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Brooklyn restaurants

Brooklyn was a dream. All the things that happened there just couldn't happen. It was all dream stuff. Or was it all real and true and was it that she, Francie, was the dreamer?
- Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

$1 - €0.91
03:18
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Photo: Courtesy of Prime Meats

Bien Cuit

  • Boerum Hill, Bakery, $$$$ $$
  • 120 Smith St.
  • Brooklyn, 11201
  • +1-718-852-0200
  • Website

A go-to for serious bread connoisseurs, the artisanal bakery sells French staples like double-baked almond croissants, fresh-out-of-the-oven baguettes, and decadent eclairs, all proudly baked in-house with local ingredients the old-fashioned way. 

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

  • Carroll Gardens, Ice Cream Parlor, $$$$ $
  • 513 Henry St.
  • Brooklyn, 11231
  • +1-718-522-6260
  • Website

An old-fashioned pharmacy is now an old-fashioned-looking soda fountain and sundries shop. Soda jerks with cute paper hats delight kids of all ages with seasonal ice cream floats, shakes, sundaes, and classic egg creams. 

Bunker

  • East Williamsburg, Vietnamese, $$$$ $$
  • 99 Scott Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11237
  • +1-718-386-4282
  • Website

Down a desolate dead end in an industrial swath of northeastern Williamsburg is the last place you’d expect to find an airy, vibrant Vietnamese street food joint brimming with colorful lanterns and a cool, in-the-know crowd. Yet here it is, serving delicious pho and banh mi, properly-roasted meats and whole fish, and a nice selection of tasty vegetarian alternatives.

Bunna Cafe

  • Bushwick, Ethiopian, $$$$ $$
  • 1084 Flushing Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11237
  • +1-347-295-2227
  • Website

Everything at this lively, dimly-lit restaurant is fresh, delicious, and vegan. Order an Ethiopian feast (for two, three, or four) and receive the menu’s best dishes over a base of tart injera. For your buzz, there’s regular live music, Ethiopian beer, cocktails, and honey wine, and soul-warming Ethiopian coffee, which is doled out at traditional coffee ceremonies — for free.

The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

  • Boerum Hill, American, $$$$ $$$$
  • 200 Schermerhorn St.
  • Brooklyn, 11201
  • +1-718-243-0050
  • Website

A dining establishment with a Clark Kent-Superman complex. By day, a humble grocer. By night, a big-buzz, 18-seater for chef Cesar Ramirez's three Michelin-starred, avant-garde tasting menus. Reservations need to be made six weeks out.

Chuko

  • Prospect Heights, Japanese, $$$$ $$
  • 552 Vanderbilt Ave,
  • Brooklyn, 11238
  • +1-718-576-6701
  • Website

This minimalist, sake box-size noodle shop slays it with spicy chicken wings, fried brussel sprouts, and incredibly rich bowls of ramen. If there's a wait, whet your whistle with a drink at Weather Up bar across the street.

Defonte’s

  • Red Hook, Deli, $$$$ $
  • 379 Columbia St.
  • Brooklyn, 11231
  • +1-718-625-0852
  • Website

The cult sandwich shop has been delighting mamas' boys since 1922. Arteries tingle with joy for scratch-made mozzarella and fried eggplant, sausage-and-pepper combos, and pickled veggies piled high on crusty loaves. Fraternize with good old Italian boys and make yourself a regular.

Hometown Bar-B-Que

  • Red Hook, BBQ, $$$$ $$
  • 454 Van Brunt St.
  • Brooklyn, 11231
  • +1-347-294-4644
  • Website

Brooklyn’s cathedral to barbecue has two bars, live music, and a mouthwatering selection of oak-smoked meats, classic Southern sides, and community-inspired flavor bombs like Jamaican jerk ribs, Vietnamese hot wings, and brisket tacos.

Insa

  • Gowanus, Korean, $$$$ $$
  • 328 Douglass St.
  • Brooklyn, 11217
  • +1-718-855-2620
  • Website

The bustling Korean barbecue joint brings rarely seen regional specialties (like blood sausage and seafood corndogs), tiki drinks and locally made soju, and themed karaoke rooms to a wood-clad warehouse with communal and bar seating a block from the Gowanus Canal.

La Superior

  • Williamsburg, Mexican, $$$$ $
  • 295 Berry St.
  • Brooklyn, 11211
  • +1-718-388-5988
  • Website

A bustling taqueria/hip roadside diner serving delicious masa snacks (tacos, gorditas, spicy pork, tortas, top-notch condiments) with a casual cool (crowd, music, service).

La Vara

  • Cobble Hill, Spanish, $$$$ $$
  • 268 Clinton St.
  • Brooklyn, 11201
  • +1-718-422-0065

A lively, cozy tapas restaurant with a focus on the culinary contributions of Jews and Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula. You'll notice footnotes to history in plates of delicate artichokes, Arabic noodles, and skewered chicken hearts. But mostly, you'll just order one of everything on the menu and think to the future: Torta de Santiago for dessert.

