At this point, Brooklyn is really a city unto itself. The transformation started with Williamsburg, which is what put Brooklyn on the map for this generation of New Yorkers, though each neighborhood has its own little personality and ecosystem—Cobble Hill and Park Slope are great residential neighborhoods for young families, Boerum Hill (which has some excellent shopping) offers beautiful walks among the brownstones, and Bushwick still has a plenty of reliable mom-and-pop type stores nestled in with the trendier businesses. Needless to say, this is a guide that will continue to evolve and expand, as new, exciting spots are popping up at lightning speed.
61 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.963.3369
This adults-only bowling alley turned concert venue provides an entertainment trifecta, guaranteeing a pretty great night out, especially in a group. You can bowl to great music (Questlove, for one, DJs on Thursdays), dine on Blue Ribbon’s fried chicken and spiked milkshakes, and see the occasional big-name group.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 N. 6th St., Williamsburg | 718.486.5400
This gritty Williamsburg concert hall has debuted many an indie and new wave band. It’s one of our favorite venues in the city, second only to the Bowery Ballroom (it’s from the same family), as the sound is great and it’s nice and intimate. You can stand and watch on the ground floor, but there’s more low-key, tiered standing areas upstairs for those inclined to claustrophobia. Fall highlights: Julien Baker, Bastille, Shovels & Rope, Bon Iver, and more.
159 Pioneer St., Red Hook | 718.596.3001
Artist Dustin Yellin opened this non-profit contemporary arts center, located in a large, brick and timber 19th-century warehouse in Red Hook, a few years back. It feels a bit like a young PS1, with one of the largest uninterrupted exhibition spaces in New York City, both indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, public programs, artists residencies, and a magazine, Intercourse. You can also rent the space for private events.
Designed in the late 1800’s by the same duo behind Manhattan’s Central Park (Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux), Prospect Park, although not quite as large, is still massive at 580-plus acres, spanning multiple neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and offering plenty of outdoor fun. If you want to picnic and chill, head to Long Meadow near the top of the park (you can enter at the Grand Army Plaza or one of the openings along Prospect Park West)—which is touted as the longest green stretch in any U.S. park, at nearly a mile long. South of Long Meadow is the Ravine, an expansive woodland and waterway landscape. Further east, there’s the Prospect Park Zoo and carousel. Water activities (including Prospect Park’s Splash Pad) are housed at Le Frak Center at Lakeside near the southeast corner of the park. Also nearby, check out Drummer’s Grove.
40 Bogart St., Bushwick | 718.386.3399
Think of Syndicated as a one-stop-shop for the dinner-and-a-movie date. In the front, there’s a restaurant and bar area for old-fashioned eating and drinking (with a great seasonal menu to match) with a fun, buzzy atmosphere. In the back, there’s a movie theater (also with an excellent food and drink menu) that plays an awesomely curated selection of movies at a $3 ticket price, including everything from old black-and-whites to documentaries to cult classics. The whole operation is undeniably fun.
The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy., Prospect Heights | 718.638.5000
One of the largest and oldest art museums in the country, the Brooklyn Museum is housed in a gorgeous Beaux-Arts building at the top of Prospect Park. Besides being one of our favorite Brooklyn landmarks, the exhibitions are great (and sometimes quite splashy). The colorful African exhibitions rooms and American design galleries are pretty spectacular. Don’t miss Judy Chicago’s classic 70’s feminist installation, “The Dinner Party.”
342 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 347.227.7077
Despite identifying as a primarily Israeli spot, the menu at 12 Chairs is fairly broad, meaning that you’ll always spot something you want. The Hummus is a must-order—smooth, tangy, garlicky and served in a giant bowl topped with even more chickpeas and a side of crunchy pita. On weekends, the chefs make Jachnun (a Yemenite bread spiked with complex date honey, cooked overnight, and served with a jammy boiled egg), the stuffed cabbage is available every day, as are the pillowy pelmeni—overall, really good comfort food that feels light and fresh. The wine selection is a thoughtful list of several Israeli labels amongst others. The place does pack out daily without fail, but the wait is never too long.
1 or 8
180 West St., Greenpoint | 347.987.3666
Local restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (who brought you other old-school-Brooklyn-inspired destinations Diner, Marlow & Sons, and the Wythe Hotel) opened this low-key neighborhood gastropub in an early-1900s bar facing the East River, which was once frequented by the workers from nearby shipyard docks. The kitchen here is minor, but chef Lee Desrosiers designed a menu of light, gently-cooked fare—think poached fish, beef tartare, or heirloom veggies in broth—sourcing ingredients, naturally, from their sister business, Williamsburg butcher shop and artisan grocer Marlow & Daughters.
al di là Trattoria
248 Fifth Ave., Park Slope | 718.783.4565
This homey, casual, and very popular neighborhood trattoria doesn’t take reservations, but you can wait in their charming wine bar next door. The menu hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1998—it’s pretty much perfect Venetian fare, with particularly excellent pastas. They take reservations for groups of 6-10 only.
Black Mountain Wine House
415 Union St., Carroll Gardens | 718.522.4340
This warmly-lit, cozy, wooden house offers an excellent selection of wines and a small menu of casual small plates. Brimming with charm, this is a great spot for a laid-back date or for meeting up for a drink (and then just never leaving).
261 Moore St., Bushwick | 347.799.2807
Roberta’s splashy little sister, which lives in a sleek warehouse right on the restaurant’s grounds, is where chef Carlo Mierarchi gets to flex his culinary muscles. He serves a tasting menu of varied origins: The meal might kick off with Omakase-style Japanese appetizers, followed by pasta, and then an excellent cut of lamb or beef. There are only 12 seats, which face a massive open kitchen—while it’s a steep $195 a seat, the food is fantastic, the vibe is great, and it’s a wonderful experience. Reservations are a must.
