Best Williamsburg restaurants
Inspired by Los Angeles all-day cafes like Gjelina and Sqirl, Gertie serves up bowls and toast with the soul of real New Yorkers. Run by Nate Adler (Huertas), Will Edwards (Marlow Collective) and Flip Biddelman (Huertas), the result is a gorgeous 70-seat spot off the Lorimer L train, in ode to Adler's grandmother, who was born-and-raised in Queens. Here, luncheonette-style dining made for 2019 (there's an Instammable mural designed by artist, Lea Carey). For brunch, you'll find egg 'n cheese on bialys (made in-house by Savannah Turley), the Gertie Breakfast (two sunny eggs, white beans, greens and toast) as well as squash toast. For lunch, there's rotisserie meats, provolone, lettuce and Italian dressing on a challah roll, a smoked fish dish (whitefish salad and melted cheddar on sesame sourdough) as well as a cauliflower melt (spicy cauliflower, pickled peppers and cheese sauce on sesame sourdough). For dinner, you can expect more rotisserie and pot pies as well as high-ball drinks with syrups made in-house.
James Beard Award-winning chef Missy Robbins continue to pack her Italian stunner with guests coming far an wide for her rightfully famous pasta. You can't scroll on your Instagram without hitting gorgoeus shots of her long mafaldini noodles with pink peppercorns or her soft-serve gelato, sprinkled with your choice of toppings.
Calm still exists off the main drag of Williamsburg. Hidden inside a relatively non-descript front with no street-facing window, is a magical Japanese brunch spot, not to be missed. House of Small Wonder is perfectly named, with an enchanting small tree, sprouting at the center of the greenhouse restaurant.
Any Lima lover could tell you that there’s more to Peruvian food than citrusy ceviche and crisp-skinned rotisserie chicken, though both are still solid option on the menu at Llama Inn. A lively terrarium of a restaurant disjointedly set beneath the BQE, the light-drenched restaurant offers an array of vibrant, Peruvian-inspired fare.
Walk into co-owner James Murphy, the former LCD Soundsystem frontman's convivial natural wine-focused restaurant and you're in for a treat. An ever-changing roster of daily specials keeps you on your toes. But what's guaranteed is farm-fresh, often seafood-focused plates that are as great for sharing as they are for complementing an education in wine class 101.
In the tiny sake bar–dining room, a postpunk soundtrack plays while chefs behind the scenes assemble tasty small plates. Entrées in miniature are nothing new, but rarely are they so perfectly complete: Salty-sweet sesame noodles, quesadillalike crabmeat wontons and cold silken tofu form a sizable yet delicate meal. Grilled eel is so tender that the lightly seasoned meat easily separates from its fatty skin. If you don’t take your sake straight up, an ice-cold Coconutzu Freeze (a sake-based piña colada) provides a high-voltage brain-freeze.
One of New York's most underrated bars is Pokito. This tiki spot is run by artists and it shows through kitschy-yet-thoughtful design details throughout the colorful, cozy space and tropical-infused cocktails, like one made with kiwi. It's also where you'll find fun alternatives to usual bar snacks with yuca fries, wasabi peas and Pocky sticks rounding out the menu.
It’s a rare thing: a Brooklyn bar that offers DJ-scored liveliness inside and a relaxing kick-back-with-cocktails space outside. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at the nightlife haunt Midnights from first-time bar owners Devin Schuck and Raffaello Van Couten. The place is bursting with style—on a recent night, choker-necked locals sipped from copper pineapple goblets while ogling the shoes of high-fashion twins Cipriana Quann and TK Wonder—but it’s a kind of cool softened by that tranquil backyard and cocktails that don’t take themselves too seriously. (I.e. you’ll feel comfortable here even if you’re not too cool for school.) ORDER THIS: The cocktail list is as enjoyable to read as its contents are to drink; along with quaffs named after Bill Murray, Justin Bieber and Barry Manilow, there’s the refreshing White Girl Wasted ($12), a vodka cooler of fresh strawberries, a spritz of lemon and soda water that tastes like a grown-up spring break. The tequila-charged Lime All the Time ($12) is far less dainty thanks to smoky mescal, but pomegranate offers a tart-sweet balance. As for those copper pineapples, they’re employed for the jumbo-size MPK ‘Tiki Cocktail’ ($25), the Instagrammable pièce de résistance loaded with light and dark rum, coconut, orange and pineapple. You won’t remember posting a photo of it, but trust us, it’ll be good.GOOD FOR: Leaving behind Brooklyn’s Edison-bulb–lit bar scene for a slice of the sunny South. The drinkery’s outdoor garden is an ivy-covere
One of our favorite Middle Eastern spots in New York is Zizi Limona. It may not have the neighborhood's most exciting menu, but it's a reliable steadfast and true friend, that all diners in your party can enjoy. The falafel is a must-order.
It's a wonder that Pheasant has retained its true neighborhood feel, despite being located in one of the city's most buzzy neighborhoods. In the warmer months, we suggest heading to their little-known backyard while ordering from one of their Mediterranean bites. Begin with the house focaccia and marinated olives (who doesn't love a bread basket?) following it up with roasted scallops with fried artichokes and a glass (glasses) of wine.
