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 tasting-menu vegetarian restaurant in Williamsburg, here are the best restaurants in Brooklyn.
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Best restaurants in Brooklyn
Inventiveness—rendering uncommon ingredients familiar (and common ingredients unfamiliar)—is what reaped Berselius much critical acclaim at the original Aska, which operated out of Kinfolk Studios until 2014. While the art-space confines lent a Brooklyn scrappiness to its predecessor, the new digs have a moody cool, styled with animal-skin rugs, neat stacks of high-brow cookbooks like Manresa: An Edible Reflection and wood tables covered in black cloth, the edgy alternative to the old guard’s white. There’s plenty of space between those tables (an anomaly in the era of ever-cluttered New York dining), and Berselius & Co. tend to the room’s 24 seats like sushi masters, one chef seemingly designated to each table.
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.
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.
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.
This vegetable-forward 18-seater in Williamsburg has won near-universal praise since opening in 2014. With meat and fish playing only an accompanying role, greens and grains have their moment to shine brightly. The dishes change nightly and are predicated on what’s available from the restaurant’s farm suppliers, ensuring patrons sample only what is perfectly in season.
One of the newest faces on Brooklyn’s culinary landscape, this Prospect Heights gem is worth the trip for the gorgeous garden out back alone. But then you would miss the magic that chef Greg Baxtrom (formerly of Alinea and Blue Hill at Stone Barns) is creating in the kitchen. Be sure to order the guinea hen, prepared both roasted and in a confit, and served alongside umami-rich morels and tangy ramps.
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 the entire borough. 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.
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.
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 the Windy City deep dish; cheese baked right into the crust until the buttery, barely risen cornicione takes on an addictively crispy frico texture; and sauce that’s Pollack-splashed on top rather than pooled in the center.
A pioneering spot on the Brooklyn waterfront, chef Andy Ricker’s Thai-inspired food is worth the (often brutal) wait. Those who persevere are rewarded with treats like Vietnamese fish sauce wings: sweet, salty, sticky and utterly addictive. The grilled Chiang Mai sausage is another favorite: seasoned with herbs and Burmese curry powder, and served with spicy green-chili dip and pork rinds.
Looking for more amazing food in Brooklyn?
Between The Bread
Between the Bread started as owner Ricky Eisen’s corporate catering company, and eventually expanded into three Manhattan eateries serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you’re hungry early enough. The menu changes seasonally, as the company focuses on locally sourced and exceptionally fresh ingredients. On a recent visit, it included breakfast options like overnight oats with cinnamon, walnuts, chia seeds and berries ($7.50) and an asparagus-mushroom frittata ($5.75). For lunch or dinner, you’ll have to choose between sandwiches like the Chrysler with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, avocado and bacon ($9.75), salads like the Chelsea with grilled salmon, fennel, frisee and watercress ($12.50) and “seasonal plates” composed of your choice of protein and two sides ($11.50–$13.25). Still hungry? Snag one of their whoopie pies ($1.50 for a small, $3 for a large) or butterscotch blondies ($1.75 for a small, $3.50 for a large) for dessert.
Venue says: “Our chefs create specials daily & we rotate our vegetables & grains monthly. We believe in eating natural & seasonal foods that fill you up”