50 Essential Brooklyn Restaurants
From modern classics to new favorites, the borough is home to some of NYC’s finest food.
Brooklyn has—strangely—become a cultural icon. You can travel to Europe and find Gen Z-ers in “Brooklyn” branded sweatshirts, watch depictions of life here on a handful of TV shows and movies, and even play Monopoly Brooklyn Edition. But it’s really no surprise that there’s so much love for our fair borough: Brooklyn is home to some of NYC’s best attractions—and is often considered one of the coolest places on the planet for good reason. And alongside walking over the Brooklyn Bridge (and other must-try seasonal activities), taking in cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, or exploring all that’s amazing about Greenpoint, the borough also offers some of the finest food and trend-setting eateries across the city.
In addition to stellar pizza or Mexican fare in Williamsburg, Brooklyn also offers an array of top-notch restaurants that showcase cuisines as diverse as the city itself. The next time you’re here, after you’ve knocked down a few pins at Brooklyn Bowl, reward yourself with a steak at St. Anselm or Taiwanese-inspired pastries at Win Son Bakery and check out the remaining 50 best restaurants in Brooklyn. And for even more Brooklyn restaurants, check out our list of new and buzzy NYC restaurants as well.
Al di la Trattoria
Chef Anna Klinger and Emiliano Coppa bring a little bit of the Veneto, a region in Northeastern Italy, to Brooklyn at this Park Slope institution of two decades. The kitchen at al di la evokes the earthy homestyle cuisine from this part of Italy with dishes like the Braised Rabbit and Funghi E Polenta with sauteed wild mushroom (both served with creamy polenta, of course); and Casunziei, a classic crescent-shaped pasta filled with beet and ricotta. The occasional South-Central Italian speciality like Rome's Saltimbocca Alla Roma (layered veal and prosciutto) might find its way onto the menu, too. The restaurant accepts walk-ins, but it's still incredibly popular, so you can expect a considerable wait at peak hours if you don’t make a reservation.
A romantic time out at Aldama begins even before entering its doors, thanks to the gorgeous views of the Williamsburg Bridge on its picturesque Brooklyn street. The contemporary Mexican restaurant is helmed by partner/cocktail expert Christopher Reyes (Cosme, Employees Only) and chef Gerardo Alcaraz (Black Ant, Martín Berasategui in San Sebastián, Spain), and focuses on street food of Central Mexico in addition to offering regional specialties like Pescado Zarandeado and Carne Cecina. The space is separated into small sections with plenty of intimate seating and features an overall modern approach that’s evident from design touches and plateware, to the food and cocktails.
The golden glow of flickering candles illuminates Michelin-starred Aska’s dark, austere dining room, conveying a dualling sense of hot and cold often found at restaurants in Scandinavia. Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius leads the team here, plating a minimalist $295 tasting menu that pays tribute to the seasons as much as it does to his Scandinavian roots. Of course, one will encounter wild foraged ingredients and ample fermentation as found in dishes like Razor Clams with preserved black pine, and one of Berselius’ most beloved courses, poached Norwegian King Crab with white beet and pickled ramps, flavored with Swedish dark beer and garnished with flowering dill.
Aunts et Uncles
Opened several months into the pandemic, Aunts et Uncles specializes in Caribbean-inspired vegan food in a cafe resembling a small independent retail space. The menu features plant-based classics like Mofongo with mashed green plantains alongside inventive reimaginations of Lobster Rolls and Mac n Cheese with white truffle—plus, other assorted items like French Toast and the Link Up, a rendition of a frank served on a pretzel bun. In addition, the eatery offers a variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non, in the families of coffee, tea, beer, wine, and kombucha.
This neighborhood favorite just off of McCarren Park is a mainstay for a reason. The menu at Bernie’s covers American comfort food classics like Mozzarella Sticks, Wedge Salads, and Bernie’s Chicken Parm. And no meal atop the spot’s red-checkered tablecloths is complete without a towering Brownie Sundae, available with vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream, and a round of martinis made the way you like it.
This Cantonese-American restaurant in Williamsburg lives up to the media hype. Named after his mother, Brooklyn native chef Calvin Eng (Nom Wah, Win Son) offers his own interpretation of Cantonese cuisine along with recipes inspired from his childhood that make for a unique dining experience that’s become one of the most coveted reservations in town. From updated versions of American classics Hup to Ha of honey walnut shrimp, to the must-try Fuyu Cacio e Pepe Mein or even his own version of a McRib, a meal here will easily be the highlight of your week.
