NYCGuide

The Best Restaurants In Williamsburg

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

The Best Restaurants In Williamsburg guide image

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, revueltas pupusas, exceptional Thai food, or profiteroles, you’ll find all of our favorite spots to eat in Williamsburg below.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: David A. Lee

Bonnie’s review image
8.5

Bonnie’s

$$$$

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. And if you can’t get a reservation, know that they hold some tables and bar seats for walk-ins.

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 $120 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.

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).

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 our new favorite spot 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 front room, sitting on chic bar stools (that might remind you of wicker baskets) while you nibble on fresh tostadas until midnight. Most dishes on the menu come out in orders of one or two, and for brunch, they’ve got delicious items like huevos rancheros and fried egg tostadas that you should eat outside.

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 funky-flavored dough 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.

Masquerade is a bar where you'll find underground DJs and your typical Williamsburg crowd wearing short fringes and dirty white sneakers. But the Iranian cocktails and food bring something truly new to the neighborhood. They currently have a short menu of mezze like hot-pink mast-o-laboo and creamy kashk o bademjoon, which comes with sangak bread from beloved New Jersey Persian bakery Gandom. We especially love the small mound of crispy tahchin and its yolky, custard-like interior.

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 in 2020. Each of the four items on their menu (tacos, mulitas, tostadas, and consomme), is bolstered by tangy, mildly spicy, and mysteriously deep stew. First, you’ll taste lime, then tender meat, then adobo, then dripping fat, with everything melting together in your mouth. Make sure to take your crunchy-soft tortilla filled with beef and, and dip it in your cup of consomme. What happens is a sea change. The word “delicious” seems somehow inadequate. Bring at least $13 cash, get one of each item on the menu.

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. Ordering the margherita is required in our book, but the clam pie and rotating flavors of soft serve should also be on your list of priorities.

The food at Le Crocodile is what you’d expect from a wine bar in Paris with a handwritten menu and minimal seating, not a hotel restaurant within walking distance of the East River. It’s satisfying and unpretentious, which is just about the opposite of what you anticipate from a grand space at the bottom of a hotel with tiled floors, a massive menu, and waiters in white jackets strolling around like they just finished catering the PGA tour in 1930. Choose this restaurant for your next big night out that calls for a mound of French fries, half a roast bird, and some ceilings so high you can whisper your least probable hopes and dreams into them.

The team behind Le Crocodile opened this flashy French wine bar six floors above their Williamsburg restaurant on the bottom floor of the Wythe Hotel. Bar Blondeau is full of green velvet banquettes and wooden two-tops where you can snack on mussel toast, order several rounds of oysters, and take in some great views of the Manhattan skyline with friends. You can also choose a bottle from their natural wine list full of up-and-coming wine regions around the world to enjoy on their large outdoor terrace.

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.

A dinner at Lilia is the sole reason some people come to Brooklyn. We think about the food here—particularly the pastas—more than we care to admit, and the high-ceilinged space is straight up stunning. Bring your parents, bring a date, or just bring yourself and sit at the bar. The only way to do Lilia wrong is to not do it enough.

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.

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. The special sandwich with a thick beef patty, spicy chutney, and one grilled tomato slice is war-ending, relationship-facilitating, and overwhelmingly meaty in a good way. 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. If you haven’t already found a reason to plan a meal here immediately, you should also know that the patio at BK Jani is BYOB.

You might expect a lot of things from a wine bar owned by the frontman of a very famous, very cool band. You might expect the design to look like something you would see in a Kinfolk magazine feature. You might expect the wine list to be full of obscure bottles. While those are all true, the staff here also happen to be full of excellent recommendations, be it wines or any of the creative small plates. All are reasons you should get yourself to The Four Horsemen very soon.

Noods n’ Chill isn’t just the best Thai restaurant in Williamsburg—it’s one of the best in the whole city. It always works for a casual weeknight dinner, when you just want to eat a large helping of tangy som tum or go to town on a bowl of sweet bamee poo moo dang that comes brimming with crab and caramelized pork. But their tiny space on the corner of Driggs and South 3rd, equipped with a few seat-yourself tables inside and out, is a fun date or small group spot when you’re looking to split some I-San sausage packed with herbs, a large half duck breast, or a rich pork knuckle that’s balanced with some pickled cabbage.

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, you will be rewarded with seriously delicious red meats and everything you want to eat with 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.

