The Best Restaurants In Fort Greene

Where to get profiteroles, hot pink hummus, shrimp tacos, and more near a very pretty park.
The Best Restaurants In Fort Greene image

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

In Fort Greene, you’ll find a large park with an excellent farmer’s market, lots of peace and quiet, and couples getting their first dog before they move to Prospect Heights to have their first kid. While you try to figure out if you’re ready to graduate from plant person to dog person, here’s where you should be eating.

There are neighborhood Italian spots, a subterranean French place with dreamy steak tartare, and one of the best gardens in Brooklyn, where you can get tequila and transcendent shrimp tacos. If you’re looking for restaurants in Clinton Hill, check out our guide to the adjacent neighborhood.


photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Fort Greene

$$$$Perfect For:Date Night
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Sailor’s striped awning and paintings of seafaring vessels will put you in the mood to eat something that used to live in saltwater. And that’s probably what they were going for. This nautical-themed bistro from the folks behind Joseph Leonard and the former Breslin chef serves a lot of seafood, like butterflied sardines and creamy mackerel pâté plopped into a pool of parsley oil. The white tablecloths and flickering lamps make the space feel fancier than your average neighborhood spot, but lots of dishes are under $20. Use any surplus funds on wine and profiteroles.

Colonia Verde has a lot going for it: it’s probably the most fun restaurant in Fort Greene, it serves tequila cocktails and shrimp tacos with the softest tortilla swaddling, and the tables are large enough to fit everything you’ve ordered, which we hope includes the salted peewee potatoes with spicy mayo. The restaurant is like a well-decorated cave that sprawls through a couple of rooms and a greenhouse, finally opening onto a spacious garden decked out in string lights. They throw Sunday Asado here almost every month—essentially, a barbecue party for the neighborhood with guest chefs.

If you want to eat pasta in a secret garden, go to LaRina. Their back patio has ivy on the walls and colorful tiles you’ll consider installing in your own backyard (once you have such a thing), and their spritz comes garnished with both an olive and an orange slice, which we can absolutely get behind. This cozy spot is as good for a group celebration as it is for a solo meal at the bar, where you might listen in on a first date and feel happy to be alone with your Smoked Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.

If you live in New York, you’ve probably dreamt of having a dinner party. You’d cook a feast and two guests would fall in love and then end up getting married, all because you had that one dinner party in your tiny apartment. At Dinner Party, someone will handle all the shopping and planning for you, the food will be better, and they’ll definitely have enough chairs for everyone. Head here to eat simple, beautiful food at a communal table, next to someone you might actually have the energy to talk to after all that not-lifting-a-finger-in-the-kitchen. The seasonal menu is posted on their Instagram every Monday.

At this tiny, subterranean restaurant, you’ll eat something seasonal, drink something natural, and wonder how a space so underground can be so full of light. The tables are mostly occupied by dates, or groups of two who don’t date but are here to talk about who they date. But we also like coming here alone, snagging one of the coveted bar seats reserved for walk-ins, and ordering a solo steak tartare. With dishes like crab toast, and stinging nettle and ricotta dumplings, the menu feels like once upon a time it was French, and then things sort of spiraled, but not in a bad way.

Ah, Miss Ada. The internet knows her, the internet loves her. And don’t get us wrong, so do we. We’re not sure how she became the hummus-loving poster child of Fort Greene, but it probably has something to do with Miss Ada's backyard, which feels like a treehouse, where you can eat the neighborhood’s best Israeli-leaning Mediterranean food. This isn’t really a stay-for-hours kind of spot, and you might get the sense that they need your table back, now. But in the meantime, order things like grilled octopus and shakshuka, and then head around the corner to Dick & Jane’s for a post-dinner cocktail that will be decidedly more relaxed.

If Dekalb Avenue between Vanderbilt Ave. and Fort Greene Park were the neighborhood's hottest club, the outdoor seating at Saraghina Caffè would be the best table in the house. This Italian restaurant is where you should sit with a negroni or a spritz, not worry how long you’ve been there, and listen to a dog bark, a baby cry, or perhaps both at the same time. Maybe you’ll order a pizza and the evening will turn into dinner, and maybe it won’t—nobody really seems to care.

