New York’s best Williamsburg restaurants span everything from old-school steakhouses to new hip, all-day cafes with playful murals and nostalgic appeal. There is plenty of choice, whether you’re looking for cheap eats before (or after) hitting one of the best Williamsburg bars or great spots for brunch in Brooklyn.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Best Williamsburg restaurants
James Beard Award–winning chef Missy Robbins continues to pack her Italian stunner with guests who come from far and wide for her rightfully famous, perfectly al dente pasta. You can’t scroll through your Instagram feed without hitting gorgeous shots of her long mafaldine noodles with pink peppercorns.
There’s more to Peruvian food than citrusy ceviche and golden-skinned rotisserie chicken, though both are solid options at Llama Inn.This lively, light-drenched terrarium of a restaurant offers an array of vibrant fare that demonstrates the new garde of Latin cuisine.
The undisputed star of this Dixie shack is the moist chicken with irresistibly crispy batter, but the sides keep us coming back. Order the Superbowl, with baked beans, hush puppies, collards and your choice of corn bread or biscuits. Make sure to leave room for the banana cream pie.
The menu is small but mighty (and changing daily) at this much-lauded 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 almost two decades later.
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. Think of this spot as a Wine 101 class.
This Middle Eastern spot is one of our favorites in New York. It may not have the most exciting menu, but it’s a steadfast-and-true option that all diners in your party can enjoy. The comforting Labne Kasbia with Jerusalem artichokes is a must-order.
Red-sauce joints are tailor-made for old-school standbys, not creative ones. Forget the sides of vegetables when heaping portions of penne alla vodka, baked ziti and chicken parm hit the spot. When so much of Williamsburg feels unrecognizably new, Bamonte’s holds the torch for neighborhood charm.
Yes, Peter Luger is overhyped. And, yes, we think there are better steakhouses in New York. But Peter Luger is really quite a scene and consistently one of Williamsburg’s most fun spots. The porterhouse for two, three or four is the house specialty:
dry-aged in-house and seasoned with only salt and clarified butter.
Named after owner Nate Adler’s Queens-born grandmother, this eatery offers luncheonette-style dining for 2019 (there’s an Instagrammable mural and retro plateware). For brunch, you’ll find egg-and-cheese on bialys. For dinner, you can expect rotisserie and potpies as well as highballs with house-made syrups.
At the heart of chef Al Di Meglio’s kitchen is a wood-burning oven, where you’ll find bubbling pizzas topped with seasonal ingredients like zucchini flowers and house-made mozzarella. While Williamsburg can be so hipster it hurts at times, this spacious restaurant focuses on keeping to traditions with modern touches.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).