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What's the best diner in Brooklyn?

Our favorite is Mirage on Kings Highway near East. 8th Street-no extra charge for sharing, excellent staff, very-good-excellent food-especially fish. But as almost weekly patrons, we're wondering if another member can give us the where/why of their favorite so that we can try some place new.

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  1. Here's where I've been - these are not real reviews, just some off the cuff thoughts..

    El Greco - Sheepshead Bay: have only tried the basics (burgers, salads, omelettes) but have been reasonably impressed

    Three-Star - Ave. U.: Probably the best in terms of quality of food, really resonably priced (esp. for the amount of food you get) and rather versatile (everything from fresh fish to pancakes has gotten pretty good reviews from me and my dining partners)

    Kings Plaza Diner - I don't love this place as much as others do, but I know a lot of people who swear by it. I will admit that the french toast is pretty amazing, but their Greek Salad is disappointing, and I often use that as a test.

    Bridgeview Diner - Bay Ridge (3rd Ave., I think): Again, have only tried the basics here, and they've been pretty basic (they definitely DO NOT get points for their home fries, but most diners do that poorly these days)

    Floridian - Flatbush Ave.: I loved this place growing up, but I think it's gone seriously downhill in the last ten years. Their Greek Salads used to be excellent, and their pastas (fettucine alfredo!) and burgers were quite good too. To be fair, I have been avoiding it for the past two years, so couldn't tell you how it's been since then..

    Caravelle - Ave M., near Ocean Pkwy: Again a pretty solid choice for the basics (with especially good muffins and sweet potato fries), but I can't tell you much more than that.

    8 Replies
    1. re: allieinbklyn

      I thought that Caravelle had closed last year...

      1. re: GlendaleGal

        I think you’re right about Caravelle. And El Greco has got to be the worst diner I have ever been to. Its reputation is awful and has one thing only going for it – location. If any hounds ever go to Sheepshead Bay do yourself the favor and keep driving. Randazzo’s, though not a dinner, is only a two blocks away.

        1. re: MShapiro

          Yep, Caravelle has been closed for awhile now. The crowd that used to go there either died or moved away-the neighborhood is much more Orthodox or former USSR folks. The last time I was there for breakfast on a Sundy morning, they had all but the front room closed off, and had lost all of the old waiters.

      2. re: allieinbklyn

        El Greco is horrible. Seeing it on Chowhound actually burns my eyes. That and Roller Roaster were the go to places for my friends and I throughout HS and that does not say much. Terrrrrrible diner, bad service, and they recycle the coleslaw and other items (I had a friend who worked there for nearly 2 years.) Avoid.

        On the other hand, the Vegas Diner on 86th St is pretty good. Also, while not a diner, there's a Greek semi-diner (in a restaurant setting) a block from The Islands in Prospect Heights which isn't bad for diner like stuff and has cheap burgers.

        1. re: JFores

          Funny - I've had the opposite experience. Couple times at Vegas left me unimpressed, but El Greco's always been pretty reliable.

        2. re: allieinbklyn

          Just for the record - was trying to give more of an inventory, not necessarily recommending all of these places. More food for thought than anything, so El Greco appearing on a list of places I've been shouldn't burn a chowhound's eyes...

          I will say though that the last time I was there was about 8 months ago, and they managed to do an omelette and a burger right.

          Sad to hear that Caravelle is closed... :(

          1. re: allieinbklyn

            What basics did you eat at Bridgeview that they got right? Great home fries in BR are at Pegasus...

            1. re: allieinbklyn

              Kings Plaza Diner has great homemade corned beef hash which is all that matters to me. it's hard enough to find bad Homemade corned beef hash. This will become my pre-beach weekend diner.

            2. Mirage is my favorite in the area as well. Not sure how long you have been going but it changed hands a few years ago and has improved immensly since changing hands. The Vegas Diner on 86th is worth a try. I do like the Kings Hwy Diner a lot but have not been in a year at least.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dhs

                I like the Park Plaza Diner in Brooklyn Heights on Cadman Plaza and Clark Street. They're open 24 hours on the weekend and service is always quick.

