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Best Restaurants in Brooklyn, NY

by I Wang

With its booming fine restaurants and high-profile residents, Brooklyn has become New Yorkers’ new Manhattan. More and more people are discovering the borough’s wonderful epicurean treasures. The following is a list of Brooklyn’s signature eating establishments. Bon Appetit!

360 Van Brunt St. (bet. Sullivan & Wolcott Sts.), Brooklyn
“Conscious eating” seems to be the motto at every notable eatery in trendy parts of Brooklyn. With its seasonal changing menu and impressive organic wine list, 360 dishes out fresh, adventurous New French food to a hype-creating crowd. Go for their amazing prix fix bargain and get a full meal for less than you think.

248 Fifth Ave. (Carroll St.), Brooklyn
Sworn by Brooklyn astronomers as “the” ideal neighborhood restaurant, AL DI LA renders superb Venetian food in an intimate, amiable setting. They don’t take reservations so the wait could be long (especially on the weekends); make your way to the wine bar on the corner for their delicious wine selections and find out more about your date.

501 11th St. (bet. 7& 8th Ave.), Brooklyn
This socially conscious Park Slopers’ favorite offers earnest new American dishes such as “Grilled grass-finished skirt steak with creamed spinach, red potatoes, thyme jus”, “Roasted Maine diver scallops with sun chokes, sugar snap peas, red onion”, and seasonal dessert like “Tomato cake with basil ice cream” (in the summer). On their daily changed menu, it is stated that “our produce is procured from biodynamic, organic and/ or local farms” - just what health obsessed New Yorkers want to hear. Food prepared with such care and skill is definitely worth revisiting over and over again, the only throwback may be the small portion/ big bill equation. Check their website for the “meet the local farmers” events.

Blue Ribbon Sushi
278 Fifth Ave. (bet. 1st St. & Garfield Pl.), Brooklyn
First-class sushi is what the trendsetters come for at this chic sibling of its Soho original. The food is great and the service is wonderful. It is perfect for a special occasion, but drink up the sake to numb the shock of the hefty bill.

Boston Jerk City
1344 Utica Ave. (& Foster), Brooklyn
As one of the best Jamaican jerk chicken joints in Brooklyn, Boston Jerk City attracts devoted followers from all over the boroughs. Their chicken gets just the right amount of spices and roasting, and their curry goat is falling-off-the-bones good. The place is absolutely worth the trip.

8822 Third Ave. (89th St.), Brooklyn
A 20-year-old Bay Ridge staple, Chadwick’s provides a straight-forward American menu which includes (but not limited to) the to-die-for char-grilled aged steaks. The service is pleasing, the price is reasonable - no wonder patrons keep coming back and bringing in new friends. Be sure to try their amazing “Japanese Crab Cakes” which have been featured in Food Network’s “The Best Of …”.

271 Smith St. (bet. Degraw & Sackette Sts.), Brooklyn
Chef Daniel Eardley leans heavily on seasonal ingredients for his creative, ambitious new American cuisine. Contemporary American food often gives out a flair of globe-trotting exoticism, and Chestnut is no exception. My personal favorites are: “Grilled calamari, quinoa, romesco & hearts of palm”, “Stuffed pork chop with agridolce figs & white polenta”, and “Chickpea-black sesame ravioli, braised greens & ricotta salata”. The food is rich and the décor is simple - Chestnut is an under noticed gem yet to be unveiled by more gourmands.

Convivium Osteria
68 Fifth Ave. (bet. Bergen St. & St. Marks Ave.), Brooklyn
Mediterranean food at its best exuberates deep flavor, beautiful artistry, and a tinge of refreshing ocean breeze. That is what people love about Convivium Osteria - its earthy, comforting, and down-right delicious food. The prices might be a bit pricey for Brooklyn but the food is undoubtedly authentic.

Cube 63
234 Court St. (bet. Baltic & Warren Sts.), Brooklyn
As another one of the popular shoebox sushi establishments in this trendy neighborhood, Cube 63 offers delish fish at affordable prices. Its charming sake bar is also good for hanging out.

1424 Ave. J (15th St.) Brooklyn
Yes, this pizza parlor is in the middle of nowhere, and yes, its décor is slightly shady, but if you let any of the above stop you from going to DI FARA, then you’ll miss out on one the most magical pizzas you’ll ever tasted. The pie crust is so thin, the ingredients are so fresh, they will melt away any of your aggravations caused by the long wait.

