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The best restaurants in Brooklyn

From classic steakhouses to hipster pizza parlors to hidden Nordic boîtes, these are the best restaurants in Brooklyn

Emmy Squared
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz Emmy Squared
By Jake Cohen and Juliet Izon |
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Has Brooklyn’s dining scene finally surpassed Manhattan restaurants? Judging from the breadth and innovation emerging from the borough’s restaurants, many might say yes. Whether you’re looking for New York pizza institutions in sleepy Midwood, the best pies with a cult following in hipster-central Gowanus or a spot in Fort Greene to have a Middle Eastern feast, here are the best restaurants in Brooklyn.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best restaurants in Brooklyn

1
Olmsted
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Olmsted

icon-location-pin Prospect Heights

This Prospect Heights gem is worth the trip for the gorgeous garden out back alone (and the s’mores served there). But then you would miss the full magic that chef Greg Baxtrom, an alum of Alinea and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is creating in the kitchen. Each item of the eccectic menu is refined, yet taps into some soft of nostalgic memory, whether it be their kale crab rangoon or creamy frozen yogurt with lavender honey. While dinner in this cozy space is magical, their newly launched brunch service is just as noteworthy.

2
Restaurants, American

Sunday in Brooklyn

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Contrary to their name, Sunday in Brooklyn is indeed open for brunch and dinner every day of the week. The rustic three-story space offers cozy vibes with warm wood interiors and an outdoor patio. While you've probably seen their malted pancakes with hazelnut-maple praline on Instagram (they’re just as good as they look) from their brunch, chef Jaime Young is bringing the same innovation and attention to detail to dinner. Don't miss the pastrami black cod with sour cream, pickles and toasted sourdough or the fried togarashi chicken with fancy ranch.

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3
Miss Ada
Photograph: Michael Tulipan
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Miss Ada

icon-location-pin Fort Greene

No, Miss Ada isn’t the name of some chef’s grade-school teacher. Rather, it’s a playful twist on the phonetic pronunciation of misada, the Hebrew word for “restaurant.” At this Fort Greene spot, Israeli-born chef Tomer Blechman (Bar Bolonat) combines his Latvian heritage with Mediterranean cooking. While you’ll be tempted to fill up on the incredible pita and silky whipped ricotta with brown butter and sage, be sure to save room for their warm hummus with lamb shawarma, falafel with green tahini and harissa-drizzled brick chicken.

4
<p>Rigatoni Diavola at Lilia</p>
Restaurants, Italian

Lilia

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Much-heralded chef Missy Robbins delighted Williamsburg when she opened Italian stunner Lilia early in 2016. While Robbins is rightfully famed for her pasta (you’ve probably seen the mafaldini with pink peppercorns on Instagram a few hundred times), the sleeper hit is the soft-serve gelato, sprinkled with your choice of toppings like walnuts preserved in lemon syrup.

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5
Misi
Photograph: Teddy Wolff
Restaurants, Italian

Misi

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Right along Domino Park in Williamsburg lies the second restaurant from Missy Robbins: a pasta mecca. The menu comprises 10 vegetable antipasti and 10 pastas, and we highly recommend getting as many of both as your stomach can handle. Vibrant vegetable starters are matched by comforting bowls of handmade pasta and there is literally nothing on the menu that dissapointed.

6
Peter Luger
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Luger
Restaurants, Steakhouse

Peter Luger

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Much has changed in Williamsburg since 1950, but stalwart steakhouse Luger’s remains satisfyingly the same. The porterhouse for two (or three … or four) is the house specialty: dry-aged in-house and seasoned only with salt and clarified butter. But you would be remiss not to begin a meal here with the bacon: extra-thick, extra salty and rightfully famous on its own.

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7
<p>Oyster at Aska</p>
Restaurants, Eclectic

Aska

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

You better plan in advacne if you want to dine in this Michelin two-star restaurant, since you need to prepay for your tasting menu experience. But once you book your spot, you can sit back and enjoy an evening of attentive hospitality and Nordic cuisine at its best. The restaurant sports a moody, cool style with animal-skin rugs and wood tables covered in black cloth, enjoyed with the added benefit of having plenty of space between tables (an anomaly in the era of cluttered New York dining).

