Park Slope and Prospect Heights were once primarily known for their centuries-old brownstones, tree-lined streets, and general small-town vibes, but in the last few years, the adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods have transformed into serious dining destinations. Today, you’ll find restaurants serving everything from traditional chilaquiles to Korean comfort food to bonafide Brooklyn creations like pretzel pork dumplings. These are the spots you absolutely can’t miss.
Park Slope Top Chef’s Dale Talde’s eponymous restaurant has been a Park Slope staple since it opened on a prominent Seventh Avenue corner in 2012. Here, you can expect food from all over Asia fused with a little bit of Brooklyn, like the pork and chive dumplings (made in a pretzel shell and served with spicy mustard) and fried oyster and bacon pad Thai. Be sure to stop by for brunch, when you can get passed dim sum and Talde’s iconic breakfast ramen (featuring noodles served in a buttered toast broth with bacon and a soft boiled egg).
Park Slope Should you find yourself craving a boiled and baked bagel to eat while crouched on a brownstone stoop, Bagel Pub is your spot. Choose from all the usual suspects served crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, to be topped with homemade cream cheeses in flavors like cinnamon raisin walnut, jalapeño Cheddar, mixed berry, cucumber dill, Nutella chocolate chip, and more.
Park Slope You’ll find some of the city’s best handmade pasta at this charming Northern Italian spot, but with that comes a considerable wait. Put your name down and kill time at Mission Dolores or Union Hall (both of which are on the same block). Once you’re seated, opt for whatever seasonal special is available or staples like tagliatelle al ragu (flat, long noodles soaked in creamy meat sauce) and homemade black spaghetti twisted with octopus confit.
Park Slope While many of the city’s best omakase meals can set you back well over $100, this unassuming sushi spot offers a high-quality nine-piece option for a far more palatable $47. The fish (flown in from Japan) is exceptionally fresh, and served simply with a gentle dollop of yuzu sauce or thin strands of kombu. À la carte options are also available, as are plenty of cooked options, ranging from miso cod to tempura-topped udon noodles.
Prospect Heights If you’re looking for a date spot that’s romantic without being over-the-top, Faun is it. This charming Italian spot is home to a tree-shaded backyard where you can enjoy fresh pastas, like bone marrow cappelletti and Swiss chard and ricotta ravioli, along with other local ingredient-focused dishes.
Park Slope An extension of chef-owner Esther Choi’s Korean ramen joint in Chelsea Market, this full-service restaurant serves the spot’s famed kimchi-laced ramen and ramen gravy-topped Disco Fries, but also expands into Jip-Bap set menus that resemble what Choi ate at home as a Korean-American growing up in Jersey. Choose from bulgogi, crispy chicken curry katsu, vegetarian bibimbap, and other mains served with a seasonal salad, soup, rice, and three sides.
Park Slope With a menu fueled by house-milled grains sourced from upstate New York, Gristmill offers all types of starch-based dishes enhanced with local meats and vegetables. Visit weekdays before 7pm for the three-for-$30 set menu deal, in which you can pick a starter like cacio e pepe garlic knots, followed by another small plate and a main, like a Fleishers dry-aged burger on a homemade sourdough milk roll or pizzas topped with Rhode Island mozzarella and Vermont pepperoni.
Best for a cheap bowl of pho and a side of bubble tea: Hanco’s
Park Slope Bridging the gap between deli, cafe, and fast-casual hangout is Hanco’s, a cozy, order-at-the-counter joint where you can get a hefty, fresh banh mi sandwich for under $7 and a steaming bowl of pho the size of your face for under $10. Both sandwiches and soups are served with a variety of proteins (beef, tofu, pork, shrimp) and delivered casually on a cafeteria-style tray. Plop down at one of the communal tables with your laptop (there’s free Wi-Fi) and feel free to stay awhile and work -- everyone else is doing it too.
