Prospect Heights makes up the area south of Crown Heights and north of Flatbush. Look at a map. It’s almost a parallelogram filled with lots to eat, like soul food, Caribbean food, sushi, and more. Much more, actually. But if we listed every type of food you could find out there, it would be a long, boring list, and you’d resent us for making you read it. Read this guide instead. It has 24 places where you’ll like what you eat and have a good time.
There aren’t many places in NYC where you can find incredible New Orleans-style food like seafood étouffée or a perfectly crunchy po boy. But Lowerline is one, and Prospect Heights is extremely lucky to have it. We like to come here for dollar oyster Happy Hour (from 5-7pm) or for a casual date night. There are only about twelve seats, but the tightness adds to the experience.
If you’re looking for a breakfast sandwich good enough to inspire a new poetry section in your diary, head to Ciao Gloria in Prospect Heights. Their PEC (prosciutto, egg, and cheese) comes on a brioche bread roll with pesto and arugula, and it’s one of the reasons we get out of bed on Saturday mornings They also have toast options with things like ricotta and avocado on top, plus a large selection of baked goods. You can order at the counter to-go, but you might as well take a seat and look out of the big windows onto Vanderbilt ave.
If you want to metamorphosize from an average New Yorker to an average New Yorker who has tasted seared salmon that was flown in from Tokyo the night before and topped with fried onions, come to this little spot on Flatbush. The sushi omakase experience at Sushi Lin is incredible - and so reasonably priced ($60 for 10 very special pieces), you feel like you’re in on a secret. Don’t leave without trying the salmon nigiri topped with sauteed tomato, or the bluefin tuna with mushroom.
Two good rules to keep in mind when you’re in Prospect Heights: 1) first Saturdays are always free at the Brooklyn Museum and 2) you should eat at Look By Plant Love House whenever it’s warmer than 50 degrees. This Thai spot has one of the absolute backyards in the neighborhood, and food that’s great for sharing with a bunch of people. Bring friends or a date, and make sure to get the pork and crab noodles and the giant papaya salad tray that comes with Isan sausage and chicken wings.
Natural wine is kind of like modern art - everyone has an opinion on it, even if they have no idea what it is. But whether you have thoughts on how minimal-intervention winemaking fosters a true expression of terroir, or you have the urge to slap anyone who says the word terroir out loud, you’ll enjoy LaLou. The long bar and private backyard are places you’ll want to hang out for hours, which is exactly what you should do while ordering rounds of small plates and drinks with a date or friend.
Oxalis feels like a casual neighborhood restaurant where you’d go for roast chicken and cold sauvignon blanc after a sh*tty day at work. But what you’ll actually get at this American spot in Prospect Heights is a nightly six-course tasting menu with flavors that are like Rorschach tests for your mouth. From scallops that dissolve when you bite into them to chuck steak as tender as filet mignon, the food here is fantastic, and at $70, it’s one of the best-value tasting menus in the city.
Maison Yaki is from the same people behind Olmsted, and it’s very much doing its own thing. This place is equal parts French and Japanese, nothing on the menu costs more than $10, and if you look up when you walk inside, you’ll see a bunch of mushrooms growing in a long, glass planter. It feels kind of like a vintage diner crossed with a wine bar, and the main thing here is skewers. You can get everything from pork belly with dijonnaise to duck a l’orange and lobster meatball with sauce american - and you should absolutely order those last two things. Bring a friend for a relatively casual meal, and cover your table in delicious food impaled on sticks.
The Dominican food at El Gran Castillo de Jagua rivals the stuff you’ll find in Washington Heights and Inwood. The sign out front has two castle keeps and a curtain wall which are maybe meant to defend this spot from people like us who want to expose it to the masses. The pernil taste like it’s been cooked in its own flavorful pork fat for days and the rotisserie chicken is juicy enough to be a contender for our Roast Chicken guide. Come here for dinner on a casual weeknight and watch whichever sport interests you most with the other two people who chose to stay and eat inside.
You could come to MeMe’s Diner for any of the following reasons: a dinner date with someone who produces a parrot podcast, a boozy birthday brunch with all of the people in your favorite group chat, or a slice of cake at the bar by yourself. But, unlike most NYC diners that make food just about anyone would want to eat, this one looks like a furniture showroom turned disco party. Plus, you’ll want to spend all day eating dishes like fried chicken salad, dutch pancakes, and chili oil fried eggs. Even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, this spot is worth making a trip.
This neighborhood Japanese spot has been around since the ’80s, and it seems like not much has changed since then. You can get a big bowl of udon for $6, one of the walls is covered in decades worth of scribbles and paint, and the sushi chefs look like they’ve been bobbing their heads to R&B slow jams while compiling spicy tuna rolls since the dawn of time. There’s never much of a wait, and it’s always packed, so take a seat at the triangular sushi bar, and enjoy the D’Angelo.