Peter Luger is also a steakhouse, but its similarities to St. Anselm end there. The space feels like a beer hall, and there are zero fancy cocktails. But you come to this classic, exceptional Williamsburg spot for three reasons that outweigh everything else: the thick-cut bacon, the porterhouse steak, and the steak sauce. We knew a kid at summer camp who used to put it on top of his Cheerios—no need to go that far, but you’re going to want it on top of everything on your table.

Walking into this outdoor-only Williamsburg restaurant with a partially-covered patio feels like entering a plant nursery lined with string lights and picnic tables. But Strangeways is more than a cafe covered in greenery—it’s a restaurant and natural wine bar that happens to serve flatbreads, seafood, and an excellent backyard burger. The burger has a dry-aged patty covered in a cascading layer of sharp cheddar cheese that pairs well with its nicely charred edges. If you’re not interested in the picnic tables up front, Strangeways has a quieter corner in the back with a bunch of wooden two-tops.

Rome To Brooklyn Pizza is a little slice shop with a big imagination. The pizza here is as in-your-face as a hyper-confident 12-year-old with two Instagram accounts and a noteworthy stamp collection. Their barbecue chicken pie—which comes covered in gorgonzola and swirls of barbecue sauce—is the perfect example of this, but what you really want is the grandma slice with pepperoni. The dense, chewy crust sags under the weight of its toppings, which is an auspicious sign for a slice of pizza. From complicated to classic slices, all of the pizza at Williamsburg’s Rome To Brooklyn is great.

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 and cost $2.50 each, so there’s plenty of opportunity to mix things up. We highly recommended 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 probably in the coolest restaurant in the city. You have to try the burger at least once, but you really can’t go wrong here.

From the same people as Diner and just a few feet away, Marlow & Sons is a specialty market in the front and an incredible restaurant in the back. You might come to Marlow for drinks and oysters, but you’ll end up staying for the dimly lit, cabin-like atmosphere, and whatever's on special. The menu constantly changes, but you can be confident that anything you get is going to be good. Use this place for a back-pocket killer date night.

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, which are massive housemade pockets of al dente pasta that ooze cheese as soon as you pierce them with your fork. For entrees, get the very big, very breaded, and very cheesy pork chop parmesan, and probably a bunch more pastas. Sure, you can find better Italian food (Lilia is around the corner), but you’re not at Bamonte’s to experience the food. You’re here to experience the place and the history.

Hanon’s karaage chicken is slightly crispy and incredibly juicy, and its curry udon is one of the best bowls of soup in NYC. However, it’s no longer just a place to go for a quiet rendezvous with steaming broth and perfectly handmade noodles. The Japanese spot now has a big backyard, as well as a liquor license, with a natural wine list put together by the same person who built the one at Frenchette. Drink some cloudy, sparkling sake under ivy and hanging string lights, and then turn your focus back to some of the best udon in the city.

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.

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, most menu items are under $20, and the Happy Hour is great. Whether you’re here for the killer burger, you’re trying to eat something kind of healthy, or you want to do a prix fixe, Lighthouse won’t disappoint.

Planning a big group dinner? Kings County Imperial is a good choice. Put that lazy susan to good use by getting one of everything (and maybe three orders of the long dumplings). They also have a back patio, which is where you should eat.

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, a.k.a. the giant apartment building that also might be a Transformer. Much of the seating in the extremely 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. Because of that bar, and the lack of entrees, 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. Make a reservation.

photo credit: Emily Bolles

Emmy Squared review image

Emmy Squared

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

open table
$$$$(718) 360-4535
Hours:SAT
12PM-4PM6PM-11:30PM

These days, it seems like there’s an Emmy Squared on every corner, but the original in Williamsburg is still the best one. This place does rectangular, Detroit-style pies topped with things like bacon, ranch, and pickled jalapeños—plus one of our all-time favorite burgers. Bring friends, and share everything.

Allswell feels like the kind of cozy tavern you’d find in a ski town, only it’s in the middle of Williamsburg. We always keep it in mind for casual dinners, especially those requiring a cheeseburger, and it even works for a date. So if you’re dining solo, or just want a low-key place to have a great meal, come here.

Sunday in Brooklyn is a two-story space with marble tables and wooden ceiling beams, and it feels sort of like a recently renovated lodge in the Catskills. At dinner, they make things like a roasted Japanese sweet potato with brown butter and coffee tahini—although mostly this place is known for its brunch. That’s when you can get their big egg sandwich and their pancakes topped with a thick praline syrup. Just try to make a reservation, otherwise, there will be a wait.

