Fathom Favorites : Brooklyn Restaurants

1. Nowadays

The two DJs behind Mister Saturday Night have opened a big factory space and backyard on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. In warm weather, there’s ample room to spread out (full of New York’s hottest commodity — grass), trees, hills, a a ping pong table, and string lights along the perimeter at night. Play games, eat dinner, have drinks, watch a movie. And check out Mister Sunday, the duo’s epic daytime dance party every Sunday during the summer.

56-06 Cooper Ave.
Queens, NY 11385

2. Olmsted


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.

659 Vanderbilt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238

3. Selemat Pagi

Selemat Pagi

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.

152 Driggs Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222

4. Bunker


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.

99 Scott Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237

5. Mettā


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 pyrotechnics take to your sourdough, sweet potatoes, lamb, and steak.

197 Adelphi St.
Brooklyn, NY 11205

6. Insa


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.

328 Douglass St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

7. Hometown Bar-B-Que

Hometown Bar-B-Que

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.

454 Van Brunt St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

8. Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop

Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop

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. 

727 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222

9. Di Fara Pizza

Di Fara Pizza

Not much has changed since Domenico DeMarco opened his legendary pizzeria more than half a century ago — the master pizzaiolo still hand-makes every pie that comes out of his shop (very, very slowly: he's in his '80s); pizza fiends still brave the crazy long lines for a taste. A permanent outpost in Williamsburg’s North 3rd Street Market will help alleviate the wait, but nothing will replace commuting to Midwood in the name of NYC’s most storied slice.

1424 Ave. J
Brooklyn, NY 11230

10. Bunna Cafe

Bunna Cafe

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 poured as part of an elaborate and traditional coffee ceremony — for free.

1084 Flushing Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237

11. The River Cafe

The River Cafe

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.

One Water St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

12. Tanoreen


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.

7523 3rd Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11209

13. Chuko


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.

552 Vanderbilt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238

14. Vinegar Hill House

Vinegar Hill House

Off the beaten path (which is tough to say in well-trodden NYC), in the historical Navy Yard area, is a delightfully ramshackle 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. And the hidden street is a real gem.

72 Hudson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

15. Roberta's


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

261 Moore St.
Brooklyn, NY 11206

16. Peter Luger

Peter Luger

Back in the day, when Williamsburg was mostly an uninhabited industrial mass, 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 (and affordably priced) 1/2 pound Luger Burger at lunch.

178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211

17. Mimi's Hummus

Mimi's Hummus

It's small, cheerful, and well-designed; you'll feel like a house guest. 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.

1209 Cortelyou Rd.
Brooklyn, NY 11218

18. La Vara

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.

268 Clinton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

19. Defonte’s


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 Americans and make yourself a regular.

379 Columbia St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

20. Marlow & Sons

Marlow & Sons

81 Broadway
Brooklyn, 11249

21. The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

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.

200 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

22. La Superior

La Superior

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).

295 Berry St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211