200 Schermerhorn St., Boerum Hill | 718.243.0050
This place is a foodie’s dream: In addition to stocking every gourmet ingredient you could think of, the 18-seat Chef’s Table, run by Cesar Ramirez, churns out exceptional (and expensive) Japanese-French small plates. Reservations are very hard to come by, which makes sense as it’s Brooklyn’s only restaurant with three Michelin stars.
99 Scott Ave., Bushwick | 718.386.4282
You can’t go wrong at this vibrant Vietnamese street-food restaurant that serves incredible banh mi, pho, and mouthwatering meat, fish, and veggie vermicelli plates. They’re devoted to vegetables and heritage meats from local farms, and their pure ethos is reflected in the dishes, which explode with lemongrass- and turmeric-infused goodness. The place is a patchwork of colors, and the vibe is casual and breezy, with mismatched chairs and tables.
757 Fulton St., Fort Greene | 718.858.9500
The Cuban-style food and quick take-out (especially the corn) at the original outpost in Nolita satiates that very specific craving, and the place is always flooded with people from midday to midnight. It can get noisy—there’s a take-out window next door if the crowds are too overwhelming. The location in Brooklyn is a little less crazy; as is the one across the country in the Malibu Country Mart.
210 Smith St., Cobble Hill | 718.855.7939
Like many of its brethren, this bar has a hint of speakeasy décor and the usual cast of suspender-clad and bearded bartenders. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the cocktails they make are good, old-fashioned stiff drinks and inventive combinations. Brunch here is also delicious—great eggs, fried chicken, and perfect pancakes.
Di Fara Pizza
1424 Ave. J, Midwood | 718.258.1367
People make daily pilgrimages to this old-school pizza join deep in Brooklyn, and with good reason. The legendary Dom DeMarco makes every single one of his famous rectangular pizzas himself, which can make the lines long—yes, even out on Avenue J—but worth the wait. He uses top quality ingredients and then tops each and every pie with herbs, freshly grated parmesan, and a healthy pour of olive oil.
1057 Atlantic Ave, Bedford-Stuyvesant
The particular strip of Atlantic Avenue Diamond Reef inhabits isn’t exactly a tropical oasis, but the tiki-themed cocktails designed by the famous barmen Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy absolutely are. With wood-paneled walls and bright-turquoise booths, the place is what we imagine a mid-century-modern party house would look like. The drinks, like the Booze and Juice, a shot paired with fresh granny Smith apple juice, are playful, and the backyard, which is huge and heated, is a good time almost any time of year. The bar’s version of the classic Penicillin cocktail (honey, lemon, ginger, and scotch), thrown into a slushy machine and re-named the Penichillin, is especially delicious.
85 Broadway, Williamsburg | 718.486.3077
Operating out of a renovated 1920s train car, this quirky little spot from Andrew Tarlow has served Williamsburg since the late 90s. In the past 20 years, it’s lost none of its appeal, thanks to a seasonal and daily menu of American classics, from one of the best burgers in Brooklyn, to a solid roast chicken on any night of the week. The atmosphere gets downright rowdy the later it gets with scores of hipsters rolling up for late-night eating to a soundtrack of old-school hip-hop. The restaurant sticks to a strict no-reservations policy, so expect to wait for a seat. Luckily, you can get a strong drink at the bar to tide you over or head next door to Marlow & Sons for a glass of wine.
412 Court St., Carroll Gardens | 347.987.3545
Unlike its sister restaurant Battersby, you can also order à la carte here. This is a boon as you’ll want to sample as many of these New American dishes as possible. From a hamachi with homemade ponzu, radish, and sesame, to cauliflower topped with raisins, pistachios, and colatura, to a garganelli with duck ragu and wild ramps, the dishes are excitingly creative, seasonal, and tasty. The pale wood and small tabletops feel a bit casual for the sophistication of the dishes and the price point, but we like that it’s so low-key.
17 Ingraham St., Bushwick | 347.599.2976
Tasty Mexican food and tiki cocktails meld seamlessly at El Cortez, a casual, laid-back spot that’s perfect for a one-on-one date or a pack of friends. The décor is colorful with a slight retro-diner feel, a fitting match with the piña coladas and incredible rum punch. There’s an upstairs with an outdoor patio that’s particularly popular in warmer months, and one night of the week is devoted to karaoke. The menu is fantastic—especially the fish tacos, which come battered, fried, and enveloped in a gloriously crisp shell—and the meat is free-range and organic. The tacos, burritos, tortas, chimichangas, and enchiladas are very much the real draw here, but we’re not mad at the cheeseburger and fries, either.
364 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.360.4535
Pretty much everyone we know gives the Detroit-style pizza at Emmy Squared in Williamsburg rave reviews, although there’s a nice line-up of Italian sandwiches here, too: spicy meatball, spicy chicken, and chicken parm, all served on pretzel buns. The restaurant was unveiled this spring by the same couple behind Emily, the duo’s original, widely loved pizza-centric spot in Clinton Hill.
457 Court St., Carroll Gardens | 718.403.0033
Whether you head to the Carroll Gardens original or the West Village outpost, you can expect a home-style Italian meal in a casual, neighborhood setting from Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. We love their vegetable-centric offerings, house-made pasta, and hearty Meatball Parmigiana, which is pretty great for lunch.
18 Bedford Ave., Greenpoint | 718.383.5345
While Five Leaves is tucked into a particularly cute corner of Brooklyn, it mimics the café culture of Paris to really good results. The tables outside are packed, no matter how cold it is, with friends sipping on wine, coffee, and splitting orders of perfectly crispy fries. This is not a get-in, get-out kind of place—you’re here for the long run. Get the spicy coconut broth mussels and finish with the rosewater Pavlova. We also like to drop in alone for an affogato at the bar—the most perfectly creamy caffeinated snack to tide you over until dinner.
