A green-marble fountain crowned with a Napoleon statuette pours a dozen varieties of absinthe, but this New Orleans–style bar (and, now, serious restaurant) has a great list of craft beers, too. Sophisticated crudos are a highlight of the dinner menu; the oyster happy hour is one of the city’s busiest, and maybe to be avoided for that reason.
Open since 1998, Diner is a Williamsburg pioneer. A local hangout housed in a 1920 dining car, with sidewalk seating in warmer months, it serves up a different menu of New American dishes every day. The servers write it out on your paper tablecloth. No reservations.
Named after a Bukowski novel, this 600-square-foot whiskey bar offers more appealing paths to drunkenness than the famously low-living writer ever took. There are more than one hundred bourbons and ryes on offer, all of them produced on American soil. The bar food here, including pulled pork and the chicken-liver- and-bacon on baguette, goes down easy.
In a field packed with faux-old-school newcomers, this 115-year-old establishment (complete with phone booths and defunct cigarette machine) is that rare real thing. Bamonte’s is now in its fourth generation of family ownership, and has avoided the tourist crowds of its counterparts in Little Italy. The waiters are in tuxedos, the tablecloths are white, and the chandeliers are decidedly not ironic. Nor is the handmade ravioli, each one big as a fist. Classics like clams casino and prosciutto with melon go best with the Godfather atmosphere.
Shortly after opening, this nouveau steakhouse had the foodies raving that its meat was every bit as good as that nearby institution, Peter Luger’s. The hanger steak (“butcher’s steak”) is the go-to item. The panko-crusted beef back ribs, and pan-fried mashes also rock, and in a nice twist, there are several dozen wines available by the half bottle. The style is rustic-chic, with a shingled ceiling.
The brunch waits here are shorter than they are at Diner, its sister restaurant next door. The food is pretty much on par, especially the oysters and irresistible chicken-liver mousse.
Disco balls and old car pulleys hang from the ceiling here, and the menu is no less fun loving. There’s an inventive twist on nachos, and delicious braised pork with green pickle butter; servers light a spicy tequila cocktail on fire before sending it your way. Flatbread comes out of a bright red wood-burning oven, as does the pizza dough enveloping slices of capicola and béchamel in house favorite, The Big Chef. Don’t miss out on that one.
This top-notch bakery is catnip for savory-sweet fans. Go for broke with the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, an immersion in dark chocolate decadently packed with Ovenly’s own pudding-buttercream blend. Scones come in inventive flavors, like blue cheese–pecan, and no one would guess the chocolate-chip cookies are vegan.
With its white-tile walls and marble counters, this year-old fishmarket and raw bar has an appropriately washed-down aesthetic. The founders make it their business to know the provenance of all their seafood, much of which is local, and serve up great fish tacos and lobster rolls.
The trio of Italian owners put farm-sourced ingredients to use in Sardinian-inflected dishes: arugula gnocchi, squid-ink spaghetti, and leg-of-lamb cannellini with anchovy paste. In an original twist, there’s nightly live jazz on a sequined stage.
Andrew Tarlow (owner of Marlow & Sons, Roman’s, and many other new Brooklyn classics) opened this bar just steps away from the Brooklyn waterfront, in a 1930s building that served for years as a haunt for dock workers. Now it’s an all-day tavern that serves up baked goods in the morning and, later on, liverwurst and pâté; the bar sees action pick up by mid-afternoon. Leftover décor from the original lends it the feel of a genuine shipyard dive.
Frothy cocktails and live piano accompany the haute comfort food (chicken and biscuits with honey butter; steak frites with market vegetables) at this lively GreenPoint mainstay. Old movie-theater seats and Broadway props add a vintage- showbiz air.
Before the seasonal New American here started drawing raves, most Brooklynites hadn’t even heard of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood. Beef-fennel sausage, arctic char with beets and creamy horseradish, and cast-iron chicken with shallots and sherry vinegar jus are among the highlights at this cozy and bohemian spot. The salvage décor, complete with candles dripping wax, hints at Walt Whitman’s Brooklyn.
