No longer Williamsburg’s ugly stepsister, Greenpoint has become a destination in its own right, even despite the fact that it’s one of the most isolated neighborhoods in Brooklyn and only accessible by a notoriously unreliable subway. The neighborhood is covered with great restaurants and bars, while thankfully retaining a lot of its pre-hipster-influx character (as evidenced by its countless Polish markets and general Eastern Bloc vibe). Here’s a complete guide to our favorite places to eat and drink when you next find yourself in Greenpoint - now updated with new spots.
Five Leaves is by far the most popular restaurant in Greenpoint - hordes of people routinely camp out in a mob-like formation in front of the restaurant waiting to be seated (outside, if you’re lucky). We don’t love Five Leaves quite as much as everyone else seems to, but if you like your eggs and pancakes with a heavy side of people-watching, this is your best option. If you want to try the food without the crazy waits, dinner is actually pretty good here, too. And if you’re finally ready to discover what lies beyond Five Leaves, read on.
Despite its prime location next to McCarren Park and tasty food, this place is never packed. If everything we’ve said about the crowds at Five Leaves makes you shudder, definitely head for Park Luncheonette. This is an all-day place, but we’re partial to the brunch menu here, which includes breakfast pizzas and Bloody Marys.
Frankel’s might be new to Greenpoint, but it already feels like it’s been here forever. This new-school take on an old-school Jewish deli has people constantly lining up for the lox, pastrami, and brisket - but the line moves fast, the food comes out quick, and everyone working here is genuinely friendly. Our favorite orders are the combo #1 (lox, scallion cream cheese, and cucumbers) and the pastrami, egg, & cheese - but you truly can’t go wrong. If there isn’t a seat available once your order is called, take your food to McCarren park for the perfect picnic.
We thank the food gods daily that this place exists. If you have any level of appreciation for authentic Mexican food, make it a priority to get here. The tacos and nachos are other-worldly, and the huevos rancheros at breakfast (only until 11am) are a fantastic way to start any day.
11am on a Saturday. Need food immediately. Don’t want to deal with brunch or brunch people. Should you find yourself in this situation in Greenpoint, your solution is Early. Sit on the quiet back patio with coffee and a Kwa’Son (a ridiculously good combination of croissant, goat cheese, and avocado). Pat yourself on the back for doing a damn good job of taking care of yourself.
If your brunch needs fall more on the side of benedicts than burritos, head for Esme. This is the kind of slightly upscale place (for Greenpoint, anyway) you’d love to bring your mom. The space is pretty and the menu has some of the neighborhood’s more seasonal and experimental brunch, lunch, and dinner dishes. Don’t sleep on the cocktails either.
On a residential, quiet street near the very top of Greenpoint, you wouldn’t know to look out for Bakeri. But once you know, you know. This place is like something out of the English countryside: a floral print-covered cafe and exposed-kitchen bakery selling attractive pastries and light breakfast/lunch foods. Then again, a place in the English countryside probably wouldn’t be playing Justin Timberlake or serving iced matcha lattes. Bakeri’s not a spot we’d direct you to for a particularly filling meal, but it’s absolutely worth stopping in for a coffee and snack, and to feel like you’ve stumbled into a Brooklyn dollhouse.
Enid’s is an all-day restaurant with ample sidewalk seating and a warm, welcoming interior that make it very easy to get comfortable – whether your idea of comfortable is a date with your computer or a mimosa. It also has one of the neighborhood’s only weekend happy hours (AKA the best cure for the Sunday Scaries).
Jungle Cafe is a low-key vegan spot that kind of feels like the Rainforest Cafe on Valium. A healthy restaurant with no sense of hipness or pretension is a rare find in NYC, and that’s exactly why this place gets our approval. In addition to a la carte dishes, they also have a daily-rotating vegan and vegetarian buffet – if you’re into that, come here on Sundays for the all-you-can-eat situation.
Milk & Roses is a renaissance restaurant: It has a great bottomless brunch, a sprawling back patio, an Italian-ish dinner menu that includes both pasta and pigeon, and a very charming interior filled with bookcase-lined walls, so you can feel highly intellectual as you eat.
Thought you couldn’t find a buffalo chicken and blue cheese wrap outside of Chili’s in NYC? Think again. Habitat’s a neighborhood bar that knows what makes people happy, like beer floats and $5 mac and cheese on Mondays.
People lose their sh*t over the fact that Anella serves its bread in flower pots, but that presentation is only a distraction from the excellent food and atmosphere here. During the summer, the prime seating is in the quaint back garden, but when it’s cold you’ll be very happy in the ridiculously pleasant interior.
Some of the absolute best pizza in NYC, Paulie Gee’s magic comes from its combination of quality and creativity. If you can get a table (expect hours-long waits during peak times), you will be rewarded not only with unbelievably good pizza, but an ideal atmosphere to enjoy it in – and most likely a visit from Paulie himself. If the wait turns you off, your best bet is a geriatrically early dinner.