The Four Horsemen
295 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.599.4900
A passion project of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, the Four Horsemen is one of our favorite places for natural wine not just in New York, but anywhere. Show up early for a seat at the bar or make a reservation ahead of time—this teeny spot packs out every night. The by-the-glass section is tightly edited while the wine list itself is akin to a small leather-bound novel. The staff is really good about making suggestions if you don’t know where to begin. The food menu is short, concise, and unapologetic—they don’t do substitutions here, but you probably won’t want any. To warm up, split an order of the beurre blanc saturated carrots, then get the Meyer lemon, bottarga, and breadcrumb-flecked pasta for yourself, and the budino for dessert. The good vibes are a testament to a loyal crowd of regulars who are comfortable in the space and enthusiastic about the food.
95 Commercial St., Greenpoint | 718.389.0640
Perched on the northern tip of Brooklyn, and housed in a former glass factory, this is inarguably Greenpoint’s most notable new opening—which says a lot, as it’s a burgeoning culinary scene. Chef Elmdad Shem Tov’s heritage influences the menu significantly, as flourishes from Israel and the Middle East dot the contemporary offerings.
329 Henry St., Cobble Hill | 718.852.8630
This Brooklyn saloon, with a limited “Bill of Fare” of simple and homey food, including a great burger, is perfect for a late supper and whiskey cocktails with friends. On weekends, the boozy brunch has locals flocking from all over the borough.
93 Scott Ave., Bushwick | 347.669.1473
There’s no place like Honey’s—and not just because you feel like you’ve stepped out of Bushwick into some other realm as you sit in one of the wooden booths surrounded cinder blocks and concrete. (Fun fact: The space, once a restaurant-equipment repair shop, was designed by one of the set designers on the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild.) Honey’s is the tasting room for Enlightenment Wines, as well as a meadery/mead bar—the only one we’ve come across in Brooklyn—and serves exquisite cocktails infused with the ancient alcohol. (It’s made from honey fermented with well water and mixed with various spices and herbs, mead figures strongly in Norse mythology but is much older than that.) The herbalist owners pick many of their ingredients upstate, which is reflected in fresh, always-inventive drinks like the Montauk-seawater-infused Ocean Martini.
374 Johnson Ave., Bushwick | 718.381.0491
Known throughout Japan for its delicious tonkotsu (a Japanese broth made from eight-to-twelve-hour simmered pork-marrow), Ichiran opened in Bushwick with lines around the block. (There’s also a location in midtown.) Beyond the umami-bomb tonkotsu itself, which comes in a variety of intensities, and the fresh noodles, the full experience involves sitting in school-desk-like individual booths for dining, which is weird but fun. Especially after a Matcha beer or two.
386 Flatbush Ave., Fort Greene | 718.852.5257
Palatial old-fashioned entrees (tuna melts, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers) and a whole lot of legendary cheesecake round out the offerings here. (The cheesecake really is where it’s at.) There are two city-centric options (one in Times Square, one in Grand Central), but if you have time, head to the original on Flatbush in Brooklyn, which still retains its 1950’s aesthetic—red booths and banquettes, formica countertops, old-school uniforms, the works—and its friendly, neighborhood feel.
Kings County Imperial
20 Skillman Ave., Williamsburg | 718.610.2000
In the year since it opened, Kings County has become known for its pretty perfect spin on classic Chinese dishes. The fun back garden patio and the excellent cocktail list also help the cause.
268 Clinton St., Cobble Hill | 718.422.0065
Go to La Vara with a few friends, because you’re going to want to order everything on the menu starting with the fried chickpeas and working your way through everything that looks good—it all is. Chef Alex Raij serves up southern Spanish cuisine with Jewish and Moorish influences, so house-cured salt cod is served with citrus, olives, egg, and pomegranate, and a half chicken is served with spiced onions and cumin.
L&B Spumoni Gardens
2725 86th St., Bensonhurst | 718.449.1230
This South Brooklyn institution has been slinging their Sicilian-style “squares”—red sauce-smothered pizza with the Mozzarella cheese baked right into the fluffy, crust-y dough and sliced into, you guessed it, squares—since 1938. The only menu item that eclipses the pizza is the spumoni: a rainbow of vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio ice cream served old school, in a paper cup, and best enjoyed on the bustling outdoor patio. The L&B Italian ices (the lemon is a summertime essential) are slightly lighter than the spumoni and definitely worth sampling.
295 Berry St., Williamsburg | 718.388.5988
Expect Mexican street food specialties like “esquites,” tacos of every kind imaginable, and delicious guacamole. Go with a few friends and order lots, as portions are snack-sized.
567 Union Ave., Williamsburg | 718.576.3095
It’s still pretty hard to nail down a reservation at Chef Missy Robbins’ first solo venture, an Italian restaurant set up in what used to be an auto garage. Pasta is the move here, but people also love the grilled seafood—the menu is separated into big fish and little fish, but the truth is, they’re all standard mains size-wise. Should you find yourself in this part of Williamsburg during the day, go to the takeaway Lilia Caffé attached to the main dining room for strong espresso and house-made pastries in the morning, and delicious soft serve gelato and focaccia midday, both good for a quick refuel.
91 S. 6th St., Williamsburg
Loosie Rouge is one of the coolest Williamsburg openings in recent years. The cocktail menu and food take their cue from New Orleans bars and kitchens, while the interior decor feels more Scandinavian, with white-washed brick walls, a dark wood bar, and geometrically cut tables. On a warm day, the bright outdoor patio space has the best seats in the house, though. Check out Loosie Rouge’s changing calendar to see what live music is on offer before you go.
