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Should I visit Brooklyn for a meal?

Franko103 Dec 11, 2008 03:13 AM

Hi me and my girlfriend are in New York in January and considering heading across Brooklyn Bridge for some food. Any good restaurants near the Brooklyn side of the Bridge that could be walked to or would it be too cold to walk across the Bridge that time of year??

Been to Manhattan a few times from Scotland, but never ventured into the boroughs so any recdommendations/tips would be great.



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  1. c
    ChowDiva RE: Franko103 Dec 11, 2008 06:33 AM

    As a partial respondant, I'd have to say yes! With the weather we've been having (warm, cold...warm, cold) you never know...maybe you will catch a warmer day while you're here.
    A few places close to or within a 10-15 minute walk from the Bklyn side of the bridge:
    River Cafe (upscale, perfect classic NY "view")
    Grimaldi's (pretty famous pizza joint, though most will argue there's better...still a very decent pie)
    Noodle Pudding (above- average neighborhood Italian)

    If you take a 10-15 minute walk there are a few pockets of areas which afford quite a selection of different restaurants and cusines. Take a stroll and you will find some good eats on Smith Street, Court Street or Atlantic Avenue.

    1. m
      MrsT RE: Franko103 Dec 11, 2008 07:47 AM

      Of course you should venture out of Manhattan. New York is made up of 5 boroughs--not just Manhattan. If you have time, you should not only try to visit Brooklyn, also try to get to the Bronx, Queens, and yes even Staten Island. You should try to experience the city as a whole. Go through the Outer Borough board for some great places to visit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MrsT
        bnemes3343 RE: MrsT Dec 11, 2008 08:14 AM

        Totally agree. Love Manhattan, but you could spend your life eating great food in the other boroughs.

      2. r
        Ralphus RE: Franko103 Dec 11, 2008 08:24 AM

        Nice day would be to take the subway to Atlantic/Pacific and walk down 5th Ave from Flatbush. Shops, bars and restaurants abound. Stop for dinner at Al Di La or Stone Park and follow up with beers at the Gate.

        1. d
          DeeDee RE: Franko103 Dec 11, 2008 10:51 AM

          I highly recommend that you visit Brooklyn during your stay. Near the bridge I would say you should go have real NYC pizza at Grimaldi's. Also nearby is a great chocolate shop called Jaques Torres -- great for truffles and for hot chocolate.

          8 Replies
          1. re: DeeDee
            lambretta76 RE: DeeDee Dec 11, 2008 12:40 PM

            Second Jacques Torres, would also recommend Hecho en Dumbo if you're there at night for Mexico City-style antojitos. A little further afield is the new and trendy Vinegar Hill House; it's Dumbo adjacent. Similar to a gastropub and in Brooklyn Heights is Jack the Horse Tavern, which is also good. (Ignoring what the space looks like, it reminds me of The Devonshire House in Chiswick pre-Gordon Ramsay.)

            1. re: lambretta76
              secondbecky RE: lambretta76 Dec 11, 2008 01:27 PM

              defintely Jacques Torres, but I'd stay away from Grimaldi's - totally overrated, and if there's a line, you'll be waiting outside in the January cold for a long time... Instead go to Franny's on Flatbush Avenue. No view, but amazing brick oven thin crust pizza and delicious pastas. Of course, if you want what is considered "the best" - Di Fara's in Midwood - but hard to get to by subway and the wait is often 45 minutes for a pie.

              Note that Al Di La, Stone Park, River Cafe, Vinegar Hill are all quite expensive if you are on a budget. but heck, if you can afford those places, you should go to Peter Luger's for the best porterhouse ever (make a reservation though - and make sure to order the bacon appetizer) - it's right over the Williamsburg Bridge. There's a diner right there called Marlow and Sons which is good too. Or the Dresden.

              Sea in Williamsburg has amazing Thai food - it's been touted alot, and for good reason, it's absolutely NOT overrated.

              I like the poster above's suggestion of beer at the Gate, but it's really only fun in the summer when you can sit outside. Instead try Draught Barn on 3rd Avenue and 12th Street - it might not look like a great neighborhood, but the beer selection cannot be beat in the city.

              1. re: secondbecky
                malibu RE: secondbecky Dec 11, 2008 02:32 PM

                Just to make a correction so not to confuse our out of town guests, across from Peter Lugar is Dressler (highly recommended). About 3-4 blocks down from that is Diner and next to Diner is a very nice restaurant called Marlow & Sons. As mentioned, all of these are very good suggestions (my faves in fact) but are located at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge and very far by foot from the targeted area.

