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Concierge.com

Brooklyn Restaurants

Al Di Là Trattoria
248 Fifth Avenue (at Carroll Street)
Park Slope
Brooklyn , New York
11215
Tel: 718 783 4565
Subway: D, N, or R trains to Union Street
www.aldilatrattoria.com

The pioneer of the Fifth Avenue scene, this convivial Venetian place, with its wooden tables, rickety chairs, and understated yellow dining room, has held up just fine against ever-increasing competition—in fact, as the long weekend lines and the next-door wine bar suggest, it's still the best. This is due to the passion of the owners, Emiliano Coppa and his wife, the chef Anna Klinger, who has everyone addicted to her braised rabbit with black olives, her classic saltimbocca and calf's liver alla Veneziana, her ricotta gnocchi with brown butter and sage, and the risotto col nero—cuttlefish ink—that takes 20 minutes because she stirs every serving to order.

Open Mondays noon to 3 pm and 6 to 10:30 pm, Tuesdays 6 to 10:30 pm, Wednesdays through Fridays noon to 3 pm and 6 to 10:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 3:30 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm.

Alma
187 Columbia Street
Carroll Gardens
Brooklyn , New York
11231
Tel: 718 643 5400
Subway: F train to Carroll Street
www.almarestaurant.com

The secret may be out by now, but you'll still feel in the know as you sip your Patron Silver premium tequila on the rooftop terrace of this tri-level Nuevo cantina—the drop-dead view of the Manhattan skyline across the harbor is one of the best in the city. Chef Hans Dannerhoj's creative, multiregional Mexican dishes are generally top-notch: Highlights include picada de puerco carnitas (orange-braised pork with pickled onions and guacamole); chicken in the most toothsome mole north of Oaxaca; cazuela Borrego (shredded lamb with guajillo chili, tomato, potato, and zucchini); poblano relleno con picadillo (poblano chili stuffed with pork, raisins, and olives); and sides of spinach with garlic and Cotija cheese. If the deck is packed, try heading downstairs to the convivial main dining room on the second level. B61, on the ground floor, is a mellow affair with a long walnut bar, jukebox, and pool table.

Open Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 2:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday 5:30 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11 pm.

Buttermilk Channel
524 Court Street (at Huntington Street)
Carroll Gardens
Brooklyn , New York
11231
Tel: 718 852 8490
Subway: F train to Smith & Ninth Street or Carroll Street
www.buttermilkchannelnyc.com

Meals get off to a sweet start at Buttermilk Channel, when warm popovers dripping with honey and sea salt arrive instead of a bread basket. Named for a nearby canal that was once used to transport milk from Brooklyn's farms to Manhattan's markets, the restaurant makes liberal use of the dairy product in Southern-influenced dishes like buttermilk fried chicken and flatbread coated in the house-made buttermilk ricotta. This is the Italian end of Carroll Gardens, and Buttermilk Channel pays homage to the neighborhood by getting its mozzarella, pasta, and sausage from nearby institutions Caputo's and Esposito's. Weekend brunch starts at 10 am (an hour earlier than at most neighborhood spots) and is packed with families until about noon, when late risers come for pecan-pie French toast and fried pork chops with cheddar waffles.—Danielle Contray

Open Mondays through Thursdays 5 to 11 pm, Fridays 5 pm to midnight, Saturdays 10 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to midnight, and Sundays 10 am to 3 pm and 5 to 11 pm.

Dressler
149 Broadway
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 384 6343
Subway: J train to Marcy Avenue
www.dresslernyc.com

This New American standout in South Williamsburg undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows when it set up shop across the street from hallowed Peter Luger in 2006. But chefs Polo Dobkin and Cal Elliott, both alums of Gramercy Tavern, helm a kitchen that's just as consistent and certainly more creative. Seasonal specials can include the likes of smoked squid with barbecue glaze over bitter endive, with delicious acidity provided by a tangerine accompaniment. Entrées are dressed-up versions of classics, such as monk loin wrapped in Benton's bacon over kale, beluga, lentils, and red wine, or grilled, aged rib eye with onion jam, spinach, and bordelaise. The Art Deco interior is undeniably atmospheric, with filigreed ironwork crafted by local Navy Yard sculptors that pays homage to the brasserie's industrial surroundings. Service is spot on—some of Dressler's staff decamped from the Keith McNally and Jean Georges empires, so there's a polish that can be hard to come by in these parts.

Open Monday through Thursday 6 to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 6 to midnight, Sunday 11 am to 3:30 pm, and 5:30 to 10:30 pm.