575 Henry St., Carroll Gardens | 718.858.4086
Arguably one of Brooklyn’s best pizza joints, you’ll find rustic, wooden tables surrounding a brick oven here, which is the perfect stage for the pie-throwing theatrics of chef Mark Iacono. Lucali doesn’t take reservations, so get there at around six to snag a table—the thin-crust pizzas and calzones are absolutely worth the wait.
298 Bedford St., Williamsburg | 347.335.0446
This restaurant/bar feels like an old-school New Orleans club that’s been recently rediscovered. Distressed walls, gas lamps, a deco bar, and Thonet bentwood chairs just add to the effect. With a raw bar and a menu of seafood classics, it’s a solid choice for a weekend brunch or dinner, but we prefer it later in the evening for an old-fashioned drink at a dimly lit table. There’s also a long list of absinthes to choose from, which is fitting for the epoch this spot evokes.
Marlow & Sons
81 Broadway, Williamsburg | 718.384.1441
The waitstaff sit at your table and take your order, while cute guys shuck oysters behind the bar. What makes this cozy, friendly spot so unique and so well-loved is that these small gestures make you feel like you’re just there hanging out with good friends over a bottle of wine and a few delicious small plates. Don’t miss the deli at the front for great take-away sandwiches, meats, and specialty ingredients.
657 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights | 718.636.2900
This unpretentious neighborhood joint zeros in on comfort food—meatloaf, chicken cutlets, patty melts, stove-top mac ’n’ cheese. Brunch is epic, too, with its frito migas and an everything bagel babka. (This is New York, after all.) Together, co-owners Libby Willis and Bill Curtis, who first worked together at Brooklyn vegan bakery Ovenly, have gone out of their way to create a warm and welcoming space geared toward the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s the kind of spot where you want to hang out no matter your sexual orientation. MeMe’s is named for Curtis’s grandmother, and the entire space has an all-in-the-family vibe: the leather banquettes were designed by Willis’s brother, who lives in the Hudson Valley, and the quirky oil paintings were done by her grandfather.
Mile End Deli
97A Hoyt St., Boerum Hill | 718.852.7510
Hearty, meaty sandwiches and Montreal-style deli food (house-smoked meats, poutine, brisket, and more) are served here, deluxe. Make sure to get a pickle on the side and wash it all down with a good glass of wine. There’s also a location in Manhattan.
Momo Sushi Shack
43 Bogart St., Bushwick | 718.418.6666
The lighting is dim (great for date nights), the vibe is casual (the long communal tables are a striking flourish with lots of room to stretch out), and the sushi, hand rolls, and maki are out-of-this-world. The handmade vegan gyoza are succulent little dumplings stuffed with oyster mushrooms and chives, while the heritage pork buns and Japanese fried chicken explode into all sorts of heavenly flavors. The Philli maki—a roll made with salmon and tofu cream cheese—balances the Spicy MC Bomb. (Bombs are beautifully crafted dollops of sticky rice topped with any manner of fish, tempura flakes, and wasabi creams). The veggie, meat, and seafood noodles are also an excellent option here. But really, you can’t go wrong.
394 Broadway, Williamsburg | 718.599.6895
Located in South Williamsburg, this wine bar and restaurant is one of a kind. In sparse, industrial interiors that are nonetheless warm and inviting, the good wine, good food, and good music combination is a winner. We especially love it for the rotating schedule of live jazz each week.
150 Ainslie St., Williamsburg | 718.302.0598
We love this pretty little spot for Japanese home-style breakfasts and lunches. It’s worth waiting for a seat, as the chef sets the menu daily, and then serves the beautiful offerings on traditional ceramic dishes. On Mondays and Tuesdays the team behind the legendary Yuji Ramen (two ex-Roberta’s alumni) set up shop as a special treat. The fresh seafood—all of it sourced locally, never imported from Japan—is a major part of the pre-set Sansai meal, which can include anything from egg omelets to uni noodles and always miso soups and rice.
178 Broadway, Williamsburg | 718.387.7400
For many years—well before Williamsburg was hip—New Yorkers flocked to this 100-year-old steakhouse for its famously perfect cuts of meat, which, along with the excellent service, have earned it a Michelin star. The space is old-school, with dark wood paneled walls and bentwood chairs. Many come just for the atmosphere and the “Luger-Burger,” which is one of the best in the city—it also happens to be a steal at lunch. Famously, they don’t take credit cards (though they do accept debit).
Pies ‘n Thighs
166 S. 4th St., Williamsburg | 347.529.6090
Great fried chicken, end of story. Owned and run by three women who met while working at Diner, this is a super casual spot that offers an authentic spin on Southern food. The wonderful savouries are matched only by their sweet, down-home American pies. There’s a new location on the Lower East Side.
Pok Pok NY
117 Columbia St., Red Hook | 718.923.9322
People are crazy for this Thai via Portland import: Andy Ricker’s fresh takes on Thai classics are seriously good (and run on the hot side), from the signature charcoal roasted hen with lemongrass to the sweet, spicy salads. There’s also an awesome Thai-inspired cocktail menu (the Pok Pok Bloody Mary with Thai chilies is a serious kick in the ass) which you can explore on depth from the comfort of a seat at the bar.
261 Moore St., Bushwick | 718.417.1118
Roberta’s has been warmly flourishing for years. Camouflaged by an industrial, kind of uninviting exterior, this gem of a spot offers a succinct menu includes a few wonderful pizzas, plus seasonal veggies and pasta dishes. There’s an indoor, primarily communal seating area where you can watch the pizza-making go down in the open kitchen. The vibe is casual and the ambiance always lively, as it routinely draws big crowds. While you can expect to wait, it’s a good place to have a drink.
