By this point, we all know that Bushwick isn't just home to warehouses and raves and generally dystopian vibes and Roberta's. But at the same time, the neighborhood still retains a lot of its mystery, especially for those that don't count the L train as a part of their regular commute.
So whether you're looking to do some food adventuring this weekend, or have never found yourself farther east than Bedford Ave., or are a Bushwick local and could use a reminder of your hood's greatest spots, here's a guide to some of our favorite places in the area.
There are many bars/restaurants in NYC. There are also many bars/clubs. But there are very few restaurants/bars/clubs, and Tutu's is probably the best example of this rare species done right. The food is simple and tasty, the prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is unpretentious and fun, and the music is always what you want to dance to. Whether you're here for brunch, late-night partytime, or $1 oysters all weekend, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time.
When Roberta's opened, it was the first thing to successfully convince hoards of people to hang out (and eventually live) in Bushwick. Today, it's still the most compelling restaurant in the neighborhood. The pizza is as outstanding as ever, but the Roberta's reach has now expanded to include a garden, separate takeout operation, event space - the list goes on. At the end of the day, basically everyone can agree: Roberta's is something special.
Two hour wait at Roberta's got you down? Head south a few blocks to Forrest Point, a great indoor/outdoor bar with solid cocktails and a random menu (tuna tartare tacos, porchetta sandwich, quinoa salad) that we're not mad about. Like all good Bushwick spots, the atmosphere is industrial yet homey, and feels like the kind of place where you can just sit and hang for a while.
Strongly-themed bars are usually at best kind of quaint, and at worst unbearably cheesy. But this 70s themed joint manages to be neither, despite its palm tree wallpaper and tiki-heavy drink menu (complete with illustrative pictures). In fact, these are the things that make this place one of the best new bars we've been to recently. It's low-key, yet definitely fun enough to warrant a trip to the neighborhood, and would even make for a great laid-back birthday spot. Oh, and the Tex Mex-leaning bar food is really tasty too.
Punk rock Japanese small plates and bar food in a feel-good atmosphere. It’s not the most authentic food in town, but it’s the kind of place you can do sake bombs with dinner and actually enjoy yourself. Just make sure to shield your eyes from the guy making your singature okonomiyaki pancakes. He’s got earring gauges big enough to fit an entire tennis ball.
"I'm really in the mood for an Ethiopian vegan lunch" is not a sentence we ever thought we'd say. But then we met Bunna. Get the Feast and try one of everything on the menu. Eating veggies with your hands (ask for silverware and they may ask you to leave) has never tasted so good.
Momo gives the people what they want: tasty, if slightly gimmicky creations that go way beyond the typical spicy tuna on crispy rice type offerings. We have to admit, the sushi bombs (their signature single-bite creations) are weirdly addicting. The vibe here is cozy enough for a date, but the big communal tables are great for groups if you can get here early enough to grab one.
Archie's is the kind of late night go-to that everyone needs in their neighborhood: pizza by the slice (with a nice and crunchy crust), a cool atmosphere, and a full bar. They also serve grinders, which sounds like something that was invented to be ordered when you're drunk.
Possibly the most grown up restaurant in Bushwick, Faro is a good place for a date. But it's an even better place to bring parents and/or out-of-towners who want to experience the "artisanal" Brooklyn scene they keep reading about in the New York Times. The converted warehouse space is simple but nice, the pasta is good, and you can actually make a reservation.
Delicious tacos out of a tortilla factory out of a garage. How could this place get any better? BYOB. And they have that too. Everything here is incredibly cheap - tacos are $2.50 a pop, and three of them makes for a solid dinner. Or splurge for the quesadilla, which is massive by comparison and costs $4.50. Don't miss out on the house-made red hot sauce - you want it all over everything you get here.
Mominette is a French bistro best enjoyed for brunch on the backyard patio with an order of mac and cheese somewhere on your table. The cocktails are also solid, and we're all about any restaurant that offers a double happy hour (5-7pm and 11pm-12am).
This place may be brand new, but it's already churning out the freshest and tastiest Mediterranean food in the neighborhood. If you're able to grab one of its few seats (this place is tiny), you'll be treated to an atmosphere that makes you feel like you're eating in a shack owned by the coolest grandma ever.
Bushwick is home to two Guacuco establishments: Hotdogs and Arepas. You want the latter, where you'll enjoy thick corn patties packed with solid fillings like pernil (pork shoulder) and pabellon (beef, cheese, beans, plantains). This is a true family-run establishment - it's named after the beach where the owner's mother was born, and it's that mother who's running the kitchen. Apparently Bushwick's restaurant scene is full of cool maternal figures.
Located two steps from the Jefferson subway entrance is Hi Hello, a cozy spot that's just as cute (forgive us) as its name implies. The menu is covered with crowd-pleasers, but the burger is the standout, with its diner-style thin patty covered in cheddar on top of a Martin's potato roll. The addition of good cocktails make this spot perfect for an easy one-on-one hang.
Seven-days-a-week boozy brunch. Cafe Ghia has made this dream a reality. This tiny spot has only two menus (brunch and drinks), and we fully support that commitment to their craft.
The only way a restaurant can get away with having just two items on its menu - especially in NYC - is if those two items are really f*cking good. At Lucy's, you can only order Pho or Pho Banh Mi, and while you can choose a meat, you definitely want brisket. The end result is a beautiful combination of barbecue-style meat and the tastiest Vietnamese flavors.