!
Putnam’s Pub & Cooker, 419 Myrtle Ave (Clinton Hill) [GASTROPUB]
– Warm lighting, cozy interiors and good English pub fare on the menu, as well as a strong line up of brews and other alcoholic beverages. Are buy-backs still a thing? They are here for sure! Great service, in general, and some of the most friendly wait staff your likely to encounter for miles. On most days, you’re likely to hear exceptionally good music too – most of it British rock bands from yesteryear!
Rosco’s, 685 Franklin Ave (Crown Heights) [PIZZERIA]
– If your not prepared to wait for a table at Barboncino, Rosco’s is a whole lot cheaper, and a much quicker alternative! And for a slice shop, they do a fairly good job of the staple pies. A decent selection of Beer, and patio seating are other pluses here.
Saint Anselm, 355 Metropolitan Ave (Williamsburg) [NEW AMERICAN]
In the Borough that prides itself in New American cuisine, Saint Anselm comes out tops for me, so far! Hand-crafted wood paneling, warm lighting, and multiple seating options – including a counter overlooking the kitchen! – make this place more than welcoming. Impeccable service, a well curated Beer list, Wine on Tap (!) and reasonable prices overall. Oh, and the food – excellent! Everything we ordered – Mussels, Long Beans, Shishito Peppers, Whole Mackerel and Pork Chops, and some delectable Bread Pudding too! I will be back for sure!!
Silver Rice, 638 Park Pl (Crown Heights) [JAPANESE]
– Another worthy and welcome newcomer to the burgeoning food scene in Crown Heights, Silver Rice fills the spot for the one cuisine that was missing here, Japanese! Granted their offerings are limited to Sushi and Sashimi currently, but thats where they’ve got it just right! Fresh, flavourful and fair-priced food, served within the most efficient use of space possible, with attention to detail that only the Japanese could pull off!
Speedy Romeo, 376 Classon Ave (Clinton Hill) [PIZZERIA]
– Great corner location, awesome interiors – I especially loved the large ceiling fans – and outstanding pies from their wood-fired oven. Grab a seat at the bar, order a brew, then sit back and watch as logs of wood are turned over, and the pies are charred just so. The Saint Louie does it for me as far as toppings go! A big plus for me here – they carry a handful of Singlecut Beers on tap!
Spuyten Duyvil, 359 Metropolitan Ave (Williamsburg) [BAR]
– The sister establishment to next door St. Anselm, this one has all the trappings of a fine Brooklyn drinkery, complete with tin ceilings, curios dotting the walls and shelves, antique furniture and cozy seating. The bar offers a great selection of brews, all well priced. But the highlight of this place is easily its huge backyard, full of character – perfect to unwind in, on a warm summer evening!
Tanoreen, 7523 3rd Ave (Bay Ridge) [MIDDLE EASTERN]
– Everything, simply everything we tried here was phenomenal, which makes the trek to Bay Ridge totally worthwhile. Possibly one of the most memorable Middle Eastern meals I’ve eaten in the city, and going with a group helps too cause you can order and sample a lot more. Notable dishes include the Sujok (Armenian sausages), Kibbie, Cauliflower Salad and the Kafta entree. Even though its impossible to do so, try and save space for some desert and try the Knafeh, their house specialty. Oh, and don’t be surprised when you see an incredibly reasonable tab!
Taqueria El Fogon, 1050 Flushing Ave (Bushwick) [MEXICAN]
– The original plan was to eat at Los Hermanos – Bushwicks answer to Corona’s Nixtamal – however the health department had decided to shut it down just weeks prior to our visit, so El Fogon, which proudly displays its A grade, it was to be! It’s all out authentic here, from the prices, to the selection of Mexican Beers (all for 3 bucks!!) and of course the food! Nachos were warm and fresh – not the packaged kind, for sure – and they were served with some lovely home made Guac! Tacos were very good – quality of the Tortillas and the fillings within – but most impressive was the Burrito, not just in size but in taste too!
