There are plenty of reasons not to go to Greenpoint: It’s far away. There’s basically only one subway that you can take. You’ve never been and you have no idea what goes on there.
But there are way more reasons to go to Greenpoint. Namely, that there’s a lot going on here - especially in the eating and drinking categories. Whether you’re a local, or you just want to do some exploring this weekend, here’s a complete guide to all our favorite places in Greenpoint for every situation. And if you’re looking for our favorite spots to drink here, check out our Greenpoint Bar Guide.
Some of the absolute best pizza in NYC, Paulie Gee’s magic comes from its combination of quality and creativity. If you can get a table (expect hours-long waits during peak times), you will be rewarded not only with unbelievably good pies, but also with a dark, cozy, candelit pizza cavern in which to enjoy them – and most likely a visit from Paulie himself. If the wait is a problem for you, your best bet is a geriatrically early dinner.
If you have any level of appreciation for authentic Mexican food, make it a priority to get here. The tacos and nachos are excellent, and the huevos rancheros at breakfast (only until 11am) are a fantastic way to start any day. Especially a slightly hungover day.
Sometimes you just want a nice piece of fish, and Greenpoint Fish & Lobster is far and away your best option for it. Either pick up some sea meat at the fish counter to cook at home, or sit down and get something from the restaurant’s menu – the fish tacos, rice bowl, and lobster roll are all impressive. Bring a friend and eat at a high-top table or come by yourself for a solo meal at the bar.
You don’t come all the way Greenpoint to eat at Cherry Point. But if you live here, or you’re already here to explore, it’s an excellent choice for red meat and cocktails. Come on a date or (maybe better) by yourself, sit at the bar, and order some house-cured meats and the giant double-patty burger. This is the kind of neighborhood bistro every neighborhood needs.
Greenpoint has no shortage of great neighborhood restaurants. Esme is our favorite one for brunch. The food is great, the vibes are excellent (no one is rushing you to get up and you actually have space to enjoy your food instead of being elbowed by your hangry neighbor), and there’s a big, nice back patio for when it’s warm. You need a short stack of their blueberry pancakes on your table no matter what.
On an otherwise pretty-deserted stretch of Manhattan Avenue, Le Fanfare feels like it was helicoptered in from somewhere else. Which might be why it’s often pretty empty in here. But don’t let that deter you - the modern Italian food here is great, the people here are super friendly, and it’s a place where you’ll want to become a regular even if you never come to Greenpoint.
Every spring, you tell yourself you’re going to actually book that summer rental house in Montauk/The Hamptons/Cape Cod. But then you look at AirBnB and you realize you’d have to sell a body part on the black market in order to afford that trip. Your consolation prize is Lobster Joint, the Greenpoint spot that’s the closest thing you’ll find to a clam shack around these parts. In the summer, their outdoor patio is prime day drinking territory.
Glasserie sits at the very top of the borough (go any farther north and you’re in Queens), but it’s become a destination people are willing to schlep to thanks to its interesting Mediterranean food and industrial but pretty design. Come for a date or a special occasion when you don’t want a big production. If you’re into fancy brunches, this is also a great choice for that.
Look at the crowd outside of Five Leaves any day of the week and you would think this place was giving away puppies that have the ability to walk themselves. Mobs of people are always camped out here waiting for their chance to eat these Instagram-famous pancakes and avocado toast (outside, if they’re lucky). We don’t love Five Leaves as much as everyone else, but if you really feel the need to wait two hours and take in the neighborhood’s best people watching, you won’t be mad about what you ate. And if you want to try the food without the crazy waits, dinner is actually pretty good here.
If you’re a vegetarian, or you just like to eat kind of healthy sometimes, Selamat Pagi is a homerun. They serve Balinese food, which is stuff like curries and stews and noodles, a lot of which involves many vegetables. Our go-to orders? Papaya salad, spicy beef rendang, and fish curry - but we’ve yet to be disappointed by anything here. Besides the food, the place feels like you’re stepping into an ideal tropical vacation. Also: it’s owned by the people behind Van Leeuwen ice cream. Order it for dessert, or do we what we do and just make the eight-minute walk over to the ice cream shop to get a full sundae.
Sauvage looks like one of those classic Parisian bistros with the wicker chairs out front. Except, instead of looking out onto a charming Parisian Rue de something-or-other, Sauvage looks out onto Bedford Ave and McCarren Park. Not quite as charming, but still. It’s owned by the Maison Premiere people, and in addition to oysters and top-notch cocktails, they also serve breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner menus, with food that’s somewhere in between French and American. They do a great burger, but feel free to go for the more adventurous stuff too.