What started as a pop-up and Smorgasburg vendor, Bunna—which literally translates to coffee in Ethiopian—takes inspiration from its ancestral roots and transports it to Bushwick. Not only does coffee play an integral role in the Ethiopian economy, but it also fuels its citizens and is a valuable part of their culture. But at Bunna Cafe, vegans and vegetarians also get excited for the spot’s plant-based food offerings with staples like their signature Feast meals in communal-style dining that includes seven entrees (choose from Gomen, Keysir Selata, Misir Wot, Yater Kik Alicha, and more) with injera served on the side; in addition to menu items like Lentil Sambusa. Along with cocktails like the Cucumba! (gin, celery & grapefruit shrub, and cucumber seltzer), drinks offerings include the Bunna brewed coffee with cardamom and cloves.
Casa Ora’s story is what NYC dreams are made of: Ivo Diaz, a hospitality industry veteran of over 18 years (The Nomad Hotel, Eleven Madison Park, One Hotel Brooklyn Bridge) opens his own restaurant. He bases the menu off childhood Venezulean dishes he loved and appoints his mother, Isbelis Diaz, as executive chef, and his partner, Rachel Diaz Pirard, as pastry chef. A portion of proceeds go to Venezulean families seeking asylum, and the restaurant remains a neighborhood stalwart. Last year, the space was also broken into and damaged with property destruction from three separate break-ins in a single month—a special Violence Relief fund is currently open for donations.
Located just under the Manhattan Bridge, this chic Mediterranean restaurant from the team behind Grand Army offers panoramic views of the city and a sleek, upscale dining room perfect for its shareable dishes. A slate of mezze like Whipped Labneh drizzled with honey from the Catskills, a housemade hummus, and other classics kick off the menu. Aside from the starters, Celestine’s menu hinges on large format proteins like the Roasted Half Chicken prepared in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven served alongside toum and gremolata and a Whole Branzino with Salsa Veracruz—and all can be enjoyed beside floor-to-ceiling windows showing off an epic, unobstructed view.
Chez Ma Tante
Along with the excellent dinner offerings from their European-inspired menu, Chez Ma Tante is home to some of NYC’s most famous pancakes and has been a brunch staple since it opened in 2017. But beyond the thick, fluffy pancakes with a crispy exterior, this brunch destination has so much more to offer. On the savory side, classic dishes like Country Pâté are available to start, and entrees like Sausage Toulouse with lentils and the Ham Sandwich topped with English cheddar and Branston pickle make up the bulk of the menu.
This lauded Vanderbilt Ave ramen staple opened up in Prospect Heights in 2011, and has since been a longstanding neighborhood favorite for its warming bowls of noodles including the Hakata-style Sesame Garlic Ramen; Miso Ramen, and even Kimchi Ramen. Just note: There’s no reservations at Chuko and the cozy space gets filled up quickly so show up early if you don’t want to wait.
Defonte's Sandwich Shop
A Columbia Street stalwart since 1922, the iconic no-frills Defonte Sandwich Shop in Red Hook is an incontestable Brooklyn favorite. The Italian-American spot gained city-wide fame courtesy of their supersized heroes that are prepared in front of customers over a deli counter. Standout offerings include the Nicky Special (capocollo, salami, fried eggplant); Deli King (corned beef, swiss, coleslaw, mustard); and The Dino (meatballs, marinara, parmesan). Watch the seasoned staff whip up each order with casual finesse, and before you take the goods to go add an order of decades-old house specialty Nick’s Famous Hot Salad (cherry peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, red pepper flakes) to your bill.
Dept Of Culture
This new spot from chef and owner Ayo Balogun transports diners to an intimate dinner party inside a home in Nigeria during the ‘70s/’80s. At Dept of Culture, the cozy space can accommodate up to 16 guests via a large communal table and counter seats while surrounded by Balogun’s family photos and as records from legendary Nigerian artists like Ebenezer Obey play in the background. Diners are then guided through a four-course tasting menu of Balogun’s cooking along with heartfelt stories about his family and time growing up in North Central Nigeria. While the tasting menu’s offerings rotate every two weeks, previous dishes include the sweat-inducing Eja tutu ati oshuka cilantro (red snapper pepper soup); Wara ati obe (cheese cooked in stew); Iyan ati egusi pelu eja alaran ati efo (pounded yam, fermented melon seeds, smoked fish); and Dodo ati ice cream (with caramelized plantain). Reservations are required and can be made via its website.
