The Best Restaurants In Bushwick
Where to grab Nigerian food, Happy Hour oysters, some of the best tacos in the city, and more.
This North Brooklyn neighborhood has some of the best Mexican restaurants in this city, as well some excellent spots to eat Caribbean and Nigerian food, pizza places where you should host your next birthday, and a whole lot more. The next time you’re looking for a restaurant off the L, use this guide like it’s your own personal teleprompter during an Oscars speech. Minus the disruptive music, of course.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Eyval is from the team behind Prospect Heights’ Sofreh, and it’s where you should be eating Persian food in Bushwick. Portions are small, and the plating is chic, so your first impression might be that you’re getting pretentious food at pretentious prices—but dishes like the potato tahdig and fava bean borani topped with sprigs of dill have a startling amount of flavor for how simple they sound. This restaurant has buzzy energy, so it’s perfect for a leisurely night out with a group of friends.
Plaza Ortega is the kind of place where you can bring all your friends and eat great food while you hang out for a couple of hours. This Mexican restaurant slash bodega slash ice cream shop has a long bar and a few tables in the back, and the menu is filled with highlights. Try a few tacos, a substantial torta, or some exceptional birria ramen that uses Nissin Cup Noodles as its base.
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At Taqueria Al Pastor, you should, of course, order the al pastor tacos. They come piled with strips of crispy pork and cubes of pineapple, and a single hefty taco constitutes a very respectable snack. But the carne asada is even better. Cut into chunks the size of seven-carat diamonds, the beef is garlicky, well-seasoned, and as bountiful as snowflakes in a snowstorm. Taqueria Al Pastor’s guacamole also has some nice kick, and the housemade corn tortillas are sturdy with the right amount of chew.
The next time you want to have an upscale Big Night Out in a space that feels like one of Brooklyn’s great dinner parties, make a reservation at Falansai. This Vietnamese restaurant existed for years before an ex-Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef took over the kitchen in 2020. Since then, they’ve switched to serving a list of (mostly) sub-$30 dishes that range from a spicy red curry packed with Greenmarket vegetables to confit duck necks covered in an “umami bomb” sauce that’s equally sweet and zippy.
The pizza at Ops fits somewhere between crispy New York-style and soppy-in-the-middle Neapolitan. Each slice remains straight when you hold it up in the air, but the crust puffs up like a balloon. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what you call the style. What matters is that you’re going to want to become a regular at this dimly lit sourdough pizza emporium. Don’t leave without trying the “Cicero,” which the menu accurately describes as having “many onions.″ Ops pulls their own mozzarella in house almost daily, so order any pie that features it. We also suggest a calzone or the thicker square pie if you’re with a group.
Stop by Sally Roots on a Friday night, and it’ll probably be dark, a little bit noisy, and full of people who are drinking rum cocktails. In other words, it’s a party (both inside the dining room and in the backyard). The difference between this party and the one you got invited to by someone on the L train is that Sally Roots serves a menu of solid Caribbean food. Bring some friends for a fun meal that'll cost around $30 per person, and get at least one plate of tostones for the table.
If you live near Bushwick, use this casual Thai spot like a DJ uses house samples—often and skillfully. Tong’s dining room looks like a miniature Cost Plus World Market where someone might take a yoga class or read in a hammock, and the wooden outdoor structure around its partially-covered sidewalk patio is wrapped in string lights. The menu has a section dedicated to small plates (like gai tod and grilled calamari), and all of them deserve your undivided attention. If you need a casual spot to meet up with a few friends or have a luxurious solo dinner, come here.
Hills Kitchen serves delicious Nigerian specialties and West African dishes in a narrow room with only half a dozen tables. It’s one of the best places to eat along Maria Hernandez Park, regardless of whether you bring your jollof to the park or split a couple dishes with a friend in the dining room. If you need something hearty, get the efo soup, which is thick, rich, and packed with spinach. The people who run this restaurant also operate Hills Place in Marine Park, another great Nigerian spot you should know about.
There are several ways to approach a meal at this legendary Ethiopian restaurant, but your easiest and best route is The Feast—a giant plate of dishes like spicy misir wot, garlic-forward gomen, and gingery shiro. The appetizers are also great, and you can add extra orders of any of the dishes à la carte.
Nene’s Deli Taqueria
The specialty at this casual Mexican deli is their crispy-gooey, cheese-filled quesabirria. Whether you want a birria burrito, quesadilla, taco, or mulita, it’ll be served along with a layer of melted cheese. The union of meat-soaked orange tortillas, stewed beef, and caramelized cheese is something we all should be grateful for.