It’s 6pm and you don’t know what you’re having for dinner. Dumplings sound good. So does something spicy. Or maybe ramen? Also, you just saw a picture of some bao yesterday and you haven’t had bao in a while and that sounds good too. Instead of making the tough decision between all of these things, just go to Baoburg, a tiny little spot that serves an interesting mix of Chinese and Thai. In the summer, they have a great back patio that works well for a low-key catch up with a friend. If you’re a local, they run a serious takeout operation.
Way over in the far Southeastern corner of Greenpoint is Little Dokebi, the second spot from the Dokebi (in Williamsburg) people. Here, you can get Korean and Japanese food ranging from bibimbap to spicy brisket noodle soup to Korean BBQ (grilled either at your table or in the kitchen) to fried chicken to korean tacos. If that roundup wasn’t clear, this menu is big. And the cozy space is perfect for an affordable group dinner.
21 Greenpoint has two major claims to fame. One, it’s across the street from Paulie Gee’s. Two, the owner’s father is Bill Murray (he bartended there for a night when it opened). But this restaurant can actually stand on its own, and would be worth a visit for reasons besides being your backup plan when Paulie Gee’s is a two-hour wait or a stop on your quest to meet Bill Murray. The big space is a nice place to have a meal, and the menu has everything from pizza to foie gras fried rice.
Just off the Greenpoint Ave G stop, The Bounty is a ship-themed restaurant that isn’t nearly as corny as that sounds. It just kind of feels like you’re eating dinner inside an attractive old wooden boat. The food is simple American stuff like roast chicken and clam chowder, and it’s all solid. Come here for their $1 oyster happy hour (5-7pm daily).
Milk & Roses is a renaissance restaurant: It has a great bottomless brunch, a vine-covered back patio, an Italian-ish dinner menu that includes both pasta and pigeon, and a very charming interior filled with bookcase-lined walls, so you can feel highly intellectual as you eat.
If you are struck by a need for spicy cumin lamb noodles while in Greenpoint, you are in luck. There’s a Xi’an Famous Foods location here, and just like all the others, it’s a great place to take your mouth to a very happy place for around $10. If you’ve been day drinking in Greenpoint all day, this is an excellent move (if you can get there before 9 or 9:30, depending on the day, when they close).
Jungle Cafe is a low-key vegan spot that kind of feels like the Rainforest Cafe on Valium. A healthy restaurant with no sense of hipness or pretension is a rare find in NYC, and that’s exactly why this place gets our approval. In addition to a la carte dishes, they also have a daily-rotating vegan and vegetarian buffet – if you’re into that, come here on Sundays for the all-you-can-eat situation.
Amami serves everything from sushi and ramen to pork buns and cocktails, in a trendy-looking space. Greenpoint is oddly low in sushi and ramen inventory, and if you’re craving either, this is your best bet around.
Lucky Luna is probably the only restaurant in Greenpoint that can satisfy your Mexican and Chinese cravings simultaneously. This Mexican-Taiwanese place isn’t fusion food in the slightest – it feels like someone split up the menu into two parts and then pieced them back together, BFF-necklace style. But if you’re feeling like a pork bun and your friend wants guacamole, this place has you covered.
bars with food
From the outside, The Brew Inn looks like a below-average pub. But the not-so-obvious difference between The Brew Inn and every other bar in Greenpoint is its unbelievably good burger. Aside from the meat sandwich, The Brew Inn is also a fun place to drink and play Connect Four with friends.
Greenpoint’s answer to the Frying Pan (except not a complete and utter sh*tshow), this place is literally on a barge – with an unobstructed, panoramic view of the east side of Manhattan and the river. The food is nothing special, but you’ll be more than willing to forgive a bland burger when you feel like you have the entire skyline to yourself. (It’s slated to open for the 2017 season on May 1.)
Enid’s is an all-day restaurant/bar with ample sidewalk seating and a welcoming interior that make it very easy to get comfortable – whether your idea of comfortable is a date with your computer or a mimosa. It also has one of the neighborhood’s only weekend happy hours, and it turns into a dance party on Saturday nights.
So, you’re planning a second date with someone who shares your affinity for craft beer - and not just in the way where you both put that on your dating profiles because you know what an IPA is and like to drink them. Argubly the best beer bar in Brooklyn, Tørst recently started serving a full dinner menu that’s part American, part Scandinavian, and fully perfect for consuming with fancy beer. We endorse the burger, the hot dog, and especially the French Montana: beef shank and gruyere on a baguette with a bowl of bone marrow jus. Suggest to your date that you split at least two of those items and depending on their response you’ll know whether you found a keeper.