314 Union Ave. (bet. Devoe St. & Metropolitan Ave.), Brooklyn
DuMont Burger
314 Bedford Ave. (bet. S. 3rd & 2nd Sts.), Brooklyn
This Williamsburg New American is where the hipsters go and chow down on not-so-cheap comfort food. “DuMont Burger” and “Dumac & Cheese” are the favorites among its young patrons. Sure you can get a good burger at any other diner, but will you get to rub elbows with trendsetters with trust funds? Ask yourself this question before you decide to leave.

295 Flatbush Ave. (bet. Prospect Pl. & St. Marks Ave.), Brooklyn
Would you pay a slightly higher price for your pizza just to support the local agriculture? The owners of Franny’s certainly think so for people in this neighborhood. Dining there will make you feel socially responsible no matter how you rate their food - which lives up to its fresh and delicious reputation.

Garden Café
620 Vanderbilt Ave. (Prospect Pl.), Brooklyn
A tiny glimmering gem in Brooklyn, Garden Café whips up top-notch wholesome American food at reasonable prices. Their menu changes constantly, providing fresh perspectives each season. The quality of food is consistent, and the service is friendly though veering on the slow side. It is a great place for dates and intimate dinners when you are in no hurry.

19 Old Fulton St. (bet. Front & Water Sts.), Brooklyn
Grimaldi’s coal-charred, thin-crusted pies are so amazing that the place is considered a classic institution under the Brooklyn Bridge. Don’t be intimidated by the guaranteed long waiting line, it moves faster than you think. With its unbelievable quality of food, causal atmosphere, and reasonable prices, this pizzeria makes a perfect place for family gatherings as well as first dates.

Henry’s End
44 Henry St. (Cranberry St.), Brooklyn
718- 834-1776
Exotic wild game is the name of the game at this charming small (thus always crowded) tavern. Loyal patrons from the nearby chic neighborhood - Brooklyn Heights flock here for its deeply flavored new American cuisine and superb wine list. Order any seasonal dish from the daily-updated menu, but don’t skip their signature entrée “Raspberry Duckling”. As for dessert, treat yourself to the incredibly creamy and fluffy “21 Layer Crepe Cake”. You will leave the place with a happy stomach and the warm memory of its impeccably personal service. For thrill seekers, check their website for the Annual Wild Game Festival which runs from October to February.

246 DeKalb Ave. (bet. Clermont &Vanderbilt Aves.), Brooklyn
Seasonal French menu, lovely garden, pampering service… Ici has all the right ingredients to succeed in a Brooklyn neighborhood full of organic-obsessed, high-maintenance clients. The husband and wife team believes in simplicity and they get it just right. The delectable brunch menu and interesting wine list are absolutely worth the trip.

Jerk City
3402 Church Avenue (34th St.), Flatbush, Brooklyn
Mainly a take-out place, Jerk City serves unbelievably juicy and flavorful chicken with zero fuss. Ambience is bare, but the food is delightful. Do not skip the homemade pineapple/ ginger juice - a blend of spicy ginger beer and sweet pineapple juice, it is the perfect companion to jerk chicken.

215 Court St. (Warren St.), Brooklyn
Cheap, flavorful Thai food can never go wrong anywhere. Joya provides standard Thai dishes without comprising their authenticity (example: spicy means spicy). Go early and relax at the garden to avoid the mob.

Noodle Pudding
38 Henry St. (bet. Cranberry & Middagh Sts.), Brooklyn
Situated next door to Henry’s End, Noodle Pudding makes its own mark by serving some of the best Italian dishes in town. Yes, the name of the restaurant is bizarre and the artwork on the wall seems out of place. But try to get beyond these and you are in for a memorable treat. Must haves: Osso Buco, Mushroom Risotto, and the White Bean and Escarole side dish. Their comfortable seating and friendly service add extra points to the consistently fresh and delicious food.

6323 Eighth Ave. (54th St.), Brooklyn
Inexpensive, authentic Malaysian food makes Nyonya a popular spot among fans in Brooklyn. Malaysian cuisine reflects a delicate fusion between Indian and Chinese food, so prepare your palate for an amazing experience of hot, sour, sweet, and savory. Must haves: roti canai, nasi lemak, and of course, the spicy chicken curry.