Tatiana, 3152 Brighton 6th St (Brighton Beach) [RUSSIAN]
– One of a string of Russian restaurants located along the boardwalk, Tatiana offers a very attractive lunch special. Helpings are huge, and the Fish entree I got was great, served with a lovely mustard sauce. Admittedly, this establishment is better known for dinner, and accompanying Russian music performances – so a trip in the evening would be in order too! But even during the day, this old school spot, in what is essentially ‘Little Odessa’, is worthy of a visit – especially on a nice summer day, when you can sit by the boardwalk, knock back a Baltika or two, and watch the world go by!
The Bell House, 149 7th St (Gowanus) [BAR / EVENT SPACE]
– A hidden gem in the most industrial part of Gowanus, literally one for the locals! A spacious bar up front, complete with lounge seating, and a popular event space in the back. They have a great selection of beers, all of them well priced, and served by friendly barkeeps.
The Farm on Adderly, 1108 Cortelyou Rd (Ditmas Park) [AMERICAN]
– Another good spot in the Ditmas Park / Victorian Flatbush neighbourhood for brunch, dinner or simply drinks! Their bar is well stocked and their menu is inventive. Friendly service to!
The General Greene, 229 DeKalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [NEW AMERICAN]
– Another favorite amongst Clinton Hill residents, The General Greene is quite the scene at brunch (where service does tend to get clumsy), serving up large portions of well prepared breakfast favorites. Their country-style Sausage Gravy with Eggs is awesome – the kind your unlikely to tire of on successive visits. I’m still to visit them for dinner, but I just love the fact that they serve brunch every day of the week, starting at 8 AM – a winner right there!
The Good Fork, 391 Van Brunt St (Red Hook) [NEW AMERICAN]
– A beautiful, literally “handcrafted” space, with multiple seating areas, including a gorgeous patio, which on the whole seems more like someone’s cottage than a restaurant in New York City! Granted, it is in far-flung Red Hook, but still, this place is a visual treat. And so it goes for the taste buds too. Pretty much everything they cook here, from their small plates to their mains, is exceptionally good, and worth trying. Go there in a large group if you can, so as to sample as much of the good stuff as is humanly possible!
The Great Georgiana, 248 DeKalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [BAR]
– Great corner location; live music and DJs on most evenings; a good selection of drinks, and friendly barkeeps, makes this spot a worthy drinking destination in the Clinton Hill – Fort Greene area.
The Gutter, 200N 14th St (Greenpoint) [BAR / BOWLING ALLEY]
– What a neighbourhood spot should be like! Old school bowling lanes, good selection of Beer on tap and a nice laid back atmosphere.
The Islands, 803 Washington Ave (Prospect Heights) [CARIBBEAN]
– This place redefines hole-in-the-wall but the confined space (set right on top of the even tinier kitchen) has its dividends – fabulous Caribbean food, cooked by an all-women crew and served in large platters at the most nominal cost ever! Some of the best Jerk Chicken this side of the Caribbean, and not to be outdone, a stellar Oxtail Stew!
The Jakewalk, 282 Smith St (Gowanus) [WINE BAR]
– Known best for their Wines, Cheese and Charcuterie plates, this local favourite in the Gowanus / Carrol Gardens neighbourhood of Brooklyn has a great atmosphere, a stunning huge mirror in the centre, and some very knowledgeable bar staff. Their selection of Spirits reads more like a thesis than a menu, but from that list, I happened to pick easily the best Bourbon I’ve had in my life!
The Mayflower, 132 Greene Ave (Clinton Hill) [BAR]
– This might well be the tiniest, cutest little bar in all of NYC! But space is no constraint for the seasoned barkeep, who serves up some delish seasonal cocktails and every spirit you can imagine, from an extremely well stocked bar. Like sister establishment Aita (right around the corner from it), The Mayflower is another great Clinton Hill destination.
