Our Bushwick restaurant guide is longer than most of our other neighborhood lists. And why shouldn’t it be? This North Brooklyn neighborhood has some of the better Mexican restaurants in this city, plus 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.
In a neighborhood with a lot of Mexican food, Taqueria Al Pastor makes the most delicious tacos. 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 five-inch corn tortillas are sturdy with the right amount of chewy. On one occasion they ran out of corn tortillas and made our tacos with flour ones instead. The result? An equally outstanding handheld meal.
The next time you’re seeking an upscale Big Night Out in a space that feels like you’re attending 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 the fall of 2020. Since then, they’ve switched to serving a list of sub-$30 dishes that range from a spicy green curry with soft tofu and seasonal vegetables to confit duck necks covered in an “umami bomb” sauce that’s equally sweet and zippy from ginger, mirin, and soy sauce. Falansai offers a la carte service or a rotating đặc biệt tasting with four courses for around $45 or six courses for around $83. Even though this spot feels like one of the few special Bushwick restaurants that should be dedicated to big date nights, birthdays, or promotion celebrations, we still advocate for the a la carte method. Otherwise, you might miss some of the menu’s greatest hits.
The pizza at Ops fits somewhere between crispy New York and soppy-in-the-middle Neapolitan, as each slice remains straight when you hold them 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 come to their dim-lit Bushwick sexy sourdough pizza emporium (DLBSSPE) every week like you owe their starter money. Don’t leave without trying the “Cicero” which the menu accurately describes as having “many onions″ and a guanciale-pecorino-topped “Pops.” Ops pulls their own mozzarella in house almost daily, so do your best to follow any pie where it’s included. We’d also suggest a calzone or the thicker square pie if you’re with a group, both of which proudly show off the funk of the dough. Have confidence that whatever wine they happen to be pouring is good. You’ll feel like you’re a regular here even if it’s your first time.
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 and in their backyard. The difference between this party and the one you got invited to by someone on the L train is that they serve a menu of delicious Caribbean food. Bring some friends here for a fun meal that costs around $30 per person, whether that’s by way of the salmon with rice and peas or the creamy curried chicken. There are two rules to live by, though: order at least one plate of tostones on your table and douse its garlic dipping sauce on everything you’re eating.
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 big section dedicated to kub klaem, or small plates, 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 or brunch, stop by for some banana blossom pancakes and grilled octopus skewers covered in a chili lime cause you’ll wish was being sold by the bottle.
Hills Kitchen serves delicious Nigerian specialties and other West African soups and rice dishes in a narrow room with only half a dozen tables. It’s one of our favorite spots along Maria Hernandez Park, regardless of whether you bring your jollof to the park or split a couple dishes with a friend in their dining room. If you’re in the mood for a big bowl of soup, try the white rice with spicy tomato-based stew and pieces of fried chicken, or efo soup, which is thick, rich, stuffed with enough spinach to fill a tophat (get a side of Hills Kitchen’s pounded yam to eat it with). For some context, the team who runs this restaurant also operates Hills Place in Marine Park, another great Nigerian restaurant 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. All of this comes with a giant pile of injera to use as your personal plate. If you want even more food, the appetizers are also great, and you can add extra orders of any of the dishes a la carte.
If you don’t live in Bushwick, it’s possible you’ve never heard of this casual, Italian-leaning restaurant with a compact menu. And that’s your loss, since Otis makes dishes that are more interesting than what you might find at your average pasta-and-kale spot. Get the braised pork shoulder pasta with miso and pesto if you want to see what we mean. The space used to be a tailor shop, but now you’ll find they have a big bar and a little dining room in the back that has an open kitchen to the side. There are also a few couches up front, where you can have a drink and hang out.
The specialty at this casual Mexican deli is quesabirria, a crispy-gooey, cheese-infiltrated dish that was hard to find in NYC until birria became rampant on menus around 2019. No matter if you want a birria burrito, quesadilla, taco, or mulita from Nene’s, it’ll be served along with a layer of melted white cheese. As you might be able to imagine, the union of meat-soaked orange tortillas, stewy adobo beef, and caramelized cheese is one we all should be grateful for - even as you sit on a bench in Maria Hernandez Park ruining your pants with orange meat juice stains.
