The Brooklyn Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Brooklyn
A natural wine bar in Clinton Hill, a Persian spot serving potato tahdig in Bushwick, and more new restaurants to check out.
Brooklyn isn’t the biggest borough in the city, but it has the most people. Consequently, there are a lot of great places to eat, and that’s exactly why the birthplace of Busta Rhymes deserves its own Hit List. Scroll down for our favorite new Brooklyn spots, and check out our NYC Hit List for all the other new places we like in the whole city.
Baby Blues Luncheonette
Baby Blues is a Greek/American spot in Williamsburg that feels like a mashup between a neighborhood coffee shop and an old-school diner. Appropriately, most of the decor is baby blue, including the huge shelf by the entrance that’s stocked with enough VHS tapes to qualify as a Blockbuster. The food isn’t anything fancy, but it’s exactly what you’ll want as you drink some coffee and sort out your plans for the day. Get a plate of buttery scrambled eggs with pita and halloumi, or pair some baklava banana bread with a banana date smoothie.
K’Far’s dining room is a leafy, makeshift jungle in the lobby of Williamsburg's Hoxton Hotel, and it’s our new favorite place to luxuriate with some borekas and a cup of coffee. The Israeli restaurant is from the same team behind Laser Wolf and switches from cafe food during the day to a full dinner service in the evening. The daytime menu is light, but it does have a few bigger breakfast plates, and long, flat Jerusalem bagel sandwiches. Mostly, we love starting our day surrounded by the calm, low hum of the hotel lobby.
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photo credit: Nick Johnson
If you think you’re too cool to drink an appletini, you’re wrong. No one’s too cool for an appletini. Also, the version at Bar Americano is fantastic. This little Greenpoint spot was inspired by the aperitivo bars of Spain and Northern Italy, but the menu doesn’t always stay on theme. In addition to anchovies and a variety of European wines, they serve a burger, a house margarita, and the aforementioned appletini (which actually tastes like apples). Bring a date, and spend an hour or two in the candlelit room that features stucco walls, brass accents, and a few leather booths.
photo credit: Kate Previte
One of the Best New Restaurants Of 2022, Masalawala & Sons is from the team behind Dhakama and Semma. At this point, they know their brand: inventive, hyper-specific regional food you’ll have a hard time finding elsewhere in the city. Fish is the focus here, and you should get the one wrapped in banana leaves. The food is on par with their other restaurants, but you’ll stay longer because the bigger space is a better hang. You’ll see home goods for sale and a wedding party’s worth of colorful gajras hanging from the ceiling, and there’s a roomy patio out back.
When you hear that a restaurant serves Syrian and Koren food, you probably think of fusion-style mashups. That is definitely not what you get at Syko, a Windsor Terrace grab-and-go spot where half the menu is Korean food and the other half is Syrian. The menu represents the cultures of the two friends who own this spot, which is very cute and very Brooklyn. The food here is really good, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this place starts to accrue long lines. We highly recommend the Spam sandwich, a perfect square of rice, nori, Spam, and omelet.
photo credit: Melissa Hom
Deux Chats is from the team behind Le Dive and The Nines, two downtown bars where you’ll meet people who provide fashion advice to their 100 or so TikTok followers. Located under the Williamsburg Bridge, this Belle Époque-themed spot is a little less sceney than those other bars, and it’s perfect for a casual date night when you want to share some small plates. The bright, vaulted space is filled with distressed mirrors and ornate light fixtures, and the menu consists of interesting cocktails and a few fantastic seafood dishes. Try a Kinky Martini (slightly spicy, made with vodka), then eat some chilled sardines.
Of all the things one can get at an Italian restaurant, we don’t know if we’ve ever been dying to order the spaghetti pomodoro. But if there’s anywhere to eat your rent-week favorite in public, it’s Cafe Spaghetti, where you can get a simple tomato-and-basil sauce on handmade pasta that tastes like your everyday spaghetti if it went through an episode of Rustic Rehab on HGTV. Cafe Spaghetti serves simple, quality Italian food, and it’s the perfect addition to the Carroll Gardens aesthetic. They have a super cute yard filled with small round tables under yellow umbrellas, and we’ll be returning for breezy summertime dinners of pasta, octopus salad, and tiramisu that deserves its own fan club.
Alma Negra should be your go-to “super cute” Mexican spot on 4th avenue in Park Slope. Low-key and stylish, it’s just as good for a first date as it is for catching up with that friend who you somehow never see even though they live a few blocks away. The menu has some real standouts like a fish taco that’s satisfyingly crunchy and creamy and a mole verde that’s ideal for those nights when you want a giant pile of vegetables for dinner, but don’t want a salad.
At Chino Grande in Williamsburg, you can sing karaoke and eat a whole lobster with Sichuan au poivre sauce. This place is owned in part by one of the people behind Win Son, and the food here is maximalist and difficult to classify. Expect things like scallop ceviche with green strawberries, a little gem salad showered with furikake, and a plate of chilled mussels doused in aioli with some chives and peanut sprinkled on top. Try the tequila highball that pairs celery with absinthe (our new favorite flavor combo). Karaoke starts at 10pm, and, if you request a song, you’ll have to sing it in front of the whole dining room.
One of our highest rated Philly restaurants, Laser Wolf, now has a location on the roof of the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg. And you should make a reservation ASAP. Laser Wolf is modeled after the Israeli skewer houses known as shipudiya, and they’re serving meat, fish, and vegetables cooked over an open fire. But what you’re really going to remember is the glorious platter of vegetarian salatim every table receives at the beginning of the meal. The seating is outdoors (but covered), and you can feel a breeze from the East River while you look out at the Manhattan skyline.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
If you want to casually sip on a cab franc rosé in a warmly lit space while also enjoying some of the best small plates that you can currently acquire in exchange for money, check out Place des Fêtes in Clinton Hill. As the name suggests, this wine bar from the Oxalis team is doing its best impression of something you’d find in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. The wines by the glass are predominantly from Spain and Chile, and the limited food menu revolves around meats, cheeses, and little bites of chilled seafood. Stop by, give a few small plates your full attention, then drink some funky wine from fashionably stubby glasses as you and a friend touch base on your five-year plan.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Eyval is the newest restaurant from the team behind Sofreh and Sofreh Cafe, and it’s next door to the cafe in Bushwick. Starters and small plates are the move here, and you should order as many as your table can agree on. Portions are small and the plating is chic, so your first impression might be that you’re getting pretentious food at pretentious prices—but dishes like the potato tahdig and fava bean borani topped with sprigs of dill have a startling amount of flavor for how simple they sound. This restaurant has buzzy energy that keeps the waitstaff on the move, so it’s good for a leisurely night out with a group of friends who want to eat some of the best Persian food in Brooklyn.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Wenwen serves the sort of food you'd want to scarf down before getting horizontal on a couch to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the 17th time. Nothing feels precious at this Greenpoint spot—instead, the Taiwanese dishes like the spicy 886 Noodle (think of a beef noodle soup without any broth) and the extremely tender braised pork belly with big chunks of cuttlefish feel nostalgic and comforting. Unlike Wenwen’s sister restaurant 886, it won't seem like most of the diners here have an NYU student ID, but this place still feels fun, especially when you see the bathrooms that could double as private karaoke rooms and the cartoonishly large Shyboy 4XL cocktail.