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One day in Brooklyn- looking for downhome or home to

Brooklyn. Chow here, I would love to find that neighborhood greatness spot- in a sandwich spot, pizza place something like Pies-N-Thighs.. something old school and still great, a don't miss, a you can't live without if you live there. I would love some options. I like all types of food looking for something special about Brooklyn... We get asked this all the time on the San Francisco board and I know each city has that one of a kind spot.

I only have the one day to roam around.

Thank you so much. I hope I make sense.

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  1. for casual, pete's waterfront ale house is a comfortable bar with great food, good music, good bartenders, and very welcoming.

    for a bit more upscale, applewood in park slope is a cozy restaurant in a brownstone that is friendly and delicious...

    1 Reply
    1. re: sam1

      those both sound nice, thanks. Maybe I will need one of those for dinner with my friend that lives there.

    2. Much as I hate to say it, the answer to this has to be DiFara's. Do a search and you'll find literally thousands of posts on the place.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Woodside Al

        ok sounds good, I would love to try a good slice.

        I would love to have something that is impossible to get here. Like a good Hero or Grinder style Italian sandwich any great family local establishments? Thanks.

        1. re: Lori SF

          Though I haven't tried it, everyone says Catene, at 9th St and 4th Ave in Park Slope has fantastic chicken cutlet and roast beef sandwiches. My personal favorite for an Italian combo hero is Esposito's on Court Street at President in Carroll Gardens. Great soppressata and rice balls, and homemade sausages, too.

          1. re: kabny

            I think Esposito's and especially DeFonte's on Columbia St. in Red Hook are both a bit better than Catene's for sandwiches. DeFonte's roast beef is a personal favorite. Even better is Lioni's in Bensonhurst on 13th Ave. and John's all the way out on Stillwell near 86th St. Keep in mind that all of these places are open only for lunch, and that most are closed on Sunday.

            DiFara's is a bit more than a "good slice." (although it can be that too). It's a commitment and a sort of Brooklyn ritual experience (including the often very long wait). It definitely meets all of the criteria in your original post. Again, read the past threads on the place.

            1. re: Woodside Al

              while i agree, catene still rules...and john's is right up there for their roast beef and shrimp parm.

              if yr gonna go to difaras, call ahead for a pie, wait 1 1/2 hours and then go.

              1. re: Woodside Al

                Thanks you both this is exactly what I am looking for. Cannot get a real good Italian style sandwich (we call them subs) in SF. My home town Santa Barbara of all places has an Italian Market that has been around forever makes really good subs, nothing in San Francisco.

                1. re: Woodside Al

                  I will check out DiFara's very curious about this place. Thanks

                2. re: kabny

                  homemade sausages!! now we are talking. Thanks very much.

                3. re: Lori SF

                  Ferdinando's Focaceria or Sam's on Court? (Suggestions generally not for hero/grinder.

                    1. re: Lori SF

                      Ferdinando's is "Sicilian fast food" I believe - focaccia, rice balls, etc. -- it claims to be 100 years old, and is an old school family run Italian place. The specialty focaccia is panelle, a deep-fried pancake made of chickpea flour. I had it with ricotta and calf's spleen which was surprisingly good.

                      Sam's is another old school family run place - here's a description from Time Out NY:

                      They don’t make ’em like this anymore. At Sam’s, established in 1930, the stained-wood walls are accented by pink silk flowers and the booths are upholstered in candy-red vinyl. Your waiter will likely greet you with a booming “How youse doin’?” before placing the giant menu in your hands. Mid-century classics dominate the menu (chicken cacciatore, veal scaloppine and baked ziti), although Sam’s crisp brick-oven pizza is a great choice. Carbophobes, beware: With 21 pastas to choose from and three loaves of fresh-baked bread plopped on your table, you’ll have a hard time devising a protein-only meal. But then, why would you?

                      http://www.timeout.com/newyork/restau...

                      1. re: dark knight

                        My folks are from Chicago and I have not had good cacciatore, scaloppine nor ziti since they passsed away. Thanks for posting that, maybe two days in Brooklyn would be better.

                        1. re: dark knight

                          the thing to get at ferdinando's is the panelle special, which is panelles on a sesame roll with ricotta and grated cheese that is put under the broiler. it's v. good.

                          I do think difara's is truly an "only in brooklyn" place (peter luger's is another) and totally worth a visit. there won't be much line if you go on a weekday around 3 or 4.

                          as for sandwiches, if you come to the carroll gardens/red hook area, you have your choice of defonte's or esposito's (i like defonte's better, but esposito's is easier to get to) plus you can have a panelle special at ferdinando's and some appetizer rice and proscuitto balls at joe's perette. wouldn't be a bad outing. Also doing good sandwiches in the area is brooklyn bread, court st btw 1st and 2nd.

                          I've never been there, but from what i understand the thing to get at Catene's is the calamari hero, which is not offered at any of the other hero places mentioned.

                          1. re: missmasala

                            Thanks I am so excited. I can't wait!!!

                            1. re: missmasala

                              «the calamari hero, which is not offered at any of the other hero places» With several hundred different hero varieties, I'd be real surprised if Lioni's (see Woodside Al's post--address correction: it's on 15th Ave at 78th St). does not have a number of calimari ones. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a website (other than for their Latticini in Union NJ), and I misplaced their paper menu so I can't check.

                              1. re: bobjbkln

                                Thank you for the correction and your reply. I cannot wait to have a real sandwich again..

                  1. Soul Spot!
                    Atlantic Avenue off of Smith

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ceasar11

                      hi ceasar- what does Soul Spot do? thanks

                    2. Vinny's in Carroll Gardens makes great meatball parm heros.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ChowDiva

                        I totally agree. Eggplant parm is great, too.

                        I'd often seen police cars and fire trucks double parked outside when I lived around the corner...often a good sign.

                      2. Only had a few hours to spend in Brooklyn. Took a very expensive cab ride to DiFara's and have to say well worth it, what a place! Really nothing like it that I have experienced. We ordered several slices instead of waiting for a whole pie. It was heaven, nothing like it in California. I am dreaming of DiFara's right now.

                        I wish we had the time to try the other places, hopefully next time with more time and being more organized. Thanks!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Lori SF

                          Cool! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the report.

                          1. re: JFores

                            yes sorry. here is a video someone took..its the cheese its the olive oil on pizza at a time
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttg-Me...

                            1. re: Lori SF

                              I'd head over to Henry Street and try Noodle Heights. Or Henry's End which is in my opinion one of the best restaurants in Brooklyn. It's a true gem.

                          2. Defonte's in Red Hook has the best meatball parm hero I've had. It's about as 'old school' as it gets. Or they also have humongous breakfast subs -eggs & peppers or eggs & potatoes. Also try the sausage & peppers and eggplant parm.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: redherring

                              And the definitive roast beef hero. With just salt, pepper, and delicious gravy. Columbia St. just south of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Open Mon.-Sat. until about 3.