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Maison Yaki
Photograph: Time Out/ Nico Schinco

The best restaurants in Brooklyn

From falafel in Williamsburg to experimental Mexican fare in Greenpoint, these are the best restaurants in Brooklyn

By Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors
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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, one of the few true cheap eats spots left in Williamsburg 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

The best of the city under one roof and places we love so much we welcomed them in.

Jacob's Pickles at Time Out Market New York
Photograph: Courtesy Nitzan Rubin

Time Out Market New York

Restaurants Food court DUMBO

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 fluffy pancakes from the venerable Clinton Street Baking Co., thin-crust pizza from Patsy Grimaldi’s Juliana’s, Middle Eastern bites from Miss Ada, fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, Japanese comfort food from Bessou, cookie dough scoops from DŌ and more amazing eateries—all cherry-picked by us. 

alta calidad
Photograph: Liz Clayman

Alta Calidad

Restaurants Mexican Prospect Heights

Alta Calidad melds Mexican and Indian flavors with a global influence that we can't get enough of when digging into chef Akhtar Nawab's food. 

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juliana's
Photograph: Courtesy Biz Jones for Juliana’s

Juliana's

Restaurants Pizza Brooklyn Heights

Pizza is arguably the most competitive food category in New York, but Juliana's rules the city’s pie scene.

miss ada
Photograph: Courtesy Miss Ada

Miss Ada

Restaurants Mediterranean Fort Greene

Middle Eastern cuisine is popping upe everywhere in New York, but Miss Ada offers some of the best dishes we've tasted (of any cuisine, really). 

Best restaurants in Brooklyn

Ugly Baby
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

1. Ugly Baby

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.

A&A Bake & Doubles
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

2. A&A Bake and Doubles

Restaurants Bedford-Stuyvesant

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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Paulie Gee's Slice Shop
Photograph: Ali Garber

3. Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop

Restaurants Pizza Greenpoint

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.

Maison Yaki
Photograph: Nico Schinco

4. Maison Yaki

Restaurants French Prospect Heights

A French yakitori spot from lauded chef Greg Baxtrom offering playful dishes like cauliflower okonomiyaki, tempura-fried frog legs and Pocky-style dessert. 

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 Hometown Bar-B-Que
Photograph: Hometown Bar-B-Que/Ken Goodman

5. Hometown Bar-b-que

Restaurants Barbecue Red Hook

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. 

Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

6. Lilia

Restaurants Italian Williamsburg

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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Photograph: Cafe At-Your-Mother-In-Law

7. Cafe at your Mother-in-Law

Restaurants Uzbek Brighton Beach

Cafe at your Mother-in-law is a way more enjoyable experience than actually dining with your partner's parents. Try the wonders of Uzbek-Korean-Russian food through dishes like pelmeni and kuksu, a beef soup with pickled cucumbers and fresh dill. 

Bunna
Photograph: Bunna/Theodora Johnson

8. Bunna Cafe

Restaurants Ethiopian East Williamsburg

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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Llama Inn
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

9. Llama Inn

Restaurants Peruvian Williamsburg

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.

Oxomoco
Photograph: Gabi Porter

10. Oxomoco

Restaurants Mexican Greenpoint

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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Hart's
Photographs: Zandy Mangold

11. Hart’s

Restaurants Mediterranean Bedford-Stuyvesant

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.

Oasis
Photograph: Time Out / Ali Garber

12. Oasis

Restaurants Mediterranean Williamsburg

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.

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Claro
Photograph: Gabi Porter

13. Claro

Restaurants Mexican Gowanus

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.

L&B Spumoni Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Sinclair

14. L&B Spumoni Gardens

Restaurants Pizza Gravesend

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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Tanoreen
Photograph: Courtesy Caroline Voagen Nelson

15. Tanoreen

Restaurants Mediterranean 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.

Olmsted
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Wagtouicz

16. Olmsted

Restaurants Contemporary American 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.

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Sofreh
Photograph: Gabi Porter

17. Sofreh

Restaurants Persian Prospect Heights

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. 

Diner
Photograph: Courtesy Mel Barlow

18. Diner

Restaurants Diners 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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Jake Lindeman

19. Gertie

Restaurants Cafés Williamsburg

A modern luncheonette in the heart of Williamsburg serving Old school New York nostalgia through a soulful menu of comforting dishes like rotisserie chicken, lasagna and bialys.

Regular pie at Di Fara Pizza
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

20. Di Fara Pizza

Restaurants Pizza 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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MeMe's Diner
Photograph: Noah Fecks

21. Meme's Diner

Restaurants Diners Crown Heights

A modern take on the retro diner, MeMe’s offers buffalo chicken salad, cacio e pepe funnel cake and veggie hoagies that will make you feel so nostalgic, yo might just find yourself calling up your granny afterwards to tell her you love her.  

The Finch
Photograph: Courtesy The Finch

22. The Finch

Restaurants Contemporary American Clinton Hill

Chef Gabe McMackin has built a career cooking at restaurants such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern, where utilizing seasonal ingredients was at the forefront. At his restaurant The Finch, he’s maintained this philosophy but with an effortless edge as the menu evolves throughout the year. On one visit you might order Japanese yams to dip into a Meyer lemon mayonnaise or a bowl full of squid ink pasta but you can always find something unexpected.

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Peppa's Jerk Chicken
Photograph: Courtesy Peppa's Jerk Chicken

23. Peppa’s Jerk Chicken

Restaurants Caribbean Flatbush

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.

Margarita pizza from Roberta's at Mad. Sq. Eats
Photograph: Liz Clayman

24. Roberta’s

Restaurants Pizza 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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Photograph: Courtesy Oxalis

25. Oxalis

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.

La Vara
Photograph: Courtesy Virginia Rollison

26. La Vara

Restaurants Spanish 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.

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The Four Horsemen
Photograph: Liz Clayman

27. The Four Horsemen

Bars Wine bars Williamsburg

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. 

LaLou
Photograph: Liz Clayman

28. LaLou

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. 

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Purple Yam
Photograph: Michael Alexander

29. Purple Yam

Restaurants Filipino Flatbush

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.

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
Photograph: Courtesy Vicky Wasik

30. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co

Restaurants Seafood Greenpoint

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.

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Govinda's
Photograph: Time Out New York/ Ali Garber

31. Govinda's Vegetarian Lunch

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Vegetarian Downtown Brooklyn

Located in the basement of a Hare Krishna temple in Downtown Brooklyn is a hidden, colorful Indian lunch-only cafeteria-style restaurant, where you only need to spend $10 to feel full. 

Vinegar Hill House
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

32. Vinegar Hill House

Restaurants Contemporary American Vinegar Hill

The spot doesn’t try to use razzle dazzle decor or Instagram bait plating, the food, loosely of farm-to-table leanings, is just goddamn good.  

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‘Japanese Asagohan (Breakfast)
Photograph: Filip Wolak

33. Okonomi

Restaurants Japanese Williamsburg

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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