                1. re: malibu
                  secondbecky RE: malibu Dec 11, 2008 02:44 PM

                  thanks for the clarification. I type too quickly for my brain to catch up sometimes.

                  1. re: malibu
                    MB fka MB RE: malibu Dec 12, 2008 06:22 AM

                    I've lived in NY (Brooklyn) for just over a year, and dinner at Marlow & Sons (williamsburg) has been one of my best meals ever. Simple, seasonal food prepared perfectly. Dinner with 4 foodie friends in October and we're all still raving.

                    Al Di La (park slope) is quite solid too and I don't find it very expensive (and I'm on more of a budget). There's some nice boutique shopping along 5th ave there too.

                    I quite like No. 7 Greene (dinner) or ICI (brunch) if you end up exploring Fort Greene, Brooklyn. You've also got Cake Man Raven here for red velvet cake if you're a sweets person (it's pretty sugary!)

                    To the OP: I'm a big fan of finding both a neighborhood worth exploring and a meal worth having in that neighborhood. So if it's too cold during your visit to walk over the bridge and hit Grimaldi's or one of the other recommendations, consider these other areas.

                  2. re: secondbecky
                    DeeDee RE: secondbecky Dec 14, 2008 02:01 PM

                    Please note that Franny's is not open for lunch (only dinner) in case you were planning to come to Brookly during the day. Sea in Williamsburg is NOT by any stretch of the imaginzation amazing Thai food. Very standard. Fun lively bar scene but not good food. The bar mentioned is actually called Draft Barn (not Draught Barn) and it has only been open a few weeks....there are MANY better beer selections -- in Manhattan -- try D.B.A., Bind Tiger Ale House and Gingerman.

                    Great beer places in Brookyn are mostly in Williamsburg -- Spuyten Duyvil, Spike Hill, Mug's Ale House. Brooklyn Brewery and Barcade.

                    1. re: DeeDee
                      gfood RE: DeeDee Dec 14, 2008 03:13 PM

                      Actually, Beer Table, my favorite, probably better than all the above. He has a bit of a Manhattan following now. Not inexpensive, though.

                      1. re: DeeDee
                        secondbecky RE: DeeDee Dec 15, 2008 10:56 AM

                        Actually if you go to the bar, the sign outside says DRAUGHT BARN. Blind Tiger is good, but the poster wants BROOKLYN information.

                        Having just honeymooned in Thailand, I can honestly say that Sea is a VERY good spot and not overrated.

                2. Bob Martinez RE: Franko103 Dec 11, 2008 02:04 PM

                  You asked for places that are close to the Brooklyn end of the bridge. While many of the suggestions are well intentioned I'll note that most of them are *not* in walking distance. This thread is beginning to read like "Best of Brooklyn" which is fine but not what you asked for. If you're in any doubt as to locations please Google the restaurants.

                  NY winter weather can vary. If the temperatures are in the upper 40s to low 50s the bridge will be a comfortable walk. Anything colder than that could be really unpleasant.

                  The River Cafe is lovely but pricey based on the range that you quoted in your Manhattan post. They also require a jacket, something that may be an issue.

                  In Brooklyn Heights Noodle Pudding would be a good choice. So would Queen. Note that NP doesn't take reservations. Best to show up no later than 6

                  A sleeper choice is Pete's Downtown. Solid food with an excellent view of the water.

                  River Cafe
                  1 Water St., Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  Noodle Pudding
                  38 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  Pete's Downtown
                  2 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                    Franko103 RE: Bob Martinez Dec 12, 2008 06:02 AM

                    Thanks for that, trying to getabit ofthe whole New Yorkexperience so hopefully a night in Brooklyn can help towards that.

                    On another note - any of these restaurants have a particulary good view ofthe city?

                    1. re: Franko103
                      Bob Martinez RE: Franko103 Dec 12, 2008 06:34 AM

                      The view from Pete's Downtown is very good. (It's directly across the street from River Cafe.) Call ahead of time and reserve a table by the window.

                      While dinner at the River Cafe will set you back major bucks, a nice fall back is to have drinks at the bar. I mentioned above that they require men to wear a jacket. I don't say this lightly but this is one place that's worth putting a jacket on for. The view is one of the best in the world.

                      There's an auxiliary room for folks who don't have jackets but it doesn't have half the cachet of the main bar. (I know that because I once forgot the jacket requirement and had to sit there. You've go the same view but It's just not the same.)

                      If I were you I'd do drinks at RC and eat at Pete's. If the weather is brutally cold both places are easily reached by subway. (The A, R, or #2.)



                      1. re: Franko103
                        secondbecky RE: Franko103 Dec 12, 2008 06:54 AM

                        i really wouldn't be that concerned with views. Just walk on the boardwalk to get your view. otherwise you're going to pay MAJOR bucks.