243 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene | 718.622.5300
Andrew Tarlow and team have a tight grip on the Williamsburg dining scene, and so they’ve finally made their first foray deeper into Brooklyn. At Roman’s, the short menu of simple Italian dishes changes daily, making it the kind of neighborhood joint you can hit on repeat. As the food is delicious, there’s always a crowd—if you’re looking for a quiet meal, opt for earlier on in the week.
Sunday in Brooklyn
5124, 348 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 347.222.6722
This is the closest you’ll come to SoCal in BK. The avocado toast, the breakfast sandwich, the quinoa bowl—they’re all here. There’s also seared mushrooms and ramp kimchi atop flaky grilled flatbread and malted pancakes served with brown butter, so something for everyone. The interior is minimalist Scandinavian with blond wood, pretty ceramics, and lots of greenery, but warmed up by a terracotta tile floor, chic marble-topped tables, and a wooden bar that wouldn’t look out of place in a ski chalet. There’s not a bad glass on the entire wine (all natural, all delicious). If you can’t handle the weekend crush pick up the perfect flat white from the to-go hatch out front.
378 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg | 718.387.4777
Caroline Fidanza—opening chef at Diner and well-versed in Brooklyn’s restaurant scene—opened this nautical/Moby Dick-themed take-out counter. It’s a quick walk between the G train and the Williamsburg Bridge, and it serves up delicious little sandwiches on focaccia, as well as soups, and egg bowls. Their desserts range from quick bites like cookies, Eccles cake, and brioche, to ice cream, chocolate mousse, and fruit coolers. In addition to coffee, try their turmeric tonic with lemon, honey, and cardamom, which makes a great immune-system-booster. Note: There’s little room to sit if you want to hunker down (a few stools and a narrow bar), so this is more of a quality grab-and-go stop than a dine-in experience.
152 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint | 718.701.4333
Nestled along a busy street in Greenpoint, Selamat Pagi is Indonesian by way of the Van Lueewen brothers (those of ice cream fame). The atmospheric laid-back vibe alone—high ceilings, natural wood, neon-pink signage, and luxurious potted plants—is worth the trip, be it for breakfast (turmeric tonic, sambal scrambled eggs, coconut-toasted kale) or dinner. Every dish explodes with flavor; there’s lots of lemongrass, galangal (part of the ginger family and a mainstay in herbal medicine), turmeric, coconut and chili oils, and kaffir lime. The curries come in fish, beef, and delectable vegetarian options; everything from the fritters and deviled eggs to the short ribs and rice noodle bowls is crafted with the freshest, local, sustainable ingredients. The drinks menu, too, is next-level: The non-alcoholic Kaffir Limeade is tangy and refreshing and the alcoholic cocktails are all spiked with soju, a Korean alcohol made from rice or barley, and uniformly delicious. (The Kaffir Limeade mixed with a dash of soju—omg.)
355 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg | 718.384.5054
This is the best new-wave steakhouse in the neighborhood, as evidenced by the fact that it’s usually at capacity by 6pm. It’s worth the sometimes two hour wait (we leave our number and head next door for a drink) for an insane aged steak for two or four, not to mention a perfectly-dressed bibb lettuce salad, lush truffle oil mashed potatoes, and delicious, seasonal options from the grill.
545 Lorimer St., Williamsburg | 718.486.0200
Soul-warming noodle bowls and spicy butter wings are expertly balanced with crisp salads, addictive fish tacos, and out-there, but always worth ordering, snacks like Spam musubi (popular in Hawaii, it’s a slab of grilled Spam perched atop a block of rice) and perfect blistered shishito peppers. The bar/restaurant is cozy yet somehow never cramped, even though it’s in a buzzing area of Williamsburg blocks from McCarren Park. Do not leave without ordering Ginanjuice, an infusion of just-juiced carrot-beet-apple-ginger, gin, and Lillet that tastes healthy and bracing, but is also stronger than you think, so pace yourself.
522 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg | 347.987.3954
Half coffee shop, half wellness center, The End is known for its incredible healthy lattes, like the healing Unicorn, which combines ginger, blue majik spirulina, and maca into a frothy, bright-blue tonic topped with organic flowers. The dragon-fruit-and-collagen Mermaid, and the bright-purple Amethyst are made with antioxidant goji berry and tocos. In the evenings, there are sound baths, tincture-blending classes, and spectacular rising moon celebrations.
The Good Fork
391 Van Brunt St., Red Hook | 718.643.6636
Regulars of chef Souhi Kim’s Red Hook spot will tell you to start with the homemade pork dumplings—they don’t disappoint. While there’s plenty to choose from as far as mains go, her other specialty is the steak and eggs, served Korean-style with kimchee rice cakes. (You can sub in tofu for the steak.) The same warmth that Kim puts into her cooking is palpable in the space—the dining room is vaguely maritime, with a curved wood ceiling and small booths that feel cozy. Go on a Wednesday for ramen night. Trust.
The Greene Grape Annex
753 Fulton St., Fort Greene | 718.797.9463
This café/bar from beloved neighborhood grocer, Greene Grape Provisions, attracts a casual crowd during the day for great coffee and a snack, and turns into a full-fledged wine and craft beer bar in the evening, complete with cheese plates and charcuterie. We love the design of the space (it’s helmed by two Domino magazine vets): It’s light and airy.
284 3rd Ave., Gowanus | 718.596.6560
This lovely Gowanus spot keeps the atmosphere casual, with an artfully shabby, worn-in dining room, and larger garden in the back, but the menu is decidedly ambitious with an Italian bent (think cavatelli with duck heart) with lots of interesting seasonal salads and antipasti.
