Welp, it happened. Your parents have started hanging out in Williamsburg. Let’s take stock of how we ended up here and decide how best to move forward.
We all knew this was coming at one point or another. Now that the economy is better, your brother has left for college, and Mom finally understands that Uber isn’t an elaborate kidnapping service, a trip to Williamsburg for dinner with some friends suddenly isn’t such a daunting proposition for good old Rob and Sandy.
But even despite all of those factors, one key thing has been missing - a restaurant in this part of Brooklyn that your parents actually wanted to go to. Not anymore. Now there’s Lilia.
To be fair, Lilia isn’t really a restaurant for parents. But it is definitely the most grown up restaurant in Williamsburg. The space - once an auto body shop - is huge and impressive and upscale yet comfortable, like L’Artusi or Il Buco Alimentari. The food is grown up, too. In the kitchen is Missy Robbins, who you might either know from her previous restaurant, A Voce, or from the time that you read somewhere that she’s Obama’s favorite chef. The menu is Italian in nature, full of pastas and vegetables and seafood dishes that are very good and also very professionally executed. Put it all together and what you end up with is a destination restaurant - one that is on the radar of people who wouldn’t otherwise find themselves in Williamsburg.
We definitely find ourselves in Williamsburg from time to time, and we were immediately impressed with Lilia. Over the span of about five different visits, we’ve found it to be consistently excellent, especially if you know how to order (see, Food Rundown). And while it’s definitely a destination restaurant, Lilia has a neighborhood vibe, too. The service is friendly and accommodating, and the bar is a great hang for a drink or dinner with a friend. There’s even a little cafe off to the side that serves casual lunch items for people who live and work around the area.
So yes, you might accidentally run into your mom at Lilia, and you probably won’t run into that guy that your friend was dating who does “artistic welding” for a living. Maybe that means Williamsburg is changing. Or maybe your parents are.
Like a savory donut full of parmesan and pepper. Open mouth, insert, repeat.
Kicking off a meal at Lilia with a few vegetable dishes is a smart move, and we like this roasted squash quite a bit.
The best thing on the menu here, without question. These spicy little clams are stuffed to their rims with breadcrumbs, and they are incredible. Please order.
An excellent piece of fish topped with a salsa verde. We don’t typically get too excited at the proposition of ordering a fish entree in a restaurant, but we’ve had this every time we’ve been to Lilia and would order it again without hesitation.
We could say the same thing about veal - not something we immediately jump to as we’re scanning a menu, but this is another must order at Lilia. It’s got a kick from the peppers and lots of flavor. Do it.
You don’t really need me to tell you to order this, do you?
This long, squiggly noodle (yes that’s the technical term) is topped with pink peppercorn, which gives it a really interesting flavor. We like this pasta a lot, but not as much as the rigatoni and the agnolotti.
This is incredible. That is all.
Do dessert, and do it right. Lilia’s olive oil cake is almost as good as the one at L’Artusi. Almost.