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Mar 15, 2009 05:17 PM

Garden Cafe, Prospect Heights/Brooklyn?

We are thinking of venturing to Brooklyn for our next splurge-ish dinner. So far we have gone to Gordon Ramsey, The Modern Dining Room, Robuchon and Allen & Delancey. I am in the camp that likes the River Cafe. We read some posts on the Garden Cafe.

Your thoughts on the Garden Cafe?

Thanks in advance.


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  1. If the owners are into it (& last time we were there they werent & were talking about closing down... they did not look very inspired (or interested) any longer... I only recently heard that they remained open), the Garden Cafe is a very nice place to have dinner. But, in my opinion, it is not a "splurge-ish" dinner place. It is a very small room, romantic in a laid back quiet way, with a very limited menu of well prepared food. I've always enjoyed myself there but, given your other named places, this is not in the same league. For something approaching what you're looking for, I'd recommend Tempo. The owners are ex-River Cafe (albeit years ago) and the place has a good feel to it.... style & class. The food's excellent and they have a deep well priced wine list, with knowledgeable staff. Although other Brooklyn places (Saul, Grocery, Applewood, Dressler, Convivium & Henry's End as examples) are very worthwhile, I think Tempo stands out as an overall dining experience, more similar to what you're describing. Of course, it doesnt take much for me to also push Henry's End, especially now that the game menu is going strong. But that's a very different atmosphere. Let us know what you choose... I'm always interested in feedback from folks who come into Brooklyn just to eat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve R

      Thanks, Steve R. We thought about Saul and my dining companion has already been to Henry's End. I have many friends who love Dressler but it sounds like more of an every day place. I'll mention Tempo to her.

      We will report back.

    2. The Garden Café is unlike any of the restaurants you listed. It is a mom and pop operation (he in Kitchen, she with a helper out front). There are 11 tables and a small ever changing menu and wine list (only have a wine license, no spirits). We love this place and think it's great for a romantic special occasion dinner. Special, but less fancy than most of the restaurants you mention (expect to pay less than $100 pp). Note that someone recently reported that the chef had a knee operation, and at least one night, they had to cancel reservations because he was unable to cook, so check if that might be a problem.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobjbkln

        bobjbkin, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, Garden Cafe is different then places we have been. We are looking for excellent food, atmosphere and price are less important. Falai is probably my current NYC favorite and it is a tiny place, somewhat under the radar scene. I am getting concerned that we may be too late to try Garden Cafe . . .

      2. I'm pretty sure it's closed. I saw it for sale on a real estate website.

        7 Replies
        1. re: lanamonster

          lanamonster, we read recent posts that the closure has not happened yet.

            1. re: jen kalb

              They clearly have given up on (or changed their mind about) selling it. The Craigslist ad is long gone, the For Sale sign on the building has disappeared. In fact, when we called for a reservation in January, they _claimed_ that the "rumor" of them selling was not true. For the most part we felt that the food and atmosphere was up to their previous standard.

              1. re: bobjbkln

                they are still open. the food is solid, the space charming and the service relaxed and inviting. Is it the best food in Park Slope/Prospect Heights? No, I don't think so. Not terribly inventive, but just solid, well made dishes. They also have a during the week special, I think it's $35 for 3 courses or something similar.

                1. re: ginsbera

                  IIRC it's better than that. $28 for two courses, $32 for three.

                    1. re: ginsbera

                      Thanks everyone. We have a reservation for April and will report back on our experience.

          1. could you please post the address and phone number of garden cafe?

            1 Reply
            1. re: kennycandy


              Garden Cafe
              620 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

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