                        1. re: secondbecky
                          Bob Martinez RE: secondbecky Dec 12, 2008 07:07 AM

                          Pete's is quite reasonable.

                      2. re: Bob Martinez
                        bebevonbernstein RE: Bob Martinez Dec 12, 2008 12:24 PM

                        If you're into walking, you'd have an awesome time crossing the bridge and heading into Brooklyn. If you want to search the boards, you're close to Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, and Cobble Hill. While you're on this side, you might want to check out the places on Atlantic, including Sahadis (if it were me, I'd plan on spending the entire day in the borough, starting with pub lunch on Atlantic, and ending with dinner at whichever place hits your fancy from the boards in those neighborhoods, followed by drinks and/or music. You're also 3 subway stops from Park Slope -- on the music side, Barbe's in PS can't be beat). Having just gotten an office in Dumbo (I live in Park Slope), I can't believe how walkable the F line is . . .

                      3. FoodWine RE: Franko103 Dec 13, 2008 12:08 PM

                        Hello Franko,
                        If you do decide to venture deeper into Brooklyn than just a walking distance from the bridge, I warmly recommend Restaurant Tempo on Fifth Avenue (btw Carrol Street & Garfield Place) in Park Slope.
                        I do not know your taste, but my husband and I love the place, and prefer it over any other restaurant in the surrounding neighborhoods.
                        We love the food, the wine list, the space, the comfortable seating arrangements (comfy chairs or / and little "sofas") and the friendly service.
                        Tempo is more upscale than the other restaurants on 5th Avenue and has a fabulous wine list (best one in Brooklyn not counting River Cafe or Peter Luger).

                        We happen to know people who regularly come from Manhattan to Brooklyn, just for Tempo.
                        Here is a link, if you are interested in checking the place out:

                        1. gnocchi RE: Franko103 Dec 13, 2008 12:20 PM

                          Many good suggestions have been offered. I would recommend taking the subway to Brooklyn and then walking back over the bridge after eating. Once over the bridge will be enough for a first visit and the views will be better walking toward Manhattan. Save your walking for the Brooklyn side, be sure to walk the length of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on your return to the bridge.
                          Pete's is OK but I prefer Noodle Pudding, Henry's End or Queen near the bridge. Or depending how much of a walker you are, it is less than 1.5 miles to walk back from Carroll Gardens or a little over 2 miles from Park Slope to the bridge.
                          Figure about one mile to cross the bridge itself.

                          1. d
                            dietndesire RE: Franko103 Dec 13, 2008 03:27 PM

                            Walking in January, that is no treat. Though Scotland is not exactly a tropical paradise, I guess. You have to think it will not be warmer than 45 at best and there is plenty of wind to get through to the bones. That said, if you like it like that, go for it.
                            A few notes,
                            Jacques Torres has 2 locations in Manhattan and both are better.
                            Grimaldi's is best when gotten to go(I would never actually sit down there)but it is not revelational though I think it is solid. DiFara, as said, is worthy but in the middle of nothing and hard to get to.
                            Al di La, that is BK envy speaking, zero reason to go there. Better choices in Manhattan. I cannot speak of many of the other restaurants.
                            Peter Luger, y, I go there but there is a fair amount of discussion as to whether or not it is the best or at least noticeably better than some Manhattan counterparts. So, I am not going to say you HAVE to do it to eat steak, even though I do.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: dietndesire
                              Pan RE: dietndesire Dec 14, 2008 02:42 AM

                              I'm surprised by people saying that Di Fara is hard to get to. It's actually easy to get to. All you have to do is take the Q train to Av. J and walk a half a block to the corner of 15th St. It may TAKE a while, but it is NOT hard to get to. Of course, it's nowhere near the Brooklyn Bridge or any other bridge over the East River.

                              1. re: Pan
                                Bob Martinez RE: Pan Dec 14, 2008 07:38 AM

                                If you're recommending DiFara's it's only sporting to mention the lines and the chaotic ordering situation.

                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                  Lizard RE: Bob Martinez Dec 14, 2008 11:27 AM

                                  Exactly. If this is a Scot visitor, please be aware that proper queues are not what to expect. That said, going to Di Fara's and putting in one full pie order (at least) and a couple of slices, will be well worth it. The pizza scenario in Scotland is grim, so I think a visitor would be well benefited from a trip to the glory that is Dom (really Nick).

                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                    Pan RE: Bob Martinez Dec 14, 2008 06:42 PM

                                    Of course.

