Williamsburg restaurant guide: The best places to eat now

The Williamsburg restaurant scene is constantly shifting—discover the best places to eat in the neighborhood, including critics' picks and affordable options.

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  1. Critics' picks
  2. Cheap restaurants

Cheap restaurants in Williamsburg

The Commodore

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

First came the gastropub, an import from Britain featuring upmarket pub grub in an ale-drinking setting. Now, welcome the gastrodive, which further blurs the lines between restaurant and bar. 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

  1. 366 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St
  2. Average main course: $9
More info

Le Barricou

  • Price band: 2/4

After reinventing itself, this French bistro in Williamsburg now serves even more affordable classics, like cassoulet and bouillabaisse, than it did when it first opened. In the back, a nineteenth-century–style wine lounge with antique furniture and a functioning fireplace opens onto a small garden space.

  1. 533 Grand St, between Lorimer St and Union Ave
  2. Average main course: $12. AmEx
More info

Pies ’n’ Thighs

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Deprivation is the mother of New York restaurant hype. Pies ’n’ Thighs, the city’s most eagerly awaited Southern-fried grease trap, has kept Williamsburg in Pavlovian limbo since the start of 2008, when its first incarnation—a drunk-food closet at the back of a bar—was shut down to prep for a more spacious and permanent home. Last month, after endless delays, it finally debuted in a former bodega near the Williamsburg Bridge. The new version, run by the three chefs

  1. 166 South 4th St, at Driggs Ave
  2. Average main course: $10. Cash only
More info

Egg

  • Price band: 1/4

This Southern-accented breakfast-only abode has no parallel in Billyburg or beyond. Perch on mismatched chairs at a paper-covered table, wake up at a leisurely speed to the old-time folk music on the sound system, and tuck into a cheap meal that may include eggs Rothko (a slice of brioche with a hole in the middle that accommodates a sunny-side-up egg, all of which is covered with sharp cheddar) or a terrific country-ham biscuit sandwich. If you must have dessert at breakfast,

  1. 135A North 5th St, at Bedford St
  2. Average main course: $9. Cash only
More info

Brooklyn Brewery

  • Price band: 1/4

Williamsburg's craft-beer facility offers reservation-only small batch brewery tours (Mon–Thu 5–7pm; $8) and free general tours on Saturday and Sunday (see website for details). You can also sample beer in the tasting room.

  1. 79 North 11th St, between Berry St and Wythe Ave
Make reservation

Blue Bottle Coffee

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Before this Williamsburg coffee bar and roastery came along, the only place in New York where you could find San Francisco’s famed Blue Bottle Coffee was at Gramercy Tavern. Now caffeine fanatics can sample the company’s shots of espresso and cups of joe—made to order from freshly roasted, mostly organic beans—without dropping a wad of cash on a dinner. Iced-coffee fans in particular should take note: Five contraptions from Japan will slowly cold-drip Kyoto-style brew,

  1. 160 Berry St, between North 5th and 6th Sts
  2. Average coffee: $3. Cash only
More info

La Superior

  • Price band: 1/4

Despite La Superior’s promise of traditional Mexican street food, our meal here was frustratingly inconsistent. The alambre de res, a greasy medley of skirt steak, bell peppers, onions and melted cheese, was no greater than its parts, but the fish pibil (tilapia, pickled onions and sweet plantain) had all the bold flavor that the rest of the menu lacked. With no dessert and a BYOB policy, La Superior could stand to serve more dishes that are as intriguing in taste as they are

  1. 295 Berry St, between South 2nd and 3rd Sts
  2. Average main course: $10. Cash only
More info

Saltie

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This tiny, low-key sandwich shop comes to us from owners Caroline Fidanza (Marlow & Sons), Rebecca Collerton (Diner) and Elizabeth Schula (Il Buco). Together, they create simple yet remarkable sandwiches that rely on pedigreed produce. Most are served on house-baked sea-salt-speckled focaccia, a versatile vehicle that encases sardines, capers and house-pickled eggs in the Captain’s Daughter, a delicious riff on a pan bagnat. Mortadella, pecorino and green-olive spread combine

  1. 378 Metropolitan Ave, between Havemeyer and Marcy Sts
  2. Average sandwich: $8. Cash only
More info

Nhà Tôi

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This shop, the name of which means “my house,” brings traditional and innovative banh mi and Vietnamese summer rolls to Williamsburg. Creative twists on the popular sandwich include versions such as the “Pho Bahn Mi,” which stuffs a baguette with pho ingredients (Thai basil, cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts and beef short rib). During the week, customers can also partake in the “family meal,” a rotating daily special prepared for the staff but available to all, and on

  1. 160 Havemeyer St, between South 2nd and 3rd Sts, door 6
  2. Average banh mi: $6. Cash only
More info

Okonomi

  • Price band: 1/4

New York’s ramen mania rages on, with Ivan Ramen’s full-service slurp shop on the Lower East Side, a planned stand-alone from Long Island City pop-up Mu Ramen and this 380-square-foot ramen-ya from noodle whiz Yuji Haraguchi. A sit-down offshoot of the chef’s Kinfolk Studios and Whole Foods counters, the chestnut-walled restaurant specializes in ichi ju san sai—a traditional Japanese meal of one soup and three side dishes—for breakfast and lunch, with options like

  1. 150 Ainslie St, between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, 11211
  2. Average main course: $10. Disc, MC, V
More info

The Saint Austere

  • Price band: 1/4

You'll find none of the typical wine-bar posturing at this Williamsburg spot, which ditches the trendy art and light jazz (relics of the '90s yuppie dens that first defined the genre) in favor of industrial accents (aluminum bar top, plumber's-pipe shelves) and old-school hip-hop. You might not even peg it as a wine bar until you spy the big wooden toolbox behind the bar, which doubles as a storage case for Old World wines served by the glass. The list is tight and well focused,

  1. 613 Grand St, between Lorimer and Leonard Sts, 11211
  2. Average small plate: $10. Disc, MC, V
More info

El Beit

  • Price band: 1/4

This café in Williamsburg offers seasonal small plates and specialty coffees.

