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Gage & Tollner
Photograph: Courtesy Lizzie Munro

The best restaurants in Brooklyn

Brooklyn's greatest restaurants include a Burmese pop-up made permanent, a stunning revival and plenty of pizza.

Shaye Weaver
Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Shaye Weaver
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Brooklyn’s culinary landscape is one of the finest in the world, hosting many of the best restaurants and bars in New York City and beyond. The borough has so many excellent pizza places, BBQ and brunch options, one could spend a lifetime trying them all. Our favorite 35 are a terrific place to start, including new additions Gage & Tollner, Francie, Leland Eating and Drinking House, Kokomo, Rangoon and Victor. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

The best of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • Food court
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

We really like eating around the city, and we're guessing you do, too. So lucky for all of us, we've packed all our favorite restaurants under one roof at the Time Out Market New York. The DUMBO location in Empire Stores has fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, pizza from Fornino, inventive ice cream flavors from Sugar Hill Creamery and more amazing eateriesall cherry-picked by us. Chow down over two floors with views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. 

Best restaurants in Brooklyn

  • Restaurants
  • Downtown Brooklyn

The new iteration of Gage & Tollner (if you know anything about the place it’s that it enjoyed over a century of success before it closed and the space gave way to an Arby’s and other business) is a sparkler. Its new owners preserved and revived the beautiful dining room, created a dedicated martini menu in addition to other cocktails and authored an enticing dinner lineup overflowing with oysters, steaks, chops, seafood and an excellent fried chicken. 

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Carroll Gardens

Tucked away on a quiet stretch of Smith Street in Carroll Gardens is a Thai restaurant that will keep you coming back for more self-inflicted pain. Whether you’re ordering the “stay-away spicy Udon Thani’s duck salad” or the khao soi, the servers will warn you over and over to be careful of the spice. You’ll go against their advice and end up begging for more of the cooling cucumbers to ward off the heat.

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

This Williamsburg newcomer earned a Michelin star for excellence in “balancing intriguing flavors and textures” like five seconds after it first opened at the end of 2020, and getting reservations was a bear in the months that followed. It’s still a tough ticket at primetime, but things have opened up a bit if you’re willing to sample Francie’s soufflé cakes with caviar, winning pasta options and marvellous dry-aged crown of duck on a weeknight. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Created by the Speedy Romeo team, the recently Michelin-starred Oxomoco focuses on wood-fired dishes; favorites include a beet “chorizo" taco,  masa-fried cauliflower with black mole, pepitas, and butternut squash crema and chicken al pastor with grilled pineapple. The restaurant exudes a faint campfire smell that spreads throughout the all-white dining room, accented only by the green ivy hanging from the skylights. Be mesmerized by the glow emanating off the illuminated bar, lined with beautiful bottles of mezcal and tequila, ready to be shaken or stirred into cocktails.

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Sofreh
  • Restaurants
  • Persian
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

In one of New York's few (and certainly only trendy) Persian restaurants, the incredibly fragrant cuisine of Iran is finally getting the spotlight it deserves. Dine on roasted eggplant dip, beef-and-potato kebab and rosewater sorbet at this traditional Persian spot in Prospect Heights led by the chef-owner who moved to the city from Iran in the 1980s. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Gowanus
  • price 3 of 4

Everyone loves a good taco, but at Claro, your notion of Mexican food is greatly expanded. The aguachile is not exactly your run-of-the-meal ceviche: scallops marinate in a bath of bright citrus and also have an unexpected hit of heat. The tortillas are house made and make a perfect vehicle for the complex moles that feel tradition yet modern.

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

One of the best new restaurants of 2020, this wife and husband run business serves Caribbean-inspired menus in a lovely space intended to evoke vacation vibes. Sip beachy punch and cocktails with braised oxtail, jerk chicken and jackfruit tacos. Kokomo also gets a head start on every weekend with bottomless brunch on Fridays from 11am-4pm. 

  • Restaurants
  • Burmese
  • Crown Heights

A pop-up made permanent last year, the bright and airy Rangoon serves traditional Burmese dishes based on generations of family recipes. Small plate standouts include the ginger pork meatballs, along with terrific curries like the fish cake and roast duck varieties, and noodle options like the coconut chicken soup. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Red Hook
  • price 3 of 4

More than a decade in, Brooklyn’s  BBQ renaissance shows no signs of cooling down. Need a place to start? Hometown Bar-B-Que is—without a doubt—New York’s hottest smoke joint, a wood-paneled, 120-seat meat haven that’s inspired by self-taught honcho Billy Durney’s Kings County upbringing and travels through the South. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Greenpoint
  • price 1 of 4

Part raw bar, restaurant and seafood market, this Greenpoint standout is where you’ll find pristine seafood. You may feel like you’re on the Amalfi coast when you go through dozens of oysters (or the scallops, sea urchin and more), but this place focuses on sourcing local and seasonal seafood.