Best Pizza is a simple one-room space with a few types of pizza listed above the register, all of which come out on soon-to-be-grease-stained white paper plates. As soon as you bite into your slice, you’ll realize this is one of the best places to eat in Williamsburg. Our favorite thing here is the white pizza with ricotta and pecorino, which has a charred, sesame seed crust and caramelized onions. Share a full pie with a few friends or order a couple slices to go, and keep it in mind for a high-quality bite after the bar.

If people taught classes on Williamsburg restaurants, Ammazzacaffe would be part of a 200-level course. This place has high ceilings and tiled floors, and it’s great for impressing people who think they’re aware of all the good Italian food in the neighborhood. You’ll find a bunch of different pastas with things like pork shoulder ragu and walnut pesto, as well as some great smaller plates like sea trout tartare. Plus, there’s a backyard with picnic tables and strings of lights. So stop by the next time you have a somewhat important date, but forgot to book your dinner in advance.

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 (definitely get the wontons in chili oil). Just keep in mind that this place can get pretty busy.

If you’re looking for BBQ in Williamsburg, the easy (and correct) choice is Fette Sau. Less easy, however, is choosing what to order. Across the board, everything here is great, but our favorites are the brisket, sausage, and pork ribs. This is the kind of place where you wait in line, order at the counter, and sit at big communal tables. It’s also as close as you’ll find to a true BBQ experience in this part of town.

Modern Love serves vegan food, but if you’re looking for a place with plates of sumac fattoush or seven different types of microgreens, then this spot probably isn’t for you. Instead, you’ll find vegan versions of comfort foods from around the world, like BBQ cauliflower wings, mac and cheese, and our favorite dish, the Caribbean jerk tofu, which comes with strips of spicy tofu, plantains, and coconut rice in a pool of curry. Come with a group of friends when you want filling and delicious food that just so happens to be vegan.

If a place has 30 wines by the glass, that’s typically considered a lot. Have & Meyer has over 100—which is surprising, because it’s not a huge spot. It’s a little restaurant/wine bar with a few tables, a long bar, and walls lined with bottles, and it’s perfect for any kind of date night. In addition to all the fermented grape juice, they also serve some pretty solid pasta and a few smaller things like meat and cheese. So stop by, have a snack, and drink something made from a grape you never knew existed.

The new Mekelburg’s location in Williamsburg is similar to the Clinton Hill original. It's an upscale grocery store up front with a bar in the back serving high-quality sandwiches and small plates, as well as a bunch of craft beers on tap. The sandwiches have interesting combinations of ingredients, like wagyu roast beef on an everything baguette and a bánh mì with Peking duck and duck rillettes. We also like the non-sandwich menu items, like the slightly charred three-cheese mac and cheese and a salt-baked potato with black cod and a lot of caviar. The bar seating and communal tables in the back are great for a casual lunch or dinner, but you can also get some sandwiches to go and eat them across the street in Domino Park.

Pheasant is the kind of place everyone wants in their neighborhood. It’s a small spot where the bartender will probably know your name by your second visit, and it works for a low-key date night when you feel like going out, but don’t want to try on multiple outfits before leaving the house. It’s also a good solo dinner option when you want something more interesting than brick chicken or pan-seared salmon. Get the burger topped with kielbasa.

There are lots of places where you can eat ramen and sushi. But there aren’t that many places where you can eat ramen and sushi and tacos. And there are definitely no places like Suzume. The dim, intimate space is perfect for an early-in-the-game date: nothing on the menu is over $20, the atmosphere is casual, and there’s Spam on the menu.

As the name might lead you to believe, Shalom Japan is what happens when Jewish and Japanese cooking join forces. And if that sounds gimmicky to you, know that this is a very serious restaurant putting out excellent, creative mashups (like a pastrami okonomiyaki). The space itself is on the smaller side, and it’s great for a meal with some relatives or a date in a quieter part of Williamsburg.

Are you looking for some casual tacos and possibly a bowl of melted cheese? Go to La Superior. It’s a little Mexican spot on Berry Street that works well for a meal with a couple of friends. It’s also open until 2am on weekends, and you should take advantage of this the next time you’re out late in Williamsburg.

The Commodore is technically a bar, and they technically serve piña coladas in tall plastic glasses—but they also have some of the best fried chicken in the city. Get it on a plate with biscuits on the side, or eat it in a sandwich. This is one of the best late-night options in the neighborhood, and you can always stand up and make some friends once you finish your food.

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