Đi ăn Đi
This hip Vietnamese-American restaurant from chef Dennis Ngo offers an approach that’s become pervasive at dining tables across the country: An amalgam of traditional recipes and the chef’s own personal interpretations of them, inspired by the tastes each of us grew up with in towns and cities across the U.S. For chef Ngo, that means dishes influenced by Vietnam and Texas at Đi ăn Đi. Inside the dining room’s signature lush greenery and natural sunlight, order up items like Hàu Nướng Phô Mai (grilled oysters); Gỏi Gà (chicken & cabbage salad); phở varieties including the vegetarian Phở Chay; and wrap dishes like Chả Cá Lã Vọng (smoked turmeric hake). Take note, bánh mì is only available during lunch.
Open since 1965, Di Fara is considered the gold standard for a classic NYC slice. This legendary shop from Domenico “Dom” DeMarco who recently passed away at the age of 85, excels in round and square pies topped with high quality ingredients from Italy. And while DeMarco tweaked his recipes over the years and allowed much of his pizza-making to be dictated by feel rather than a strict recipe, the joint has continued to maintain the reputation as serving one of the city’s best slices.
Andrew Tarlow’s OG farm-to-table destination set in an old diner car under the Williamsburg Bridge is still one of the coolest restaurants in NYC, some 22 years later. Chef Mason Lindahl (El Rey, Monkey Bar) is currently at the helm, putting his spin on dishes Diner is known for, including the classic Burger and Brick Chicken. But the restaurant’s signature is that the daily changing menu is scribbled onto butcher paper at each table by the servers, so you never quite know what’s in store for you until you sit down. You could argue restaurants like this made Williamsburg a destination in the first place.
This new Greenpoint hotspot specializes in a seafood-centric menu with both Spanish and Latin-American influences via small plates and tinned seafood. Run by partners chef Nick Padilla (Alameda), bar director Mike Zorman, and restaurateur John Ortiz, El Pinguino features a quaint dining room, bar, and outdoor garden to enjoy special menu sections like Conservas (aka Preserved) with dishes like Mussels en Escabeche (mussels marinated in olive oil, garlic, herbs); Sardines; and Squid in Ragout (squid soaked in tomato sauce and spices). Fresh raw bar items like Tiradito (thinly sliced Peruvian fish) and Aguachile (shrimp topped with chili peppers, lime, salt, cilantro) are sourced from nearby Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. and pair effortlessly with $12 happy hour martinis all week from 4 pm–7 pm.
When it debuted in 2015, Faro helped solidify Bushwick’s rising status as a grown-up culinary neighborhood. Here, a seasonal New American menu is served in a 50-seat converted warehouse that blends contemporary and rustic elements alongside a highly acclaimed menu. Chef Kevin Adey (Northeast Kingdom) works with farmers in Upstate New York to source grains, and subsequently mills flour and makes pasta in-house. His pasta-heavy menu, featuring dishes like Scarpinocc (burrata, brown butter, cauliflower) and Mafalde (braised short rib, chili pangrattato) consistently exceeds expectations, along with entrees like Roasted Half Chicken and Lamb Coulotte.
In a city rife with excellent wine lists, oenophiles flock to The Four Horsemen for rare and unsung bottles of natural wine unfound elsewhere in NYC. This stylish, diminutive wine bar channels a European feel and is perpetually packed with the cool kids not only for its booze (the place also stocked a concise collection of craft spirits), but for the clean, acid and umami-forward plates designed by chef Nick Curtola. Fun fact: James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem is a co-owner.
The European brasserie with Michelin-star honoree chef and co-owner Christopher Cipollone (Cotogna), and co-owner John Winterman (Bâtard, Daniel) at the helm, offers delicate pastas, braised meats, and fantastic dessert offerings in a glitzy space. From large format dishes like the Dry-Aged Crown of Duck and Prime Cote de Boeuf to a section of snacks like Duck Mortadella and Sunchoke Bombolini to share, you’ll find plenty to cover your table for a celebratory meal or a weeknight out.