                I'd recommend staying away from The New Saint Clair Restaurant on Smith and Atlantic. They recently renovated the place, but service is slow, food mediocre at best, and a little bit overpriced.

              2. Tom's 782 Washington Avenue. A Brooklyn gem since 1936. Great breakfast and lunch, but sadly not open for dinner.
                http://brooklyn.about.com/od/restaura...

                1. I've always been partial to the Floridian on Flatbush and R?, The Vegas on 86th St, The Bridgeview on 3rd & 90th. I would always try to skip El Greco and go to the Sheepshead Bay Diner because it was always too crowded with smoking teenagers (when you could smoke in NYC). I haven't been to the Mirage or The Plaza in years.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MrsT

                    The Sheepshead Bay Diner slipped into mediocrity at least 15 years ago. It's gone, now - replaced by luxury condos. (And these days, what other kind of condos are there)? El Greco is awful. The Vegas Diner is not what it was in the 90's and that's a shame because if this thread popped up 10 years ago, I would've picked The Vegas as Brooklyn's #1 but that was then and this is now. I came to this thread looking for suggestions, cause I sure don't know what the best diner in Brooklyn is, either.

                    1. re: pizmet

                      Ha! That's about how long ago I have been over there. I stopped going to The Vegas when I found a lady bug in my salad. That was in the 90's.

                  2. I can tell you what is imho the worst...corner of Flatlands and Ralph...so bad I don't remember the name.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Eggsactley

                      I believe the diner you are referring to is called the Arch diner. I avoid that one too.
                      Another diner on Kings Highway which is good, especially for breakfast is the Del Rio Diner. It's on the corner of West 13th and Kings Highway.

                      1. re: Howard_b2

                        No offense, but my friends and I have had so many bad experiences at the Del Rio that we just refuse to go back anymore. Between the openly hostile waitresses (with one fantastic exception on the evening shift) and the sometimes inedible food (mushy ancient strawberries, french toast that smelled like refrigerator, gristly hamburgers, oddly flavorless desserts, and so on) - we go Mirage or go home.

                        1. re: eating me

                          I agree. I think the Del Rio 's food is awful. As for the staff. It seems that many of the people who frequent the place are as, if not more hostile (Not you, of course :-}) so I tend to think the customer base has only made them more obnoxious

                    2. I have not been there in a long time but as a kid I remember first going to the Three Star Restaurant and then, Perry's Restaurant, which was the 'spin off ' restaurant opened by one of 3 Star's waiters. The food at both places was great diner food. Generous portions, friendly service, delicious soups and great daily specials.
                      As for the classic Diner: Sadly, I think as the neighborhood demographics change the old style 24/7 Diners (At least in urban areas) will soon go the way of the horse and buggy.Most of the Diners mentioned in the thread have seen better days. Some of them, EG: The Vegas, are not clean and have poor, or at best, indifferent service, some like the Bridgeview and El Greco, have overpriced, sub par food. Fortunately,at least for now, some great Diners are to be found in Staten Island :-}

                      Perry's Restaurant
                      3482 Nostrand Ave
                      Brooklyn, NY
                      (718) 934-9800

                      1. Surprised at the hate for EG. I go there often enough and have always done pretty well. Was there the other day - they have one of the rooms boarded up, looks like they're renovating.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Droopy

                          i havent been to el greco since at least 1996 but it was the clientele and the management that ruined that place. the food was always passable...then again, i was only 16-17 years old when i last ate there.

                          surprisingly the diner on cropsey off the belt parkway was good...retro 50s diner...in the former nebraska diner if i recall from my junior high days. i think retro 50s closed.

                          of those mentioned above, 3 star was great...my grandparents took me there all the time as a kid.

