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Suggestions in Williamsburg

Hey 'hounders,
I'm planning to go on a food tour of sorts with a friend in a few weeks. I want to know what would be some great places that we should go to? I really want to try Egg (located 133 N 5th St) for breakfast (Is their coffee good?). Where should we go for a casual lunch or for snacking? Any particular bakeries or coffee shops worth visiting? Please offer any advice; I'm not from the area. Thanks in advance.


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  1. You can get the burger at Peter Luger's at the bar, weekdays only. It's truly great, and reasonably priced.

    Bedford Cheese Shop for, um, cheese, and other lovely snacks like prosciutto stuffed cherry peppers, olives, interesting drink selection...

    FWIW, The Brooklyn Brewery's tap room is open on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. Friday nights is a madhouse after 8 PM, but Saturdays are quieter. Free brewery tours and you can sample all the latest seasonal brews. No food on premises, unless you count beer as food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MaspethMaven

      I'm glad the Brewery's open houses are still continuing. I used to go there just after the Brewery opened. It was deserted! Which meant that I could hobnob with the President and with the chief brewer, who would be happy to talk with me about beer for as long as I liked, provided I had reasonably intelligent things to say. The beer, fresh from the brewery, ranks among the best I've ever tasted, far better than when served in bars. Is this still true? I bet it is!

      1. re: Brian S

        If you are visiting W'burg and are into beer, I recommend hobnobbing your way over at Spuyten Duyvil or Mugs Alehouse, two of the better beer bars in the city.

    2. Working backwards, I'd end my eating day in Williamsburg at Marlow & Sons. In the afternoon I might go for a snack at Zipe-Zape (Berry & Metropolitan). Lunch at Dumont Burger (Bedford & S. Something) or Pies & Thighs (under the Wmsburg Bridge).

      1. I have to second the Marlow and Sons recommendation. In fact, I'll second, third and fourth it! It's one of my favorite places in the neighborhood, possibly in the borough. I had my birthday dinner there the other night- everything was *excellent*. Their cheese selection, fresh oysters, delicious crostini and amazing entree specials... BUT, the most amazing by far (and save room for this!): caramel chocolate tart sprinkled with sea-salt. BEST. THING. EVER. I'm still having dreams about it.

        If you don't mind giving the same owners your business twice in one day, go to Bonita for lunch (or better yet, breakfast). Best Mexican food on the east coast, no doubt about it. Everything is fresh, authentic, straight from the kitchen to your plate. and bursting with flavor. If you go for breakfast, any huevo dish is delicious and make sure to get the cafe con leche. For lunch, get the tacos (the fish tacos have already been touted by Hounds as the best on this coast), and do not miss the fried plantains (the salty ones with garlic, not the sweet). Crispy and delicious with the 3 kinds of salsa on the tables!

        Other great places to check out: St. Helen's cafe for the best coffee in the neighborhood (I think they stopped calling it St. Helen's for some reason and now it's called "Cafe 1980," which is the year Mt. St. Helen's erupted, but that's not a good enough reason to change the name of your cafe). Anyway, perfect lattes and really good little pistachio cakes. On Wythe and North 8th.

        Finally, I'd say drinks at this new place Juliette on North 5th, right next to Egg/Sparky's. Great cocktails and beautiful space.

        Zipe Zape is great too- get the Chorizo con Diabolo!

        Can't wait to hear how it goes...

        7 Replies
        1. re: fiftyfootgirl

          Bonita sounds really good! But what's the address?


          1. re: chocokitty

            bedford between s.2 and s.3, i think. "best mexican on the east coast" is definitely stretching it.

            1. re: wleatherette

              Living in LA for over 6 years, I can honestly say if this is the "best mexican on the east coast" then I will never go to another mexican place again on the east coast. Over-priced and bland flavors. They don't have a hard liqour license, so their magaritas are wine based, ugh.

              1. re: Huffy

                What other NYC Mexican places have you tried?