Frankies 457 Spuntino
Opened in Brooklyn in 2004, the restaurant’s proprietors are the chef duo Frank Facinelli and Frank Castronovo, aka “The Franks,” who helped popularize the old-school aesthetic of tin ceilings, Edison bulbs, exposed brick, and all things we now associate with “classic Brooklyn.” The cozy interior feels like dining inside your grandma’s apartment, and is known for a variety of dishes including the Meatballs, Cavatelli with Faicco’s Hot Sausage and Sage Brown Butter; and the Fennel and Celery Root Salad. This is the flagship restaurant of what would become a Franks mini empire that now includes Frank’s Wine Bar and F&F Pizzeria right next door.
Gage & Tollner
After an initial 13-month delay due to COVID-19, Gage & Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn made its highly anticipated debut last spring. The legendary oyster and chop house’s origins date back to 1879, and its revival is brought to you by veteran restaurateurs Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider (the wife-and-husband duo behind The Good Fork and Insa), and St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance). Inside a space that stuns with its Gilded Age glory, use an evening here as a reason to get dressed up for a night out and prepare for some prime people-watching of your fellow diners within the intimate dining room—all the while enjoying a menu of seafood platters, steaks, and much more. And check out the restaurant’s recently opened nautical-themed bar upstairs, Sunken Harbor Club, which contains no windows to the outside world to transport visitors to the ocean floor.
After closing the long-running Dok Suni in the East Village in 2014 and Do Hwa in the West Village in 2018, chef Jenny Kwak decided she wasn’t done with restaurants just yet. So in late 2018, she opened this Park Slope gem that became an instant classic. Haenyeo’s name is a nod to legendary female deep sea divers from South Korea, and the concept is an homage to powerful matriarchs, as well as a hint that you’re about to experience a menu rife with seafood. The eatery went viral in early 2019 for its Dukbokki Fundido (aka rice cake queso fundido), fusing together a traditional Mexican dish with a traditional Korean one. The playful menu riffs on Korean classics like Japchae and Bulgogi but also features some French-inspired surprises like the Spicy Bouillabaisse, Sauteed Duck Breast, and Watercress Salad.
This Mediterranean restaurant in Bed-Stuy is a neighborhood favorite and a sister spot to eateries like Cervo’s and The Fly. Within Hart’s small and intimate space (the dining room seats about 30), enjoy popular dishes from chef Nick Perkins (Diner, Reynard) like the Clam Toast with Pancetta, Stracciatella with Bottarga and Pizza Bianca, Braised Chicken Thighs with Butter Beans, and Grass-fed Lamb Burger with Marinated Anchovies. Pair everything with natural wine, and on the way out, grab some tinned seafood like sardines, cod liver, and sockeye salmon from their newly launched line of products named Minnow.
It's pretty safe to say that Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que is NYC's 'cue king. With locations in Red Hook and Industry City, his spots serve up Brooklyn-style barbecue (true to the namesake) that utilize southern cooking techniques reflecting the diverse flavor profiles found in Durney’s home borough. Vietnamese Hot Wings, Wood Fired Oaxacan Chicken, and Korean Pork Ribs sticky ribs are just some of the items to enjoy along with Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, collard greens, and Hometown slaw.
Wife-and-husband duo Ria and Kevol Graham have created a tropical paradise of sorts near the Williamsburg waterfront with Kokomo, a restaurant focused on Pan-Caribbean flavors. Since opening during the initial summer of the pandemic, the spot’s bright energy and vibrant menu items like wood-fired flatbreads and Slow-Braised Oxtail have made it a popular addition to its local dining scene. With Ria’s industry background in Caribbean restaurants and Kevol’s hospitality experience in events of over 13 years, from decor to menu, the culinary destination they’ve created continues to be a must-try place of celebration for New Yorkers.
Leland Eating & Drinking House
With more than 25 years of experience in the NYC hospitality world, Leland Eating & Drinking House is industry veteran Randi Lee’s (Del Posto, Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk) first independent project. Located in Prospect Heights, the menu’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by chef Delfin Jaranilla (Fedora, Quality Eats) features nose-to-tail butchery and seasonal ingredients from local farms. In addition to their newly launched basement bakery with goods from head baker Angela Reid, go for signature dishes like the Chicken Jook Porridge, Charred Lemon-Skillet Mussels, and a rendition of Pork & Beans comprised of a grilled pork chop and gigante beans.