Frankie's 457 Spuntino
457 Court Street (at Luquer Street)
Carroll Gardens
Brooklyn , New York
11231
Tel: 718 403 0033
Subway: F train to Carroll Street
www.frankiesspuntino.com

A spuntino, according to Frankie Falcinelli's nonna, is a snack and also a place that serves them—so what else could Falcinelli and Frankie Castronovo call their brick-walled, tin-ceilinged restaurant? As you might have guessed, the Frankies have impeccable Italian-American roots; before opening this tiny Carroll Gardens restaurant in 2004, they did stints behind the stove in both achingly hip (specifically, Falcinelli's days at Moomba) and perfectly serious (Aureole, Bocuse, Bouley) restaurants. The food here is rustic, fresh, and shareable: roasted vegetables, plates of cheeses and salumi, amazing sandwiches on Sullivan Street Bakery focaccia, superb salads with micro greens, a few hot dishes such as meatballs in "gravy" (Italian-American for marinara) and pork braciola (braised pork shoulder slow-cooked for four hours in spices). Add to this a short but excellent wine list, good cocktails, and a sizable garden out back, and you have the perfect restaurant for a hip neighborhood. You'll probably have to wait for a table unless, like some smart locals, you go at 11:30 am or 5:30 pm). Alternatively, try Prime Meats, another restaurant from this team, just a few doors down.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 11 am to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to midnight.

Hotel Photo
Franny's
295 Flatbush Avenue
Park Slope
Brooklyn , New York
11217
Tel: 718 230 0221
Subway: B or Q train to Seventh Avenue
www.frannysbrooklyn.com

At first glance, this unassuming trattoria on the northern fringe of Park Slope might seem an unlikely candidate for what some glossies (most notably New York magazine) have christened the Best Restaurant in Brooklyn. Its humble vibe (butcher-block bar, stroller-heavy clientele) takes some easing into, but nibble on one of the starters and you start to realize what the fuss is about. Not only is the pancetta sourced from Eden Natural farm in Iowa, it's cured in-house in a separate room downstairs. Owners Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens take Franny's earnest mantra of sustainability as seriously as any restaurant in the borough—just about every ingredient is sourced on the back of the menu—but it's also backed up with surprisingly accomplished cooking. Feinberg trained at some of Manhattan's top kitchens, and his pizzas, such as the tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and basil, or the clam, chile, and parsley, are pitch-perfect. The comprehensive wine list is Piedmont-heavy, and there's an adventuresome cocktail list—try the Quince, made from homemade quince grappa, Carpano Antica Formula (red vermouth) and fresh lemon sour. The garden out back is lovely during the warmer months.

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 5:30 to 11 pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to 10 pm.

Ici
246 DeKalb Avenue
Fort Greene
Brooklyn , New York
11205
Tel: 718 789 2778
Subway: G train to Clinton & Washington
www.icirestaurant.com

Fort Greene's abundance of 19th century brownstones and French expats can lend it a decidedly European feel. This haute bistro certainly plays a role as well, with its spare, whitewashed interior, heavily accented waiters, and good rosé selection. When Ici's menu quotes Alice Waters, it's not just lip service: Owners Laurent and Catherine Saillard are keen on using fresh, naturally grown ingredients from local farms. And while the Gallic bent here is pronounced, they've thankfully had the good sense not to bog the freshness down in heavy sauces. Dishes change seasonally, but might include a wilted dandelion salad with poached eggs and bacon in an anchovy cream. Entrées are spare but flavorful—try the sautéed skate with collard greens and brown butter. The outdoor patio's herb garden and white picket fence are a delight; the ample space between tables unheard of in this town. Service is competent and assiduous, with just the right touch of French attitude. The restaurant is a good spot for pre- or post-BAM performances, and also serves a popular brunch on weekends.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 9 am to 10 pm.

Islands
803 Washington Avenue
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn , New York
11238
Tel: 718 398 3575
Subway: 2 or 3 train to Brooklyn Museum

You might think you've wandered into someone's kitchen by accident at this Caribbean hideaway across from the Brooklyn Museum—the exposed oven, narrow wood countertop, and three stools certainly don't encourage you to linger. Stick around, though: Islands does a fabulous, fiery jerk chicken that fairly melts off the bone and comes accompanied with a humble veggie slaw and short-grained rice that soaks up the jerk juices perfectly. The curried goat is also superb, particularly when paired with a side of roti, a kind of doughy, homemade tortilla. Wash your meal down with a sorrel—a tart, herbaceous beverage made from the roselle plant.

Open daily noon to 10:30 pm.

Marlow & Sons
81 Broadway (at Berry Street)
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 384 1441
Subway: J/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Bedford Avenue
www.marlowandsons.com

Marlow & Sons was one of the first hipster restaurants in Brooklyn to take the seasonal movement to the masses (at least those prepared to trek to this industrial part of Williamsburg) when it opened in 2004. The menu dutifully changes with the turn of the seasons, but standards are the brick chicken (a deboned half chicken that has been mashed down with a piece of salvaged metal) and a pulled pork sandwich dripping with vinegary barbecue sauce. The raw bar overflows with the best oysters the East Coast has to offer. Score a table out on the sidewalk—all the better for observing the tragically hip. The general store up front sells a small selection of veggies as well as locally made sweets and sodas, and the nose-to-tail philosophy continues at the affiliated Marlow & Daughters butcher shop down the street, where you can even pick up bags made from the hides of the butchered animals.—Danielle Contray

Open daily 8 am to 4 pm and 5 pm to midnight.