Hartbreakers is from the same people behind Champs Diner, and, like Champs, it’s a great place to eat vegan food that would satisfy anyone looking for salty-crunchy fried stuff. 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 called the “Picnic Basket.” Heartbreakers also makes a couple of veggie burgers and salads, but we’d recommend sticking with the chicken sandwich (and add a side of waffle fries). Order at the counter, then either enjoy your sandwich in the tiny, brightly-colored dining room, or run home and eat it before the bun gets soggy.
It’s possible you have some history with Roberta’s, since it’s been around for some time. Maybe you hosted a birthday party in their backyard in 2010. Maybe their back room will forever stick out as the scene of several dates you had with DJs in Bushwick, or maybe you saw their pies shrink-wrapped in the frozen section at Whole Foods last week. Currently, Roberta’s is more of a fantastic group restaurant than it is a current pizza hot spot. You could show up here with ten people on a whim and find a table in their industrial backyard. There’s almost no other place in North Brooklyn where that’s possible, a fact that will keep us recommending Roberta’s.
You know when you walk into a place, and immediately feel like your mom would like it here? That’s Le Garage. And while your mom might very well like this place, we also might be biased because we know it’s run by a mom and daughter team (the former of whom was a chef at restaurants in Paris). It’s a welcoming, low-key restaurant that serves foie gras and roast chicken. And regardless of your mom, you’ll probably like it too.
There aren’t a ton of sushi options in Bushwick, and that’s precisely what makes Bushniwa useful to know about. They serve a pretty wide range of pieces, from sea trout to hamachi belly, as well as some less-traditional rolls involving fried mozzarella cheese. Our favorite approach here is to order sushi and sashimi platters for around $30 each, but Bushniwa also offers $65, $95, and $125 tasting options.
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 just a handful of stools, a counter with bags of fresh pasta for sale, and a few guys making incredible Italian food while listening to indie rock from the early 2000′s. This spot makes excellent pastas, a beef-and-pork meatball parm on a Parisi bakery roll you’ll want to eat all over again as soon as you finish, and the finest Italian combo in the neighborhood.
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 unofficial venues for family members eating in Bushwick. We’d suggest you enthusiastically ask to see the wine list, and make use of the fact that they offer generous half-portions of pasta for $16 each.
Say you just lost your monthly unlimited Metrocard three days into the month. You need a T.O. Get some alone time at Ichiran, a ramen place where you can put up dividers even more divider-y than what they used in elementary school to keep kids from cheating on their math tests. In other words: noodle slurping in blissful solitary confinement. The ramen comes in one variety - a porky tonkotsu broth - which you can customize to your liking. We’d recommend going for “medium” richness.
Not only does La Lupe make some of the best tacos in Bushwick, it has a more comfortable space to sit down and enjoy them than most. We’d also recommend things here like burritos and tostadas, as well as Happy Hour from 4-7pm every weekday with $3 shots, $7 margaritas, and $7 Tecate + shot combo. Bring some friends, since there’s enough table space to fit a few medium-sized groups.
To call Sol Sips a cafe would be like calling Idris Elba a DJ. It’s not factually inaccurate, but you’re missing some key details. In addition to selling a menu of Caribbean vegan daytime dishes Monday through Saturday, Sol Sips curates meal kits and juice cleanse regimens with a sliding payment scale to make them more accessible to all. You can check out an example of their meal kit bundles here (which include everything from chickpea omelettes to Belizean veg plates). Keep Sol Sips in mind the next time you’re meeting someone for a smoothie and a snack, or anytime you’re looking for vegan options in Bushwick.
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.” Plus, the most expensive entrees costs $17, and the smaller dishes are around $10 or below. In addition to the seitan and soy protein things, make sure to try some fried king oyster mushrooms with a batter that tastes like onion rings and wonton soup. It might be the most flavorful vegetable version of this dish we’ve ever had.
We once saw a pony-sized Doberman sitting in the front yard at Union Pizza Works in Bushwick. It raised two points. The first: How big is this person’s apartment? The second: Can we feed the dog pizza? The backyard here is so large, that it could fit the Doberman and all of his Doberman friends and there would still be room for you and a date. We really like the puffy crust on the 12-inch Neapolitan pies here, as well as a pizza that’s built like a sandwich with melted mozzarella and soft stracchino, arugula, and prosciutto di Parma in between two pieces of airy focaccia. In addition to your dog, bring a friend or a birthday party. Also worth mentioning: Union Pizza Works can sub in gluten-free crust for all of their pies.