615 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint | 718.389.6034
The walls here are clad in distressed wood that contrasts nicely with the room’s main feature: A long, sleek, white marble bar. In short, this is exactly what you’d imagine a great bar in Denmark might look like. To complete the concept, the chef is a Noma veteran, and bar snacks include the requisite rye breads and Nordic-style pickles and smoked fish. The food and the great selection of rare craft beers attracts a pretty hip, Greenpoint crowd. Meanwhile, in the 25-seat back room known as Luksus, it’s a decidedly more formal affair, with an oft-changing tasting menu of Scandinavian-influenced fare.
Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave., Vinegar Hill | 718.522.1018
This restaurant redefined its namesake neighborhood. Here, the cozy, low-lit décor is as appetizing as the solid, well-prepared, seasonal menu. We love their brunch, especially the sourdough pancakes and Bloody Mary’s.
589 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
White subway tiles, a relaxed bar, and great music sum up this bar in Prospect Heights, worth traveling to for a drink (or many). Another bonus? You can still hear yourself speak. To make a night of it, grab dinner at The Vanderbilt, a very solid, lively restaurant across the street. There’s another outpost in Tribeca.
111 N. 12th St., Greenpoint | 718.307.7100
Located on the rooftop of the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, Westlight is a go-to for after-work drinks (and after-after-work drinks) thanks to incredible views of New York’s skyline and a great food and beverage program by Andrew Carmellini’s Noho Hospitality Group. The menu has a few great small bites, like oysters, duck carnitas tacos, and tequila-cured salmon, but you really come here for the cocktail list: Our favorites are the Ruby Spritz for a hot afternoon, or the In Bloom, a vodka and cava drink that comes with fresh beet juice.
241 S. 4th St., Williamsburg | 718.388.8860
The name of this restaurant is actually pronounced “shiksa,” a nod to (Jewish) chef Jason Marcus’s (non-Jewish) wife Heather Heuser, with whom he owns the restaurant. Located under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in a cozy, dimly-lit space scattered with several bar-height tables, the casual vibe is a bit deceiving, as this is a serious foodie destination. While the menu is somewhat Mexican-inspired, Marcus takes a lot of liberties, with dishes like grilled carrots “elote,” a corn flan “tamale” with blue crab and poblano-garlic cream, and grilled quail with cantaloupe, pomegranate-walnut salsa, herbed yogurt, and arbol chile. It’s the kid of place that’s worthy of a trek from Manhattan.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
60 Furman St., Brooklyn Heights | 877.803.1111
Thanks to a new crop of restaurants and bars, the Dumbo waterfront bleeding into Brooklyn Heights is the buzziest spot to be in Brooklyn right now. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has taken full advantage of their location—a thin strip of land jutting into the water, right at the base of the bridge—and constructed the building entirely of reflective glass and steel. A local- and sustainably driven project, much of the maritime-themed interior furnishings were made right here by Brooklyn artisans like Uhuru, even using reclaimed wood from the beloved Domino Sugar Factory. The end result means each of the 194 rooms have a Scandinavian-style vibe, many with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out across the water onto Manhattan. The rooms—and next-level lobby, conference, and meeting spaces—are outfitted in chic greenery that lends an expansive, nature vibe to 1 Hotel’s urban oasis. Another highlight is the rooftop pool, which overlooks the East River, and of course The Haybarn Spa, a calming oasis using the all-organic Bamford product line, hailing from England’s idyllic Daylesford Farm.
McCarren Hotel & Pool
160 N. 12th St., Williamsburg | 718.218.7500
The highlight at this swank hotel located right on McCarren Park is the saltwater swimming pool (you can rent pool passes for if you’re not checking in), with full bar and snack service. Meanwhile, the complimentary bike rentals and rooftop lounge make McCarren Hotel & Pool a slice of vacation in the middle of bustling Billyburg.
Urban Cowboy B&B
111 Powers St., Williamsburg | 347.840.0525
If you want to imagine what it would be like to live in Williamsburg, but you’re looking for a little more hospitality than your typical Airbnb, check out the rooms on offer at this neighborhood bed and breakfast (there are only four), which is housed in a refurbished, rustic townhouse. Raised garage doors open into the main parlor of Urban Cowboy, which has plank wood floors, exposed brick walls, and a reclaimed community table. A few of the rooms have soaring cathedral ceilings, quirky chandeliers, and a clawfoot tub.
80 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.460.8000
Williamsburg has been big for a long time, but the neighborhood’s waterfront is now the place to be, in no small part because of the Wythe Hotel, which is owned by the masterminds behind Marlow & Sons. On-site, you’ll find locavore restaurant Reynards, a rooftop bar, and views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines. The building has a plethora of spaces to rent for parties, including a full-fledged screening room. Oh, and if you’re traveling in a band, as one does in Williamsburg, you can book their “Band Room,” complete with bunk beds.
The Williamsburg Hotel
96 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.362.8100
Books Are Magic
225 Smith St., Cobble Hill | 718.246.2665
Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Boerum Hill residents were rightly bummed when one of the best independent bookstores in all the boroughs (and arguably the country) announced it was closing at the end of 2016. After thirty-five years in business, whatever was to come after BookCourt had big shoes to fill. And it did. Novelist Emma Straub (The Vacationers, Modern Lovers) swooped in with her husband, designer Michael Fusco-Straub, to open the immediately adored Books Are Magic. Their monthly line-up of book talks and signings brings out the brightest of the literary world (of which Straub is a clear darling). If it’s your first time, take a picture by their awesome mural before you head inside.
Barneys New York
194 Atlantic Ave., Cobble Hill | 718.637.2234
Barneys buyers are famous for having an eye for spotting trends and designers—and then making them huge. The flagship store on Madison always has incredible, over-the-top displays, plus one of the best buys in the city. The shoe department, in particular, is great. There’s also a location on the Upper West Side and in Chelsea.
