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1 day in Brooklyn, what's not to miss?

Going to drive all over Brooklyn, get out and walk around in a bunch of different areas, for example, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Red Hook, Fort Greene, Coney Island, Ditmas Park, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights---Is Prospect Heights or Windsor Terrace of particluar interest to visit---Interested in architecture, shopping, and food places to get stuff to go or grab a quick bite.......That ice cream place in Boreum Hill that has been talked about..is that near these areas?? Worth a stop??? ---Of all of these areas, which is the best to plan for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive, clean, nice atmosphere, and child friendly. Any cuisine is fine, except Japanese.

Plan on hitting Coney Island first and then working our way back up.............

Only been to Williamsburg a few times, and Brooklyn Heights many years ago, so, not very familiar with the best most interesting areas of Brooklyn....

Thanks.....planning on going on Thursday, tommorow..........

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  1. Bierkraft (great beers) and blue apron (specialty store) in park slope are great. For a small bite Little Miss Muffin in Prospect Heights for cookies, pastries and chicken/beef patties. Tough to sit down for long and eat a big meal if you are going to be all over the place so take out spots are the best. Definitely Nathan's at Coney Island and DiFara's in Midwood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ginsbera

      Thanks! Would love to go to Di Fara's, but can't deal with the delay of long lines there on this particular outing, we will make a special trip there another day. Looking to make some pitstops for Best Fresh Mozzarella, Best Bakery, stuff like that..........grab and run......and also, a sit down place for early lunch and early dinner..........Looking for what the neighborhood does best....Can't remember the name of the place that's supposed to have the best fresh mozzarella..tried searching and don't know where it is.........


    2. Blue Marble... that "ice cream place" in Boerum Hill.

      Lucali... pizza on Henry St. (dinner only, no slices)

      DiFara... pizza in Midwood. Sometimes a long wait, slices for sale. Uneven of late.

      Fernando's Foccaria... a more than 100 years old sicilian casual restaurant on Union just below Hicks. A time machine to a different era with amazing sicilian specialities.

      Monte's Venetian Room... on Carroll St. in Gowanus. Probably horrible in every way (who knows? No one ever eats there) except for the cheesecake. It's the best italian riciotta-based cheesecake on the planet. Stop by for a slice. There will probably be someone there after 1pm or so.

      Fairway in Red Hook... for the $9 lobster roll that's not the best lobster roll ever, but it's very good and when you add in the price and the amazing view of the harbor from the outside seating, it's the best deal in town.

      Except for DiFara, all of these are within 10 minutes of one another by car.



      9 Replies
      1. re: Peter

        Prospect Heights looks like Park Slope so if you see a few brownstones, you've got the idea. Windsor Terrace isn't so exciting for food or architecture. Ditmas Park has nice old houses.

        Peter's sugg of Fernando's Foccacceria (Carroll Gardens) is great, but it's is only open till something like 4 or 6pm, do your research. Definitely DiFara's for a slice, leaving you room to eat other stuff. Totonno's pizza in Coney Island is good, but for the experience it's better to have Nathan's hotdogs on the boardwalk (they aren't great but it's the idea that counts). Don't forget Brighton Beach for more boardwalk and weird Russian shopping & snacks.

        1. re: chowbeth

          Chowbeth, thanks for the compliment re: my suggestion of Fernando's (Ferdinando's?).

          Everyone should know -- they've extended their hours. They're open later every day and into the actual dinner period on Fridays and Saturdays.

          (Sorry, don't recall the actual exact hours.)


        2. re: Peter

          It all depends on how your tastes run - Red Hook is a pretty interesting area foodwise as well as for ancient industrial architecture to explore - but if you are over there, I would prefer Da Fonte's for terrific italian sandwiches to the Fairway visit, - for views of the Harbor, Steve's Key Lime Pie or the area around the barge (right behind fairway) are better. If Steve's is closed, Baked is nearby too, for good desserts.

          Fernando's Foccaceria is old line and close by for great rice balls and panelle (fried chickpea pillows); Sahadi and Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Ave are also great nearby food stops and convenient if you decide to walk through Bklyn Hts/Cobble HIll..

          the rest if it depends on what you want, the extreme multicultural mix (Brighton Beach, Coney Island Ave, Bay Ridge or a specific focus, old school italian, west indian, chinese, hip upscale - you cant possibly cover everything in a day. Outer brooklyn is not exactly beautiful - its flat and mostly pretty beatup in appearance, but the waves of immigration have left a lot to interest you (despite a new wave of deplorable re-development)

          The last time I did a big loop I covered CIA (Eastern Foods for turkish bread, indian spices), The Orchard (upscale expensive fruit, smoked fish, nothing appealed), Gulloglu (Turkish Pastries), the Neptune Ave (the Georgian Bread store), Gravesend (L&B) for a slice and spumoni, Bath Beach for mozz and italian bread and the 8th Ave Chinatown (fresh bean curd, random veg and bahn mi and drinks at Ba Xuyen and Eagle Provisions (Polish). Took about 3 hrs alltold, without any lingering.. It you had longer, you could add walks on 5th and 3rd aves in Bay Ridge and exploration of the booming 5th Ave hispanic nabe in Sunset Park, with its outdoor stands and taco places.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Best mozzarella: its not even close -- go to lioni latticini in bensonhurst. go to the wholesale store, not the sandwich shop a few doors down, for the full-on experience. men in the back playing cards, etc. 7819 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11228, Phone: 718-232-7852