                                  2. re: Pan
                                    dietndesire RE: Pan Dec 14, 2008 02:31 PM

                                    Well, yes, the Q takes you right there but the Q is not the most accessible train depending on where you are in Manhattan and it is a long ride and I think the other point is there is NOTHING else of interest around there. Basically, a trip there to see the less than civilized behavior amongst the locals and tourists in less than kind surroundings. Might not be what a visitor wants. I can do it, sure. I can navigate the savages and I know the score about waiting, etc. Just putting out a bit of a warning since it does not sound like an ideal way to spend a few hours for the visitor even though the pizza is the real deal. If Franko decides to go, hey, that is his choice and I am hardly against it.

                                    1. re: dietndesire
                                      jeska RE: dietndesire Dec 14, 2008 03:11 PM

                                      Agreed. DiFara's is better in the summertime, when you can hop back on the Q and go either to Coney Island or wander around Prospect Park.

                                      1. re: jeska
                                        Pan RE: jeska Dec 14, 2008 06:45 PM

                                        I agree that it's a better trip in warmer weather, too.

                                      2. re: dietndesire
                                        Pan RE: dietndesire Dec 14, 2008 06:45 PM

                                        There is at least one thing to see near there. Brooklyn College's campus is among the more beautiful college campuses in the area, and it's an easy walk from Di Fara. There are also some beautiful houses on the tree-lined side streets in the area. I wouldn't suggest it as a highlight of a trip for anyone from Europe, though.

                                        1. re: dietndesire
                                          JFores RE: dietndesire Dec 14, 2008 07:10 PM

                                          I've taken over a dozen tourists there from as far away as Mangalore and I haven't had a single complaint or show of disappointment. It's a destination in itself and you can still get to a lot from there. Why is everyone acting like a Q train ride is some sort of ridiculous trek?

                                          1. re: JFores
                                            bebevonbernstein RE: JFores Dec 15, 2008 04:33 AM

                                            Hey, J -- it's not that it's a ridiculous trek, or even that DiFara's isn't worth going to -- it's that the poster specifically asked for places around the Brooklyn Bridge. Once he decides to hop a subway, anyplace in Brooklyn (or Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island, for that matter!) is fair game.

                                      3. re: dietndesire
                                        planetjess RE: dietndesire May 6, 2009 08:44 AM

                                        Old thread, but I have to respond to dietndesire re: Al di La. I work in Manhattan, eat about 80% of my restaurant meals there and have no problem acknowledging Manhattan restaurants that are great or good or what have you. I have no issue with comparing two restaruants regardless of which borough they are in and saying one, to me, is better than the other, even if the better restaurant is in Manhattan, so I don't think I have "Brooklyn envy".

                                        That said, Al di La is, to me, not only better than "zero reason to go there", but is worth taking a trip into Brooklyn for what it is (and any number of Manhattanites and residents of other boroughs do so). It is not a "fancy" restaurant, and equally good meals can be had at specific restaurants in Manhattan or other boroughs when consideration is given to restaurant choice, but it serves consistently excellently and thoughtfully prepared northern Italian food in what I think of as an "Italian bistro" setting. Tastes can certainly vary, and so I don't quibble with the fact that you have your own valid reasons to dislike the place, but while no restaurant is without its detractors, Al di La comes pretty close (widely praised on these boards, by the food press, etc.)--I'd at least encourage absolutely anyone to give it a try. Particularly for anyone who is looking for a place to eat in Brooklyn, I'd put it in a category at the top of the list together with a few other restaurants.

                                        Note that I do not recommend it for any and all occasions--they don't take reservations (so I generally hesitate to recommend it for special occasions such as anniversaries, as there will certainly be a wait unless one gets there a bit before opening) and I don't recommend it for parties larger than four.

                                      4. c
                                        cazique RE: Franko103 Dec 15, 2008 07:43 AM

                                        Henry's End was mentioned in passing but I want to make sure you consider it. It is right near the bridge (on Henry Street, just a couple of blocks from the... um, end). Very friendly atmosphere and reasonable (if not cheap) prices for outstanding food - it's one of my absolute favorites in Brooklyn or anywhere. Particularly in the winter, when its specialty of game entrees (try the elk) really shines. If I were taking out of town friends out for a nice dinner in January, this is where I'd take them. (http://www.henrysend.com


                                        Henry's End
                                        44 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: cazique
                                          pizzajunkie RE: cazique May 18, 2009 10:45 AM

                                          This has all been so helpful - I have determined that I am headed to Franny's instead of Di Fara for sure. I'll just get there around 5:30 and hopefully snag a table right when they open. I don't have that much time to spend waiting at DiFara when every minute of my visit counts!
                                          Thanks again to all who posted on this subject.

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