8
Regular pie at Di Fara Pizza
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Restaurants, Pizza

Di Fara Pizza

icon-location-pin Midwood

For pizza aficionados, there is no greater god than Domenico DeMarco. The veteran pizzaiolo has been turning out Brooklyn’s most-famed pies since the 1960s, in a scruffy Midwood storefront that hasn’t changed much in the intervening decades. The cognoscenti try the classic cheese slices (both regular- and square-style) first, but your stomach is the only limit when it comes to piling on other toppings.

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9
Emmy Squared
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Pizza

Emmy Squared

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Inside the 50-seat, casual-sleek parlor—where overalls-clad Brooklyn moms juggle a newborn with one arm and a slice with the other, and off-duty chefs in snapbacks unload with on-tap rum punch—Matt and Emily Hyland serve six-slice rectangles that have all the hallmarks of the Detroit pan-baked style: air-pocked, puff-and-fluff dough that’s thicker than the New York slice but thinner than deep dish; cheese baked right into the crust until the buttery, barely risen dough takes on an addictively crispy frico texture; and sauce that’s Pollack-splashed on top rather than pooled in the center.

10
Margarita pizza from Roberta's at Mad. Sq. Eats
Photograph: Liz Clayman
Restaurants, Pizza

Roberta’s

icon-location-pin East Williamsburg

While the team here might not fly by the seat of their pants as much as in years’ past, this kooky kitchen is still creating some of the most innovative and oft-copied dishes in all of Brooklyn. The pizza remains the crowd pleaser due to its perfectly-chewy crust and addictive topping combinations like the Speckenwolf: mozzarella, crimini mushrooms, speck and onion or the Lil’ Stinker: tomato, mozzerella, parm, pecorino, garlic, onion and pepperocini.

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11
Maison Premiere
Bars, Cocktail bars

Maison Premiere

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Is it a bar with superlative food or an oyster joint with superb cocktails? It doesn’t really matter once you’re here. Featuring as many as 30 varieties of bivalves and the largest collection of absinthes in NYC, this regal Williamsburg spot is jam-packed nightly with good reason. The New Orleans-inflected menu shines brightest with the seafood: don’t miss the crudos or any of the crustaceans on ice.

12
Meadowsweet
Photograph: Evan Sung
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Meadowsweet

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

This bright and airy Williamsburg spot serves food as cheerful and refined as its décor. Under chef Polo Dobkin, the Michelin-starred restaurant cranks out seasonal fare with an emphasis on crisp vegetables and straightforward fish and meat preparations. Keep an eye out for the cavatelli with braised rabbit, made lush with fresh ricotta and fava beans.

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13
fourandtwentyblackbirds80701
Restaurants, Bakeries

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

icon-location-pin Gowanus

Three words: Salty Honey pie. This dessert shop arguably put Gowanus on the map as a foodie destination, almost solely on the back of the aforementioned custard-based concoction. Sister-owners Melissa and Emily Elsen excel at almost any sweet they bake, with their salted-caramel apple pie and highly-Instagrammed matcha custard pie holding their own against the top patisseries in the country.

14
Tanoreen
Photograph: Courtesy Caroline Voagen Nelson
Restaurants, Central Asian

Tanoreen

icon-location-pin Bay Ridge

The unique Middle Eastern cuisine at Tanoreen is certainly worth the trip to Bay Ridge. Chef-owner Rawia Bishara is known almost as much for her hospitality as her stellar cooking. The menu is extensive, but the mhammara is the must order: walnuts, pomegranate molasses, red bell peppers and spices pureed into a rich dip that goes well on almost anything.

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15
La Vara
Photograph: Courtesy Virginia Rollison
Restaurants, Spanish

La Vara

icon-location-pin Cobble Hill

Run by husband and wife team Eder Montero and Alex Raij, this charming Cobble Hill tapas joint celebrates the Jewish and Moorish influences on Spanish cuisine. To wit: the menu includes the esoteric pincho de cueta, chicken hearts with fresh herb salad and a lime-date vinaigrette, as well as more traditional tapas dishes like a daily croqueta.

16
St. Anselm
Restaurants, Steakhouse

St. Anselm

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Meat is the keyword at this perpetually packed Williamsburg spot. While not a steakhouse per se, classic dishes like an iceberg wedge with blue cheese and warm bacon dressing will please any purist. More adventurous eaters, however, can chow down on mains like the bourbon-brined pork porterhouse. Oenophiles should not miss the wine list, which is immense and delightful.