                1. re: Abbylovi

                  I have been to a few, Yola's in Williamsburg is my current fav, reminds me of a place by my old house in LA, here is the rest that I have been to:
                  Bean (closed now)
                  Buffalo Cantina
                  Caliente Cab Co.
                  Creek & The Cave
                  Dos Caminos
                  El Portal
                  El Pueblo (the place on bedford, in the back of the bodega)
                  Gonzalez y Gonzalez
                  Mama Mexico
                  Rosa Mexicano
                  San Loco
                  Taco Chulo
                  Tortilla Flats
                  Vera Cruz

                  1. re: Huffy

                    Try Queens. Specifically, in my opinion, try Coatzingo.
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/247808 I've eaten in Bonita once and, while it wasn't as good as Queens, it was very good.

                2. re: Huffy

                  Yeah, seriously. Even Matamoros beats Bonita and Matamoros is not the holy grail of Mexican by any means... The chicken with chocolate sauce is like a perma-special, they might as well have it on the menu so we know how much it actually costs.

          2. Any great pizza or burger places in the area?

            1. Best burger is at Dumont, (or Dumont Burger, their pub-like mini outlet on Bedford), but Relish makes a really good one too.
              Fornino for pizza. My favorite is the one with fresh spinach, truffle oil and pine nuts.

              1. do not miss pies and thighs, which is a tiny kitchen behind a bar on s.6th near the corner of kent. the breakfasts are superb, the pies are amazing, and they do a great job with standards such as fried chicken and catfish and spicy pulled pork. they've recently added brunswick stew to the menu, as well - delicious.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wleatherette

                  Best fried chicken in NYC. Get a side of brunswick stew and collard greens. Amazing.

                2. if you're a fan of tea, roebling tea house, at roebling & metropolitan, has an amazing 60-odd tea menu and delicious bread basket ... great pulled pork sandwiches and french toast, too. i'd skip the paninis at marlow & sons but their cheese and meat nibblies are suuuuper tasty. for brunch on the cheap try the lodge, at havemeyer & grand. pint-glass bloody marys or mimosas are 2 for $6 during weekend brunch!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: awesomechoi

                    i have to say that the service at roebling tea house has completely soured me on the place. each time i've been there's been a lengthy (10 min plus) wait to even get menus, and we weren't just sitting there like lumps - we attempted to flag down servers after sitting for a while but were basically ignored (actually, we were given the "later" hand wave, which is worse than being ignored).
                    the last time i was there, one member of our group ordered food. it took about 40 minutes to arrive, by which time we all had long since finished our drinks and in fact were ready for the check. the server looked at him like he had asked for a gold brick when he requested a take-out box for the meal. i generally think that complaints about rude, spacey service in williamsburg are exaggerated, but not in this case. shame - it's an absolutely lovely space and of course the tea menu is one-of-a-kind for the area.

                    1. re: wleatherette

                      Agreed, the service is bad. They forgot we were there and never brought us our check. If I was so honest, I would have left without paying. Also they have a bad fly problem in the summer.

                  2. The main thing I don't like about Roebling tea is that every time I go there, I leave smelling like a fry chef at the end of a long shift (which is odd, since I don't recall anything fried on the menu...). Something to do with the open design there, perhaps? Terrible ventilation? Anyway, if you go, be forewarned!

                    1. Does anyone recommend Miyako? Bozu? Zipe Zape?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: willing

                        I just went to Zipe Zape for the first time in a few months and was sadden to find out they don't do the sandwiches anymore. The pork sandwich was the best item on the menu. I would still recommend Zipe Zape to someone who was craving spanish tapas.

                        1. re: Huffy

                          I've been to Zipe Zape several times and I really like it. I can't attest to the authenticity of the tapas, but my friend who's been to Spain several times also liked it. The sangria is ok--nothing to write home about.

                        2. re: willing

                          I love the korean food at Miyako (they do Japanese and Korean). Their sushi is fresh and good, but their kimchee jun (pancake) is just about the best thing ever.

