The Best Restaurants In Red Hook

There's more to Red Hook than Ikea and a lack of subway stations. Spend a day eating your way through this atmospheric Brooklyn neighborhood with water views, BBQ, and cozy taverns.
The Best Restaurants In Red Hook image

photo credit: Adam Friedlander

If you’re not already familiar, you might think of Red Hook as the place you once went to buy Billy bookcases and Skogsta floating shelves. But if you are familiar, you know that Ikea is just about the least exciting part of the neighborhood. Like a young thespian at performing arts camp, Red Hook becomes the best version of itself between June and September, with incredible water views, bike paths galore, and more summertime food (jerk chicken, seafood, BBQ, frozen key lime pie) than most beach towns. But you’ll find something to love any time of the year. Red Hook doesn’t have any trains (there’s a ferry and some bus stops), so once there, you might as well make a day of it and visit a bunch of the places on our guide.


photo credit: Noah Devereaux



$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBirthdaysOutdoor/Patio SituationOutdoor Seating
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

Hometown BBQ is the unofficial poster child of Red Hook restaurants, and rightfully so. Devouring a cafeteria tray-load of brisket and pulled pork in the massive warehouse-like space, or at a picnic table outside, is one of the best ways to spend a weekend afternoon or evening in Brooklyn. If you come at prime lunch or dinner time, you might encounter a wait, but we’ve had luck between peak meal times, or later in the evening. They also have an Industry City location, which isn’t as crowded, but also doesn’t feel quite as much like a never-ending block party.

There’s a certain sense of camaraderie that comes from eating a burger in a room full of people eating burgers, and if you’ve been to Red Hook Tavern, you know what we mean. The team behind Hometown BBQ keeps things simple with their star menu item here: sesame seed bun, cheese blanket, Big Meat, and slightly sweaty onion, best eaten alone at the bar, or in the wooden booth alongside fellow meat enthusiasts. An evening at Red Hook Tavern will make you want to take all your future visitors there, become friends with the bartender who made your martinis, and take home an extra order of the rainbow cookies you had for dessert.

Red Hook has several breweries, a winery, and even its own distillery, but if you’re picking one place to drink in the neighborhood, it should be Sunny’s. This tchotchke-filled bar opened as a saloon for Longshoremen to drink and hang out after working on the shipping docks, and it feels like a relic you’d find in a time capsule. Sunny’s is run by two brothers who were born in the very same building (their family opened the bar in 1890), and they host live music nearly every day of the week.

Brooklyn Crab is right next to Hometown BBQ, which means a game of cornhole in the sand can occur within 30 seconds of your last bite of pulled pork. Sunny’s is also around the corner, so on the weekends, this strip feels like the most serendipitous food crawl. Bring a group during the day and order crab, specifically in the form of crab rolls and steampots. In addition to cornhole, they have two separate bars, arcade games, and more fisherman-themed decor than an actual boat.

Think of your favorite Italian deli. Okay, now imagine that place makes sandwiches even more delicious by drizzling hot gravy or draping lightly fried eggplant on top. That’s Defonte’s, located on a near-empty industrial street in Red Hook. You can tell this cash-only, 1920s sandwich institution means business based on the line of off-duty firefighters waiting for lunch. Get the hot roast pork sandwich with juicy, rich gravy and fried eggplant, or the Italian combo, which  includes pepperoni and somehow still tastes light.

While in Red Hook, you are legally obligated to eat a frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick from Steve’s. (These coveted items are called Swingles, by the way, and they’re made using fresh lime juice.) Steve’s Key Lime Pie was started by an ex-South Floridian named Steve, and he and his family have been operating the store for over 20 years. There are a bunch of picnic tables next to the industrial-looking storefront, but we like to take our pie-sicles to Louis Valentino Jr. Park just a few steps away. It has a glorious view of the water and the Statue Of Liberty.

Under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, opposite a gas station, Farina is right on the border of Red Hook and Carroll Gardens—and it’s where you should stop for a relaxed pizza dinner after a day spent thoroughly exploring the cobbled streets and maritime views of Red Hook. The Southern Italian restaurant makes pizza “irregolare” with seven types of flour, and you’ll find pies topped with mashed potatoes, or pork belly and bottarga. Come with a group for carafes of sangiovese, and lots of pizzas to share. If you stay late, you might even get some oven-roasted chestnuts. 

You’re by the water, you’re very sweaty, and you may or may not have just ridden a Citi Bike over way too many cobblestones. It’s time for lobster. Red Hook Lobster Pound is the best option around, and they have a lot of seating inside a couple of big rooms that feel like dining in a dockyard, as well as a bunch of sidewalk tables. Pick up a buttery lobster roll for $32, or just go ahead and get a lobster dinner for $42.

This counter-service Caribbean spot serves piping hot beef patties with flaky crust and a spicy-savory filling, along with curry goat roti and platters of Jamaican staples. They also sell a bunch of fresh juices (like sorrel and pineapple-ginger) if you’re looking for something refreshing after a day spent eating crab, lobster, and barbecue.

The Good Fork was one of our favorite restaurants in the area for a nice dinner out before closing during the pandemic. It reopened as The Good Fork Pub in 2022, with a big bar, warm lighting, and a Korean-ish menu, featuring dishes like tempura shishitos, autumn vegetable okonomiyaki, and kimchi fries. You might catch live music in the side yard if you swing by here in the summertime, but we like it just as much in the colder months, when you can sit at the bar with an IPA and a Wolfhound Pie—their take on a shepherd's pie.

photo credit: Emily Schindler

This spot is Temporarily Closed.

You might have heard of Somtum Der in the East Village. It’s one of the best Thai restaurants in the city, and it serves eight different kinds of papaya salad. But you may not know that they also have a second location in Red Hook, where the reservations are more readily available, and the papaya salad is just as good. Inside the warm, casual space there’s long wood tables and benches, and a back patio with string lights and red umbrellas. Wherever you sit, end your meal with Thai tea panna cotta.

At some point during your Red Hook Day, you’ll probably need a coffee. Baked is a coffee shop and bakery on Van Brunt that’s one of our favorite places to take a break from record store-shopping and sniffing our own sunscreen-scented sweat. Their pastries and cakes are incredible, and we may or may not have once written a love letter to their crumbly blueberry tart.

Brooklyn Ice House has a big backyard and frito pie—in other words, it’s a pretty perfect setting for a Saturday afternoon. This cash-only dive bar on Van Brunt Street is a great spot for rounds of beers with a group, and if you don’t make a habit of eating food out of a Frito bag, they also have burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and some pretty noteworthy onion rings.

If you’re in the mood for pizza under the stars—gee, that sounds really nice, and we can help you make it happen. Just head to Hoek, a big, warehouse-like space with sidewalk seating that looks onto the pier, for some Roman-style, wood-fired pizza. Hoek offers sub-$20 pies topped with things like zucchini and high-quality cow’s milk mozzarella, as well as salads, cocktails, and specials using whatever seasonal ingredients they’re excited about.

The original Court Street Grocers in Carroll Gardens isn’t too far away, but this offshoot in Red Hook is good to know about for daytime picnic supplies in the form of pork rolls, or a delicious (and giant) turkey sandwich with zingy sour pickles. Grab something for breakfast or lunch, and walk to the grassy part of Pier 44 near the Waterfront Museum.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

Where To Eat In Carroll Gardens image

Where To Eat In Carroll Gardens

Here are all the best places to eat in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn's most relaxing neighborhood

The Best Restaurants In Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights image

There's more to these neighborhoods than overpriced tourist traps.

a full pie of pizza

The top 21 pizzas in NYC, according to us.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store