Where To Eat Outside in Fort Greene
photo credit: Teddy Wolff
If we could just make one Lil’ Nas X-level hit song go #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, we’d spend all of our earnings on a brownstone in Fort Greene. But in the meantime, we’ll settle for getting some food in the neighborhood. Here’s a list of all the places where we like to eat outside in the area between Boerum Hill and Clinton Hill. On it, you’ll find a few neighborhood Italian spots, one of our all time favorite backyard patios, and a Caribbean place where you can eat jerk ramen and listen to dancehall music every night.
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Miss Ada recently reopened its back patio for the summer, and that’s a piece of information you should stare at for as long as it usually takes you to commit something to memory. The partially-covered space in Fort Greene has a bunch of hanging plants and brick walls with big murals of people drinking wine, and it’s one of our favorite places to eat outside in Brooklyn. It’s especially nice at brunch, when this Middle Eastern spot serves some excellent dishes from its dinner menu, like sweet whipped ricotta that could be an appetizer or dessert, as well as brunch-specific things, like french toast with labne mousse and shakshuka with pita right off the grill. They only do brunch on weekends, and it’s usually not even worth trying to come without a reservation, so plan ahead. The chocolate babka and harissa Bloody Marys are worth it.
For years, LaRina has been one of our favorite neighborhood pasta spots in the city. So believe us when we say that if you don’t already live in Fort Greene, eating cavatelli with sausage and basil on their great back patio will have you checking Zillow a lot. See for yourself and book a table in their backyard for dinner, or stop by for lunch on their new curbside patio along Myrtle Avenue. Also, keep in mind that LaRina is still selling handmade pasta, cheese, olive oil, and more for takeout and delivery.
If summer were a restaurant, it would be Imani. People seem to always be having the time of their lives at this Caribbean spot on the corner of Dekalb and Adelphi. Usually, you’ll hear reggae music blasting from their newly expanded outdoor patio, where almost every table is topped with glasses of rum punch. Most of the food is Jamaican like curry goat and jerk chicken wings, but they also do some mashup dishes like saltfish spring rolls and jerk ramen.
The Fort Greene location of Peaches Hot House is one of the many Peaches offshoots that specializes in Nashville hot chicken. Bring yourself here when you need a reminder about why hot sauce matters, and don’t forget to add a side of mac and cheese to your order. The outdoor tables are in the middle of a big plaza, which means there’s more than enough space for you, your date, and your dog. Note: your meal will likely make it impossible for you to do anything else for the rest of your day - accept this fact as a part of its magic.
While most of the restaurants in the area are casual weeknight spots, Fradei stands out as one of the only upscale places around. And this Italian wine bar isn’t afraid to have some fun with its dishes like pig ear terrine with plum mostarda or squid ink chitarra. But since this is still Brooklyn we’re talking about, showing up on their sidewalk patio in shorts and a t-shirt on a Wednesday night is totally acceptable. Before you do, be sure to check out their Instagram for information on their weekly specials.
Roman’s is a great neighborhood Italian restaurant to know about if you live in the area. It’s from the people behind Diner and Marlow Bistro and much like those two spots, Romans’ sidewalk patio is always full of people who look like they might make ceramics for a living. The next time you need a casual place to drink a glass of natural wine and eat spaghetti with mussels, this is your place.
As a New Yorker, the garden patio at Colonia Verde might be the closest you’ll get to feeling like you’re dining at the villa in Call Me Be Your Name. The spacious outdoor seating area behind this upscale Latin restaurant is shaded by two big trees, and covered in huge ceramic planters that seem like they haven’t been touched in decades. So if you’re looking for a date night spot in the area, book a table online for duck confit tacos and poblano pepper pasta.
Almost every great Brooklyn neighborhood has a great French bistro, and in Fort Greene, that’s Cafe Paulette. Since this place is across the street from Fort Greene Park, it’s possible you’ve seen crowds of people on the sidewalk patio eating croque monsieurs and drinking Bloody Marys well into the afternoon. . But they also serve lunch and dinner, picnic sets to-go, and a bunch of natural wine with labels you’ll wish were available in t-shirt form.
The next time you want to eat something that’s healthy, quick, and not the exact same thing you already had for lunch three times this week, try Baba Cool. This all-day cafe has bowls, toasts, salads, and sandwich options that come with meat like jerk chicken and brisket. There are also a bunch of vegetarian options on the menu and most things cost less than $15. And if you need a break from your couch, you can seat yourself on their huge curbside patio with string lights and white patio tables.
