If there’s one patch of Brooklyn respected for a thriving culinary scene, it’s Williamsburg.
This hot neighborhood situated in the northern section of the borough wasn’t always a destination for some of the best restaurants in Brooklyn, though. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Williamsburg was an industrial site marked by factories and warehouses. Then, starting in the ‘90s, the area began to morph into the hip, trendy place it is today—one teeming with repurposed buildings and eye-catching street art alongside funky eateries and world-class restaurants with Michelin nods.
While there are many reasons to ride the L train or trek over the neighborhood’s historic, namesake suspension bridge from the Lower East Side, one of the most obvious is the cuisine. Here, we list some of the best Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurants for all tastes and budgets.
Starting the lineup with two Michelin stars, Aska, which is Swedish for “ashes,” garnered the accolade in 2021. The uber-talented Chef Fredrik Berselius prepares his multi-course tasting in an open kitchen, spotlighting Nordic-influenced, seasonal dishes like pork trotter with sunchokes and apples and birchwood ice cream. This dining experience is intimate; the chef accommodates just ten tables each night in a moody, dimly lit space.
You won’t find an a la carte menu at Aska. The prix fixe tasting consists of 12–14 courses for $295 per person and an additional $195 for optional wine pairings. A private dining room for four to 10 guests is available for an additional $500 fee.
This Moroccan mainstay followed the 1983 opening of its East Village sibling 30 years later and has since been one of the go-to Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurants for Middle Eastern delicacies. Feast on hummus, falafel, couscous, tagines, kebabs, and more. A Zahatar omelet sandwich and halloumi eggs round out the always delicious offerings at the outpost’s famed brunch.
Because Café Mogador is a reliable standby for fresh, flavorful food in Williamsburg and the prices are reasonable, waits can be long. Pass time in the brunch line by sipping the highly recommended bloody Mary.
Food critic Pete Wells from the New York Times awarded this upscale brasserie three out of four stars or a rating of “excellent,” saying “nearly everything I’ve had at Le Crocodile has made me want to come back for more.” Co-chefs Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber partner in the kitchen, whipping up crocks of onion soup, roast chicken with herb jus and frites, and crème brûlée, among other Parisian and New York-inspired plates.
Staged in the fashionable Wythe Hotel, the spacious dining room is marked by double-height ceilings, worn wood floors, brick walls, and arched windows, creating an elegant yet unpretentious atmosphere for a meal.
Considering the borough offers some of the best pies in the world, at least one pizza joint should make every Brooklyn restaurant list. L’Industrie Pizzeria made ours.
Fusing the flavors of Italy with the coolness of New York, L’Industrie Pizzeria churns out slices and pies such as The New Yorker, loaded with pepperoni and sausage; a white pizza smeared with fresh ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmigiano; and for a touch of sweetness, a fig and bacon pie. No matter your pizza preference, L’Industrie’s ingredients are top-notch, and the crust is near perfection.
Can’t decide? With its expansion in April 2021, there’s an outdoor dining area to carb-load multiple slices.
Peter Luger Steakhouse
This iconic Williamsburg steakhouse has been around since 1887, so if you’re craving a hunk of red meat with a side of Old New York, this is your place.
The wedge salad (crisp iceberg, slab bacon, chunks of tomato, and crumbled blue cheese) is a must for a starter, but don’t overdo it, so you have enough space in your stomach for the juicy porterhouse for two. Carve a slice and pair each bite with a dollop of creamed spinach and a forkful of the institution’s renowned German fried potatoes.
Available until 3:45 p.m. daily, Peter Luger’s burger is also a solid choice.
You’ll swear you’ve stepped into a Parisian bistro or a café in New Orleans, but you really are in one of the best Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurants. Oysters and absinthe are the stars of the show here, best savored in the charming, greenery-filled garden. The absinthe list is the most comprehensive in the country, and the bar’s traditional service honors the history of the fabled spirit.