After years in fine dining—including five spent at Chicago's Spiaggia, followed by a tenure at Manhattan's award-winning A Voce and A Voce Columbus—James Beard Award-nominated chef Missy Robbins struck out on her own with Lilia, an airy and bright Williamsburg that’s been a hit since opening in 2016. Featuring handmade pastas and wood-fired meat and seafood, Robbins' menu surveys Italy from north to south, drawing on the potent flavors of the Northern regions with offerings like Sheep's Milk Cheese Filled Agnolotti; while conveying the country’s coastal flavors through Black Bass with salsa verde and coal roasted potatoes. In the daytime when the restaurant is closed, visit the adjoined Lilia Caffe, which serves coffee, sandwiches, and sweets all day.
This highly-acclaimed restaurant has been a top destination for Peruvian cuisine in NYC since opening in 2015. At Llama Inn, Peruvian-American chef Erik Ramirez (Eleven Madison Park, Nuela) offers a menu known for its creativity and impressive presentations with items like the Fluke Tiradito, a ceviche with chirimoya, tapioca, winter citrus, huacatay; Quinoa with bacon, cashew, avocado, and banana; Meat Skewers; larger shareable dishes like Whole Bronzino Patarashca and Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry; and more. If you find yourself borough hopping and in Greenwich Village, be sure to check out their sister spot, Llama San.
One of NYC’s most sought-after reservations, unless you know owner Mark Iacono personally, get ready to add your name to a wait list that can last two hours. For more than fifteen years, the self-described “accidental pizzaiolo” has been firing simply adorned, crisp, whole pizza pies via a wood-fueled hearth in a cozy, rustic space. And Lucali’s charming aesthetic is a big part of its allure, as is the difficulty to get in. Sign up for a classic margherita, or calzone, and know that everything is BYOB and cash only. Toppings are up to the diner and usually include pepperoni, shallot, onion, hot peppers, sweet peppers and mushrooms. And if waiting around for a table isn’t in your schedule, drop by Baby Luc’s, a nearby sister-joint offering pizza by the slice.
At this cool neighborhood spot located steps from Prospect Park, guests can dine inside or in the hidden backyard garden where chef and owner Greg Baxtrom grows produce and herbs to inspire the menu. Olmsted’s New American menu features a handful of inventive dishes that change with the seasons, and the backyard seating area regularly features exclusive items using in-season produce like heirloom tomatoes, English peas, and more depending on the time of year, as well as seasonal desserts. Baxtrom also recently just opened Patti Ann’s, a Midwestern comfort food eatery nearby that marks his fourth neighborhood spot alongside Maison Yaki and Patti Ann’s Bakery.
After wandering the Brooklyn Museum or Prospect Park, cap off your evening with a stop by the tasting menu concept, Oxalis. First started as a pop-up in 2018, the eatery is now known for the globally-inspired nine course carte blanche menu which is $112 per guest, with an additional $70 fee for beverage pairings. For this season’s menu, expect offerings like Hiramasa Kobujime (cured tuna, berries, mandarin kosho); Crispy Turnip en Pressé (topped with preserved truffle); and blood orange Parisian Flan. Drinks-wise, there’s a concise and expertly curated natural wine list as well as cocktails options ranging from classics like a Negroni to house specialties such as Wizard’s Comb (chamomile, orange wine, lemon). Keep it intimate by snagging a seat inside the quant dining room or if the weather permits dine al fresco on the outdoor patio.
The wood-fired Mexican fare designed originally by chef Justin Bazdarich (Speedy Romeo) is what helped the Greenpoint spot earn one Michelin star after opening in 2018. The stunning interior features high ceilings, a white-washed aesthetic, plants hanging from a skylit ceiling, and woven chairs. The scene at Oxomoco is a total vibe, like you just walked into the coolest restaurant in CDMX. Don’t skip the Escabeche, any of the tostadas, the Beet “Chorizo” Tacos, or a variety of tequila and mezcal-focused cocktails.
There's a good reason why Paulie Gee’s, the Neapolitan pizza spot from its namesake owner, is now pushing 12 years of age. Focused on uniquely topped Neapolitan pizzas, this rustic tavern has earned a devout following for its amazing pies. The pizza to try here is the cultishly beloved Hellboy, which is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, locally made soppressata, Parmesan, and drizzled with chili honey, then cooked in a 1000° F Stefano Ferrara wood-fueled oven for 60 seconds. Paulie Gee also operates a New York-style slice shop around the corner.
Unlike other popular Brooklyn spots with similar offerings, Peaches HotHouse’s menu showcases that southern food isn't as simple as Baked Mac & Cheese and Fried Chicken—but it also requires an abundance of soul. At this Bed-Stuy eatery founded by Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman, their menu boasts classics like the signature Fried Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Best Chicken Sandwich Anywhere, Fried Catfish, and more. And sure to hit up its sister spots at nearby Peaches Kitchen & Bar and Peaches Grand in Clinton Hill.