            1. re: ropa vieja

              agreed on Lioni for mozz.. For bread I still like Royal Crown (main outlet at 66th and 14th Ave) tho they have stopped making their big pane antico except for special orders - D. Colluccio on 60th St. nr 11th Ave is good for all things Italian, Three Guys at 65th and Ft Ham for the total mob multi culti produce shopping experience (very good prices)

              1. re: jen kalb

                yes, royal crown and coluccio are both fantastic. get the lard bread at coluccio, which is actually baked by sal & jerry's in nearby bensonhurst.

                1. re: ropa vieja

                  I like their foccaccia/mini pizzas and some of their sliced breads too.

                  who bakes the lard and similar breads at the Lioni's sandwich shop?? they wouldnt say but have a great variety

                2. re: jen kalb

                  While I like Lioni's (and the related store with hundreds of different fresh made heros), I think that the best mozzarella in Brooklyn (and the most time warped) is Tedone Latticini at 597 Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburgh. And right across the street (also in a time warp) is Napoli Bakery (616 Metropolitan Ave.) with the most amazing round! lard bread. Go quick, neither will be there forever.

            2. Don't miss Bed Stuy if you're looking for architecture and use the opportunity to go via Prospect Heights/Crown Heights and get food from both Peppa's Jerk Chicken and The Islands.

              1. Fort Greene - Habana Outpost. Get the corn and if it's Sunday check out the Flea Market for browsing and for architecture stroll around the most pristine of brownstones (and check out this weird little "parlour sale" called the Chateau Chat Noir to have a look inside an unreno'ed brownstone..

                Williamsburg- if you are into oysters/cheese/wines, stop into Marlow & Sons and have a snack.

                1. Coney Island,brighton beach - M&I international

                  Difara - call and order a pie to pick up
                  If you go pick up rye bread at a jewish bakery

                  From CIA go over to flatbush and get some Roti, Image restataurant. and maybe jerk chicken.

                  Park slope - order buffalo wings at bonnies grill

                  Go down Union st to Henry get lard bread at Mazzola Bakery.

                  Go to Blue Marble Atlantic and Bond? for ice cream.

                  Pit stop on columbia is kid friendly

                  IN Red Hook the IKEA has a swedish cafeteria.

                  1. Walking down 13th Ave in Borough Park is interesting; I can't name any restaurants, but maybe someone else can help.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: gfood

                      Wow! Thank you everyone for such interesting suggestions! My head is spinning trying to decide what our plan will be...will try to map it out, definitely got to go to the ice cream spot for my son, and the Lioni place seems like a done deal, Nathans, yes, for a hot dog, Is anyone famliar with Carluccio's for sandwiches? Haven't seen it mentioned here, and my husband said someone he knows likes it alot. Any good spots in Brooklyn for great salads? I'm watching what I'm eating, so this stopping at a lot of places will work, because we can satisfy everyone's needs.........

                      Thanks again!

                      1. re: janie

                        «the Lioni place seems like a done deal» AND «Carluccio's for sandwiches?» These are essentially the same place, same ownership, right next to each other. Carluccio's sell Lioni Mozzarella and uses it on at least half of the hundreds of sandwiches.

                        1. re: bobjbkln

                          Funny you should say that about Lioni and Carluccio's, because we were very confused. I had looked up the address for Carluccio's and it gave the address for the Lioni sandwich shop.The sign, however reads Lioni, and not Carluccio. Anyway, we got a mozzarella, salami, and roasted pepper sandwich. Expensive at $10, but yes, it is huge. However, we thought the same sandwich at Casa Della Mozzarella on 187th in the Bronx, was much much better, and about $6-7, it can vary :)

                          But, anyway, we got a very late start so wanted to grab something to eat before heading over to Coney Island. So, we started in Bensonhurst.
                          Don't know if we missed something in terms of houses, but the place is nothing to look that in terms of architecture. People, yes, but buildings, no. So, first we tried to find Gino's Foccacaria on 18th ave, well we did, and the gates were down, closed. Turns out today was some sort of holiday and they had taken the week off. So, we missed out there.

                          Headed down the same street (18th ave) to Villabate, a bakery I was curious to check out. Was expecting seats, but no such luck. Got a nice little rainbow marzipan choc mousse creation. My son loved it. They had a very nice selection of stuff there, and prices were pretty good.

                          Didn't have a chance to check out any other Bensonhurst places, as we headed over to Coney Island. Walked around the boarkwalk, the rides were closed unfortunately, guess the place shuts down after Labor Day. But it was pretty mellow, until a fight broke out on the boardwalk. Foodwise, nothing really special happening there, just the usual stuff. But it was neat to see the original Nathan's, but we only eat Kosher hot dogs, so this was not to be. Kind of weird that there isn't a real kosher place right there, as we saw so many Orthodox walking around there.

