The Best Restaurants In Williamsburg guide image


The Best Restaurants In Williamsburg

Where to get great pasta, birria, Persian food, and more off the L train.

Williamsburg is a five-minute subway ride from Manhattan, a ten-minute drive from Queens, and about a forty-minute walk from Downtown Brooklyn assuming no one asks for a minute of your time to talk about changing energy providers. So there’s a good chance you’ve hung out in this neighborhood and felt overwhelmed by its incredible concentration of great restaurants. This list should help with that. Whether you’re in the mood for birria tacos, pupusas, exceptional Thai food, or profiteroles, you’ll find the best options below.


Lilia review image



567 Union Avenue, Brooklyn
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Every year, we think to ourselves, “Maybe this is when Lilia will become easier to get into.” And every year, we wind up disappointed. Lilia's space feels like a glamorous, whitewashed warehouse, and their modern Italian food is always perfectly executed. While this place is great for special occasion dates and impressing out-of-towners, our favorite way to eat here is by grabbing a few seats at the bar. Start with a negroni and an order of squishy focaccia, and be sure to get the agnolotti and cacio e pepe-style mafaldini.

When it comes to a great New York slice, L’Industrie sets the new standard. This Williamsburg pizza place Frankensteins together an impressively thin crust you’d find in Roman varieties (like at Bread & Salt in Jersey City), toppings imported from Italy, and a dough that has a funky flavor thanks to a long fermentation process. The result is the kind of slice you’ll crave for no reason at all, like on a random Tuesday afternoon when a leaf falls on your head and reminds you of basil.

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At first glance, Kru might seem like a run-of-the-mill “cool” Williamsburg restaurant. The room is dimly lit, with dark walls and some unobtrusive decorative elements like botanical illustrations and racks of delicate stemware. But this isn't just another trendy spot. The focus here is on reinterpreted century-old Thai recipes, and every dish is a showstopper. Their signature beef head curry has the kind of heat that feels like going on a psychedelic trip, and their take on a peach melba is one of the best things you'll eat in the neighborhood.

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Llama Inn review image

Llama Inn

Llama Inn works for all sorts of different situations, and it’s not impossible to get into—so we find ourselves recommending it to people all the time. The very good Peruvian food, which you eat in a relaxed dining room full of plants and natural light, ranges from ceviche to beef tenderloin covered in french fries. And if you need another reason to plan your next double date or group dinner here, know that there’s an excellent rooftop patio situation as well.

You might expect a lot of things from a wine bar owned by the frontman of a famous, cool band. You might expect the design to look like something you would see in a Kinfolk magazine feature, and you might also expect the wine list to be full of obscure bottles. The Four Horsemen checks those boxes, and they also serve some creative small plates worth going out of your way for. For all of those reasons, you should get yourself to this tiny Williamsburg spot very soon.

Thinking of this Pakistani counter service place as just another neighborhood to-go spot would be like calling a triple-jet jacuzzi just another bathtub. And the primary reason for that is their Jani burger, which comes with a thick beef patty, spicy chutney, and one grilled tomato slice. BK Jani also serves other excellent dishes like a fried chicken sandwich, flaky beef flatbreads, and grilled lamb chops covered in spices that taste so good you’ll consider leaving them on your face.

Laser Wolf, one of The Best New Restaurants of 2022, reaches its full potential in the summertime. Located at the top of the Hoxton Hotel, this Philly import has an open-air terrace with a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. The menu is full of grilled meats, fish, and vegetables, and every meal begins with a bottomless selection of vegetarian mezze (which is included in the price of an entree). Stop by to enjoy some smoky trout, whipped hummus, and brown sugar soft serve as you look out onto the East River.

At first glance, this Italian restaurant in a converted bank on Broadway might look like a country club for the old-money millionaires of Williamsburg, but it’s actually more of a casual-fancy spot where 30-somethings in designer jeans bring their toddlers for Tuesday night banana sundaes. Yes, you can order four-figure bottles of wine and a dry-aged roast duck here, but you can also get a $40 bottle and a half-dozen oysters. Put on your best outfit, and get ready for a truly fun night, starting with a top-notch martini poured into a chilled glass tableside by a waiter sporting a double-breasted white blazer.

If you feel you are your truest self when eating a bowl of pasta, you’ll want to eat several of them at Misi. This is the pasta-focused place from the people behind Lilia, located in the bottom of 325 Kent, aka the giant apartment building that also might be a Transformer. Much of the seating in the modern-looking space is at a bar overlooking the kitchen, so you can watch as your spaghetti gets tossed with fennel pesto or your tortelli get dunked into a hot pool of brown butter. Misi feels more casual than Lilia—but this is still probably not a place you’ll go to on a random Tuesday night. Mostly because you aren’t going to get in.

Bonnie’s is a Cantonese American restaurant in Williamsburg that’s run by someone who used to work at Win Son. (In an adorable move, he named the restaurant after his mom.) Think of a night at Bonnie’s as a party with food that’s so delicious you’re only going to want to share out of politeness. We especially like the whole stuffed rainbow trout, the egg custard topped with black bean garlic sauce and clams, and the shockingly good soy-sesame-dressed chrysanthemum salad. Try a cocktail or some golden chicken broth made from the poaching liquid of Bonnie’s cold chicken dish.

Aldama serves the kind of food you can find everywhere in Mexico City. And considering this place is run by someone who used to work at Cosme, it’s no surprise that this sexy, sultry neighborhood hangout is one of our favorite spots for drinks and snacks in Williamsburg. It’s ideal for when you want to nod along to a late-night DJ set in their basement-level room while you nibble on fresh tostadas.