Glasserie sits at the very top of the borough (go any farther north and you’re in Queens), but it’s become a destination people are willing to schlep to thanks to its interesting, Mediterranean food and some of the best vibes in Brooklyn. It’s a great spot for a date or low-key special occasion (it will set you back a bit). If you’re into fancy brunches, this is also a great choice for that.
Located in the back room of Brooklyn’s best beer bar, Luksus combines Nordic food and beers you’ve definitely never heard of into one amazing $125 tasting menu (plus $55 for a drink pairing). It’s unlike any other restaurant in the city, so you’d probably expect it to be fairly pretentious – but it’s actually the opposite, and for that we love it.
From the outside, The Brew Inn looks like a below-average pub. But the not-so-obvious difference between The Brew Inn and every other bar in Greenpoint is its unbelievably good burger. Aside from the meat sandwich (and other tasty bar foods), The Brew Inn is also a very fun place to drink and play Connect Four with friends.
Le Fanfare looks like the kind of place that would serve pretty, unsatisfying food. Instead what you’ll find here is well-executed, Italian comfort food that will leave you very happy. It’s a truly great neighborhood spot you’ll wish was on your corner.
Lucky Luna is probably the only restaurant in Greenpoint that can satisfy your Mexican and Chinese cravings simultaneously. This “Mexican-Taiwanese” place isn’t fusion food in the slightest – it feels like someone split up the menu into 2 parts and then pieced them back together, BFF-necklace style. But if you’re feeling like a pork bun and your friend wants guacamole, this place has you covered.
Sometimes you just want a nice piece of fish, and Greenpoint Fish & Lobster is far and away your best option for it. Either pick up some sea meat at the fish counter to cook at home, or sit down and enjoy something from the restaurant’s menu – the fish tacos, rice bowl, and lobster roll are all impressive. Bring a friend and eat at a high-top table or come by yourself for a solo meal at the bar.
Peter Pan has been around since the 1950’s, and looks like it hasn’t been updated since. Starting at 4:30am on weekdays and 5am on weekends, people line up to either take these delicious treats home or enjoy them at the counter, where there are also breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and milkshakes available.
There are a lot of places to eat ice cream in New York City, but Van Leeuwen is especially worthy of your next cheat day, or whatever you sadistic people call it. This place isn’t about fancy fixings or crazy combinations – the thing here is classic, simple flavors done better than just about anyone else.
Alameda is a dream date spot. It’s a cocktail bar that serves the kind of food that you could either share/pick at as you get to know one another, or actually sit down to eat for a full meal. The cocktails are delicious and interesting enough to give the two of you something to talk about should your conversation take a turn for the worst. And for the atmosphere: there’s a big, beautiful u-shaped bar, warm lighting, and plenty of tables for two.
Another top-tier cocktail bar is Achilles Heel, which feels like a rougher-around-the-edges version of Alameda – a little less cute, a little more cool. It’s a cozy corner tavern (complete with a fireplace) that’s best for a drinks and oysters kind of night.
We’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t become a Piña Colada convert after trying the one at Broken Land. If that isn’t enough reason for you to give this place a try, you should know they also play great music, have a nice back patio, and understand the power of twinkly lights.
Greenpoint’s answer to the Frying Pan (minus the obnoxiousness), this place is literally on a barge – with an unobstructed, panoramic view of the east side of Manhattan and the river. The food is nothing special, but you’ll be more than willing to forgive even a bland burger when you feel like you have the entire skyline to yourself.
As fancy as cocktail bars in Greenpoint get, Ramona is a beautiful, high-ceilinged space with delicious (albeit pricey) drinks. This place is huge (who knew two-story bars were even a thing here?), so even when it’s busy it’s still very comfortable even for a big crew. The happy hour is a great move for slightly cheaper classic cocktails.
Tørst is what you wish that cabin you'll never rent on AirBnB looked like. Whether or not you’re super into craft beer, you’ll appreciate the rotating cast of excellent drafts and the Scandinavian space that makes you feel like you’re sitting in an extremely well-appointed sauna (minus the sweaty people).
Its name might make it sound like a fake place featured on Girls, but Greenpoint Heights is in fact a real bar – one with surprisingly good dinner, late-night, and brunch eats.
This place can get busy on weekend evenings, but that’s why you left the comfort of your bed anyway, right? Come to Manhattan Inn, be with the people, and hang out either in the cozy front room or make your way towards the larger back room where you might be treated to a performance on the big white piano. This is also a great place to kill time while you’re waiting for your name to be called at Five Leaves down the block.
A couple doors up from Manhattan Inn is Lake Street, another great neighborhood bar that has the added benefits of a back patio, sports on TV, and frozen Negronis.
Entering Capri Social Club is the closest thing you’ll get to a time-space warp (Kansas City, 1978). It’s so nondescript that it’s probably the most memorable bar in Greenpoint. There is no better place in the neighborhood to buy a beer and a shot.
The Diamond is a craft beer and wine bar that would make for a great spot to hang with a bunch of co-workers. It’s not that this place is boring – it’s just got an extremely friendly, borderline wholesome vibe. Maybe it’s the lack of hard liquor or the shuffleboard. That said, they do have an old gondola sitting on the back patio that’s the perfect size for two. Do with that information what you will.