Restaurants in Red Hook: Where to eat in the Brooklyn neighborhood

Discover the best restaurants in Red Hook, Brooklyn—including Pok Pok Ny, Red Hook Lobster Pound and Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

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Appropriately for a waterfront neighborhood, Red Hook includes seafood restaurants like Brooklyn Crab and lobster-roll spot Red Hook Lobster Pound, as well as top Thai restaurant Pok Pok Ny. Food-truck culture is also well represented, with a number of Vendy Award winners setting up at the Red Hook Ball Fields.

RECOMMENDED: Red Hook neighborhood guide

Pok Pok Ny

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

There are plenty of chefs toying with far-flung flavors in New York, but few have flawlessly captured the true taste of distant cultures. Once in a while, though, an outsider manages to find a way in, learning to cook like a native son. Andy Ricker, raised on ski-town grub in Vermont, flipped for Thai food years back, as a rudderless vagabond wandering across Southeast Asia (working on boats in the Pacific). His immersion started in Chiang Mai, where great local cooks took him under their wings. Year after year he returned to the city to build a repertoire of authentic Thai tastes with a scholar’s devotion to detail. His first restaurant, the original Pok Pok, opened in Portland, Oregon in 2005 as a takeout shack, serving Thai-style barbecue chicken and mortar-and-pestle papaya salads. It gained momentum organically, evolving over the years into one of the country’s top spots for a serious Thai feast. Recently, Ricker exported the concept east to New York, opening a small wing

  1. 117 Columbia St, at Kane St
  2. Average main course: $14. Disc, MC, V
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Brooklyn Crab

  • Price band: 2/4

Channeling Maine's minigolf clam shacks, this hulking 250-seat eatery brings putt-putt facilities and seaside tastes to Red Hook's waterfront. Elevated on stilts, the three-story stand-alone restaurant is done up with wharf-themed flourishes: lobster traps, fishing rods, Christmas lights and a mounted shark's head. Gather friends for a round of minigolf, bocce or cornhole (beanbag toss) outdoors. After hitting the greens, grab a picnic table and dig into simple coastal fare, such as fried whole-belly clams with homemade tartar sauce, peel-and-eat shrimp, and steam pots brimming with lobster, Jonah crab and mussels, along with potatoes and corn. Drinkers can sip frozen daiquiris or split a bucket of beer (Corona, Bud) with pals on the open-air roof deck, which boasts clear views of New York's Upper Bay.

  1. 24 Reed St, between Conover and Van Brunt Sts, 11231
  2. Average main course: $30. Disc, MC, V
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Red Hook Lobster Pound

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This lobster seller trucks the critters from Maine to the storefront every week. You can order two styles of lobster roll—the warm and buttered Connecticut version or the cold and mayo-laced New England one—plus Maine Root sodas and Robicelli treats.

  1. 284 Van Brunt St, between Verona St and Visitation Pl
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Baked

  • Price band: 1/4

At this snug bakery and café in Red Hook, kids can load up on homestyle American sweets like fruit pies, brownies, cupcakes and red velvet cake. The traditional apple pie is the best we've ever had (sorry, Mom).

  1. 359 Van Brunt St, between Dikeman and Wolcott Sts
  2. Average pastry: $3. AmEx, MC, V
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Hope & Anchor

  • Price band: 2/4

Classic red vinyl diner seating abounds at this Red Hook diner-cum-pub, whose interior is a reassuring alloy of a blue-tinted bar and red-brick walls, adorned with restrained art. Try the gazpacho; it’s light and well blended. Or the mac and cheese fritters, delicate, un-oily and melding nicely with the horseradish-based sauce. Move onto the moist and peppery pork burger with cheddar and apple relish (though be sure to ask for sweet potato fries instead of the standard anemic variety). If you have room, finish with the banana cream pie, a study in gustatory excess.

  1. 347 Van Brunt St, at Wolcott St, 11231-12
  2. Average main course: $12. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Defonte’s

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

If you’re lucky enough to live or work near this legendary Red Hook sandwich shop, you know the secret of its success: massive, old-school Italian heros. Buns are layered with ingredients like ham, provolone, salami, roast beef, mozzarella and fried eggplant. In the Gramercy location, prepared dinners (macaroni with vodka sauce, chicken parmigiana) in microwaveable containers are available to go.

  1. 379 Columbia St, at Luquer St
  2. Average sandwich: $9. Cash only
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home/made

  • Price band: 2/4

When owners Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson consolidated their itsy-bitsy lounge, Tini Wine Bar, with its sister home-goods shop, the resulting mash-up became dangerous territory for shopaholics. After downing a glass of pinot grigio ($6), see if you can resist such industrial-looking pieces as a metal-and-reclaimed-wood coffee table ($800) that was handmade by Swenson, an antique medical lamp ($245) and the selection of mercury glass candlesticks ($18–$48) tempting you in the front window display.

