Many people might think Manhattan is the hub of New York’s foodie culture, but the diversity of Brooklyn has increasingly made it a hotspot for NYC foodies. With independently-owned restaurants, young rising chefs, and something for just about every cuisine, Brooklyn is a great place to eat—breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert!
The thing about all these Brooklyn restaurants, though, is there is always a new one! This isn’t a list of all of ’em, but rather a list of my favorite restaurants—the ones I’ve returned to multiple times. It’d be impossible to make a guide to the “best” Brooklyn restaurants because there are just too many!
Cuban: Habana Outpost
Located in Fort Greene, Habana Outpost was inspired by a legendary Mexico City hangout where Che Guevara and Fidel Castro allegedly plotted the Cuban Revolution. The restaurant has a takeaway counter on one side of the street, and an indoor space as well as large & spacious patio on the other. With Mexican and Cuban classics, it’s a great casual restaurant. Habana Outpost also serves as a community gathering space for families, artists, and toddlers with special events in their yard.
Cajun: Gumbo Bros
In Cobble Hill, Gumbo Bros is owned by two college buddies who grew up in the south, and the small restaurant feels homey and comfortable. With New Orleans classics such as gumbo and Po’boys on the menu, and an impressive selection of desserts—it’s a great spot for lunch or a casual dinner.
With a location in Greenpoint, the cozy Mexican restaurant Calexico serves Mexican classics (like fish tacos), but their real gems come through with more innovative and original recipes. Their crispy brussels sprouts with peanut-chile salsa appetizer is especially delicious. For those on a budget, make sure you visit during the Calexico happy hour with excellent deals on their margaritas (including a spicy jalapeño one).
This stylish Dominican eatery in Prospect Heights boasts a menu of traditional Dominican foods (with an excellent lunch special). Named after a city from the Dominican Republic, the decor inside Puerto Viejo looks and feels like you’re in the Caribbean. Foods are flavorful and home-cooked by the family-run business. It’s a sweet and friendly local restaurant with a great drinks menu and classic dishes full of flavor.
Dumplings:Vanessa’s Dumpling House
While this NYC local restaurant chain (originally from NYC’s Chinatown) has a few locations around the city, their Bedford Ave. location in Williamsburg is a cosy and casual spot great for a quick meal. Vanessa’s Dumpling House specializes in Chinese snacks such as handmade dumplings, buns, sesame pancakes, and noodles. It’s a delicious and inexpensive option—perfect for a snack or light meal!
In Bushwick on WycoffAve, UpNorth is a Canadian bar and restaurant. With a high ceiling and Canadian maplewood rafters, inside feels almost like a stylish, trendy lodge you might find up north. The menu predictably features poutine dishes (the restaurant’s founders are from Quebec which is where poutine originates from), but their poutine options are decidedly unique—and there are even vegan dishes on the menu. Craft beers from the USA and Canada, as well as expertly crafted cocktails make it a great date spot or afternoon hangout.
Ramen: ICHIRAN NY
This famous fast, casual ramen restaurant from Japan actually has three locations in NYC, but ICHIRAN‘s Brooklyn restaurant is in East Williamsburg on the edge of Bushwick. Famous for their tonkotsu soup made from 100% pork bones, it’s a delicious meal. The restauraunt’s most unique defining feature, however, is the fact that they only have solo dining booths inside. ICHIRAN’s solo dining booths allow you to block out the distractions typical of any busy restaurant to fully enjoy the ramen flavors.
Southern: Peaches Hot House
Peaches Hot House is a classic American Restaurant with Southern food influencers. Located in Bed-Stuy among Brooklyn brownstones, Peaches’ handful of locations serve everything from fried chicken & shrimp meals, to lavish brunches and even BBQ classics like pulled pork and mac & cheese.
Italian-style Pizza: Sottocasa
With restaurants in both Brooklyn and Harlem, Sottocasa serves classic Italian-style pizza in a rustic environment. Their Brooklyn location, in the basement of townhouse, is exactly what you’d expect to find in Italy: warm & friendly servers and delicious, wonderfully prepared Neapolitan pizzas made in a wood-fired oven from Napels. Even Sottocasa’s flour and tomatoes come from Italy.
Vegan: Black Flamingo
In trendy Williamsburg, Black Flamingo is unique in that they’re an entirely vegan Mexican restaurant and—wait for it—a nightclub, too. Their Taco Tuesday specials are especially popular but make sure you try things beyond the tacos. The restaurant’s vegan Texas queso, burritos, quesadillas, and of course their margaritas—are equally appetizing.
American: The Rookery
A contemporary Brooklyn pub housed in an industrial space with a horseshoe bar, The Rookery is the type of place where you’ll just feel…comfortable (and want to stay for hours). The bar serves both classic and contemporary cocktails (and great mimosas for brunch with British-inspired pub food. They’ve even got fried candy bars. Located in Bushwick, their outdoor beer garden in the front makes for a great weekend hangout.
Seafood: Sea Wolf
On the foodie street of Wycoff Avenue, Sea Wolf‘s corner location and large patio make it a Bushwick favorite. Primarily a seafood restaurant (with an extensive raw bar), Sea Wolf has a bit of everything both surf and turf—from roast chicken and steaks to fried clams and lobster rolls. Fresh ingredients and great seasonal menus make it worth visiting again and again. (The frozen cocktails help, too.)
This family-owned Greenpoint restaurant sells all your typical Jewish food favorites—from bagels with smoked fish to brisket pastrami & rye sandwiches. As a deli, they also have a small grocery collection of Jewish foods. Frankel’s Delicatessen is designed to be very modern, stylish & hip—with a sleek design (& lots of windows) inside and their name plastered in cool graffiti on the outside. It’s a staple of the neighborhood and their lunches are some of the best in the area.
Taiwanese: Win Son
A Taiwanese-American restaurant in East Williamsburg, Win Son is only open during dinner and for weekend brunches. The casual eatery serves street food classics from Taiwan such as scallion pancakes, pork buns, soups & salads. Flavors are rich and powerful; the restaurant has managed to capture the tastes from Asia in affordable and delicious menu options.
Middle Eastern: Queen of Falafel
In Bushwick in a corner of the House of Yes nightclub, the Queen of Falafel serves a flavorful fusion of middle eastern and mediterranean foods with fresh ingredients. The menu includes authentic Israeli dishes such as sabich, shashuka, labne, za’atar—and of course falafel and shawarma. The countertop restaurant is popular for lunch and take-aways, but there are plenty of seats to enjoy a plate or sandwich inside.
Hot Dogs: Crif Dogs
While their flagship store is on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan, Crif Dogs also has a location in the heart of hipster Brooklyn at Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg. The punk-themed restaurant serves hot dogs with just about every variety of toppings—from chili cheese to bacon-wrapped ones or a New York classic. Burgers, fries, tots, and a root beer float round out the menu. A selection of craft beers make it a cool hangout spot after you’ve finished your dog.
Steak: Peter Luger Steakhouse
No guide to Brooklyn restaurants would be complete without a mention of Peter Luger Steakhouse. In Williamsburg, the (famously) cash-only restaurant and bar has operated since 1887. With a fabled history, the restaurant is continually listed among the world’s best steakhouses and is still family-operated. Side dishes include their famous raw tomato & onion dish (served with steak sauce) and classics like baked potatoes to go with your USDA Prime steaks.
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There are no shortage of Brooklyn restaurants to recommend and even with eating out regularly, this is just a small sample of my favorite places to eat in the borough. Make sure you stay in touch on Instagram for more Brooklyn life highlights—including plenty of cafés, restaurants, bars, and more favorites.