Bed-Stuy is huge, so obviously there’s a lot of food. Hatian, Trinidadian, Mexican, French - take your pick. There’s everything here, and it’s all spread out across the neighborhood. So rather than walk a mile in search of dinner, use this guide to figure out exactly where you need to be. Here are the best restaurants.
Swell Dive is a Filipino/Tex-Mex place where you can get a taco at 1am. They do a few different kinds, but our late-night order is the one with chicken-fried spam. It is a highly enjoyable drunk food. The rest are fine - not as good as Chilo’s or Calaca, but they work for a quick meal. This is also a nice place to hang out. You can either sit at the bar or grab a booth or a table in back and play a board game (they have those). And when it’s nice out, there’s even a little backyard where you can eat your tacos and drink a cocktail out of a fishbowl.
For a somewhat casual, sit-down meal, Peaches is the go-to spot in Bed-Stuy. We aren’t saying it’s the only option (or even the best), but it’s a staple in this neighborhood the way Balthazaar is a staple in Soho. They do Southern food like grits, catfish, ribs, and cornbread, and it’s a great place to go for brunch. Come with a friend or bring your kids. This place is perfect for just about anyone.
Nashville-style fried chicken is hard to find in NYC, but you can get a solid plate of it at Peaches Hot House. This place is owned by the same people who run Peaches, but it’s a little more casual. The food is similar, but here there’s more of a focus on comfort food. They do stuff you want to eat with a beer - like barbecue shrimp, fried green tomatoes, and a burger. Although if you don’t order the fried chicken, you’re doing it wrong. That’s the main reason you come here. Order it hot.
For a nice date night in Bed-Stuy you have a few options, but Hart’s might be the best. It’s tiny, intimate, and they play some good early-2000’s R&B. It’s also pricey enough that you won’t seem cheap - but it’ll be tough to spend over $100 on a dinner for two. Unless you drink a lot. Which, hey, you do you. The food is Mediterranean/American, and the menu changes daily, but you can always expect to see clam toast toast and a lamb burger. Feel free to order either. Go for the optional anchovies on your burger if you’re feeling adventurous and really like fish.
Saraghina is an Italian place with a few pastas and a lot of small plates - but you come here for the pizza. The pizzas are Neapolitan style, and they come charred and fluffy. You’ll want one for every person. Although the best thing about this place might be the farmhouse/antique store vibes. It’s good spot to eat a first meal with a date. There’s also a pretty big backyard, and it’s exactly where you want to eat in the summertime.
Samurai Papa has two locations - one in Bushwick and another in Bed-Stuy. And if you live in Bed-Stuy, this is where you should be getting your ramen. Their broth is extra-concentrated, and it comes with some stock on the side (so you can dilute it to your mouth-preference). The space is pretty small, however, so don’t bring all of your friends. Unless you only have one or two friends. In which case, your inability to make friends works out perfectly.
Toad Style is a vegan place with a kung fu theme. They do things like a veggie burger, an eggplant parm, and pizza fries (with almond cheese). It isn’t the healthiest vegan food, but it’s fun, and vegans need junk food the same as everyone else. Try the banh mi or the veggie hot dog on baguette. You can get your food to go or sit at one of the little tables and appreciate the old kung fu movie posters. They’re open until 11pm every night.
These guys do Trinidadian specialties like bakes, doubles, and aloo pie. If you don’t know what these are, think of them as sandwiches with fried bread and fillings like chickpeas and salt fish. Their doubles are especially popular (and even a little famous), but you should get here early to make sure they don’t run out. Just know that this place is tiny, old-school, and cash-only. Although you won’t need to bring much cash. It’s very inexpensive.
Ali’s is another option for quick Trinidadian take-out in the area. They also do doubles and aloo pie, but if you want something a little bigger, you can have a roti. Order one, and you’ll get a flatbread wrapped around some chicken curry or goat or oxtail stew. Or if you’re a vegetarian, you can get the chickpea version. Just know that this place is cash-only, and there isn’t a ton of seating.
In Paris, there are probably a million places like L’Antagoniste. But you don’t live in Paris. You live in New York, and you’re reading this right now at your desk in Midtown. Or on a subway. Or at your apartment that’s smaller than you ever dreamed it would be. So maybe you should appreciate L’Antagoniste. It’s a nice little French place in Bed-Stuy where you can get some steak frites or duck l’orange. It isn’t especially affordable, but it also isn’t stuffy or formal, and you can come here with a date the next time you feel like spending a little cash.
Easily in the very top tier of Bed-Stuy’s tacos, Chilo’s is both the name of a bar and the name of the taco truck sitting on that bar’s back patio. In the warmer months, come here on a weekend afternoon and drink the day away with margaritas from the bar and any of the tacos from the truck. The picnic tables make for a great big group hang.
Maybe we haven’t stressed this enough, but if you go to Bed-Stuy and you don’t eat Caribbean food, you’re doing something wrong. That’s like going to Little Italy and not eating Italian food. Actually, it’s worse. Because Little Italy is for tourists. Go to Grandchamps and eat some crispy pork and fried plantains. This is a casual Haitian spot, and it’s great for a Tuesday night when all you want is a plate of meat, rice, and plantains.
Pilar Cuban Eatery is good for a lot of situations. There are healthy options, relatively unhealthy options, and it’s also moderately affordable. Stop by and have a Cuban sandwich or a plate of shredded steak with black beans and avocado. This is an ideal weeknight dinner spot, and it’s also nice enough for a casual date. Just know that your mouth will smell like garlic by the end of your meal.
Chez Oskar is a neighborhood French bistro. It used to be a Fort Greene staple, but then they moved to Bed-Stuy, and now it’s a Bed-Stuy staple. The food here isn’t amazing, but you also aren’t paying Daniel prices, and you don’t have to deal with servers who act like you just saved them from drowning and now they owe you a debt they cannot repay. Come here on a weeknight and get a salmon nicoiçse or one of “les burgers.” It’s a nice place to have dinner and pretend you’re in Paris for as long as it takes to eat your escargots or moules frites or, you know, le burger.
We aren’t sure what the theme of Fancy Nancy is, although we want to say early-90’s-high-school TV show. They have a cocktail called the “Jebroni,” they do tater tots covered in cheese, and they appear to have based their color scheme on 90’s ski wear. And the food is indeed just a little bit fancy. Instead of chicken wings they do duck, and you can stop by for dinner and have a nice piece of fish. But you can also get deviled eggs or a burger or a deviled egg stuck on top of a burger (at lunch).. This place is fun and casual, and it’s great for a night out with friends.
Pretty much every neighborhood has a bodega where you can get good, inexpensive tacos. You just have to know where to look. In Bed-Stuy, your option is Chinantla. It’s a little restaurant/grocery store, and they actually do a lot more than just tacos. You can get a torta or a burrito or some huevos rancheros. They have pretty big menu, and it’s all affordable. And while there are some tables at which to eat your very decent Mexican food, you probably aren’t going to bring a date here (it’s still a bodega). Unless your date is super cool, in which case you’ve won.
If you’re looking for the best tacos in Bed-Stuy, it’s a toss-up between Chilo’s and Calaca. But if you’re looking for the best all-around taco eating experience in Bed-Stuy, there’s no contest - it’s Calaca. This is a tiny little cash-only Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, and while eating here you actually feel like you have left New York City. Show up during happy hour and you can enjoy $5 margaritas with your (also very affordable) food. The fish and cochinita pibil tacos are our favorite, but you really can’t go wrong. This is low-key date night glory at its finest.