While Maison Premiere may be a destination for bivalves—you’ll find more than thirty varieties of oysters—the restaurant also plates a selection of crudo, caviar, lobster rolls, and for carnivores, steak tartare and beef cheeks.
This former auto body shop, now an Italian restaurant and café, is the brainchild of chef Missy Robbins. Robbins was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2010 during her tenure at Michelin-starred A Voce, and Best Chef in New York City by the James Beard Foundation in 2018. Her “soulful cooking” is evident in every plate, from the chicken liver focaccia to the ricotta gnocchi tossed in broccoli pesto to the wood-fired seafood.
Guests adore the simplicity of Robbins’ food. That straightforward, no-fuss approach earned her three stars from The New York Times. Since reservations at Lilia are tough to come by, schedule up to 30 days in advance.
Polish fare is alive and well at this rustic, brick-lined restaurant on Bedford Avenue. Dziupla (194 Bedford Ave.) mingles Eastern European classics like pierogies, stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes, and kielbasa with burgers, tacos, and chicken wings, sourcing its ingredients ethically and locally whenever possible.
This casual eatery is also great for cocktails or brunch, serving Benedicts, banana waffles, and smoked salmon crepes from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends. Don’t miss happy hour Monday through Friday from 4–7 p.m. It’s a deal offering $3 beer, $4 wine, and half-price pierogies.
Located in East Williamsburg, this Taiwanese-American spot leans heavily on pork. The laid-back restaurant serves pan-griddled bork buns, minced pork over rice, and stir-fried fatty pork, but also cooks roasted oyster mushrooms, clams and basil broth, and scallion pancakes (a fan favorite), as well as The Big Chicken Bun (seasoned dark meat atop a spongey pineapple bun).
A fun vibe, unusual yet delicious cocktails, and hip-hop music make Win Son one of the top choices for casual dining on the east side of the neighborhood.
Martha’s Country Bakery
Head to one of Brooklyn’s best dessert dens to sate your sweet tooth. Martha’s Country Bakery crafts every confection on-site––so expect the freshest New York Style cheesecake, banana cream pie, red velvet cake, baklava, black and white cookies, and other sugary delights.
Sip a caramel macchiato, chai latte, peanut butter hot chocolate, or a plain old (but satisfying) cup of Joe alongside your sweet treat. Martha’s has two bakeries in Williamsburg, both on Bedford Avenue, as well as several in Queens.
Look no further than Francie, named after Francie Nolan from the classic novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” for a Williamsburg brasserie. Set in what was once a bank building, the one-star Michelin restaurant plates a variety of handmade pasta dishes—try the bucatini amatriciana or the pappardelle duck Bolognese—and main courses like black truffle pithivier (a traditional French pastry), and prime côte de boeuf for two.
For an unforgettable evening, book private dining in “The Vault” and savor your meal in the space that was the bank’s original depository.
Owners Polo Dobkin and Stephanie Lempert cultivate much of this restaurant’s produce at their Meadowsweet farm upstate. The couple’s rotating menu showcases the farm’s bounty through dishes like roasted baby carrots with labneh, burrata with delicata squash, and spiced duck breast with parsnip puree, roasted Brussels sprouts, fingerling potato, red onion jam, and braised Tuscan kale. Are you hungry yet?
Michelin-starred Meadowsweet (149 Broadway) also features an impressive wine list with bottles from various regions such as Burgundy, Stellenbosch, and the Willamette Valley. A selection of locally brewed beers and inventive cocktails like “Mighty Quinn”—a concoction of gin, Hudson Valley currants, honey, and lemon––complete the beverage choices.
This list skims the surface because there are tons of excellent Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurants. Unsure where to start? Ride the L train to Lorimer Street and see where your feet take you. Don’t forget your appetite!
Tracy Kaler is a freelance journalist focused on travel, food, wine, and design. She fell in love with New York as a child and began writing about the city when she moved there in 2007. When Tracy’s not glued to her laptop, she’s likely planning her next food-filled adventure, uncorking a bottle of red, or wandering the streets of NYC.