Alameda is where you go on a date to look like you tried, but not too hard. It’s a cocktail bar that serves the kind of food that you could either share/pick at as you get to know one another, or actually sit down to eat for a full meal. The cocktails are really good, and interesting enough to give the two of you something to talk about should your conversation take a turn for the worst. And for the atmosphere: there’s a big, beautiful u-shaped bar, flattering lighting, and plenty of tables for two.
Achilles Heel might as well be the official tavern of Greenpoint - complete with a fireplace. Come here pretty much any time its open and you’ll find cool neighborhood people kicking it with cocktails and food from a menu that’s way more advanced than you’d expect from such a low-key looking place. But this bar/restaurant is from the same people as Diner/Marlow & Sons/Reynard, and the daily-rotating menu has stuff like sardine toast and lamb head. If that sounds a little too adventurous for you, know that this is a good place to come just for drinks and oysters too.
Undeniably the best brewery/big groups spot/outdoor hangout/stroller mecca in South Brooklyn, Three’s Brewing recently took over what used to be the Cassette space in Greenpoint for a “pop-up.” But it looks like this outpost is here to stay. If you need a place to meet a few people for drinks and snacks, this is an excellent option. If you don’t mind strollers. Note: they’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
takeaway / coffee shops / dessert places
Frankel’s hasn’t been around long, but it feels like it’s been here forever. This new-school take on an old-school Jewish deli has constant crowds of people waiting for lox, pastrami, and brisket - but the line moves fast, the food comes out quick, and everyone working here is genuinely friendly. Our favorite orders are the combo #1 (lox, scallion cream cheese, and cucumbers) and the pastrami, egg, & cheese - but you truly can’t go wrong. If there isn’t a seat available once your order is called, take your food to McCarren park for the perfect picnic.
This is nothing more than a tiny storefront selling homemade kimchi and various hard-to-find Korean cooking products, but Kimchee Market (owned by the Dokebi/Little Dokebi people) is also one of the best delivery/takeout spots in Greenpoint. On those winter nights when walking from the subway to your apartment feels like a journey in the tundra, their kimchee and pork stew is exactly what you want to be eating.
11am on a Saturday. Need food immediately. Don’t want to deal with brunch or brunch people. Should you find yourself in this situation in Greenpoint, your solution is Early. Sit on the quiet back patio with coffee and a Kwa’Son (a ridiculously good combination of croissant, goat cheese, and avocado). Pat yourself on the back for doing a damn good job of taking care of yourself.
On a residential, quiet street near the very top of Greenpoint, you wouldn’t know to look out for Bakeri. But once you know, you know. This place is like something out of the English countryside: a floral print-covered cafe and exposed-kitchen bakery selling attractive pastries and light breakfast/lunch foods. Then again, a place in the English countryside probably wouldn’t be playing Justin Timberlake or serving iced matcha lattes. Bakeri’s not a spot we’d direct you to for a particularly filling meal, but it’s absolutely worth stopping in for a coffee and snack, and to feel like you’ve stumbled into a Brooklyn dollhouse.
The coffee shop/cafe version of the neighborhood seafood place Littleneck in Gowanus. It’s a light and bright little space, perfect for a quick solo breakfast or lunch. You can get a lobster or crab roll, or something on the kind of healthy side like a scramble or avocado toast.
Fornino is a chain, has a corporate-looking logo and a personality-less interior, and their slogan is “The art and science of pizza.” There are a lot of reasons to distrust this place, but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - the pizza is actually quite good. Obviously, it’s no Paulie Gee’s, but Paulie Gee’s does not deliver, nor can you take it out and bring it into any number of bars in the neighborhood. For those times, put your trust in Fornino.
Probably one of the most Brooklyn-y Brooklyn things to exist, The Lot Radio is an online radio station that livestreams from a shipping container on an empty triangular lot. And also, they serve coffee and snacks and beer from said shipping container. If it’s a nice day and you need a place to meet someone, The Lot is an excellent choice when you want something outdoors that’s a bit different from your usual brunch place or coffee shop.
This is just a coffee shop, but given that the person writing this guide is here around six times a week, it’s worth a mention. Friendly humans, great coffee, and no pretension. If you need a caffeine in Greenpoint, come here.
Peter Pan has been around since the 1950’s, and looks like it hasn’t been updated since. Starting at 4:30am on weekdays and 5am on weekends, people line up to either take these delicious treats home or enjoy them at the counter, where there are also breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and milkshakes availabl
There are a lot of places to eat ice cream in New York City, but Van Leeuwen is especially worthy of your next cheat day, or whatever you sadistic people call it. This place isn’t about fancy fixings or crazy combinations – the thing here is classic, simple flavors done better than just about anyone else. If you’re not getting a sundae you’re doing it wrong.