  1. 263 Van Brunt St, at Pioneer St, 11231
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Red Hook Ball Fields

  • Critics choice

Although it's home to Fairway and Ikea, Red Hook's remote location and lack of subway lines make it feel like unexplored terrain. Hop onto your bike or take the Water Taxi service from downtown Manhattan (it's $5 during the week, but free on Saturdays and Sundays) and make a beeline for the much-praised Latin-food vendors that set up on the Red Hook ball fields. Sample excellent Salvadoran pupusas and other national delicacies, and watch some serious teams play soccer—kickball in McCarren Park this ain't.

  1. Clinton St, at Bay St
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The Good Fork

  • Price band: 2/4

This affordable, sophisticated Brooklyn restaurant—evocative of a first-class dining car with its glossy blond wood paneling—consistently packs in local crowds. Much of the credit goes to chef Sohui Kim (Blue Hill, Annisa), whose Asian-inspired menu flirts with European influences in dishes like flavorful barramundi with brussels sprouts, apples and bacon in a sorrel-based sauce. Getting there (for non-Hookers) can be a tougher sell: Expect at least a ten-minute walk from the subway.

  1. 391 Van Brunt St, between Coffey and Dikeman Sts
  2. Average main course: $17. MC, V
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Hometown Bar-b-que

  • Price band: 3/4

Grab your Wet-Naps—Brooklyn’s BBQ renaissance shows no signs of cooling off. This wood-paneled 120-seat smokehouse is the latest addition to the scene, a collaboration between self-taught pit master Billy Durney and restaurateur Christopher Miller (Smith & Mills, Warren 77). Inspired by his Brooklyn upbringing and travels through the South, Durney turns out 'cue with global influences. Dig into smoked meats both American (Texas-style brisket, North Carolina–inspired baby back ribs) and international (smoked jerk chicken, lamb belly banh mi). The drinks match the honky-tonk menu: Bartenders pour draft beers (Smuttynose, Shiner Bock) and American whiskeys (Van Brunt Stillhouse).

  1. 454 Van Brunt St, at Reed St, 11231
  2. Average pound of brisket: $25. AmEx, MC, V
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O’Barone

  • Price band: 2/4

Chef-owner Fulvio Leone brings his native Italian sensibilities to the table at this rustic eatery. The slim menu stresses simple dishes, like tagliatelle with mushrooms, and melted tomino cheese with pancetta, while the wines, such as falanghina and chianti, hail from the country’s regional vineyards. The intimate space, meanwhile, gets a breezy lift from a retractable glass roof.

  1. 360 Van Brunt St, between Sullivan and Wolcott Sts
  2. Average main course: $12. AmEx, MC, V
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Fairway

  • Price band: 1/4

Steer your brood to the back of this Red Hook market and you'll find an affordable sandwich shop. Outside, a sublime patio opens onto the New York Harbor—keep an eye out for the Staten Island Ferry in the distance. The kids can feast on gooey grilled cheese, but you should try the $10 lobster roll: It's a perfect tribute to a fine sea view.

  1. 480-500 Van Brunt St, at Reed St
  2. Average meal: $6
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La Bouillabaisse

  • Price band: 2/4

The third iteration of this pioneering seafood eatery, which first opened on Atlantic Avenue in 1993, lacks much of the originals’ appeal. Prefab design gives way to a redundant menu, featuring too many repeated ingredients—shellfish dominated the tepid appetizers, which included a dull crab-and-avocado salad. The bouillabaisse (one of two fish stews) featured funky-smelling shrimp and mussels—hardly a good showing for the namesake dish. The best thing we ate was a juicy skirt steak with crisp fries. Maybe it’s a sign that chef Neil Ganic should try a different concept.

  1. 44–46 Beard, St at Dwight St
  2. Average main course: $15. AmEx, MC, V
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Margaret Palca Bakes

  • Price band: 1/4

The Red Hook baker is known for her rugelach.

  1. 191 Columbia St, at Degraw St
  2. Average dessert: $2. Cash only
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Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie

  • Price band: 2/4

Hurricane Sandy couldn't stop the beloved Red Hook pie shop from making a sweet return to the Brooklyn waterfront. Waist-high flooding ravaged the original factory on Pier 41, putting owner Steve Tarpin and his pastry lieutenants out of commission during their busiest season. The Miami native makes his big comeback on the next pier over, with a sunny kitchen three times the size of his old one. Find his signature graham-cracker-crusted pies—filled with a condensed-milk custard laced with zesty lime juice—and the Swingle—a tartlet dipped in dark Belgian chocolate—inside the tropical-orange-hued bakery. The pies may be the same, but Tarpin will hang a new vintage glass sign etched with the shop’s motto: "Always Freshly Squeezed."

  1. 185 Van Dyke St, at Ferris St, 11231
  2. Average pie: $15. MC, V
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