                          Next we drove around checking out Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach--interesting areas, that reminded us, of Miami Beach, and Belle Harbor in Queens. We then headed up Coney Island Avenue, and checked out Olympic Pita, and Famous Pita. Olympic Pita was small, but their salads looked very fresh, their grilled stuff looked a little overdone. Place looked very clean. Prices were very good. Famous Pita which had been described as so dirty, didn't look very dirty to me, however, the atmosphere was sort of hit and run, compared to the more coziness of Olympic Pita. Also, the salads were nearly identical to Olympic however, as Famous, they were wilted soggy and not so fresh looking. It might also have to do with the fact, the doors were open at Famous and the doors were closed at Olympic and more air conditioning blowing. Also, the presentation in general was more appetizing at Olympic. I think if I was sending someone to either of those, I'd send them to Olympic, seems like they are trying to please more, too. Got something to go there, so I'll eat it tommorow, but I can tell that it will taste fine because it looks fresh. The beets at Famous didn't look so great.

                          Anyway.....I am curious if there is more of a full serve Middle Eastern Glatt Kosher place like Hapisgah, somewhere in that area, because I didn't see one just driving around. A place that serves more serious stuff..Saw many Kosher Bakeries, the ones that looked interesting were Chiffon on Coney Island Avenue (they had pink and whites cookies!), ostrovitsky bakery on avenue J. Too bad, I'm watching my sweets, so I couldn't buy anything.

                          Next, I tried to find that fruit market Orchard that had been discussed on Coney Island Ave (J-K), well, don't know who's encouraging people to go to this place, but first of all, it's tiny, and it's overpriced, and their stuff looked average at best. I see better in my stop and shop in Forest Hills.
                          Maybe the orthodox go there because that's who I saw in there, and couldn't for the life of me figure out what the appeal was.

                          Saw a large supermarket, Pomegranate on CIA, and was curious but didn't have time to stop, and looked it up, seems as though they just opened, and they are an Organic Kosher Market, like Whole Foods. http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categori...

                          That I find very interesting, and would love to go back there and buy some stuff...............wish I had known.

                          After leaving there, we were off to find the Ditmas Park Victorian Houses, and of course, no one you ask on the street ever knows what you'lre talking about, so we just happened to get there by accident, since we knew we were in the vicinity. Drove down Ditmas ave, and then found our way to Argyle, and eventually found the historic area between Church, and ? ( can't remember,), but what a pleasure, gorgeous homes, and so different in feeling from Richmond Hill Victorians. It didn't feel quiet there, because there was so much action so closeby. Didn't make it over to Cortelyou road which I believe has 2 places that have been talked about, --will have to look on the map to find that street.

                          Anyway, found ourselves back on Ave J, and we tried so hard to go to Difara, but the traffic was horrible and we couldn't find a space, and my son was beggin to go home, so we had to bail, and the place looked empty when we passed by at about 5:30 or so. We wondered how a place like this survived surrounded by mostly all Kosher/orthodox food stuff.....do enough people just travel over there, or do they work in the area?? Did this area used to be Italian?

                          So, all in all, we made it through to Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Midwood, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach. Headed back on the belt to Queens and came back via Crossbay/Woodhaven to avoid the traffic on the van wyck.

                          Came away with feeling like we'd need to devote 1 day to just one area because it is just too dense and too trafficky to be able to really get a feel for what each neighborhood has to offer. It would be great if we could create some shortcut posts for others wanting to explore which listed the best of each areas, where posters could keep adding their favorites onto one post. It took me quite a long time searching through so many old posts, and not really getting new info that gave address, etc.

                          So, I will start another thread, for the few places I went and create a place link. Hope others wll join in, and lets really dissect Brooklyn, because I'm dying to go back. The energy was amazing.

                          Thanks everyone...sorry so long!!

                          1. re: janie

                            Orchard - It is the best in Brooklyn, they only sell in season stuff, they are not overly concerned about what the exterior looks like. In general if you pay twice the price for fruit, you probably get 50% better. Anyway they are my source for real peaches and other fruit, when in season. You will note I did not recommend then for a 1 day trip to Brooklyn, but if you live near them, they are worth the trip to shop at.

                            " Bensonhurst ... the place is nothing to look that in terms of architecture." That's pretty funny. Both funny strange and funny ha ha.

                            too dense and too trafficky - Try a bicycle, get the official NYC bicycle map. Make dense and trafficky work for you.

                            "We wondered how a place like this survived surrounded by mostly all Kosher/orthodox food stuff "- they make dense and trafficky work for them. Notice the subway stop next to Difara, Touro college is on the corner. Brooklyn College and Midwood HS, and some other places are near by. Then there is all the international traffic from chowhound postings. As I said they make Dense and trafficky work for them.

                    2. Without a doubt, the best cheeseburgers I ever had (and this goes back to the early '80s) was at Skinflints in Bay Ridge, 5 Ave at 79 St.