2710 Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay
As the nautical-themed interior suggests, this place is all about the fresh-caught seafood. Try to get a table on the canal-facing patio and order a Turkish Ezme salad and at least one whole-grilled fish (the Branzino is bomb) for the table. What’s special about the kitchen here is that every dish is kept simple to best maximize the taste without overpowering it with fancy preparation methods.
Randazzo’s Clam Bar
2017 Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay
The menu at this casual Sheepshead Bay standby is massive and revolves around seafood-centric Italian food. There are clams (duh), mussels, lobster–and so much pasta. Whatever your order, make sure it’s smothered in the famous red sauce.
111 North 12th St., Williamsburg
Andrew Carmellini, the same chef behind Tribeca’s impressive Locanda Verde and Little Park, doesn’t disappoint with his new southern Italian spot located inside Brooklyn's fast-growing William Vale hotel. In the bright, wood-paneled space, you’ll find a selection of wood-fired pizzas, dips (including one with ricotta, hot honey, and garlic), and pasta offerings that include sea-urchin spaghetti and Pugliese penne with rabbit. Also of note: an affogato-syle ice cream sundae called “the Sophia Loren for Two” that involves caramel crumble, meringue, and rum granita.
659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
Olmsted, which opened last summer on an unassuming block of Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, is one of those restaurants that people talk about months after visiting. (GP says she had her best meal of 2016 here). Chef Greg Baxtrom (formerly of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Alinea), teamed up with horticulturist Ian Rothman to create a veggie-centric menu (there’s even a 25-seat garden out back) of kale-and-crab rangoon, charred onion chawanmushi, and a sweet pea falafel that is wonderfully light. There’s a solid selection of wines under $40 a bottle, too. When the check arrives, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how full-in-a-good-way you feel, and how reasonably priced it is. Photos: Evan Sung
364 Grand St., Williamsburg
Pretty much everyone we know gives the Detroit-style pizza at Emmy Squared in Williamsburg rave reviews, although there’s a nice line-up of Italian sandwiches here, too: spicy meatball, spicy chicken, and chicken parm, all served on pretzel buns. The restaurant was unveiled this spring by the same couple behind Emily, the duo’s original, widely loved pizza-centric spot in Clinton Hill.
Kings County Imperial
20 Skillman Ave., Williamsburg
In the year since it opened, Kings County has become known for its pretty perfect spin on classic Chinese dishes. The fun back garden patio and the excellent cocktail list also help the cause.
241 S. 4th St., Williamsburg
The name of this restaurant is actually pronounced "shiksa," a nod to (Jewish) chef Jason Marcus's (non-Jewish) wife Heather Heuser, with whom he owns the restaurant. Located under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in a cozy, dimly-lit space scattered with several bar-height tables, the casual vibe is a bit deceiving, as this is a serious foodie destination. While the menu is somewhat Mexican-inspired, Marcus takes a lot of liberties, with dishes like grilled carrots "elote," a corn flan "tamale" with blue crab and poblano-garlic cream, and grilled quail with cantaloupe, pomegranate-walnut salsa, herbed yogurt, and arbol chile. It's the kid of place that's worthy of a trek from Manhattan.
Tilda All Day (Closed)
930 Fulton St., Clinton Hill
This Clinton Hill spot serves a brunch-like menu from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, seven days a week, led by chef Claire Welle—whose background is mostly on the savory side of the kitchen, although she did clearly get some pastry chops while working at Tartine in San Francisco. The space, designed by MP Shift (who was also behind the redesign of Acme), is exactly the kind of place you'd want to hang all day. It's modern and clean with bright, white-tiled floors and white walls with cutouts for potted plants; wrap-around banquettes and warm-wood bar stools; gold accents on the hanging light fixtures. Also a place you can just pop into for a coffee (from Brooklyn's Parlor) and pastry, though.
1 or 8
66 S. 2nd St., Williamsburg
We're not prone to sweeping declarations, but it's pretty unanimous that this is the best sushi spot in Williamsburg. The sleek interior has a sophisticated air to it that's perfect for a date night when you want to break out the heels.
567 Union Ave., Williamsburg
It’s still pretty hard to nail down a reservation at Chef Missy Robbins’ first solo venture, an Italian restaurant set up in what used to be an auto garage. Pasta is the move here, but people also love the grilled seafood—the menu is separated into big fish and little fish, but the truth is, they’re all standard mains size-wise. Should you find yourself in this part of Williamsburg during the day, go to the takeaway Lilia Caffé attached to the main dining room for strong espresso and house-made pastries in the morning, and delicious soft serve gelato and focaccia midday, both good for a quick refuel. Photos: Evan Sung
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