Marlow & Sons

  • Williamsburg, American, $$$$ $$
  • 81 Broadway
  • Brooklyn, 11249
  • +1-718-384-1441
  • Website

Mettā

  • Fort Greene, Gastropub, $$$$ $$$
  • 197 Adelphi St.
  • Brooklyn, 11205
  • +1-718-233-9134
  • Website

Fire takes center stage at this South American-inspired neighborhood gem helmed by Francis Mallmann alum Norberto Piattoni. Pull up to the beautiful bar, order a house-made elixir, and watch the kitchen’s open flame torch your sourdough, sweet potatoes, and steak to crispy, charred perfection.

Mimi's Hummus

  • Ditmas Park, Mediterranean, $$$$ $$
  • 1209 Cortelyou Rd.
  • Brooklyn, 11218
  • +1-718-284-4444
  • Website

It's small, cheerful, and well-designed; you'll feel like a houseguest. Mimi Kitani turns out incredible hummus, chickpea dishes, root vegetables, and more that nod to her family history in Israel, Morocco, and the Kurdish region of Iraq. Thankfully, her homemade provisions are available to-go (stock up!) at her market next door.

Olmsted

  • Prospect Heights, New American, $$$$ $$$
  • 659 Vanderbilt Ave.
  • Brookklyn, 11238
  • +1-718-552-2610
  • Website

A Blue Hill at Stone Barn alum and a former horticulturalist team up to build a cozy neighborhood restaurant with a living wall, a backyard garden that occasionally hosts animals and guests waiting for tables, and a serious, seasonal, envelope-pushing menu. Typical Brooklyn farm-to-table establishment, this is not.

Peter Luger

  • South Williamsburg, Steak House, $$$$ $$$
  • 178 Broadway
  • Brooklyn, 11211
  • +1-718-387-7400
  • Website

Back in the day, when Williamsburg was mostly an uninhabited industrial wasteland, and even before that (circa 1887), this steakhouse was still packed every night of the week. These days the hipster scene (including plenty of Luger clones) has developed all around it, but the ol' stalwart has kept its authentic old-school charm: incredibly bright lights, dressed-up gentleman servers, and the killer 1/2 pound Luger-burger at lunch.

Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop

  • Greenpoint, Bakery, $$$$ $
  • 727 Manhattan Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11222
  • +1-718-389-3676
  • Website

The neighborhood mainstay has been dishing out deeply satisfying donuts in more than twenty classic varieties since 1952, long before Brooklyn’s other doughnut sensation, Dough, entered the fray. Drop in once doors open at 4:30 a.m., observe the yentas chatting, and order from the cute Polish girls dressed in old-school uniforms behind the counter. Here, everything, including the prices, is wonderfully lost in time. 

The River Cafe

  • Dumbo, French, $$$$ $$$
  • One Water Street
  • Brooklyn, 11201
  • +1-718-522-5200
  • Website

File this under "magical NYC experience," and dress to impress. The classic white-tablecloth restaurant is tucked under the Brooklyn Bridge and has million-dollar views of Manhattan. Order champagne in the garden and don't leave without ordering a chocolate rendition of the famed suspension bridge for dessert.

Roberta's

  • Bushwick, Pizza, American, $$$$ $$
  • 261 Moore St.
  • Brooklyn, 11206
  • +1-718-417-1118
  • Website

This cobbled-together pizza joint means many things to many people. Part farm lab, part Heritage Radio station (broadcast from a shipping container), part high-brow kitchen experiment, and all-around Bushwick community center.

Saltie

  • Williamsburg, Sandwich Shop, $$$$ $
  • 378 Metropolitan Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11211
  • +1-718-387-4777
  • Website

Throw away all preconceived notions of what belongs between two pieces of bread — this small shop delivers everything you could ever ask for in a sandwich. Breads are homemade, veggies/meats/sauces are combined whimsically, taste sensations are savored sloppily, and everything is topped with a dollop of love. 

Selemat Pagi

  • Greenpoint, Indonesian, $$$$ $$
  • 152 Driggs Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11222
  • +1-718-701-4333
  • Website

When you can’t afford a tropical vacation, trek to this low-key, tropical-looking spot from the team behind Van Leeuwen's Ice Cream (random!) for beautiful, healthy, vegetable-heavy takes on Balinese classics, like green papaya salad, pumpkin coconut curry, and umami-rich nasi goreng.

Tanoreen

  • Bay Ridge, Middle Eastern, $$$$ $$
  • 7523 3rd Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11209
  • +1-718-748-5600
  • Website

A mother-daughter team welcomes you home to their lively neighborhood spot where Arabic music, clinking glasses, and platters of mezze (stuffed grape leaves, Armenian sausage, fattoush) swirls around in one cacaphonous family reunion.

Vinegar Hill House

  • Vinegar Hill, New American, $$$$ $$$
  • 72 Hudson Ave.
  • Brooklyn, 11201
  • +1-718-522-1018
  • Website

Off the beaten path (which is tough to say in well-trodden NYC), in the historical Navy Yard area, is a delightfully ramshackled little restaurant, perfect for cold nights and meals served in cast-iron skillets. Sure, the cocktails are carefully made and the mustaches carefully combed, but the style has substance to match.

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