Like CVS and the beginning of another self-loathing cycle, you’ll probably find yourself at Dino over and over and over again. Maybe it’s because this casual Italian spot has a menu full of things you’ll want on a weeknight like handmade spaghetti al limone, a piece of fish, and a basil gimlet. Or maybe it’s the fact that you can almost always walk right up and find a table on the garden patio or along the sidewalk at Dino.
A tent-covered patio, a strong cocktail, oysters, and a burger. That’s all you really need for a good time at Walter’s, a Fort Greene standby that’s been serving solid American food for years. It’s the kind of all-day spot that works for pretty much all occasions - from brunch to date night. And while you can’t sit in one of the big leather booths inside right now, getting one of their negronis to-go is a better use of your time anyway.
Black Iris is a casual Middle Eastern spot on the border of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill where people who live in nearby brownstones like to drink mojitos on weeknights. Their new curbside patio has turf and a huge tent that makes getting drinks possible rain or shine. And if you want dinner, try one of their pitas topped with lamb, chicken cutlet, or sundried tomatoes.
Right across the street from BRIC on Fulton Street, this Mexican spot serves brunch, dinner, and Happy Hour specials on its expanded outdoor patio. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to go for a margarita on Monday, tacos on Tuesday, and maybe a pork torta on whatever other day of the week you don’t feel like cooking. Be sure to check out their Instagram for more information on events like their weekly tiki cocktail night.
Sidewalk seating has always been a thing at Evelina. But now, there’s a whole lot more outdoor space to sit down with a date and appreciate how photogenic Fort Greene is. The menu at this overachieving neighborhood Italian restaurant changes often, but you can expect things like burrata ravioli with chunks of king crab or mafaldine with mushroom ragu.
Olea is a neighborhood restaurant in Fort Greene with a Mediterranean menu and a few quality patio plants. Service is casual, prices are reasonable, and they serve a range of food that should please just about anyone. Stop by and order a bunch of tapas, or have something bigger like a piece of fish with kale and cauliflower puree. Take a walk in the neighborhood after dinner. It’s an objectively nice-looking area.
The closest body of water to Habana Outpost is probably a baby pool in front of some brownstone near the Barclays Center, but this Cuban spot in Fort Greene still feels like a beach party. Order a margarita and a cuban sandwich at their takeout counter. and then find some seats on their new sidewalk patio. While their huge back patio is closed this summer, this place is still a good spot to bring kids, dogs, or both.
From laid-back cocktail bar to mimosa-fueled brunch spot, Endswell can be whatever kind of restaurant you need. You just have to know when to stop by this French-American spot on Fulton Street. On weeknights, you should have no problem grabbing one of the few high top tables on their outdoor patio. But over the weekend, the brunch crowd will probably make it very hard for you to eat eggs benedict on their sidewalk.
Without paying close attention, you might not notice The Quarter on Lafayette Avenue. It’s essentially a garden apartment below a brownstone that’s been converted into a neighborhood American spot with a reliable burger and solid cocktail specials. The Quarter’s backyard has a retractable roof, cement walls covered in ivy, and very few people seem to know about it, which is exactly why you’ll find us getting Happy Hour drinks here whenever it’s warm out.
The first time we visited Graziella’s, we watched a young kid run in from soccer practice, greet half of the people at the restaurant by name, and give the guy working the wood-fired pizza oven a big hug. So when we say this is a casual neighborhood Italian restaurant, we mean it. On the menu at this tavern-like restaurant along a quiet stretch of Vanderbilt Ave, you’ll find a bunch of pasta, seafood, and a huge chicken parm - but you should come for the pizza. The thin crust is buttery, but doesn’t overpower the sweet tomato sauce, nor the toppings like arugula, homemade sausage, and carmelized onions. Grab a table on their newly expanded curbside patio and be sure to order something from their gelato counter before you leave.
Chicken schnitzel, sausage, and beer are the Holy Trinity at Black Forest in Fort Greene. You’ll find them all on the menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch at this popular German spot. Black Forest’s sidewalk patio on Fulton Street is spacious and partially-covered with big yellow umbrellas that should help keep you and your schnitzel from getting soggy if it rains.