Hartbreakers is from the people behind Champs Diner, and like Champs, it’s a great place to eat satisfying vegan food. This Bushwick restaurant specializes in big chik’n sandwiches topped with things like ranch and cheese sauce, and we especially like the one with seitan bacon, vegan cheddar, pickled red onion, and creamy coleslaw. Order at the counter, then enjoy your sandwich (or veggie burger) in the tiny, brightly-colored dining room.
In the event you want to spend around $15 on something portable, head straight to Carmenta’s on Wilson Avenue in Bushwick. This Italian deli has a handful of stools, a counter with bags of fresh pasta for sale, and a few employees who make incredible Italian food while listening to indie rock from the early 2000s. This spot makes excellent pastas and a beef-and-pork meatball parm on a Parisi bakery roll that you’ll want to eat once a week.
This seasonal American restaurant serves half a dozen kinds of freshly-extruded pasta, as well as garlic-lathered sourdough focaccia baked in a wood-burning oven that makes the whole place smell like a foresting facility. Faro remains one of the best places for an upscale meal in Bushwick, and we suggest you make use of the impressive wine list and generous half-portions of pasta.
We like the meat substitutes at this casual Chinese-inspired restaurant in Bushwick more than we do at most other vegan spots in the city. There’s a really good plate of sesame “beef” made of soy protein and some seitan bbq “roast pork.” Whatever you get, make sure to try some fried king oyster mushrooms with a batter that tastes like onion rings and wonton soup. It's the most flavorful version of this dish we’ve had.
Union Pizza Works
Union Pizza Works has a huge backyard where you can eat puffy 12-inch Neapolitan pies . Try the one that’s built like a sandwich with mozzarella, arugula, and prosciutto. With plenty of room for groups (and dogs), this place is a great choice for a birthday party or any other sort of casual big-group hang. Also worth mentioning: Union Pizza Works can sub in gluten-free crust for all of their pies.
Maite is a cute date spot serving European and Colombian-influenced food. Their menu has everything from empanadas and ribeye served with an arepa to grilled squash and burrata with squid ink. The options rotate almost daily, and they’re all listed on a big chalkboard by the bar. We find that we have to order a bunch of stuff here to be full, so prepare to spend at least $50-ish per person.
Sea Wolf is one of those casual neighborhood restaurants that’s always overflowing with dates and groups during Happy Hour and brunch. As the name suggests, it’s a place to eat marine creatures (not wolves). Get some discounted oysters from 4-7pm every day, and try your best to sit in their roped-off patio section on Wyckoff Avenue.
You’ll realize you’re in for a good time the moment you make your way down the stairs into the subterranean dining room at Mao Mao, a Thai restaurant on Broadway. The combination of twinkly lights, vintage signs, and Thai movie posters will make you want to have your next birthday here. Come with a few friends, work your way through every page of the menu (our favorite dish is the khao mun gai), and plan to linger over Thai beers and tastes of different kinds of ya dong.
At Arepera Guacuco, you’ll eat thick corn patties packed with fillings like pernil and pabellon (beef, cheese, beans, plantains) in a super casual environment. This is a family-run establishment, named after the beach where the owner’s mother was born—and that mother runs the kitchen.
Klom Klorm, one of the best Thai restaurants in the area, serves staples like herby Thai sausage and a papaya salad with plenty of fish sauce. The food is consistent, most of the entrees cost less than $20, and there’s a brick wall adorned with colorful plates that'll give you something to talk about once you and your friend get bored of discussing Revel moped safety.
photo credit: Kate Previte
Santa Panza is ideal for a casual date. It has wood-fired pizzas, salads, and small plates, with a little bar up front in case you’re dining solo. This place is cash-only, but there’s an ATM in the restaurant, which is something you should know ahead of time so you can avoid the weird payment dance at the end of your date.
Paloma’s is a spot where you can drink a good cocktail and enjoy solid Mexican dishes like tacos, chimichangas, and coctel de camarones—and they also host occasional burlesque shows. There’s a full stage and a long bar with plenty of room for spaced-out seating inside, so keep this place in mind the next time you're looking for a restaurant where you can catch some live entertainment. Find the full event schedule here.
Tortilleria Los Hermanos
There are places serving better tacos in Bushwick, but Tortilleria Los Hermanos remains one of our favorite spots to hang out. At this tortilla factory, you order at the counter, then claim a table in the warehouse-like space and enjoy a meal that likely cost you less than $15. In addition to tacos, there are tostadas, tortas, and quesadillas. Don't forget to BYOB, and don’t miss out on the housemade red hot sauce. You want it all over everything you get here.