  • Restaurants
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • price 1 of 4

This small, stellar Caribbean joint in Bed-Stuy has three specialties: bake, doubles and—you guessed it—roti. The first is a handheld fried-dough bun stuffed with salt fish or fried sand shark and topped with a tangy-sweet tamarind sauce.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Greenpoint
  • price 1 of 4

Unlike its beloved original location, which offers only tableside pies, the year-old Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop is all about, yes, the classic New York slice—that is, those melty, cheesy, portable chews that fill us up at any time of day. The sleeper hit? The saucy Freddy Prince.

  • Restaurants
  • Ethiopian
  • East Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

At this vegetarian Ethiopian charmer, you’ll get a spread of traditional bites, including red lentils in berbere sauce, mashed split peas simmered with tomato, and a chickpea stuffing with kale. Cool the heat of the spicier flavors with a strip of injera.

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  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Erik Ramirez cut his teeth at fine dining establishments like Eleven Madison Park. But in 2015 he went off on his own, circling back to his roots of Peru. Today, Ramirez has expanded with Llamita and Llama San, but his first remains the Goldie Locks-esque perfect middle between high-end and fast-casual locations.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • price 2 of 4

Chef Nick Perkins, a veteran of Andrew Tarlow’s Williamsburg empire of Diner and Marlow & Sons, brings some serious chops to this Bed-Stuy beauty. In the 30-seat dining room (marble-topped bar, cushioned banquettes) designed by Perkins’s brother, Russell, the toque turns out Mediterranean-focused plates that are always elevated but never fussy.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Oasis is our no-fail, no-frills, trusty best friend for falafel platters and pita sandwiches. Beyond just damn good falafel, we really appreciate the bounty of pickled veggies that don't feel like an afterthought or filler.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Gravesend
  • price 2 of 4

Sure, table service is available, but when it comes to L&B, we suggest ordering your grandma-style pie at the to-go counter and sitting outside. There are two rules here: Fight for that Parmesan shaker, and no matter how stuffed you are, you must finish your meal with spumoni, a tricolor ice cream.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Bay Ridge
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Cobble Hill
  • price 3 of 4

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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Midwood
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • Caribbean
  • Flatbush
  • price 1 of 4

There’s a wonderfully fragrant goat curry and tender stewed oxtail served over coconut rice, but it’s the smokey, perfectly grilled smoked chicken that keeps us coming back to Peppa’s Jerk Chicken. You can easily pay over $50 for a roast chicken in New York at sit-down restaurants, but we think this chicken is as a satisfying, if not more, than many of the best birds in town.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • East Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Crown Heights

Pop-up chef Nico Russell (NYC's Daniel and Mirazur in France) has planted roots in a permanent new Prospect Heights bistro. Named after a genus of flowering plant, the restaurant offers a wonderfully priced $60 vegetable-forward tasting menu with a $35 beverage pairing.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Walk into co-owner (and former LCD Soundsystem frontman) James Murphy’s intimate, convivial natural-wine–focused restaurant, and you’re in for a treat. An ever-changing roster of daily specials keeps you on your toes. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Prospect Heights

This simple-yet-elegant Prospect Heights stunner is a wine bar with lesser-seen-in-NYC excellent pours. But LaLou can also hold its own in the food department with dishes like a rich chickpea pasta and fried olives. 

  • Restaurants
  • Filipino
  • Flatbush
  • price 1 of 4

Even if you live nowhere near Ditmas, Purple Yam’s best dishes are worth an excursion.The restaurant’s superior chicken adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, features on-the-bone nuggets braised in a soy-vinegar mixture is simple and remarkably rich with a buttery finish.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

There’s no multi-course tasting menu to fuss over here. Instead, there’s a set meal consisting of seven-grain rice accompanied by roasted fish, miso soup and vegetables. This style of Japanese meal, known as ichiju sansai, may seem deceptively simple but each element is prepared to perfection.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

This airy Williamsburg parlor has perfected pasta—be it cappelletti with corn, Parmigiano and black pepper; agnolotti stuffed with sheep’s-milk cheese, saffron, dried tomato and honey; or the crowd favorite, mafaldine with pink peppercorn. 

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