203 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.388.1655
Owner and buyer Jen Mankins has built a bit of an empire out in Brooklyn, drawing Manhattanites out to shop in the process. Her eye is both quirky and cool, meaning that you’ll find a pretty irreverent (and bright) mix here, along with picks Alexander Wang, Zero + Maria Cornejo, and Tsumori Chisato. The racks for men are just as on point.
100 Frost St., Williamsburg | 718.389.2982
The incredible kitchen store here will lure you in, but the classes will convince to stay. Offering everything from Vitamix blenders and Pillivuyt roasting pans, to homemade ramen broth, farm fresh eggs, and exotic cuts of meat (it’s also home to The Meat Hook), the provisions part of the operation draws people from all over the city. Meanwhile, you can learn how to make homemade pizza with the Roberta’s crew, pickle with McClure, or take a class in doughnut or dumpling making.
219 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg | 718-599-3457
For years, this teeny tiny shop on Williamsburg’s main drag has been one of the best resources in Brooklyn for jewelry. Stackable rings, sweet little pendants, and more precious offerings from designers like Elisa Solomon fill the cases. Weirdly, because space is tight, we actually like shopping their website more.
365 & 367 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718.923.1786
Sohrab Bakhshi opened his antiques collection shop City Foundry in 2000, becoming a trailblazer in the now established design scene in Brooklyn. The City Foundry collection is comprised of mid-century modern and industrial-influenced furniture, lighting, and artifacts—some of which they rent for staging needs. They also provide custom upholstery and furniture restoration. City Foundry has multiple storefronts on Atlantic Avenue—in addition to their shop, they have a showroom—as well as a separate warehouse location in Prospect Heights, which is by appointment only.
179 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights | 347.987.3342
This sweetly curated home goods shop in Brooklyn Heights—a worthwhile trek in of itself—stocks artisan-made goods with a slightly nordic bent, from Mid-century style furnishings to ceramics, lighting, throws, and more. The art on the walls changes frequently, as does the stock—while it’s named for the fire fighter’s term for a hopelessly cluttered home (after the Collyer Brothers who collected north of 140 tons of stuff), the stores are anything but.
388 Van Brunt St., Red Hook | 718.554.6147
While the selection here is small, it’s exquisite enough to draw a Manhattan crowd to Red Hook, one of Brooklyn’s more far-flung neighborhoods (also one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy). Owner Russell Whitmore has an unerring eye for the types of estate and auction pieces you won’t see elsewhere (i.e., on eBay): You’ll find diamond cluster rings from the late 19th century and Etruscan revival bracelets inset with tiny drops of pearl and turquoise.
Eva Gentry Consignment
371 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718.522.3522
Eva Gentry Consignment is not your typical thrift shop. On any given day you’ll find Marni, Stella McCartney, Anne Demeulester, Dries Van Noten, Helmut Lang, and Alexander Wang. The clothes are pristine, and often have never been actually worn.
French Garment Cleaners
85 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene | 718.797.0011
Formerly known as Stuart & Wright, the (new) name comes from the 1950’s drycleaning sign that still marks the exterior. The selection inside is not so firmly routed in the past. The loft-like, wood-paneled space offers classically-tailored offerings from some of our favorite brands, like APC, Raquel Allegra, Rachel Comey, and more.
9 Carroll St., Red Hook | 718.852.3116
Michele Palladino’s nursery started in Gowanus (hence the name) but is now on the border of Red Hook and Carroll Gardens. She’s known for having a great eye for plants, and you’re likely to find something new for your garden space every time you visit.
Greenhouse & Co.
387 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718 422 8631
Greenhouse & Co. stocks all kinds of sustainable furniture and home accents that are really pretty stunning, too. Their ability to outfit an entire home, room by room, in eco-friendly furniture is impressive.
249 Warren St., Carroll Gardens | 718.403.9600
Novels, travel guides, and history books are all jumbled together and categorized by country and region, rather than by author or subject matter at this travel-centric bookstore: The idea is that a book based in a particular place can be the perfect supplement to your trip. As an example, before heading to Istanbul, they suggest you read Orhan Pamuk’s memoir by the same name, to get a real feel for the city. For those prepping for a longer trip or a move, their language classes are a major plus, as they’re taught by native speakers. The original is in the the West Village.
148 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg | 718.388.9525
There’s something comfortingly reassuring about Bedford Street in Williamsburg and how rarely the shopfronts change ownership here. One of the standbys is this simply outfitted shop, selling modern picks from brands like MiH, A Piece Apart, Dieppa Restrepo, and Steven Alan.
86 Hoyt St., Boerum Hill | 718.222.1933
Owner Alayne Patrick has spent years traveling back and forth to India, cultivating relationships with a handful of trusted craftsmen from whom she stocks cushions, textiles, and jewelry. The brightly patterned towels she imports are so popular that they’re now stocked in their own shop across the street.
224 Wythe St., Williamsburg | 718.387.3731
You’ll only find Caitlin Mociun’s eponymous jewelry collection on her site—but should you go to her new, Williamsburg store, you’ll see the work of her friends, too, including hexagonal brass necklaces by Iacoli & Macallister, and Chen Chen and Kai William’s marble bangles. You’ll also get to shop Mociun’s full line, from her signature eensy, triangular turquoise pendants to her custom rings, which feature a mismatched—and stunning—combination of stones.
326 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.388.4884
From clothing to ceramics and beauty goods, this store’s main focus is on hand-crafted items, many of them locally made. We’ve found lines like Caron Callahan, Chimala, Ace & Jig, and Cosmic Wonder on our forays here.