                          1. re: sam1

                            3 Star never disappointed
                            El Greco is the pits - I live just across the bay from it and would never go again.
                            The Foursome on U closed but a new diner opened on Nostrand and Z
                            claiming it was the new home of the Foursome - but it has a different name.
                            Haven't been there yet.

                            1. re: mike in brooklyn

                              Have only been there for breakfast, but Pegasus on 3rd `ave in Bay Ridge has fantastic home fries and pancakes.

                              1. re: francesb

                                Hmmm...I find Pegasus a little expensive and ok atmosphere. I prefer Off Shore btw 79th & 78th on 3rd. Extensive selections, competitive pricing, good food & great atmosphere. Lula, the owner is a sweetheart.

                                The Donut Stop on 3rd btw 94th & 95th - fast, no frills, good cheap breakfasts. John the owner & son Alex take a little while to warm up - good folks.

                                Both in Bay Ridge.

                              2. re: mike in brooklyn

                                mike.... I gather that you know the area.very well. Do 3 Star and Perry's still have decent Diner-like food or have they gone downhill?
                                Thanks :-)

                                1. re: Tay

                                  Haven't been to Perry's in years - was at 3 Star for breakfast with
                                  relatives - didn't disappoint anyone.

                                  1. re: mike in brooklyn

                                    I recall 3 Star always had such good basic food. and such HUGE portions.
                                    I believe Perry's was opened by a former Waiter from 3 Star.who 'jumped ship' to start his own place. I was just curious to know how it was doing..
                                    Glad you enjoyed breakfast. :-)

                          2. Columbus Deli/Restaurant 6610 18th Ave Brooklyn...
                            The breakfast is good, fast, hot, cheap and local.
                            Don't be too cheap, leave a tip, the waitresses are nice. ;-)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Luke Constantino

                              Our go-to diner is FIVOS (formerly Oasis) at corner of Quentin Road & Flatbush Avenue

                            2. I find it so interesting that one 'Hounds favorite Diner rec is another's worst. Just shows the wide range of good/bad Diner experiences. When I was a kid, we all used to pile into the Tiffany Diner on 4th Ave. I can't actually say the food was outstanding but the Waitresses were hysterical and the fun of ordering steak and egs at 2am made it a great experience.
                              In Brooklyn I'd have to go with 3 Star, and Perry's (A 3 Star spin off, If it still exists)
                              I'd also have to say both El Greco and the dreadful Vegas Diner are waaaay waaaay down on my list. .
                              My fav cheap, fast but delicious breakfast joint used to be the Donut Shop on 3rd between 68th and 69th. Freshest, tastiest bac/egg/cheese on a roll. :-)

                              1. Perry's is actually the best diner I've been to in Brooklyn. I live very close to Kings Plaza Diner and Floridian, so I go to the two a lot. I think Kings Plaza diner is more expensive but has better food than Floridian. Perry's gives me better quality food and better portions. And I don't know why everyone says Perry's is a spinoff of the 3 Star. It must have spunoff ages ago because Perry has known my family for ages and gives us extra stuff when we have birthdays and anniversaries.

                                Aside from that, my other favorite place to eat is JC Chikurin, which is on I think Ocean Ave. and Ave. M. But that's for sushi. Great portions, taste and variety. :)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Sirene

                                  We gave up on Mirage Diner 2 years ago and are regulars at Fivos-formerly Oasis-Diner. Cannot say enough good things about food, prices, portions and super-friendly staff and owners!

                                2. We go to El Greco for the view and the parking lot more than the food. I only get eggs and home fries and they've always been OK

                                  Also like My 3 Sons on Ft Hamilton Pkway and 71st St

                                  1. Kings Plaza Diner. French toast is delicious. I go there just for the cheesecake- best I think. Any dinner I've had there has been great. Portions are huge. It's a diner so don't expect gourmet, but basics are great and so everything else IMHO. But definitely save room for the strawberry cheesecake, or just go for dessert!