Brooklyn has always played second fiddle to Manhattan when it came to well, everything really, but that culture is steadily changing especially since many of the critically acclaimed restaurants in New York City in recent years call Brooklyn (particularly Williamsburg) home. Naturally, more and more people are choosing to dine across the East River because not only do Brooklyn restaurants provide you with a great dining experience, it does so without the outlandish cost. Here are the best restaurants in Brooklyn.
Best Restaurants in Brooklyn
St. Anselm’s – Williamsburg
This is a small, intimate restaurant in the vibrant neighborhood of Williamsburg. The service is friendly, the prices are very reasonable, and the food is fantastic. The restaurant has a limited menu of appetizers, meats, sides, and small plate courses that has both American and Mediterranean influences. Its most popular item, however, remains the butcher steak. The beef is perfectly charred on the outside, but tender and very flavorful on the inside. The bar has a limited wine and beer list, but the items are unique and carefully selected by the owner, Joe Carroll.
Zenkichi – Williamsburg
Everything about your dining experience at Zenkichi is an experience to remember. It all starts with the entryway, a plain wooden door with just the number “77” stamped on it. Once you go through it however, you’ll get transported into a dimly lit space filled with authentic Japanese décor. The restaurant is not large by any means but tables are far enough apart to give diners adequate space without sacrificing intimacy. When you dine here, opt for the chef’s tasting menu and don’t forget to try their very affordable sake sampler.
Traif – Williamsburg
You might find this restaurant a little bit out of place especially since it’s location is near a neighborhood filled with Hasidic Jews, but make no mistake, because there’s nothing kosher in this New American eatery. It serves bacon donuts, baby back ribs, and pigtails with mingled meat and dairy but it also has non-pork items like a spicy bigeye tuna, seared foie gras, and crispy soft-shell crabs. The restaurant is a very popular spot for the younger crowd, particularly on Saturday evenings so either come early or make sure you have reservations.
Fette Sau – Williamsburg
No frills barbecue at its best is what Fette Sau offers. The joint sits inside a converted garage filled with delicious scents of smoked meats. Brisket, spicy sausages, and pork belly are the favorites among the locals who occupy the eatery’s many communal tables. It also has a decent selection of craft beers that’s popular with the younger crowd.
Roberta’s – Bushwick
If what you crave is a truly great Italian pizza, forget Grimaldi’s and head to Roberta’s in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood instead. This simple restaurant that specializes in authentic Italian pizza gets many of its ingredients directly from its backyard garden. It’s literally farm-to-table dining experience. The restaurant does offer other items apart from pizza including a silky pork belly dish with fava beans, almonds, and spring onion and a squid dish made with peaches, scallion, and chili.
Al Di La Trattoria
This popular northern Italian restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Brooklyn. It’s been a haven for all sorts of New Yorkers who share an interest in enjoying a good meal. Al Di La Trattoria serves traditional Venetian cuisine in a rustic setting. Simple, yet flavorful, dishes such as grilled asparagus with poached egg, pancetta, and lemon garlic vinaigrette, ricotta and lemon ravioli, or braised rabbit with creamy polenta has patrons keep coming back for more. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations for small groups so if you don’t want to wait, come during weeknights or for lunch instead.
More like a café than a restaurant, Five Leaves serves an eclectic array of dishes all day long. Its nautical-themed interiors brings a certain hip and cool vibe that you’d expect from a place with Australian influences. Brunch is very popular here, particularly their pancakes and truffle fries but don’t count this place out for early evening drinks and dinner too. It has a number of excellent cocktails and an extensive liquor list.
Destefano’s does its best to be that restaurant you’ll feel welcome to come by and have every dinner every night should you choose to. The food is certainly above average, from their steaks (order the 16 oz. NY strip or the 8 oz. petite filet) and other meats, to their sides, and desserts. The wine list isn’t the greatest but it’s good enough as an accompaniment. Plus the prices are very reasonable. You’ll probably still spend an average of $50-$60 per person but in New York City for steaks, that’s practically a bargain, like staying at Ritz Carlton hotels in New York for Days Inn prices.
If reading this made you hungry and eager to go on that long awaited trip to New York, consider one of these affordable places to stay or check out my recommendations for other cheap places to eat in New York.