Peter Luger Steak House
This Brooklyn institution has been the subject of glowing reviews and no-holds-barred takedowns through the 135 years it has been open, but it undeniably remains a NYC classic. And while Peter Luger can be inconsistent, doesn’t take credit cards (we know, they started taking debit cards but it’s not the same thing), and can seem overpriced, it’s still one of the most legendary dining experiences and steakhouses in NYC—and its Steak for Two, Luger-Burger, and Ice Cream Sundae are still must-eats.
Greenpoint’s Little Poland is home to a glut of restaurants owned and operated by the neighborhood’s historic population of Polish residents, all offering a taste of the Motherland. Pierozek is a newcomer to the scene, opening in late 2020 and offers both traditional and hybrid takes on the classic pierogi (dumplings). Run by a husband and wife team, their menu offers varieties like the Ruskie (cheese and potato); Kaszanya (blood sausage); or more nouveau options like the Murray’s Cheese (Irish cheddar, potato, chives, and bacon) or the Jalapeño (jalapeños, cheese, potato and bacon). You’ll also find sweet pierogi for dessert as well as a full menu of beer, wine, and cocktails.
As one of the first restaurants to offer a unique approach to Filipino cuisine and serve it to the Brooklyn masses (along with a few other influences), Purple Yam is still one of the top reasons to travel all the way out to Ditmas Park. Reinterpreting Filipino classics like Sisig, Chicken Adobo, and Lechon, you’ll also find dishes that pull from other cuisines like the Jap Chae (a Korean dish), Korean meatballs, Mussels in Thai curry with Coconut Milk sauce, along with homemade Kimchi.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
While a visit to Red Hook Lobster Pound is no excursion to Maine, its far trek from the nearest subway, tucked away Brooklyn location, and fresh lobsters from Maine can feel like one. At this classic spot for its namesake and more, along with lobster rolls like The Classic or The Connecticut that’s served mayo-free with the meat poached in butter, choose from seafood hits like raw bar items, a variety of boils, salads, sandwiches, Chowdahs, entrees like Lobster Mac and Cheese, and desserts like Churros and Banana Mousse Pudding.
This award-winning restaurant located under the Brooklyn Bridge offers postcard-worthy views of the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty, and is synonymous with date nights, weddings, and any special occasion where the magic of NYC’s panorama can dial up the romance factor. At The River Cafe, dine on New American cuisine at the fine-dining establishment with dishes like Scallop Ceviche, Roasted Rabbit, Crispy Duck Breast, and Butter Poached Lobster, along with classic cocktails and a renowned wine program. Take note, the dress code for gentlemen includes jackets and a collared shirt for the dining room.
Roberta’s burst onto the Bushwick dining scene more than a decade ago and it’s grown more beloved with every passing year. Perhaps predicting the phone-eats-first phenom, both the space and the pies are photogenic. Choose from a roster of expertly crafted options like the Famous Original, swiped with red sauce, melty mozzarella, sharp Caciocavallo and parmesan and a sprinkle of chili flakes and oregano, or design your own with twenty-some-odd toppings. A Domino Park location is also now open.
Rule Of Thirds
This Japanese restaurant from a former staffer behind the Brooklyn hot spot, Okonomiyaki, is known for its creative small plates and more highlighting seasonal ingredients. At Rule of Thirds, kick off with starters grilled over a binchotan charcoal like Duck Hearts, Pork Jowl, and Chicken Meatball before moving on to larger signature dishes like the Mazeman brothless ramen or Blade Steak Tonkatsu. The restaurant’s outdoor dining setup sits tucked away in an adjacent alley and is also one of the top in NYC to check out.
Persian food takes center stage at Sofreh, a warm and inviting restaurant in Prospect Heights. Here, chef and owner Nasim Alikhani cooks with love while drawing inspiration from her mother and countless other strong women who’ve had an impact on her life. Showcased through gorgeous dishes that encompass all of the wonderfully colorful and fragrant details featured in Iranian cuisine (rice based offerings, herbs, sweet and sour flavors, and tender meats), signature dishes include a variety of rice offerings like Saffron Rice; braised Lamb Shank with butter beans in a dill and dried lime broth; and Persian Herb & Noodle Stew. Cocktails include the Tehran Dirty (vodka, pickled almond brine) and Taste of Cherry (gin, sweet vermouth, sour cherry syrup).