Maite is a cute date spot serving farm-to-table stuff influenced by European and Colombian food. This amounts to a menu that has everything from empanadas, to burrata with squid ink, to ribeye with an arepa. 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.
Restaurant fatigue. It’s a symptom that plagues even the best eaters once in a while. You want to go out after work/after laying around your house all day watching Netflix, but just going to a restaurant doesn’t sound exactly right. You want action. You want intrigue. But you also don’t want it to require much more effort than just going to dinner. That’s why there’s Syndicated, a restaurant/bar/movie theater. Stop in and hang in the giant front bar where they also serve food and show movies on the projectors, or check the schedule online to see which cult classic movie is playing tonight in the theater.
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 dollar oysters from 4-7pm every day or a spicy fried shrimp basket, and try your best to sit in their roped-off patio section of Wyckoff Avenue.
Momo makes tasty, if slightly gimmicky creations that go way beyond spicy tuna on crispy rice. We have to admit, we can’t get enough of the sushi bombs (their signature, rounded single-bite pieces). The atmosphere 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.
Sometimes you need a grilled cheese on white bread with a single slice of Kraft American cheese at a diner at 4am. And sometimes you need a grilled cheese on ciabatta with red wine-braised short rib, gruyere, and blackberry jam. That’s when you come to The Wheelhouse. This restaurant has a few salads and appetizers like tots and mac and cheese, but it’s essentially a grilled cheese-themed neighborhood hang. They do trivia night on Wednesdays and your clothes are guaranteed to smell like crispy cheese by the end.
Forrest Point, a great indoor/outdoor bar with solid cocktails and a wide-randing menu (tuna tartare tacos, fried chicken sandwich, quinoa salad), has something for everyone. Like many 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.
You’ll realize you’re in for a good time the moment you make your way down the stairs into the subterranean level of Mao Mao, a Thai restaurant on Broadway. The combination of twinkly lights, vintage Coke and Pepsi signs, and Thai movie posters might even make you want to have your birthday here. MaoMao’s cavernous space is also decorated with a big projector screen playing boxing clips, and a glowing red wall covered in glass pitchers of ya dong, the fermented liquor that Mao Mao specializes in. Come here 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.
Bushwick is home to two Guacuco establishments: hot dogs and arepas. You want the latter, where 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 - it’s named after the beach where the owner’s mother was born, and it’s that mother who’s running the kitchen.
Klom Klorm, one of the best Thai restaurants in the area, serves staples from a few regions, like herby Thai sausage and a papaya salad that tastes like it’s happily married to a container of fish sauce. Klom Klorm is great for a casual date with someone you don’t know too well. The food is consistent, most of the entree costs well under $20, and there’s a brick wall adorned with colorful plates to keep you two talking when you get bored of discussing Revel moped safety.
Neighborhoods full of 20-somethings can only survive with the help of casual date spots. It’s science. Santa Panza is one of them, serving wood-fired pizzas, salads, and small plates, with a little bar up front in case you’re not on a date, but 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.
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 - note the double Happy Hour - 5-7pm and 12-2am - the first of which includes $1 oysters.
Lucy’s has a concise menu, but everything on it is great. The staples are the phở and bánh mì. And while you can choose a meat, you definitely want brisket.
The second Paloma’s location in Bushwick is known for its solid Oaxacan dishes like mole coloradito, pork belly tacos, and aguachile. But they also host immensely fun Sunday drag brunches. This Mexican spot took over the former Guadalupe Inn space in 2020. If you were familiar with that spot, you’ll know that it means there’s a full stage and a long bar with plenty of room for spaced-out seating inside. Keep this all in mind for the next time you’re looking for bottomless drinks and accompanying antics on a weekend afternoon.
Tacos out of a tortilla factory out of a garage where you can BYOB. Tacos here cost $3 a pop, and three of them make for a filling dinner. Or splurge for the quesadilla, which is massive by comparison and costs $5. Don’t miss out on the house-made red hot sauce - you want it all over everything you get here. They’re not our favorite tacos in the neighborhood, but the energy here certainly warrants a trip at least once.