Delicious pies and irresistibly good vibes make this arguably Brooklyn’s favorite pizza joint—and a regular on best-in-the-city lists. The thin, Neapolitan-style crusts are both firm and foldable. Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens source and combine top-notch ingredients with the best of them, and the entire operation is admirably eco-friendly. Be advised, the early crowd has lots of kids.
Chef Sam Richman serves up excellent, straightforward Mexican at this hauterustic restaurant near the Dumbo waterfront. The mezcal and tequila cocktails are more flamboyant than the food, and the michelada is perfect for a warm-weather drink on the patio. From the owners of Colonie.
This thirty-seat shoebox, a den of stained wood and subway tile, delights with a flurry of small plates that are served in random order. Make sure to pace yourself, should you order the delicious bone-marrow tacos or fried gnocchi with tomato-sauce dip. On this menu, you really can't go wrong.
With a limited menu that changes daily, chef Dave Gould has won over an audience that’s willing to be surprised. His purist approach cuts out all but the most essential ingredients. Lunch might start with sardine and orange salad, proceed to butter-and-sage tortelli, and end with pork meatballs.
The menu is Latin American and the back room appealingly greenhouse-like at this neighborhood favorite. Try the lamb sliders on Brazilian cheese bread, or the duck-confit tacos, made with meat that’s stewed four days. The banana cake with asado-smoked pecan frosting will satisfy any sweet tooth.
A 130-year-old former drugstore is now home to grade-A Northern Italian cuisine. Sink your teeth into rosemary tortelli with wild-boar ragu or ribollita, a hearty vegetable stew. Wine is served in the DIY consumption style, whereby you’re charged based on how much is left in the bottle.
Chef-owner Gabe McMackin learned his trade at such reputable outfits as Blue Hill, Gramercy Tavern, and Roberta’s. His seasonal, farm-to-table restaurant is one of the borough’s best. The wine list tops out at $60.
Stodgy Brooklyn Heights has been slower than some of its neighbors to embrace the foodie scene, but you wouldn’t guess it here. Herbs line the wall, and smash hits like the ricotta crostini and tender skirt steak come out of an open kitchen. Anything woodsy—like bigoli with hedgehog mushrooms—is a good bet.
An energizing take on a much-maligned food genre, this crackling Asian-fusion restaurant comes courtesy of Top Chef notable Dale Talde. There’s an emphasis on Filipino cuisine, evident in the succulent pork with pickled young papaya. Other favorites: Korean fried chicken, yuzu guacamole, and the popular “pretzel” dumplings.
Deep in Park Slope—Windsor Terrace, really—lies an unsung little restaurant that’s making a lot of locals happy. The house-made gnudi with corn and onions scores big, as does the skate po’ boy. With one coproprietor the owner of a wine shop across the street, the bottle selection here is a good one.
This clean-living kitchen caters enthusiastically to gluten-free, vegan, raw, and kosher diets. The solutions come in the form of shiitake bacon and alkalizing green soup, made from uncooked vegetables. And here, they’re also plenty tasty.
A paradise for kids—and nostalgic adults, too. Originally a 1920s apothecary (the original wood cabinets and drawers are still intact), this popular weekend and after-school spot now serves up old-time sodas, floats, malteds, and even that forgotten New York classic, the egg cream. (With a seasonal syrup option, no less.) The sundaes are knockouts, the broken-pretzel caramel one in particular.
If there’s a single Brooklyn restaurant that gets everything right, this is it. With only thirty seats, Battersby is not the sort of place you can walk right into. It’s got the obligatory brick walls and pressed-tin ceilings. But secure a place here and you’ll soon be feeling a vibe so pleasantly convivial—stoked by the pleasures of veal sweetbreads à la meunière and pork-belly parmigiana—that you’ll swear you’re at a semi private event.
Known for their mastery of the Italian American genre, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo here revive the Germanic stylings of the late nineteenth-century New York dining experience. Try the house-made wurst and especially the pretzels, with a side of roasted beet and carrot with cayenne-pepper cream. The meats are raised sustainably on small farms. Tables can be hard to come by, but the wood-paneled environs and vintage-inspired cocktails make it a pretty painless wait.