  1. 158 Bedford Ave, between North 8th and North 9th Sts
  2. Average cup of coffee: $3. AmEx, MC, V
More info

Foodswings

  • Price band: 1/4

Owner Freedom Porio-Tripodi is a fabulously named, life-loving vegan who just happens to crave every American’s birthright: greasy diner food. Instead of marinated tofu and bean sprouts, the menu lists animal-free, road-trip–worthy pleasures like faux fish sticks, soy-cheese nachos and a tempeh Reubenesque sandwich. Billyburg burnouts can stop in from 11pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays for the Midnight Munchie menu.

  1. 295 Grand St, between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, 11211-44
  2. Average main course: $8. MC, V
More info

B.A.D. (Breakfast All Day)

  • Price band: 1/4

Williamsburg night owls in search of a 3am breakfast have a new option with the arrival of this 24-hour diner. In addition to the standard omelettes, there are a few wacky creations, like BBQ-shrimp pancakes and the Machete plate (mac and cheese with eggs). The massive menu is also vegan- and vegetarian-friendly—look for meatless burgers and meatballs made with spiced beets.

  1. 131 Grand St, between Bedford Ave and Berry St
  2. Average main course: $9. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
More info

An Nhau

  • Price band: 1/4

The menu at this funky Vietnamese restaurant isn’t the most adventurous in town, but the straightforward food still manages to impress. Simple, composed dishes such as tangy soy-marinated pork chops and delicate curried quail are better bets than the selection of pho (noodle soups). The classic version—rice noodles in beef broth with sliced flank steak—was light and clean but none too complex. The narrow interior is inviting—modern, with a large mural depicting bustling

  1. 172 Bedford Ave , between North 7th and 8th Sts
  2. Average main course: $14. AmEx, MC, V
More info

Waffle and Wolf

  • Price band: 1/4

Istanbul's sweet waffles were the inspiration for this wood-clad takeout shop, from Turkish-born Arman Sen and partner Daniel Richardson, a former DuMont manager. The menu spans savory (tuna salad, avocado and yogurt) and sweet (milk-chocolate fudge, Nutella, peanut butter) offerings. Do as the Turks do and fold yours like a taco before chomping down.

  1. 413 Graham Ave, between Jackson and Withers Sts
  2. Average waffle: $7. Cash only
More info

Whirlybird

  • Price band: 1/4

Bass player Jeffrey Bailey (Virgin Forest, Phosphorescent) serves breakfast tacos at this Williamsburg takeout coffeeshop. The tacos—inspired by ones he had while touring in Austin—are made with a oaxaca-cheese egg scramble and homemade salsa on a crisped corn tortilla and topped with potato chips and cilantro. Bailey, an Oslo alum, also serves espresso shots pulled from a La Marzocco Linea and made with the beans roasted by his former employer. The three-stool shop doubles

  1. 254 South 2nd St, between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts
  2. Average taco: $4. Cash only
More info

Blue Collar

  • Price band: 1/4

From the Miller’s Tavern team, this cheery hole-in-the-wall is the Bruce Springsteen of burger stops—a no-fuss nod to the greasy-spoon glory days of roadside diners. The Flat Top burger—griddle-pressed à la In-N-Out—is swaddled in a squishy Martin’s potato roll with gooey American cheese, lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, pickles and mayo-based special sauce. Split-and-seared beef franks get a zippy lift from tangy kraut; shoestring fries are salty and crisp; and thick

  1. 160 Havemeyer St, between South 2nd and 3rd Sts, store 2
  2. Average cheeseburger: $5. AmEx, Diner's Club,...
More info

Bánh Mì 172

  • Price band: 1/4

This Williamsburg banh mi shop features multiple variations of the namesake sanwich, along with vermicelli salads, summer rolls, and milk shakes in flavors like papaya, strawberry, avocado and banana.

  1. 172 Bedford Ave, between North 7th and 8th Sts
  2. Average sandwich: $5. Cash only
More info

Cubana Social

  • Price band: 1/4

Williamsburg gets a spacious Cuban restaurant, with a menu featuring bites like a Cuban sandwich with house-made pickles, plus classic rum cocktails.

  1. 70 North 6th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
  2. Average main course: $10. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
More info

SEA Thai Restaurant and Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

The DJ’s beats are thumping, the central pool is presided over by a giant Buddha, and the Billyburg crowd is decked out in the latest Bedford Avenue threads. For a place that’s so stylin’, the prices are shockingly cheap and the food is remarkably good. Jade seafood dumplings are stuffed with shrimp and crab and come with a nutty Massaman sauce. Rama the King, a blend of creamy Massaman and red curries topped with crunchy Terra Chips, is a reliable entrée. Another winning

  1. 114 North 6th St, at Berry St, 10003
  2. Average main course: $10. MC, V
More info
See more cheap restaurants in Williamsburg

  1. Critics' picks
  2. Cheap restaurants

Users say

2 comments
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.