Hotel Photo
Peter Luger
178 Broadway
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 387 7400
Subway: J train to Marcy Avenue
www.peterluger.com/brooklyn.cfm

The menu is limited; the service can be brusque; and unless you have a house account, you have to bring cash. But none of that stops Manhattanites from cabbing to this old-time, wood-paneled steak house on a dusty Brooklyn block. Everything—from the porterhouse to the sliced-tomato salad to the onion-sweetened hash browns—is, in a word, prime. At lunch only, they serve a 10-ounce burger that's made from the same well-aged meat.

Open daily 11:45 am to 9:45 pm.

Prime Meats
465 Court Street
Carroll Gardens
Brooklyn , New York
11231
www.frankspm.com

Frankie Falcinelli and Frankie Castronovo, owners of Frankies 457 Spuntino, expanded their Court Street empire in March 2009 by opening Prime Meats a few doors down from their flagship restaurant. The old-timey decor of tin ceilings, battered mirrors, and Edison bulbs has a similar aesthetic to the Frankies' other Italian restaurants (they own Frankies 17 in Manhattan as well), but the locavore menu takes a Germanic turn. House specials include spaetzle, bratwurst with sauerkraut, and pretzels made with malt flour; we recommend the banging Black Angus burger. There are no seats at the antique bar, but you can pass the hour wait for a table there, sipping artfully crafted cocktails like the Aviation (gin, Maraschino liqueur, and crème de violette). The service at Prime Meats is a lot friendlier than the sometimes icy treatment at Frankies 457. Here, the servers even manage to make their inability to have everyone's dishes arrive at the same time seem charming.—Danielle Contray

Open Mondays through Wednesdays 7 am to 1 am, Thursdays 7 am to 2 am, Fridays 7 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 2 am, Saturdays 7am to 3 am, and Sundays 7 am to 1 am.

River Deli
32 Joralemon Street (at Columbia Place)
Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn , New York
11201
Tel: 718 254 9200
Subway: 2/3 to Clark Street

Cheers were heard throughout Brooklyn Heights when the River Deli opened in May 2010 (yes, it's by the river; no, it's not a deli). Sure, there are dozens of eateries on Montague Street, the neighborhood's main commercial drag, but they tend to be old stalwarts that coast on their reputation, or ethnic joints and national chains that cater more to office workers. Sardinian couple Giovanna Fadda and Andrea Mocci pay homage to their homeland with mussels in Vermentino wine and pappardelle with rabbit ragù. The meat platter overflows with cured meats and cheeses as well as Sardinian-style flatbread called pane carasau, and the all-Italian wine list has varietals you may never have heard of (the staff is happy to explain them all). If there's a wait for a table, the best way to kill time is to gawk at the stellar architecture along Columbia Place and then seek out one of the neighborhood's more curious attractions: the town house at 58 Joralemon, which is actually a ventilation shaft for the 4/5 subway line.—Danielle Contray

Open Tuesdays through Sundays.

The Vanderbilt
570 Vanderbilt Avenue (at Bergen Street)
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn , New York
11238
Tel: 718 623 0570
Subways: 2/3 to Bergen Street
www.thevanderbiltnyc.com

In 2005, chef Saul Bolton's restaurant, Saul, was one of the first two in the borough to earn a Michelin star (along with Peter Luger). Bolton's follow-up, the Vanderbilt, opened in 2009 and is a more casual take on Saul's fine dining menu. It's not exactly tapas, but the portions are small and best ordered in multiples for sharing. Start with the crispy Brussels spouts with Sriracha, lime, and honey and move on to charcuterie made in-house: kielbasa, spicy merguez, and blood sausage. The sunken dining room in the back is better for dinner, but grab one of the bar tables up front if you're looking for quick bites and a cocktail or one of the local brews on tap.—Danielle Contray

Open Sundays 11 am to 3 pm and 5 to 11 pm, Mondays 5 to 11 pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 5 pm to midnight, Thursdays and Fridays 5 pm to 2 am, and Saturdays 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 2 am.

Zenkichi
77 N. Sixth Street (at Wythe Avenue)
Williamsburg
Brooklyn , New York
11211
Tel: 718 388 8985
Subways: L to Metropolitan Avenue
www.zenkichi.com

Don't worry if you get a little lost trying to find this Japanese restaurant. The door blends right into the building's exterior wood paneling, and there's no sign (look for the red light instead). Once inside, you will feel miles away from the cracked, trash-strewn sidewalk outside. The entrance is a Zen oasis with a waterfall and quiet nook where you can mellow out while waiting for a table. Upstairs, the walkway is lined with curtained private booths (there's a call button if you need a refill on your sake). The menu is updated every six weeks to reflect what's fresh, and the excellent izakaya-style dishes are for adventurous eaters. Tempura cod milt (fried fish sperm) is an early spring favorite, and the bonito shuto (a.k.a. cured fish innards) even comes with a warning of intense flavor and saltiness. The eight-course omakase menu is well worth the price.—Danielle Contray

Open Wednesdays through Saturdays 6 pm to midnight, Sundays 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.