                        3. What does anyone think of Relish on 225 Wythe Ave? I looked at some previous posts about this place a year or so ago, and it seems promising. Is it good for lunch?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chocokitty

                            I lived around the corner from them for a year so I can actually give you a rundown of every item on the menu and whether or not it's worth eating, but that might come across as maniacal.

                            So, in summary: their basic items are good. Mac & cheese, cheeseburger, chicken/avocado sandwich. For brunch, huevos rancheros are delicious and the best dish by far. It is annoying that they don't offer pork sausage and give you these dry, weird chicken sausage discs instead. More unusual things on the menu like the corned beef hash (neither corned nor hashed) are to be avoided.

                          2. Funny, I've always had great service at Bonita, even when they're slammed.
                            But please, someone, fire away!! If there's better Mexican than Bonita, I wanna know about it! I certainly wouldn't be disappointed to eat my words... ;-)

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: fiftyfootgirl

                              the service complaints were about roebling tea room, not bonita. i don't think the latter is bad, but i don't think it deserves the title of best in nyc let alone best on the east coast. if you search here, you'll find many threads praising places in east harlem and queens that sound amazing. i haven't explored that way yet, so my personal picks are limited to el maguey y la tuna on houston, zaragoza grocery on avenue a for take-out, and the downtown bakery on 1st avenue.

                              1. re: fiftyfootgirl

                                I agree with wleatherette. Bonita is tasty, in particular their guacamole, but not the best on the East Coast. In the summer, the Red Hook ballfields have some pretty delicious Central American finds. In the meantime, we get tacos at the back of a bodega on Manhattan Avenue called El Encanto Mexicano. It is across the street from Pio Pio Riko and they are truly delicious.

                                1. re: chompchomp

                                  i get coke without hfcs from that bodega, but i didn't know they had food as well. that's good news.

                                  1. re: chompchomp

                                    Someone should start a countdown clock to when the RH Ballfields open.

                                2. Burger at Coney's on Bedford is fantastic. 287 Bedford. It's a fun place and in my opinion puts the over-hyped and pretentious Dumont Burger across the street to shame. Try the Brick Oven Gallery at 33 Havemeyer for great pizza and a cozy atmosphere. How about awesome Peruvian style rotisserie chicken, try the cheap and heartbreakingly charming Pio Pio Rico on the corner of Manhattan Ave and Huron St. in Greenpoint. For excellent Salvadoran in an equally charming setting at Bahia Resturant and Cafe, 690 Grand St. Try the puposas, $1.50!!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I'm curious about that wood-panelled izakaya on n6th. anyone been yet?

                                    btw, im very upset that Isa is now Mikey's Hook Up. oh well.

                                    in general though, the restaurants in williamsburg kinda suck.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: hotpot1

                                      you mean Zenkichi? me and some friends went a few weeks ago. Its amazing inside, great design, love that you can press a button to call the wait staff, but the food was just okay. I can't remember exactly what we had, but we weren't blown away by it. I remember we got some fatty pork, which was good, and the chicken wings, that weren't that good. The sake menu was impressive. i would go for the design, but wouldn't go for the food.

                                    2. Stay away from Planet Thai on N 7 st and Bamontes rest aslo.
                                      Il Fornino , Carmines Pizza , is good. DuMont for Burgers
                                      Joe busy corner and Aqua Santa are good choices. Frost for Calamari.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: FAL

                                        Joe's Busy Corner has the best sandwiches in the area. Hana's on metropolitan by the L exit also has good sandwiches, but I think Joe's are better.

                                        1. re: Huffy

                                          I totally disagree. I found Joe's Busy Corner sandwiches bland, uninspired, kind of a waste of an Italian sandwich. If you're looking for sandwiches in general, I like Fabiane's or Marlowe and Sons; if you're looking for Italian sandwiches, Cono and Sons off the Graham L is far better.

                                          1. re: chompchomp

                                            Which one's did you find bland? I have always enjoyed the No. 7th & Bedford Mozzarella (grilled veggies, pesto & roasted peppers) and the Godfather (Prosciutto, provolone, pepperoni, mozzarella, soppresata, lettuce, tomato) At Fabiane's, they microwave their egg dishes, after that I couldn't eat there again.