Williamsburg’s other steakhouse is much less famous than Peter Luger, but it might actually be better. The humble and intimate exposed brick and wood space is welcoming and comfy, while the menu boasts new takes on comfort food of the meaty variety, with dishes like the Ax Handle Rib Eye coming in at 45-65 oz; New York Strip au poivre; Sweet Tea Brined Bobo Chicken; and a Bourbon Brined Pork Porterhouse. Vegetables are expertly prepared with options like Pan-Fried Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli with Ranch, and Long Beans w/ Garlic Butter. For dessert, the signature Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae has brandied cherries, caramel, and cacao nibs.
This Bay Ridge Middle Eastern stalwart is a classic for a reason, chef Rawia Bashara’s cooking helped the restaurant earn James Beard nominations, and after over 20 years in business, Rawia is now a published cookbook author as well. The warm and laid-back interiors make it a neighborhood favorite, but the food (with influences from Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon) is what truly makes Tanoreen a destination. Sample everything from the Kibbe to the Mushakan to the Fetti, and make sure to end your meal with the famous Knafeh for dessert.
Known for serving up some of the most sought-after tacos in the borough is CDMX-style Taqueria Ramirez. Run by Tania Apolinar and Giovanni Cervantes, the eatery sports a concise six-item menu of Tacos de Pastor; Suadero; Longaniza; Campechano; Tripa; and Nopales. All meats are cooked in the choricera (a large stainless steel pot) or trompo (rotating spit)—which are then served in grilled corn tortillas. With no takeout or delivery, these beauties are meant to be devoured onsite within the restaurant, which features much sought-after 16 stools. For drinks there’s two options to accompany your bites: Mexican Coke or Topo Chico.
After initially delaying its opening to August 2020 due to the pandemic, Tong in Bushwick is a stellar spot for Isaan cooking hailing from Thailand’s northeastern region bordering Laos. Here, executive chef Chetkangwan “Jade” Thipruetree’s hometown of the Thai city, Khon Kaen, is reflected in the menu with dishes like the Naem Khluk, a tongue-tingling crispy rice salad with lumps of fermented sausage that’s properly spicy. Diners can also deviate from the typically sweet and nutty papaya salads of central Thailand and get Tum Poo Plara instead, made with funky fermented anchovy paste and deeply savory crab.
Ugly Baby is from the team behind the now-closed Kao Soy in Red Hook. This small, colorful, and unpretentious restaurant draws inspiration from several different regions of Thailand. The menu here features complex dishes and serious spice-lovers should pay special attention to the Kua Kling, a dry shank beef curry from the South which even gets the classification of “brutally spicy” on the menu. Additional menu items include the Nuey Foy (sweet shredded beef), Yum Tua Pa (wing bean salad), and limited-time specials like Peek Gai (ground pork stuffed chicken wings).
Vinegar Hill House
Nestled near the waterfront, adjacent to DUMBO, is local farm-to-table neighborhood spot, Vinegar Hill House. Opened in 2008, the eatery is known for their idyllic wood table-strewn outdoor patio (perched beneath a cherry tree), hearty American-influenced fare, and bespoke cocktail menu. Guest favorite entrees include the Red Wattle Pork Chop (cheddar jalapeño grits, pork jus); Rigatoni (lamb ragú, pecorino); and Cast Iron Chicken (shallots, sherry vinegar jus). The cream cheese frosting-topped Guinness Chocolate Cake is a can’t-miss on the dessert side. For beverages, drink choices range from specialty cocktails like the Rose Blossom G&T (gin, rose blossom, cardamon, tonic water) to a lengthy list of wine and locally-sourced beers from breweries like Threes Brewing in Gowanus.
Since hitting the food scene with its Taiwanese American offerings in 2016, the popular East Williamsburg corner location of Win Son has since gained a bakery (with signature donuts, desserts, and savory snacks) across the street. But at the original restaurant that’s open for dinner and brunch service, diners can cover the table in small plates that range from expected picks like Marinated Cucumbers and Scallion Pancakes to more inventive dishes like a Sloppy Bao with minced pork, chili, and peanuts; and the popular Fly’s Head. On the beverage side, you’ll find a dozen signature cocktails, a sprawling wine list, and several Taiwanese whiskey and Baiju to order by the pour.