The Brooklyn Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Brooklyn

A fine-dining spot that feels like performance art, a Cobble Hill bakery, and more new restaurants to check out in the city's most populous borough.
A slice from R.Slice.

photo credit: Kate Previte

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 across the city.


photo credit: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez



$$$$Perfect For:Date Night
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If you've ever sat at Decades in Ridgewood and thought—halfway through a cheesy pizza—damn, I wish this place made pasta too, this one's for you. Daphne’s, from the same team, is now open in Bed-Stuy, and it's proof that if you're making pizza dough, you should probably be experimenting with homemade pasta too. Reservations are already scarce, but if you do get a table, start with the baked scallops and caesar salad, and then two pastas: the gemelli with beef cheek ragu, and the very lemony reginetti with razor clams and breadcrumbs. Despite the couples eating by candlelight, it’s a relaxed place, with white tablecloths covered in paper for those three-spritzes-in doodles.

photo credit: Kate Previte

$$$$Perfect For:Quick Eats

We’re not sure why it took them so long, but Bushwick’s most famous pizza export, Roberta’s, finally opened a slice shop. Located on the same block, R.Slice is just as good as Roberta’s, but also totally different. They’ve ditched their neopolitan pies for a chewy New York-style crust you can eat while walking between bars. The cheese and pepperoni are solid, but we’d go with the Fire & Ice, a genius combination of spicy ‘nduja and sweet-ish stracciatella inspired by a dish at their sister wine bar, Foul Witch. North Bushwick’s been missing a high-quality slice shop for awhile, and now it has one of the best in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn’s newest and hottest line is the one outside of Laurel Bakery, a very green Cobble Hill spot from the team behind Place des Fêtes and the currently-closed Oxalis. In line, you might overhear neighborhood parents discuss upcoming European vacations, and inside you'll learn about the merits of homemade sunflower milk while watching someone behind the counter pipe thick cream into a fresh batch of maritozzi. Skip the sunflower milk, order the $7 baguette and a few croissants, and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Or, swing by after 11am for a jambon-beurre.

Following on the heels of Huda in Williamsburg, Sawa is a great new Lebanese restaurant in Park Slope. It has big windows and an open kitchen, so you’ll be welcomed by the sights and smells of pita being rolled out and baked in their domed oven. Start with a minty arak cocktail or a glass of red from a high-altitude vineyard in Lebanon. Get some of that fresh pita alongside muhammara and a thick hummus—to which you should definitely add tender beef cheeks and pine nuts. Don’t skip the kibbeh arnabiyeh, a large lamb shank in tahini, or the whole dorade in a tomato-pepper stew, but keep in mind that portions are large. We’d recommend bringing a couple of friends.

This restaurant in Fort Greene is gorgeously designed, drawing from Thai railroad history as the inspiration for pew-like benches outside, linen curtains, and red-and-gold accents that might convince you you’re in a private lounge in a beautiful old train station. But you’re not. You’re in a restaurant, and it’s a very good one. Split a couple of dishes with a friend or two—the space is pretty tight. The hor mok, a steamed branzino custard with crab, is buzzing with fresh chiles, while the kee mao noodles are herby with basil leaves and draped with long pepper. We also like the pla muk yang—a squeaky whole squid with a bright chili lime dressing for $20.

Lucky for Cobble Hill residents, their stretch of Atlantic Avenue has long been a destination for great Middle Eastern food. El Cedro is the new kid on the block, just across the street from neighborhood icon Sahadi's—and it cross-pollinates taqueria classics with Lebanese flavors. The tortillas are homemade and pleasantly tender, but the tortas have our heart. Get the pollo milanese and ask yourself why you aren’t eating more sandwiches spread with harissa mayo. El Cedro is BYOB until their license comes through, with a full fridge of Mexican sodas (including Mexican Sprite). Get the rose water rice pudding if you see it—it's crusted with pistachios and heavenly.

