There is a Middle Eastern cafe/restaurant on Hicks Street and Middagh, where you can find tasty morsels and drinks as well as a full meal. And it's situated on a really lovely street. One of the neighborhood's true gems.
There are a handful of restaurants on Henry Street, just south of the bridge. Not really cafes, but pleasant dining nonetheless: try Henry's End for ostrich steaks, Noodle Pudding for northern Italian, a branch of the Park Slope Brewery, Cranberry Bakery, a diner on Henry and Clark, and a Thai just next door.
If you're willing to venture further south there are a number of great Middle Eastern cafe's on Atlantic Avenue. I don't recommend anything on Montague unless your friend wants to see a Gap and a Banana Republic....however, there are plenty of Brooklyn Heights-esque restaurants and cafes on that street. Come to think of it if you're looking for a cafe-cafe there is a Ozzie's on Montague Street.
Of course you can always go right under the bridge where you can find the famous River Cafe (not a real cafe), Pete's Downtown (an Italian restaurant), Tin Room Cafe (very charming and sweet), pizza at Patsy Grimaldi's, and a bar (whose name keeps changing) with an outdoor courtyard a few doors from Pete's Downtown.
Or you can always do what I do and bring a picnic or snack and sit on the benches at Fulton Ferry just under the Bridge or walk around River Cafe and sit in the park between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge.
I'm sorry this is such an exhaustive list, but I used to live practically steps from the Bridge on the Brooklyn side and loved walking it as spring came. And your question just evoked memories of those days. Enjoy your walk!
re: Jennifer Stott
Its generally more interesting, when you reach the
Brooklyn end of the Bridge, to exit down the steps
which you come to first, rather than continuing on
down the endless bike ramp to Tillary St. In addition
to the places in Brooklyn Heights you may also want to
consider Patsy Grimaldi's, which is down under the
Bridge near the Water Cafe and an easy but rather
steep walk up to the Heights/Promenade area.
re: jen kalb
Thanks for all of the recommendations. Maria, we nearly went to the Bedouin Cafe you mentioned on Hicks, but the beautiful weather meant we wanted to be outdoors. So we took Barb's suggestion and grabbed sandwiches/salads from Lassen & Hemmings and sat on the Promenade. Ozzie's still seems to be on Montague. Thanks again.
First of all, I'm not sure that Ozzies is still on
Montague St. That's a space that has gone through
several incarnations in the last few years.
If it's a nice day out, I like to pick up something
delicious (maybe from Lassen & Hemmings on Montague
St.) and sit on the promenade. The view is just
magnificient - changing sky, people, South St.
Seaport across the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the
statue of Liberty, the whole of the lower harbor.
I do like to eat at the Heights Cafe on Montague and
Hicks St. I find that they try different things with
their food and don't always succeed, but I give them
points for not getting stuck in a rut. They are a bit
upscale without being pretentious. I like their
meatloaf with mashed potatoes. They have good soups,
wonderful bread (rosemary focaccia), good salads and
other things definitely worth a try.
The other thing I like to do is take the subway to the
Brooklyn side of the bridge and walk towards Manhattan
straight to Chinatown and have dim sum. My kids
usually opted for that choice, as they knew they would
always find something they enjoyed eating there.
Whatever you do, I hope you have good weather for your
walk and that you enjoy it.
re: Barb H.
Oooh, walking the bridge to Chinatown was a favorite on the weekends. We'd walk to Chinatown, eat a big ol' meal, and grab a bag of eggcakes on Mosco for dessert. Then do the food shopping for dinner. Sometimes we'd go to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and get a scoop of lychee or red bean and bring it to Columbus Park and watch children chase one another.