Leo serves bubbly sourdough pies and fizzy pet-nats—but that description doesn’t do this place justice. Their dough tastes tangy enough to inspire a daydream in which a sourdough starter comes to life and asks you sassy questions about the last time you cut your hair. Stop by with a date or pick up a slice from their counter after a sweaty run through the neighborhood. The margherita is a necessary order, but the clam pie and soft serve should also be priorities.

When we took our first bite of the Detroit-style pizza from this spot on Metropolitan and Driggs, it reminded us of our first time trying Emmy Squared back in 2016—an experience filled with pure joy, light and airy dough, and crispy cheese-studded crust. While Emmy Squared has become somewhat of a chain restaurant, Ace’s has all the magic of a new, delicious slice joint. Not to mention the fact that a small Detroit-style pepperoni pizza costs under $20 and is the perfect size to share with a friend.

The food at Le Crocodile is satisfying and unpretentious, which is just about the opposite of what you expect from a hotel restaurant with tiled floors, a massive menu, and waiters in white jackets strolling around like they just finished catering the PGA tour in 1930. Try this place for your next big night out that calls for roast chicken, french fries, and an ice-cold martini. Surprisingly, it's easy to get a last-minute table.

Birds Of A Feather is just one minimalist room with a long communal table, plus some more tables and booths on either side, and it works pretty perfectly for group dinners. Order a bunch of things from the Sichuan menu to share—and definitely get the wontons in chili oil. Just keep in mind that this place can get pretty busy.

On paper, Kokomo is a Caribbean spot in Williamsburg where you can get pastas and flatbreads topped with things like jerk chicken and oxtail. All of that is true—but it’s also important to know that eating here is just like attending a party. They run a KokoHour from 4-7pm Tuesday through Thursday with discounted drinks and often have live DJs on weekends. Whenever the weather is warm and you’re looking for an outdoor spot for bottomless brunch on Fridays (only), or a raucous dinner in general, think of Kokomo.

photo credit: Emily Schindler

K'Far review image


K’Far’s dining room is a leafy, makeshift jungle in the lobby of the Hoxton Hotel, and it’s our favorite place in the area 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.

Edith’s Eatery is the latest spot from the people behind Edith’s Sandwich Counter, and it’s part cafe, part grocery store. You can grab a table up front and eat near a row of shelves stocked with tahini, pickled vegetables, and Sahadi spice blends, or you can walk to the back where there’s a takeout counter with coffee and baked goods. We highly recommend the chicken schnitzel served alongside warm, griddled cornbread, and you should also grab yourself a buttery malawach with a side of bright green zhug. The atmosphere is extremely casual (and 1950s retro).

Birria-Landia’s original truck in Jackson Heights makes the city’s best birria, full stop. So, naturally, anyone in Williamsburg should grow weak at the knees to know that this Tijuana-style spot opened a second truck on the same block as Kellogg’s Diner. Each of the four items on their menu (tacos, mulitas, tostadas, and consomme) is bolstered by tangy, mildly spicy, and mysteriously deep stew. Make sure to take your crunchy-soft tortilla filled with beef and dip it in your cup of consomme.

The best steak in NYC for under $20 might not actually be under $20 anymore (it’s $29 these days), but we’re still all-in on St. Anselm. If you’re prepared to wait for a table, you'll be rewarded with seriously delicious red meats and everything you want to eat alongside them (get the pan-fried mashed potatoes), along with a cool, intimate environment that couldn’t be further from a stuffy, traditional steakhouse. This is one of our favorite places to impress out-of-towners, and eating at the bar is an excellent move for date night or a truly great solo meal.

Bahia is a Salvadoran restaurant wedged between a law office and a dollar store in East Williamsburg. While we like to visit on weeknights for large plates of grilled pork chops or a lean cut of steak with casamiento, we keep coming back for the pupusas. They come in 10 different varieties, so there’s plenty of opportunity to mix things up. We highly recommend their revueltas pupusa stuffed with pork, refried beans, and cheese, but you also can’t go wrong with their loroco, chicharron, or jalapeño pupusas.

Housed in a (definitely slanted) dining car, Diner has, since the beginning, been all about simple, locally-sourced food and an environment that makes you feel like you’re in the coolest restaurant in the city. Open for over 20 years now, this place is still serving exceptional food like Parisian gnocchi, porchetta, brick chicken, and beef carpaccio. You have to try the burger at least once, but you really can’t go wrong here.

This red-sauce Italian spot has been in the same space in Williamsburg since the beginning of the last century. The space still has old phone booths, the walls are covered in pictures of the pope and signed portraits of celebrities, and the house bread comes with foil-wrapped butter packets. Definitely start your meal with the cheese ravioli, and follow that up with the very big, very breaded, and very cheesy pork chop parmesan.

Williamsburg has tons of neighborhood restaurants, and Lighthouse is one of our favorites. We like it best for a nice weeknight meal or a casual date night—the indoor/outdoor space is truly pleasant, the are plenty of shareable plates like steak tartare and grilled escarole, and the Happy Hour is great. Whether you’re here for some fries and oysters, you’re trying to eat something kind of healthy, or you want to do a prix fixe, Lighthouse won’t disappoint.

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Suggested Reading

Where To Eat Lunch In Williamsburg guide image
Where To Eat Lunch In Williamsburg

Williamsburg has no shortage of great restaurants, but not all of them are open for lunch. Here are a few places for a midday meal.

The Levee review image

The Levee is a popular bar Williamsburg and a true dive.

Cow & Clover review image

Cow & Clover is a crowed-pleaser for a bottomless brunch or group dinner in Williamsburg.

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Spritzenhaus is a beer garden on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

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