Lilia’s James Beard Award–winning chef Missy Robbins is serving her famous pasta and vegetable dishes in a brand-new space, which has a pasta-making room that’s visible to diners and passersby alike. Witness the chefs prepare 10 starchy specials, including fettuccine bathed in buffalo butter, corzetti peppered with Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and summer herbs, and Sardinian gnocchi packed with clams, sea beans and saffron.
A Williamsburg fine dining spot, the revival of the Michelin-starred Scandinavian kitchen helmed by Swedish wunderkind chef Fredrik Berselius. A tasting menu will set you back a lot of dough but think of it as tickets to your own personal staging of a Netflix Chef’s Table episode, rather than just a dinner. Aska also has some of the most exciting foraged ingredients we’ve ever seen, making it Brooklyn’s quasi-version of Noma.
You'd never know it from the modest digs and $3 slices, but this Williamsburg pizza joint boasts a serious pedigree. Occupying the former Brooklyn Star space, it's backed by the owners of Roberta's, who tapped Pulino's alum Frank Pinello as pizzaiolo. He's turning out pies topped with seasonal vegetables and local goods; the house-special Grandma pizza, available only by the square slice, features anchovy-laced plum tomato sauce and mozzarella. Perch on one of 16 wooden seats if you like, or take your grub to go—the food, not the ambience, is the real draw here.
After running a pop-up at Brooklyn venues like Berg’n and Threes Brewing, brothers Max and Eli Sussman give their Mediterranean concept a permanent home in Williamsburg. Nodding to the shawarma stands of their native Southeast Michigan, the pint-size market-restaurant hybrid serves, from a counter, chicken shawarma, braised lamb, zucchini fritters and fish kofta as pita wraps or composed plates with rice and salad, along with a selection of dips including carrot romesco and avocado hummus. A retail area up front offers sweets (fruit rolls, licorice) and bottled sauces (fish sauce, Palestinian olive oil).
The undisputed star of this Dixieland shack is the cult fried fowl, sporting moist meat and irresistibly golden-crisp batter, zestily seasoned with paprika, black pepper and cayenne (perfect to go with the many Southern sides on the menu). However, the pies stand up just as tall with an array of decadent fillings in a flaky, tender crust.
Much has changed in Williamsburg since 1950, but steakhouse institution Peter Luger remains satisfyingly the same. The porterhouse for two/three/four is the house specialty: dry-aged in-house and seasoned only with salt and clarified butter. While beef is king, it would be a shame to skip out on their extra-thick slabs of bacon.
Unlike their name may lead on, Sunday in Brooklyn is indeed open for brunch and dinner every day of the week. The rustic three-story space offers cozy vibes and an outdoor patio. Dishes like malted pancakes with hazelnut-maple praline shine on their brunch menu, while pastrami black cod and fried togarashi chicken steal the show at dinner.
The Commodore offers the city’s best cheap bar eats, served in a seedy venue where folks come to get blotto. The menu has all the drunk food your heart (and stomach) could desire like nachos, burgers and fried chicken. Once you've gotten some food in you, it's time to hit up some of their old-school arcade games.
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.
This 380-square-foot ramen shop from noodle whiz Yuji Haraguchi specializes in ichi ju san sai—a traditional Japanese meal of one soup and three side dishes—for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, snag a seat at the four-stool counter overlooking the open kitchen, where Haraguchi turns out a reservations-only, daily-changing ramen tasting.
You go to a fancy red-sauce purlieu like Bamonte’s for old-school strengths, not creativity: Here the chandeliers are spectacular, the waiters longstanding professionals. Start with superb clams casino—the bacon’s smokiness perfectly counterpoints briny clams. Entrées include seafood Fra Diavolo, a jumble of spicily sauced shrimp, mussels, clams and tender calamari. Lamb and veal chops and shell steak from the grill are charred on the outside, flavorful and juicy on the inside. Linger over coffee, or swirl a snifter of brandy or grappa.
Marlow and Sons is a pioneer in rustic looks and farm-to-table fare. This neighborhood afternoon coffee shop transforms into an eatery with an aggressively seasonal menu come nightfall. In the back room, an oyster shucker cracks open the catch of the day, while a bartender churns out potent drinks.
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. No matter what item you order, be sure to wash it down with a choice from their extensive wine list.
As part of his three-prong culinary takeover of the William Vale Hotel—which also includes rooftop bar Westlight and upcoming southern Italian concept Leuca—Andrew Carmellini and his Noho Hospitality Group roll out this burger and soft-serve stand operating out of a 1974 Airstream trailer parked on the hotel’s elevated promenade. Manned by executive chef Anthony Ricco (Spice Market), the retro RV offers four griddled burgers: a single or double with aged cheddar, a Swiss-topped veggie burger and a rotating special, with the opening option fixed with hatch chilies and Monterey Jack cheese. Beyond the bun, there are waffle fries and “dairy dips,” ice-cream cones in flavors like Jacker-Crax (buttered caramel popcorn with salted peanuts) and Hawaii Five-0 (Tahitian vanilla scoops with pineapple preserve and toasted coconut).