Where the Locals Go: Slate-sters Dish On Their Favorite Brooklyn Restaurants

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May 28 2014 9:17 AM
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Kings County Cuisine

Slate-sters dish on their favorite Brooklyn restaurants.

Brooklyn Food Map

Photo Illustration by James Emmerman. Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

New Yorkers are always on the hunt for a hidden gem of a restaurant or advice on where to nosh when visiting an unfamiliar neighborhood. A majority of Slate’s New York editorial staff lives in Brooklyn, which is an easy commute to our West Village offices. Since we know the hippest borough so well, we asked some of our Brooklyn residents to dish on their favorite places to dine. Our list of go-to spots should please both natives in search of something new and out-of-towners navigating a million restaurant choices. Come and eat, and if you see us, say hi!

June Thomas, Outward editor, recommends:

al di la (Park Slope): I admit we rarely eat dinner at this fantastic Italian restaurant on 5th Avenue, because it doesn’t take reservations for parties of less than six, and I’m too spoiled to wait. But they do brunch on Saturday and Sunday that is really outstanding, not horribly expensive, and doesn’t usually require much of a wait.

Ample Hills Creamery (Prospect Heights): Vanderbilt Avenue has a ton of great restaurants, and I often push to eat on the street just so that we can conclude the evening with ice cream from the Ample Hills Creamery. I love Ample Hills’ imaginative-but-not-too-busy combinations. I also like that their flavors are often TV-themed.

Amanda Marcotte, XX Factor blogger, recommends:

Dosa Royale (Carroll Gardens): Many Indian restaurants serve uninspired, greasy food, but this slightly upscale South Indian restaurant specializes in dosas that are spicy but not too heavy.

Rucola (Boerum Hill): Tucked away on Dean Street, this place stands out from the dozens of Italian food competitors both in having a classy atmosphere and the best Italian food in the neighborhood.

Jolie Cantina (Carroll Gardens): Being from Texas, I find most Mexican food in Brooklyn to be really disappointing. This place, which is Mexican-French fusion, sounds like it would be terrible, but in fact, they have some of the best tacos and other Mexican dishes I’ve had since moving here.

L.V. Anderson, food and drink editor, recommends:

Chuko (Prospect Heights): The wait is often long, and the seating was not designed with comfort in mind, but the ramen is so good! I usually get the veggie ramen, which is served in miso broth, with a soft egg. They also have the best kale salad I have ever had, laced with deep-fried kale, golden raisins, and sweet potato chips. (Seconded by June Thomas and thirded by Forrest Wickman)

Chavela’s (Prospect Heights): Probably my favorite brunch spot, Chavela’s serves Mexican breakfast favorites, which come with free pastries, thereby eliminating the perpetual brunch choice between sweet or savory. Try the Plato Don, which is big enough for two people and can easily be made vegan. (Seconded by Forrest Wickman)

Olea (Fort Greene): This has long been my go-to place when I’m suggesting restaurants in my neighborhood. It has good tapas, good oysters, good cocktails, and just a really pleasant vibe.

Chris Wade, video and podcast producer, recommends:

Bierkraft (Park Slope): Great sandwiches, great beer, great ice cream cookie sandwiches, what’s not to love?

Tom’s (Prospect Heights): Go for the blueberry ricotta pancakes and the authentic Brooklyn egg creams.

Seth Stevenson, tech columnist, recommends:

Hollow Nickel (Boerum Hill): This is my favorite neighborhood bar. It has a great atmosphere, great casual eats, great beer on tap, and a lovely courtyard in back.

French Louie (Boerum Hill): For a splurge, try this newish brasserie with delicious steak frites.

Two8Two Burger (Carroll Gardens): The “Pub Burger” here, with bacon and onions, is juicy and perfect.

Forrest Wickman, Brow Beat blogger, recommends:

Barboncino (Crown Heights): The pizza is just as good as the much-hyped Roberta’s, but without the crowds.

Lindsey Underwood, social media editor, recommends:

Pies ’n’ Thighs (Williamsburg): Quite possibly the best chicken biscuit I’ve ever had and at a totally reasonable price! If you don’t live in the area and want to try making their famous biscuits at home, Bon Appetit recently ran the recipe, which my mom raved about.

River Styx (Greenpoint): Really great food, drinks, and vibes here. Plus it’s right by a park with some of the best views of Manhattan. Order the nachos.

Aisha Harris, Brow Beat blogger, recommends:

Diner (Williamsburg): So far, the best burger I’ve ever had, hands down.

Sage (Williamsburg): Really great, reasonably priced Thai food with friendly staff and sleek décor—the rare spot that is perfect for a date or for casually watching a game without being surrounded by tons of drunk diehard fans.

Eastwick (Williamsburg): Everything I’ve had here is good, but their fried catfish sandwich is my favorite.

Allison Benedikt, senior editor, recommends:

Nightingale 9 (Carroll Gardens): Vietnamese street food in a small, casual space. The food is incredibly flavorful—get the wings if they have them—but I love this place for one reason: the michelada, a pilsner with lime, hot sauce, and crushed peanuts.

The Double Windsor (Windsor Terrace): It’s my neighborhood bar but with really good bar food. Would I go as often as I do if it wasn’t one and a half blocks away? Probably not. Do I love the pulled pork sandwich? Yes, I do.

Battersby (Cobble Hill): It has the best tasting menu I’ve had in Brooklyn, delicious, refined, but also big enough portions to not make you feel like you’re just nibbling all night.

Ayana Morali, Slate video co-executive producer, recommends:

Geido (Park Slope): Top-notch sushi (get the omakase!). The wait staff is fantastic and always in a good mood … and the prices! For some of the best sushi in Brooklyn, they’re priced well under what they should be, so you walk out full, happy, and with barely a dent in your wallet.

James (Prospect Heights): Great location on a side street in a classic Brooklyn brownstone. Super small so it never feels overwhelming and a menu that is constantly changing. Perfect place to tuck into on a cold winter’s night.

The JakeWalk (Carroll Gardens): Wine and tapas bar by the folks who own/run Stinky Bklyn and Smith & Vine. Translation: The cheese selection is out of control and drinks will blow your mind. Wait and bar staff know their stuff and are super helpful guides. 

Katherine Goldstein, former director of traffic and social media strategy, recommends:

Franny’s (Park Slope): In a city oversaturated with artisanal pizza, this place is transcendent. Everything on the menu is excellent, but order the clam pizza, which tastes like the essence of the ocean, and you won’t be sorry.

Sweetwater (Williamsburg): This quality bistro is a standout. It has a laid-back, European vibe and a terrific lamb burger, and is the perfect, reliable midrange spot in the crowded world of Williamsburg restaurants.

Dover (Carroll Gardens): This spot recently made a top 25 new restaurants in the U.S. list, and although I’ve only been once, it lived up to the hype. Consider it for your next special occasion.

Restaurant recommendations by neighborhood:

Cobble Hill
Battersby

Crown Heights
Barboncino

Fort Greene
Olea

Greenpoint
River Styx

Windsor Terrace
The Double Windsor

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