There comes a time when all you really need is a kale salad and french fries. Or seven oysters and three cocktails. Or a Bloody Mary, and maybe a french dip too. For those times, there is Walter’s. You might see an employee in a bowtie, but don’t be fooled—this place is as casual as any other neighborhood spot. Come in a sweatshirt for brunch with fellow Bloody Mary enthusiasts, have a drink at the bar while you wait for your table at Colonia Verde, or do as we do: Start with a deviled egg (they are sold individually, which feels like an underrated idea) and an amaro spritz, and then head to the not-so-secret bar in the back for kaarage (see below).

Karasu is sort of like a Japanese speakeasy in the back of Walter’s, except nobody calls it a speakeasy and it’s definitely not a secret. That’s probably why we like it so much: there’s no password or fake door, just low lighting and a lot of Japanese whisky. Put on an outfit, order the prime rib for two, some karaage, and anything from the cocktail menu. In case you need a pre-dinner drink, they have a Happy Hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5-7pm. You’re bound to feel ten times cooler than anyone who didn’t start their night at a bar in the back of a restaurant.

If you like to eat jerk chicken and drink tequila, you should do so at Island Shack, a casual Caribbean spot on South Elliot. Whether you get this chicken in wing form or as an entree, it’ll be covered in a smoky dry rub and doused with sticky, spicy sauce. Bring a group to this high-energy spot, drink a Ma Gloria with watermelon and tequila, and also share some Trini-style roti and curry goat. If you time it right, you might even stumble upon a DJ, someone doing karaoke, or an impromptu dance party.

If your day has been too long to cook anything, but also too exhausting to interact with anyone who wants to tell you how many small plates you should order, head to Forma Pasta Factory. Sitting under a yellow umbrella in their large backyard, with a bowl of spaghetti pomodoro and free bread, is an experience that rivals many a fancier outdoor meal. And the $18 pasta-and-a-glass-of-wine deal will convince you that you must have a glass of wine tonight, because it’s basically free. There might be a line at prime dinner time, but it moves pretty fast because it is, hello, a pasta factory.

If you didn’t know you could have an excellent lunch at Woori, you might easily pass this Korean spot by. Now you know, so you never need to make that mistake again. Head to Fort Greene Park with a Lunch Special box, which comes stuffed with extras, as well as an extra order of tteokbokki with cheese. There are a few tables, so if you do stay and dabble in a midday Diet Coke with your bulgogi, there is a high chance they will bring you a large mug for it (with ice), and make you feel extremely well taken care of.

Café Paulette is a Certified Relatives Restaurant, aka somewhere where your grandma will be able to hear you, and won’t be uncomfortable with how small the plates are. You’re here for the steak frites, so order as many of these as you’ll need (one order feeds two people, or one very hungry person and a grandma), along with a bottle of natural wine, and a few oysters. Outside, a younger crowd lounges on the sidewalk patio as if they do this every night, which they probably do. Next door you’ll find Café Paulette’s little sister, wine bar Petit Paulette, which is perfect for a pre-dinner glass of wine and funky cheese.

Every neighborhood has at least one small plate wine bar. In Fort Greene, it’s Rhodora. The wine list features small-farm, natural winemakers, which means anything you drink was probably made by someone really nice who cares about the earth. You can snack on burrata or anchovy toast at a low-key table on the sidewalk, but it’s the frequent pop-ups Rhodora hosts that make it one of the more exciting places to eat in the neighborhood on any given night. Check out their Instagram and become someone who’s well versed in pop-ups—a New York City status symbol akin to having a backyard, or permanently working from home.

Oh! Dumplings is a block-and-a-half from Fort Greene Park, which is the sort of thing we keep tabs on in our never-ending quest to be picnic experts of New York City. Once you’ve received your pork and shrimp spicy wontons, and spent an ample amount of time wondering just how often the people living above Oh! Dumplings might order from here, grab a bottle from wine store Greene Grape, and head to the park. Thank yourself for remembering a blanket and buying a wine bottle that twists off, and then have a really lovely meal under the sun. How very picnic expert of you.

That one time we went to Habana Outpost before an international flight, the frozen margaritas eased our pre-flight jitters, the leftover cuban sandwich was excellent plane food, and our large suitcase fit right into the mix. What we’re saying is that at this lively Cuban/Mexican/American spot on a corner on Fulton Street, anything goes. Bring a big group, bring a dog, get a $50 pitcher of something frozen and some diner-esque food, and take a seat on the large patio under a rainbow umbrella. And yes, you should get the World Famous Grilled Corn.

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