The best Williamsburg restaurants

The Williamsburg restaurant scene is constantly shifting—discover the best places to eat in the neighborhood

The Commodore

Spanning everything from old-school steak restaurants, where the waiters still wear waistcoats and bow ties, to hip eateries, Williamsburg restaurants are some of the best in Brooklyn. There is plenty of choice, whether you're looking for cheap eats before (or after) hitting Williamsburg bars or a great place for brunch.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Best Williamsburg restaurants

Allswell

Chef-owner Nate Smith, who earned his gastropub stripes at the Spotted Pig, breaks out on his own with this laid-back Williamsburg tavern. The 47-seat space is done up with a reclaimed pine bar, vintage wallpaper in different patterns and brass-hunting-horn chandeliers with matching sconces. Choose from chefly bar grub (like smoked-trout spread or spicy pork-stuffed pastry rounds); heartier dishes (such as roasted lamb or shellfish stew); and greens (including a chicory salad with figs and pomegranate). The drinks list takes a locavore slant with small-production wines and craft beers on tap, plus a selection of market-driven cocktails.

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Williamsburg

BrisketTown

'Cue savant Daniel Delaney—who gained a cultish following with his online venture, Brisketlab—serves Central Texas–style smoked meat at this roadhouse joint. Inspired by Southern grocery shops, Delaney outfitted the counter-service spot with handmade benches and a glowing neon sign. The toque pulls pork and beef ribs, brisket and sausage from an ancient wood-fired smoker, which burns timber shipped in from the Lone Star State. Stuff your meat in a soft slice of homemade white bread, and get a salad or coleslaw on the side. Local and rare bottled beers are on offer, as well as Blue Bottle drip coffee.

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Williamsburg

The Commodore

The Commodore in Williamsburg, with its old arcade games, Schlitz in a can and stereo pumping out the Knight Rider theme song, offers the city’s best cheap-ass bar eats, served in a seedy venue where folks come to get blotto. The short menu—with descriptions as curt as the service you’ll encounter while ordering your food from the bartender—reads like a classic collection of fryolator junk. Chef Stephen Tanner, formerly of Egg and Pies ’n’ Thighs, heads the kitchen, cooking up fried chicken that trumps even that of his former employers.

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Williamsburg

Delaware and Hudson

Patti Jackson (Alto) looks to her native Pennsylvania for inspiration at this throwback restaurant, offering chickweed pie, funnel cakes and scrapple.

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Williamsburg

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Former wd~50 pastry chef Sam Mason—of BK dive Lady Jay's and artisanal condiment company Empire Mayonnaise—returns to his sweet roots with this 20-seat ice cream parlor in Williamsburg. Inspired by old-school soda fountains, Mason fills the lofty beige room with vintage accents, including a chalkboard menu, custom wooden stools and dangling schoolhouse lights. A rotating selection of 12 ice creams—served in cups or hand-rolled cones—showcases his avant-garde repertoire with flavors like corn bread and chorizo-caramel, along with more familiar options such chocolate chunk and burnt marshmallow.

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Williamsburg

Peter Luger

Although a slew of Luger copycats have prospered in the last several years, none have captured the elusive charm of this stucco walled, beer-hall–style eatery, with well-worn wooden floors and tables, and waiters in waistcoats and bowties. Excess is the thing, be it the reasonably health-conscious tomato salad (thick slices of tomato and onion with an odd addition of steak sauce), the famous porterhouse for two, 44 ounces of sliced prime beef or the decent apple strudel, which comes with a bowl full of schlag. Go for it all—it’s a singular New York experience that’s worth having.

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Williamsburg

Pies ’n’ Thighs

Run by the three chefs behind the original, is a full-fledged restaurant with prompt, personable waiters and beer and wine service. Still, the place retains the DIY, seat-of-the-pants spirit of the dive that it sprang from, with food specials scrawled on sheets of paper, chairs and tables that might have been salvaged from a public school, and overhead lights so bright, dining there feels like sitting in detention. While the down-and-dirty Southern fare—honest, cheap and often delicious—is certainly in line with Brooklyn’s all-American moment, it’s an audacious departure from the borough’s judiciously sourced, seasonally orthodox, self-righteously ethical ethos.

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Williamsburg

Semilla

Unlike more navel-gazing chefs, José Ramírez-Ruiz and Pamela Yung don’t let dishes marinate on their menu long enough to become signatures. Instead, the partners, in both life and the kitchen, cut their ever-evolving creations with a macabre glee to rival George R. R. Martin. There’s no set menu at Semilla (Spanish for “seed”), the pair’s intimate, vegetable-forward chef’s counter, with the rootsy output (8–10 courses for $75) changing weekly, sometimes daily. That spontaneity allows for constant revisions and brainy inventiveness—not a surprise given the couple’s pedigree.

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Williamsburg

St. Anselm

Owner Joe Carroll has taken to calling St. Anselm a "blue-collar steakhouse," but that's not quite right. There are just two steaks on the menu, and while the charred hanger has great earthy flavor, the more eclectic offerings are much more the draw. The well-rounded menu, heavy on veggies, combines Mediterranean, Asian and all-American flavors—the cooking method ties it all together. The grill touches nearly every hot dish, and many cold ones, too—even the most unlikely ingredients benefit from at least a quick sear.

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Williamsburg

Zenkichi

Noirish lighting, narrow passageways lined by trompe l’oeil mirrors that turn a small bamboo garden into a forest, seemingly endless twists and turns—you’re right to wonder just where you’re headed when the host at Zenkichi leads you to your table. The destination is a private booth—complete with tatami shades—that is your intimate dining alcove. When you’re ready to choose from the sake and small-plate izakaya (that’s Japanese pub grub) menus, simply press a button at the edge of the table. The whole experience is confounding, in a good way, and in perhaps the most surprising twist, the transporting setting doesn’t outshine the equally enchanting food.

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Comments

3 comments
My Love
My Love

I ate two days ago :with my family in Fiore restaurant in grand street between Roebling and havemayer , is not mentioned in your list but they are delicious Italian food and comfortable service and location..we felt like a home! I raccomend it

Mary
Mary

I actually have to agree with Fat Goose in terms of the quality of their food. Not a typical Williamsburg hipster spot, but good for a grown-up dinner.

Jeff Gale
Jeff Gale

I appreciate your restaurant choices but my vote goes to FAT GOOSE 125 Wythe Ave.