272 Court St. (bet. Degraw & Kane Sts.), Brooklyn
Osaka has exactly what the taste/health conscious local Cobble Hillers crave: fresh, artfully-prepared sushi at reasonable prices. When it’s warm enough, sit on the deck and let the friendly wait staff guide you through the menu. Don’t bother with the cooked food as their sushi reigns supreme.

Pearl Room
8201 Third Ave. (82nd St.), Brooklyn
Having trouble finding a sophisticated spot for your next party? Search no further than Pearl Room, which has a innovative, delectable Italian seafood menu. Loyal patrons rave about the fresh food and hospitality. It is the perfect spot for any special occasions and romantic first dates.

Peter Luger Steak House
178 Broadway (Diggs St.), Brooklyn
There is no better word and expression to describe this historical steak house than “bravo!” Serving meltingly tender, top-of-the-line quality meat since 1887, Peter Luger is where you would race to if the Godfather asked you to fetch him a good steak. Don’t even bother looking at the menu trying to figure out what to order, the superbly experienced (also snooty) staff knows just what you and your entourage need simply by casting a brief glance. Let them do their thing, and you will be rewarded with one of the best meals of your lifetime. It is absolutely imperative to make reservations since the place is so popular, and always crowded. The before-3 pm Daily Lunch Specials are a steal.

84 Court St. (bet. Livingston & Schermerhorn Sts.), Brooklyn
As an old-school Italian favored by Brooklyn lawyers and judges, this authentic Neapolitan restaurant provides a straight forward menu consisting of classic pasta dishes and incredible veal entrees. With its reliable service, down-to-earth décor, and no-fuss food, Queen makes the ideal destination for large family gatherings, especially if your grandparents also plan on bringing all their bingo buddies.

River Café
1 Water St. (bet. Furman and Old Fulton Sts.), Brooklyn
Where else better to propose, celebrate your anniversary, and watch 4th of July fireworks than at this uber-chic/ expensive (“if you have to ask the price, then you can’t afford it!”) Brooklyn Heights romantic waterfront? Yes, River Café in Brooklyn is the equivalent of “Tavern on the Green” in Manhattan. People come here for its fantastic view (Hudson River) and impeccable services. However, River Café’sEuro-centric new American food does not quite live up to its great ambience.

Rose Water
787 Union St. (6th Ave.), Brooklyn
With an ever-changing, three-course market menu available Monday through Thursday, Rose Water provides scrumptiously fresh dishes such as Summer’s specials: “Asparagus soup”, “Slow baked fluke”, and “Ramp wrapped duck breast”. Brunch is a steal with its assorted goodies at reasonable prices.

140 Smith St. (bet. Bergen & Dean Sts.), Brooklyn
Elegant cuisine and low-key vibe go hand in hand at this Boerum Hill New American restaurant. Chef Saul Bolton, a veteran of Manhattan’s Bouley & Le Bernardin, cooks his classic dishes with passion and commitment. Great food with no pretension, coupled with well-informed service; no wonder patrons keeping coming back, - even the out-of-towners.

The Grocery
288 Smith St. (bet. Sackett & Union Sts.), Brooklyn
For non-New Yorkers, this is the place where you imagine finding chic Manhattan-importers like Miranda from Sex and the City dining and gossiping with her trendy friends. The restaurant’s Italian accented New American food is fresh, flavorful, and the service is warmly immaculate. The menu finishes with excellent desserts, which are comforting with bits of exotic wink-wink to them. The charming back garden is the place to be when it’s warm outside.

Tuscan Grill
86-20 Third Ave. (bet. 86th & 87th Sts.), Brooklyn
As one of the few restaurants listed by Michelin Guide in Brooklyn, this cozy and friendly Northern Italian restaurant lives up to its reputation by serving richly flavored Tuscan affairs. Don’t miss the popular grilled pizza with just about any topping of your choice. For meat lovers, go for the Tuscan style baby ribs or brine cured pork chops. Tuscan Grill is sophisticated with a hint of romance, great for intimate gatherings.



I Wang is a New York based writer who will go anywhere there’s good food. She chronicles her epicurean adventures on her blog http://ggadventures.blogspot.com/ and can be reached at missywang6@yahoo.com


Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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