The Owl Farm, 297 9th St (Gowanus) [BAR]
– Cozy wooded interiors, with an endless bar serving an amazing selection of craft brews on tap. Owl Farm is for all purposes the Gowanus local, with friendly bar keeps always on hand to assist you in making a selection. Bonus points to them for being one of the few dog-friendly establishments around, and the fact that you can bring in your own food!
The Saint Austere, 613 Grand St (Williamsburg) [TAPAS BAR]
A warm, casual neighbourhood spot with a couple of communal tables and a bar. Great service, an extensive Wine list and a good selection of quality Tapas, the Polenta being the star among them!
The Smoke Joint, 87 South Elliott Pl (Fort Greene) [BBQ]
– Owned by the same group that runs Mariettas and Peaches Hot House, The Smoke Joint occupies a prime location amidst a plethora of eateries located around the intersection of Fulton and Lafayatte. This no-frills establishment doesn’t necessarily have the best service in the hood but it does a fine job of pretty much everything on the menu, the Pulled Pork, Chicken Wings and Collard Greens being the standout items. Large portions, all very reasonably priced.
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos, 271 Starr St (Bushwick) [MEXICAN]
– Los Hermanos reopened recently, after being closed by the Health department! The conditions were santiary enough for my liking, but more importantly I finally got to try their Tacos. Very good and given that they’re some of the biggest Tacos I’ve had, very filling too! But what was even better than the Tacos was the Quesidilla – again huge and very very satisfying! Their Tortilla factory is just behind the restaurant and you can see them working their magic at the back as you dig in to your Taco! Talk about being Locavore!! And did I mention the word CHEAP yet??
Umi Nom, 433 DeKalb Ave (Clinton Hill) [FILIPINO / THAI]
– Don’t get put off by the empty tables and bar area – they seem to run most of their business with takeout and delivery – for the food here is highly underrated. Its a fine mash up of Filipino favorites and Thai staples, with some real standouts amongst the noodle section, and of course their specialty, Pork Belly Tacos! Reasonably priced too.
Urban Vintage, 294 Grand Ave (Clinton Hill) [CAFE]
– This may just be one of the most unique and beautiful cafes I’ve had the pleasure of stumbling across in NYC! They double as an antiques store, and that in a way explains the articles of beauty within! Its the kind of place where you wouldn’t get bored for even a minute and have to duck in to your refuge, the smart phone. Plenty of natural light too, courtesy of floor to ceiling windows; a great cup of coffee, and an all day breakfast menu, which always brings a smile to my face! Baked goods are by Balthazar and the thing to get here is their Croissant sandwich – just perfect!
Walter’s, 166 DeKalb Ave (Fort Greene) [NEW AMERICAN]
– Seating is a little tight here, and the wait for brunch can be excruciatingly long, but once your at your table (the beautifully crafted bar is a good option too) the service and the fare more than make up for it. An offshoot of the Williamsburg original, this location is a lot less hipstery, but still fairly loud by conversational volume. Brunch items are all very good – the special I had was inventive and excellent – and they also do a great job of desert!
Whiskey Soda Lounge, 115 Columbia St (Red Hook) [BAR / THAI]
– Another hit from Andy Ricker, the man behind Pok Pok, this tiny corner space in Red Hook can best be described as a Thai gastropub, complete with no-nonsense decor, reminiscent of a watering hole in Asia. A great Thai-inspired Cocktail menu, good selection of mostly Asian Beers, and some down-home spicy, yum Thai bar food. In short, an awesome drinking destination, just doors away from the legendary Pok Pok NY!
Yemeni Cafe, 176 Atlantic Ave (Downtown Brooklyn) [YEMENI]
– Don’t go with any expectation of ambiance – just go for the amazing eating experience, which is always guaranteed! Everything from the complimentary soup to their bread to the lamb is outstanding. The clientele is as ‘local’ as it gets, so you know immediately your in for the authentic!