It’s not easy to stand out on Vanderbilt Avenue just north of Prospect Park - a stretch that includes places like Olmsted, Maison Yaki, Faun, and Chuko - but LaLou does, thanks to one of the best natural wine programs in the city. The wine list at this narrow, white-walled spot includes some Eastern European varietals your wine store clerk has probably never heard of, as well as plenty of familiar options from famous regions in France and Italy. Whether you’re looking for Grand Cru Champagne, or you have a higher tolerance for barnyard aromas than Babe the pig, the very friendly staff will help you find something you’ll like. There’s also a straightforward food menu, and while the cheese plate and peppery saucisson are enjoyable snacks, there’s no need to go out of your way for the entrees, like a small portion of steak for $32, or roast chicken served in what tastes like caper juice. Instead, get drinks in the backyard or at the long bar with a date, and if you like each other (or the wine temporarily makes it seem that way), head to one of the many great spots up the street for dinner.
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Wine bars don’t have to be pretentious, scary places. Here are 28 of the best ones in the city.
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The Farm on Adderley
The Farm on Adderley is a really good, comfortable restaurant in a neighborhood that seems to have relatively few of those.
Glorietta Baldy is Bed-Stuy bar where you can get a good craft beer or a cocktail and hang out, casually.
We feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have a Paulie Gee’s in their neighborhood as an option for excellent Neapolitan pies.
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Babbalucci is a neighborhood Italian spot in Harlem with one key advantage: a wood-burning oven they use to make about 20 different types of pizza.
Misi is the pasta-focused restaurant from the people behind one of our all-time favorite Brooklyn restaurants, Lilia.
PizzArte is not just another pizza joint. It also happens to be an art gallery. That must have sounded awesome in the business plan.
Suggested by our writers
A Prospect Heights restaurant serving some of the most inventive, delicious food in New York City.
The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side that serves some good small plates and $1 Happy Hour oysters every day.
Miss Ada is a small, comfortable spot in Fort Greene with great Israeli food and an outdoor garden in the back.
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