Best food in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Jackson Heights doesn't have a lock on diverse dining.

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  • Bahar Shishkebab House; Photographs: Lizz Kuehl

  • Bahar Shishkebab House

  • Sycamore

  • Sycamore

  • Sycamore

Bahar Shishkebab House; Photographs: Lizz Kuehl

Bahar Shishkebab House
Despite a decor that begins and ends with orange tablecloths, Bahar offers a lesson in comfort food, Afghani-style. Start with lesser-known dishes, like the sweet pumpkin turnovers called bolani kadu ($5.95) or the ashti gooshti ($9.95). The latter is Afghanistan's answer to lasagna: silky handmade noodles topped with ground beef, lentils, yogurt and tomato sauces, garnished with the cuisine's ubiquitous bright-green salsa of lemon and chopped cilantro. Then move on to the kebabs, skewers of grilled meats like tandoori chicken ($10.95) or chunks of lamb ($11.95), served with hot flatbread. 984 Coney Island Ave at Newkirk Ave (718-434-8088)

Torteria Del Valle
Taquerias are a dime a dozen in certain nabes, but it's hard to find a torteria, a Mexican shop specializing in the delicious overstuffed sandwiches known as tortas. Here, owner Emma Vivar sells traditional versions layered with jalapeos, cheese and meats, like a spicy pork called carne enchilada ($5.50). You'll also find Mexico City varieties like the Cubano ($6.50) or the over-the-top Hawaiian (with pineapple and pork, $6.50). Save room for her handmade street snacks, like the $2.50 picaditas, little masa boats slathered with cheese and beans. 727 Coney Island Ave between Ave C and Cortelyou Rd (718-469-4179)

Caf Tibet
Hidden in the alleyway between a bodega and the pretty Cortelyou Q train station—and just across the street from the spiffy new Flatbush Food Coop—Caf Tibet is a go-to for takeout. Home to the famous juicy Tibetan soup dumplings called momo ($7.25 for a variety of chicken, beef and vegetable) and the even more addictive sha-baklap (pastry-wrapped beef patties, $7.75 each), Tibet also offers entres, like an enticingly sour-sweet chili chicken stir-fry ($8.99)—plus a handsome little hidden patio. 1510 Cortelyou Rd between 15th and 16th Sts (718-941-2725)

Famous Pita
Coney is a frumpy street compared to Ditmas's residential stretches, but its laid-back restaurants—including a slew of kosher falafel, shawarma and schnitzel shops that feed the area's Orthodox Jewish residents—more than make up for its looks. All seem to jockey for lunch at Famous, either for succulent lamb kufta kebabs served with pillowy pita, or the Israeli-style all-you-can-eat falafel-and-salad bar. 967 Coney Island Ave at Newkirk Ave (718-282-5290)

Bukhari Restaurant & Sweets
If Bangladeshi cab drivers are lucky enough to get a fare to outer Brooklyn, they'll likely head to one of this avenue's many cheap snack shops. The spot with the biggest crowd of locals is Bukhari, where you can grab a spicy lamb tikka kebab ($6), or a nutty and filling pulao, a sort of rice pilaf ($5). Choose a mixed box of Indian sweets ($5 per pound) for later: dense coconut laddoo (fried rounds, each one topped with a single nut); and must-try jalebi (bright-orange coils of translucent fried dough drizzled with cardamom syrup). 1095 Coney Island Ave betweeen Ave H and Glenwood Rd (718-859-8044)

Sycamore
Connecting the area's best-kept blocks of beautiful single-family Victorians, Cortelyou Road is Ditmas Park's hipster hangout. There's a beatnik coffee/beer bar, a wineshop, brunchy bistros and one of the borough's most inviting bars, Sycamore. Run by the owners of the nearby locavore-leaning Farm on Adderley, this is probably the only drinking venue in the city with a flower shop inside. Stop to smell the roses, then choose from among the several hard-to-find craft brews on tap (try the Two Brothers Bitter End, $6) and enjoy it on the ivy-covered deck out back. 1118 Cortelyou Rd between Stratford and Westminster Rds (347-240-5850)


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