The best pizza place in Brooklyn? As remarkable as the product is the fact that owner Mark Iacono had never made a pie in his life before opening this place (a favorite of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s) a few years back in what used to be his favorite childhood candy shop. The crust is thin, the dough perfectly chewy, the tomato sauce from Iacono’s grandmother’s recipe. There’s nothing on the menu but pizzas and calzones. In a sweet touch, the place is BYOB.
Kitted out with matching chairs and vintage-map wallpaper, this below-thesidewalk restaurant serves up a stimulating blend of Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. (Check out the pasta with lentils and gigante beans.) Chef Zahra Tangorra’s penchant for surprise ingredients adds a nice twist: there’s lavendertinged jerk chicken, and the butter’s been spiked with Stumptown coffee.
Proven tapas experts Alex Raij and Eder Montero turn out Spanish small plates with a heavy Middle Eastern accent. Not always pretty, the offerings are consistently delicious. Start with paprika-infused fried chickpeas. Go for any genre of croquette. Don’t miss the noodle paella, or the cumin-roasted lamb’s breast with a smear of date jam.
Owner Noah Bernamoff puts a Montreal spin on the Jewish-deli renaissance—most notably with the smaller, denser (but nevertheless delicious) bagels. The foodstuffs here are smoked and pickled on-site, and the service friendlier than it is at Mile End’s old New York reference points. Try the matzo ball soup and the lamb merguez with hummus and harissa slaw. Or go big with the foie gras poutine.
Bourbon lovers, take note. There’s American whiskey here of every age and type—150 varieties total—and a complementary menu of excellent southern BBQ. Take that shrimp and grits, or sweet-tea–brined chicken, with an experimental flight: all the bourbons are available in one-ounce pours.
Ingredients-driven cooking in post industrial Gowanus: Chef Poiarkoff serves up a daily-changing menu in a rag-tag space that resembles an abandoned cabin. Sample items include smoked-ricotta agnolotti with pear and chestnuts, and black bass with squash and kohlrabi. There’s also a nice variety of small-batch ciders and biodynamic wines.
Red Hook often has an “Am I really in New York?” effect on visitors, and it’s in full force at this small, nautical-themed restaurant. There’s a beautiful garden dining space that doesn’t feel like anything in Brooklyn, and the Asian-accented menu employs ingredients sourced from—no kidding—a neighborhood farm.
Former food writer St. John Frizell opened this local favorite in 2009 with humble aims: to provide his neighbors with “a good cup of coffee, a decent Manhattan, and a bite to eat.” It’s much more than that, with a rave-worthy burger and eye-openers like the Prescription Julep, with cognac and rye, and London legend Salvatore Calabrese’s Breakfast Martini on the cocktail menu.
The pit-smoked meats here are prepared over an oak fire on a pier three blocks away. The restaurant, an old garage, serves up incredible grub and (at a pair of bars) craft beers as well as a wide range of American whiskeys. The huge, peppery beef rib is a must-have.
Artisanal frozen treats in a party-themed space. The flavor list includes Mexican hot chocolate, peppermint pattie, and a surprisingly rich coconut-fudge sorbet. Don’t leave without trying a scoop of the audaciously un-sweet salted crack caramel.
This buzzy restaurant is out of the way, but worth it—especially for the pièce de résistance, rabbit marinated in duck confit and popping with Yemeni spices. Other hits include the kibbeh croquettes, with the lamb on the outside. Housed in a former glass factory, in post-industrial surroundings.
Way out in Sheepshead Bay, this family-friendly Turkish restaurant specializes in fresh, lemon-drizzled whole fish and beautifully grilled meats. Try the homemade baklava for dessert.
The wait time can be up to two hours at this celebrated fifty-year-old pizza joint, routinely voted the city’s best. It’s worth it. From day one, proprietor Dom DeMarco has insisted on making every pie himself.
In summer months, this timeless pizzeria and ice-cream parlor becomes a quintessential Brooklyn hangout. Go for the nearly eighty-year-old establishment’s famous “sheets,” a Sicilian-style pizza done upside down. The meatball parm hero is a classic, too.