Alta Calidad is the best Mexican option in the neighborhood. The space is cool and casual, and tends to reach full capacity at brunch, when they offer one-hour bottomless drinks with any entree. We like the huevos divorciados best, mostly because multiple salsas on one plate makes us feel luxurious, and at night you can’t go wrong with a couple of steak or fish tacos with a side of queso loaded with chorizo.
Every neighborhood needs a divey, low-key restaurant like Rose’s: a bar-adjacent restaurant that you can rely on for a good fried chicken sandwich and a beer. The dark space and heavy food make it perfect for casual friend hangs or solo nights when the contents of your refrigerator give you far too much anxiety. And if you’re planning a date night with someone who won’t mind eating tater tots covered in cheese for dinner, Rose’s is great for that too. Especially because you can order the $14 special that involves a shot of bourbon and a glass of red wine to prove how classy and responsible you can be.
Every neighborhood needs a place where you can take all of your first dates, pretend you’ve never been before, and act surprised by the secret patio with string lights and always-available tables. In Prospect Heights, that’s Ogliastro, a neighborhood pizza place with candlelit marble tables and a full bar that we wouldn’t mind going to once a week. The pizza here is pretty good, especially the classic margherita.
Tom’s is a decades-old breakfast/lunch spot known for its old-timey feel, friendly service, and exceptional pancake selection. Try the ones that look like flat cinnamon rolls. And don’t be afraid to have crab cakes for breakfast. Theirs are deep-fried, and you won’t know if deep-fried shellfish works as a hangover cure until you try it. There might be a wait at brunch, but they also might be handing out free coffee or fries or breakfast sausage to people waiting in line.
Walk inside this Jamaican place and you’ll see pans of undisclosed foods simmering behind the counter. Ask for jerk chicken. Or oxtails. Whatever you get, it’ll be large, hot, and sleep-inducing. If you’re looking to improve your takeout game, this is a good option. And if you want to hang out and drink, bring your own wine or beer (it’s BYOB) and claim one of the tables, and be sure to order your own personal side of plantains - you’ll want them.
Come on a Friday night, and this place will be packed. Mostly, you’ll see young people who enjoy raw fish but don’t yet have as much disposable income as their parents. It isn’t top-tier sushi, but these guys make up for that with some friendly service and affordable prices. It’s a little place with good energy, and they also have a long list of sake. Come with up to three friends, anything more and you’re looking at a wait.
If you don’t live in the neighborhood, you probably haven’t heard of this place. It isn’t flashy, and you won’t feel compelled to Instagram the food. But if you enjoy eating food, you should like this place. It’s global soul, and that means stuff from a variety of countries. Korean, Moroccan, French, Creole - they do a little of everything. Come down and eat a burger or some sake-glazed salmon. There’ll be a good crowd.
Mitchell’s does soul food like fried chicken, fried fish, and black-eyed peas. It’s perfect for when you want something quick and fried or for when you want to eat at a place that didn’t open last year and doesn’t have a PR team. Fried chicken is the go-to order, and just be aware that this place is cash only, fairly small, and extremely casual.
Chuko runs the ramen game in Prospect Heights, and if you have a cold, their ramen is a viable alternative to NyQuil. The effect with be the same - especially if you start your meal with pork buns. This place gets busy, and you’ll probably have to wait for a table, but if you don’t mind eating at a bar, you should get seated faster. Also, good news for vegetarians: their vegetarian ramen isn’t bad. Meat-eaters should get the pork and kimchi version, however.
People travel across the city just to eat Olmsted’s carrot crepe or have a cocktail in the backyard, and we understand why. It’s a beautiful space, and the food is fantastic and unexpected. Head over for a date night, extravagant brunch, or really any special occasion when you don’t want anything stuffy.
Faun is Italian, but it’s tough to describe. You won’t find red-sauce, and ingredients range from sauerkraut to whatever dragoncello is. Oh, wait, we Googled it. It’s tarragon. Our point is, they make a bunch of pastas, mains, and small plates with stuff like ’nduja, meyer lemon, chicory, and brussels sprout leaves. Your parents will like this place.
Like Faun and Olmsted (but not quite at their level), James is kind of fancy and kind of expensive. But unlike those other two, you can get a burger here (and it’s one of the best in the city). Think of this as your neighborhood, date-night American bistro. They have straightforward options like pork belly, roast chicken, and kale salad, and they do these things well. The space is also nice and cozy, and it gets busy. Come for Burger Night Monday, when they serve a whole menu of different burgers priced lower than usual.
Morgan’s does Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and more. It’s some of the best barbecue in the city, and they also do some tacos and mac & cheese that you really won’t mind eating. Unless you’re trying to eat healthy. But then what are you doing at a barbecue place. (Do you know what barbecue is?) If you want a meal of smoked meat finished off with some pie, come here. In the summer months, bring a group after a day in Prospect Park and eat at the picnic tables on their front patio.
Lincoln Station is a fairly large coffee shop in Crown Heights where you can get breakfast, lunch, or a very casual (early) dinner - they’re open until 9pm. You can sit at a counter with a coffee and your laptop, or you can grab a table, drink a beer, and eat a plate of rotisserie chicken.