                                            1. re: Huffy

                                              I found that nothing tasted fresh. I also had the Godfather, but all the meat was rather tasteless and felt like it had been sitting out a while. And I really hate when those sandwiches get ruined by the addition of shredded mealy iceberg lettuce.

                                      2. I agree on Joes' sandwiches not being very good, and in general their food frightens me a little, it sits for a very very long time behind the lit glass cases.

                                        1. I always like going to Raymund's for soup and pirogies. The soup always is hearty and flavorful. And so are the usual assortment of strong friendly polish folks who fill the place. Not your typical hip crowd.

                                          Relish and MonkeyTown are also nice.

                                          The bread at the polish bakery on N.9 or N. 10 between Bedford and Berry is also nice.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sixraccoons

                                            It's called Old Poland Foods and it's on N.8th. This is one of the best places in the neighborhood overall- though it's take out. I prefer the soups here to Raymund's.

                                          2. I agree with the DuMont recommendations. The burger with bleu cheese and bacon is absolutely the best. For those not into the idea of a beefy mess, the skate is a great alternative. Start with a few dishes of mac and cheese for the table.

                                            I've never been impressed by the burger at Relish.

                                            And to throw in what might not be culinary genius, but a hearty, satisfying winter meal: think about Union Picnic. The food is not revolutionary - but the chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens hits the spot. On the lighter side - the shrimp po boy.

                                            1. Raymund's is nice and cheap for Polish food. A good place to get a hearty meal and have a few beers before going out on the town.

                                              Union Picnic is good comfort food, but Pies & Thighs does it much better.

                                              I've had some really nice dining experiences at Dumont, and they have a top-notch burger.

                                              Diner is on my blacklist because their service is awful, and their pedestrian food is overpriced. I don't think I've been there in five or six years, and I have no plans on going back.

                                              I ate at Bonita a few times and left with less money in my pocket and a hunger for real Mexican food.

                                              Relish is overhyped and overpriced, and Egg's service is horrible (not surprising considering it takes the same people 25 minutes to make a hot dog).

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: benmeddle

                                                A hot dog they can never seem to actually get hot!

                                                1. re: CornflakeGirl

                                                  Well just to be clear, it is two different organizations running Egg and Sparky's -- they just use the same space.

                                                  1. re: chompchomp

                                                    I know that actually. You can see the egg staff exit all at the same time just as the Sparky's staff arrives.

                                                    Unfortunately neither of them has a clue. They may as well be the same people.

                                                    1. re: chompchomp

                                                      Thanks for the clarification chompchomp. I give the Sparky's folks credits for the innovative business idea, if nothing else.

                                                      I enjoy the food at Egg, but I don't consider it a destination place. It's a good place to go if you happen to walk by, but mustering up the strength to walk seven blocks and overpay for breakfast is not something I do often.

                                                      While we're on the subject of slow and bad staff... Was there ever a worse waitstaff than the one at the L Cafe? (If you remember the Gray Parrot, they were almost as bad.)

                                                      I once asked for my bill four times, waited 20 minutes to no availe, and then walked out without paying. I was one of two customers in the place. I actually cheered when the place closed.

                                                      1. re: benmeddle

                                                        oh, man! the gray parrot was TERRIBLE.

                                                2. Agree that Sparky's and Egg are maddening. It's like they don't even care.

                                                  I think Sweetwater has been stepping it up lately. Food and service. Anyone else agree? Ate there last night--it was Saturday, so obviously it was slammed, but the service was surprisingly good (and fast), and everyone in my party of 3 loved their apps and entrees.

                                                  I used to be a Relish regular, but lately, the food has been going downhill, as has the service (not that it was ever amazing there, but recently it seems worse).

                                                  Juliette seems promising...

                                                  1. When you say "Juliette seems promising" does that mean that you enjoy a $13 prix fixe brunch that includes horribly over-poached eggs, bland home fries, and worse coffee? Yes the place looks and indeed is beautiful, but the food is unforgivable. Period.