Other Times Vintage
48 Bogart St., Bushwick | 917.922.1159
Partners, curators, and co-owners Briar (who studied interior design) and Jason (artist, restorer, fixer-upper) started by selling their mid-century modern furniture and other great vintage finds on Etsy from their apartment, which went so well—and provided such a great excuse to get out of the city for weekly scavenging road trips—that they opened up shop in this cavernous loft space with gorgeous vaulted ceilings. They clean up, repair, and refinish each hand-picked treasure before passing it on to enjoy a new life in somebody’s home. They also rent pieces out on a weekly basis.
Pilgrim Surf Supply
4 Amagansett Sq., Amagansett | 631.267.3598
The surfboards at this new shop are hands-down stunning—they could almost double as art. There’s also plenty of surf-inspired beach basics for men and women, including Vans, bikinis, and shorts. (Basically, it’s all stuff you’d want your significant other to wear at the beach.)
111 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.451.2233
Devoted solely to antique textiles—from overdyed quilts, to Khamseh and Turkish Milas rugs—the pieces here are clearly hard-won, and very reasonably priced considering their quality and provenance. Whether redecorating, or just hunting for ideas, this is one of those spots that offers inspiration in spades.
Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers
218 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg | 718.387.7322
Open for almost two decades, this independent Williamsburg bookstore is one of those places we can lose an afternoon in. The excellent edit of fiction, nonfiction, art, niche magazines, and cool stationary is imaginative and always surprising. On the walls, there’s a rotating selection of work from local artists for sale, and the calendar is packed with incredible events.
59 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.388.4440
Recently relocated to a brand-new, much larger space, Sprout Home offers a wonderful variety of plants, planting accessories, flowers, floral arrangements, and adorable home goods, for the city’s urban gardener. They also offer classes from Wreath Making to caring for container plants in colder months. With its airy but elegant aesthetic, this store is truly inspiring. There’s also a location in Chicago.
152 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.599.2700
Crossover street-style brand Supreme (remember that Louis Vuitton collaboration?) has opened its second NYC location in Williamsburg. With only eleven stores globally, founder James Jebbia is hoping the Brooklyn location will take the pressure off of their Lafayette Street store—which has lines wrapped around the block daily—and be a place where people can just hang out. (It’s worth noting that the line reducing mission has failed spectacularly). The major draw of the Williamsburg space is that it’s big enough to house an indoor skate bowl intended for customers to skate in.
361 Smith St., Carroll Gardens | 718.222.8201
While you won’t walk out of Swallow with big case goods, you are likely to find something small and unusual, like a tiny brass bird or an opalescent vase. They also have really beautiful tabletop, from rough-hewn stone plates, to little salt cellars.
The Brooklyn Flea
176 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene
Sure, the main draw of the Brooklyn Flea is the opportunity to shop from the hundreds of vintage and antique vendors, but we also go for the awesome street food. The markets take place outdoors from April through Thanksgiving (Saturdays in Fort Greene and Sundays in Dumbo) and indoors in the landmark former Williamsburg Savings Bank from Thanksgiving through March.
The Grand Street Bakery
602 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.387.2390
This is one of the most precisely-curated vintage shops we know, stocking denim, leather jackets, and old logo T’s with a distinctly heritage American feel. Everything in this old bakery spacey—clothes, blankets and rugs, vinyl, furniture—is for sale (and much of it appeals to guys).
The Primary Essentials
372 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718.522.1804
Helmed by fashion stylist Lauren Snyder (she’s worked for Bergdorf Goodman and Glamour), The Primary Essentials revolves around goods that feel hand-worked—but never crafty. Gorgeous indigo-dyed textiles and simple quilts mingle with Earth Tu Face body washes, simple canvas carryalls from Joshu + Vela, and blue ceramic studs from Jujumade.
The Shop at the Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Ave., WIlliamsburg | 718.460.8000
Every 6 months or so, the shop space at Wythe Hotel changes hands, giving local shop owners and brands that align with the hotel’s cosmopolitan Williamsburg vibe a chance to strut their stuff. Currently, it’s Agnès b.
320 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.782.7780
Two Jakes is the best place to find everything you need for a modern office. Though they specialize in work furniture, there are also great 20th-century pieces for the rest of the home. They also stock new lines, like Bludot.
Urban Jungle Vintage and Thrift
118 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick | 718.381.8510
A vintage-clothing mecca if there ever was one, Urban Jungle is huge and brimming with all manner of treasures: Perfectly tattered Levis, t-shirts and sweatshirts from the ‘80s and ‘90s so soft from wear and awesome that most NYC vintage stores would get away with charging a cool hundred for them (Here, most of the t-shirts go for under $12.) You’ll also find vibrant Mexican blankets, army fatigues, cowboy boots, ponchos, fur coats, everything and anything, really—and all inexplicably reasonably priced. The one criticism, if you can even call it that, is that the place is truly sprawling (it spans almost a whole block), so just make sure you’re in the mood to do some serious rack sifting.
West Elm Market
50 Washington St., DUMBO | 718.522.3498
West Elm’s hipper little sister store in DUMBO has the look and feel of an old-fashioned general store and stocks a selection of unique kitchen essentials and home accessories that you won’t find at the bigger chain. In part, it’s because they collaborate with small, emerging and local labels like Brooklyn Copper Cookware.
15 Greene Ave., Fort Greene | 718.237.5878
Having been around for over 10 years, Ludlow Beckett’s shop has seen the neighborhood change—but his offerings haven’t changed all that much in the process. Look for tasteful and uncommon pieces, namely great glassware, pillows, and decorative knick knacks.
68 Washington St., Dumbo | 718.237.4002
We’d venture to say that Lisa Brock is a true Brooklyn pioneer, being the first to bring runway fashion to Dumbo. Right in the middle of the now bustling (and continuously developing) neighborhood, you’ll find Lanvin, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, and more in this light-filled, sprawling, space.