Pan Pan Vino Vino, from the people behind Nura, is the perfect bookend to a day in Greenpoint. Head over to this corner cafe on a weekend morning for some great pastries, like a chewy bun stuffed with cream cheese and sticky guava, or a pineapple and coconut scone. Spend your day thrifting for lamps and sweaters, and when you’re done shopping, make your way back. After 5pm, this place transforms into a wine bar. Get a country ham and cheese plate and a few creative little snacks, like oyster mushrooms with cashew cream and chimichurri, and pair them with an “aromatic white,” a “lush white,” or a wine described only as “if rosé and orange had a baby.”

photo credit: Melissa Hom

There are people in Fort Greene who eat, sleep, and breathe Miss Ada, the Mediterranean restaurant where you can share hot-pink beet hummus with your crush. They can now add Theodora—a fish-forward restaurant from the same team—to their rotation. There’s a long, earth-toned dining room where you’ll want to drink excellent cocktails for several hours, especially if you get the one with tequila and feta cheese. If Miss Ada is perfect for a third date, this kookier (our server’s word), pricier (our word) spot is perfect for a seventh date, when you're comfortable enough with the person across from you to around drop around $200 on things like dry-aged kampachi and grilled prawns.

Bed-Stuy residents probably already know about Little Grenjai, the brick-and-mortar from the couple behind Warung Roadside. Maybe you’ve even eaten there, last fall, when the Thai American diner briefly opened without gas, and still managed to make a standout smashburger. Now Little Grenjai is back—gas and all—and you should come to this diner-like spot at lunch for the krapow smashburger, or in the evening, for thick Texas toast covered in saucy clams, drunken noodles, and a bottle of natural wine to wash it all down. 

While you were eating at the place you saw on TikTok, which (surprise, surprise) wasn’t actually that good, something way more exciting happened: Radio Kwara opened. The tiny restaurant in Clinton Hill is from the folks behind Dept. of Culture, the always booked Nigerian tasting menu spot, and it’s a more accessible restaurant. Reservations are plentiful for now, and nothing on the a la carte menu is above $32. Come with a friend, stop by the wine shop next door (Radio Kwara is BYOB), and share the butter-soaked bread ati obe with marinated mushrooms, some goat pepper soup and charred octopus suya.

Walking into a restaurant and immediately knowing exactly what it’s useful for is like a total solar eclipse or a Frank Ocean album: extremely rare. But at Huda, a Levantine bistro in East Williamsburg, we knew right away that we'd like to move in around the corner, just to turn our average weeknights into fun evenings here. There are massive windows up front, and ’90s and mid-aughts hip hop playing inside. Work your way through a short but mighty menu with things like blistered grapes, roasted squash with cherries and pomegranate seeds, and shish barak in a creamy, smoky yogurt-chili oil sauce. There’s a full bar as well, and the refreshing house arak is served icy cold, with mint. 

If you’re going to insist on being as aggressively pleasant as Carroll Gardens, you’d better have a charming neighborhood restaurant to complete the pretty picture. Swoony’s, an American bar and grill from the people behind Cafe Spaghetti, is clearly following the “beloved local bistro” blueprint. Its dining room feels like an extension of the area's idyllic brownstones, finished in nautical shades of blue and filled with grayscale photos, fine china, and tchotchkes. But it all works, backed up by a perfectly cooked short rib au poivre, creamed spinach covered with breadcrumbs, and other nostalgic classics.  

It’s hard to compare Ilis to other restaurants, because most other restaurants don’t feel like slightly ridiculous performance art in a candlelit Greenpoint warehouse. Here, the servers are also cooks, and the menu—which begins at five courses—focuses on ingredients from North America. Depending on what’s available, you may eat some porcinis wrapped with fresh cheese in a lotus leaf, or bigeye tuna from Montauk served over pebbles that were gathered from a beach in northern Maine. If you have around $200 to blow through, and you’d like to experience something mildly confusing and often delicious, check this place out.

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