Park Slope This laid-back, Italian-American gem breaks its menu down by ingredient origin: field, garden, land, and sea. You’ll want to cover it all in a family-style tasting, either by a massive group order or gathering 12+ friends for a $40/person communal meal. Start on the lighter side with delicate fried artichokes and roasted heirloom carrots resting in feta yogurt before opting for a Fior Di Latte-topped Neapolitan-style pizza and linguine tossed with plentiful rock shrimp, lemon zest, and chiles.
Park Slope Inspired by Vietnamese street food, Bricolage offers hearty yet seemingly healthy dishes, ranging from shareable appetizers like the Beef on Beef (beef carpaccio served on a crisp tendon chip) and Vietnamese crepes (made with shrimp and pork or vegetarian), to larger plates like peeky-toe crab glass noodles and a lemongrass grilled pork shop. Grab a seat in the charming, plant-lined garden and don’t miss out on the impressive cocktail menu.
Prospect Heights Alta Calidad’s name literally translates to “high quality,” and the food -- served in the trendy, white-painted, exposed brick and teal-accented dining room -- actually lives up to the hype. Start your meal off with one of two types of queso fundido (vegetarian or chorizo), served steaming in cast-iron trays along with freshly made tortillas for dipping. Then opt for a variety of tacos, or fusion-style dishes like salsa-drenched gnocchi and chicken fried steak tortas.
Prospect Heights An OG New York ramen spot, Chuko continues to serve one of the city’s best bowls of the Japanese noodle soup, with a strong sake list to accompany it. Opt for the meaty and slightly tangy pork or chicken bone-based stocks (veggie soy and miso are also available) with your choice of protein -- fried tofu, roasted pork, spicy ground pork, or steamed chicken. And be sure to request the homemade chili oil to add extra spice to your bowl (or buy a bottle to take home for $8).
Prospect Heights Dating back to 1936, this old-school diner lined with antique newspaper clippings, metal roosters, and plenty of patriotic paraphernalia is sure to induce nostalgia, even if you’re a first-time visitor. Grab a stool at the counter and order a root beer float as you ruminate over the extensive (and affordable) menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, salads, and plenty of all-day breakfast items. Highlights include the sweet potato pancakes with blueberries, a chili cheese omelet, and an ice cream sundae built atop a Belgian waffle.
Park Slope Named after a tree in Prospect Park, this rustic New American spot offers colorful dishes inspired by everywhere from Scandinavia to East Asia. Relax in a blue farm chair or bar stool in the exposed brick dining room and order from a selection of shareable, seasonal plates, like perfectly charred octopus with morcilla in a tomatillo sauce, and a paella-esque crispy rice with clams and shiso. Don’t miss out on the fried muffins, served hot and sprinkled with salt.
Prospect Heights With its bright purple grape soda floats and bike-powered ice cream churn, the OG location of this popular ice cream chain feels like a Brooklynified version of all your childhood dessert dreams come true. Flavors rotate frequently, but you can always count on signature creations like The Munchies (pretzel ice cream with Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels, and mini-M&M) and the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (rich vanilla ice cream mixed with St. Louis-style butter cake).
Prospect Heights You can get your standard spring rolls, spicy wings, and crab fried rice at this cozy Thai cafe, but you’re really here for the traditional, noodle-centric menu, featuring brothy soup bowls, rice noodles in curry, and the excellent Bamee Poo Moo-Dang: a “dry” (no broth) egg noodle dish made with caramelized chunks of pork, succulent crab meat, and bok choy. Add homemade pork rinds ($2) to top off any dish with some crunch.
Prospect Heights Don’t let Olmsted’s “farm-to-table” ethos cause you to lump it in with every other Brooklyn restaurant using locally sourced ingredients. This unpretentious spot utilizes produce grown on-site by co-founder Ian Rothman for completely unique, vegetable-centric dishes by chef Greg Baxtrom (Alinea, Per Se, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns). On the ever-changing menu you’ll find share-ables inspired by a variety of cuisines, like a Thai soup made with summer squash, English pea falafel, and an Italian-style pastrami carpaccio accented with basil plucked straight from the backyard.
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