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17
Diner
Photograph: Courtesy Mel Barlow
Restaurants, Diners

Diner

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

The (handwritten) menu is small, but mighty at this much-lauded Williamsburg spot from restaurateur Andrew Tarlow. One of the first establishments to put Brooklyn on the map as a culinary destination, the kitchen is still firing on all cylinders 17 years later. The dishes change daily, but expect American food with a decidedly gourmet touch. Recent fare includes a fried squid sandwich and pink-peppercorn–lemon donuts.

18
Leuca
Restaurants

Leuca

icon-location-pin Greenpoint

At the subterranean foot of the William Vale Hotel rests Leuca, the third dining concept from chef-restaurateur Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde, the Dutch) and his NoHo Hospitality team at the hotel. (The group also oversees rooftop bar Westlight and burger-slinging Airstream Mister Dips.) It’s a surprisingly expansive space aided by soaring ceilings and light-catching marble surfaces. Carmellini takes inspiration from Italy’s south, yielding food-fired pies, housemade pastas and family-style roasted meats.

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19
<p>Smoked sardines at French Louie</p>
Restaurants, French

French Louie

icon-location-pin Boerum Hill

Named after Ottawan folk hero Louis Seymour, this French-inspired bistro dishes out smoked sardines with dulse-butter rye toast, foie gras–and-country-ham terrine and flounder grenobloise (in brown-butter–caper sauce). Find French and American wines in the 50-seat spot—furbished with a brass-backed mahogany bar, marble tables and brown banquettes—as well as classic cocktails from drinks man Tim Miner (the Long Island Bar, the JakeWalk).

20
BARANO interior-exterior
Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Italian

Barano

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Chef Al Di Meglio delves deep into the southern Italian region with this South Williamsburg neotrattoria, pulling inspiration from his grandmother’s birthplace, the Neapolitan island of Ischia. Armed with a wood-fired grill and rotisserie in the open kitchen, Di Meglio turns out pizza, roasted meats and house-made pastas that will outshine even Nonna's cooking. The pies even get interactive, served with pizza scissors for slicing yourself at the table.

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21
<p>Llama Inn</p>
Restaurants, Peruvian

Llama Inn

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Any Lima lover could tell you that there’s more to Peruvian food than citrusy ceviche and crisp-skinned rotisserie chicken, though both are dutifully on offer at Llama Inn, a lively terrarium of a restaurant disjointedly set beneath the BQE. Its chef is first-generation Peruvian-American Erik Ramirez who, following a sous stint at Eleven Madison Park, parlayed that heritage into an executive-chef post at high-end ceviche spot, Raymi. This is New Peruvian 101: The pisco punch is punnily named after singer Lana Del Rey, and the venerable lomo saltado is listed on the menu as the layman-simplified “beef tenderloin stir fry.”.

22
Battersby
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Restaurants, American creative

Battersby

icon-location-pin Carroll Gardens

Chefs Walker Stern and Joe Ogrodnek certainly make sophisticated food, but it is also eminently edible. This sexy Cobble Hill spot has a tightly edited menu, but there are no wrong orders. Don’t miss the sumptuous chicken, served with fingerlings, chanterelles and fava beans. Feeling more adventurous? A spontaneous tasting menu is also available upon request.

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23
<p>K-Town Old-Fashioned at Insa</p>
Restaurants, Korean

Insa

icon-location-pin Gowanus

In a former warehouse space on Douglass Street, Insa offers a modern take on the Korean pastime, as reinterpreted by Seoul-born chef Sohui Kim and her husband Ben Schneider, the team behind Red Hook’s the Good Fork. Get ready to inhale a platter of gochujang-glazed Korean fried chicken and belt out your best Whitney rendition in one of their karaoke rooms (don't worry there are plenty of sake or soju for encouragement).

24
Frankel’s Delicatessen
Restaurants, American

Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing

icon-location-pin Greenpoint

Raised on Jewish-food landmarks like Barney Greengrass and Zabar’s, brother-owners and Upper West Side natives Zach and Alex Frankel (former chef at Jack’s Wife Freda and half of Brooklyn synth-pop duo Holy Ghost!, respectively) preserve the traditions of their lox-peddling elders with menschy earnestness. There are no revisionist latkes or molecular-gastro matzo balls here—just the deli staples they, and New York, grew up on. The malt-sweet, hand-rolled bagels come from Baz; the smoked fish (kippered salmon, sable), from Acme.

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