Eating Well In is all about exploring a new (or familiar) place with your taste buds in mind. It’s a mix of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and bars that serve quality food and drinks worth seeking out. It’s not about straight-up health food (though sometimes that’s included too), but places that make all kinds of food and usually do some cool stuff with vegetables.
This Brooklyn edition is filled with the places that I keep going back to. As a Brooklyn resident for 2 and a half years now, I can sincerely say that I love it. It’s a part of greater New York City, but with all its different neighborhoods, it could be a city all on its own. I love the (slightly) slower pace and its grittier corners. I love the trees and brownstones and that I feel like I could ride a bike in this borough without getting run over. Here are some of my favorites so far.
I’m a big proponent of bread — as in real, fermented sourdough bread made by people who really care about it. There are a few bakeries around that really get it right.
So many things to love: Sourdough miche, croissants, semolina loaf, brioche loaf, and a whole menu of great brunch, lunch, and dinner fare. This used to be our local bakery and I miss it regularly. The staff is super friendly too.
285 3rd Ave. | Neighborhood: Gowanus
A big-deal artisan bakery that makes beautiful, hearty loaves. Campagne, miche, and flavored varieties are delish, as are their tartines (open-faced sandwiches) and pastries.
120 Smith St. | Neighborhood: Cobble Hill
Don’t be intimidated by these wine bars, they’re playful and modern — not stuffy and exclusionary. If you’re at a loss of what to order talk to your server! They love talking about stuff like this (that’s why they work there!) and they’ll probably let you taste some cool stuff too.
I would love this place for its art nouveau design and beautiful ambiance alone, but they have an ever-changing exciting natural wine list that’s fun, interesting, and totally different. The best date night spot. Also, the vague “bread and dip” is the go-to for a snack.
231 Court St. | Neighborhood: Cobble Hill
Cool wines, beautiful garden, and an impressive menu of snacks — is there anything better?
381 7th Ave. | Neighborhood: South Slope
There are A LOT of good Italian place in Brooklyn — not old school and new school (I’m still waiting to score a reservation at Lilia) but these are a handful I go back to often.
One of our favorite cozy spots. The menu is seasonal and constantly changing and the veggie salads and sides are always incredible. There’s only two pastas on the menu but they’re never the same as the last time and always delicious. The lambrusco is A+, too.
190 Dean St. | Neighborhood: Boerum Hill
A new-to-me spot in South Slope with a perfect outdoor patio and delicious food. It’s not heavy Italian food, they have lots of fresh seafood specials and veggie options, in addition to pastas and the like.
492 6th Ave. | Neighborhood: South Slope
Reliably delicious — everything from meatballs, to pasta, to salads are all excellent — they’ve got Italian-American down pat. It’s cozy in the winter and has a gorgeous backyard for the warmer weather.
457 Court St. | Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens
A build-your-own thin crust pizza scenario in a laid back part of BK. This place isn’t trendy, there’s never a big wait, and there are mostly big Italian families seated at the tables inside. I’m always surprised this place isn’t more bombarded, but I’m definitely not complaining.
691 6th Ave. | Neighborhood: South Slope
The inverse of Giuseppina’s, Roberta’s is as trendy as it gets with the Brooklyn kids, but for good reason. The restaurant is great, but the backyard is even better in nice weather. You have to order off the take-away menu, but that’s no problem at all.
261 Moore St. | Neighborhood: Bushwick
Spot on wood oven-cooked pies and seasonal sides on the border or Carroll Gardens and Red Hook.
338 Hamilton Ave. | Neighborhood: Red Hook
Court Street Grocers @leah.vander
Their sandwiches are superb. And the veggie versions are the best I’ve come across. The VegItalian Combo is a take on an Italian sandwich but with roasted butternut squash as the “meat”. Other amazing vegetarian options include a Reuben Brocc and Yam & Cheese.
485 Court St. | Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens
The Scuttlebutt sandwich is where it’s at. This unlikely superstar put this little sandwich shop in Williamsburg on the map. Made on fresh focaccia with hard boiled egg, olives, feta, pickles, and pimenton aioli, this out-of-the box combo is one the best vegetarian sandwiches out there.
378 Metropolitan Ave. | Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Perfectly silky hummus topped with things like sautéed mushrooms and chickpeas, plus shakshuka and salads. Pro tip: Order extra pita.
1209 Cortelyou Rd. | Neighborhood: Ditmas Park
This cafe has great coffee, baked goodies, and a small seasonal veggie-forward menu. Their avo toast with soft boiled egg, pickled shallot, and dukkah is both beautiful and tasty.
1058 Bedford Ave. | Neighborhood: Bed Stuy
Fort Defiance @aspoonfullofbenjamin
The Red Hook neighborhood is special partly because it’s right near the waterfront with views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty and also because there isn’t a subway in the area. So while a little difficult to get to, it’s got a community feel that’s different from other areas in Brooklyn. The wine list is really cool (with approachable and funny descriptions) and the cocktails are renowned (especially their Irish coffee). The menu is perfect for getting a cheese plate or simple, well-made dishes like veggie risotto, caesar salad, or a burger. If the weather is nice, try to snag a seat outside at the window.
365 Van Brunt St. | Neighborhood: Red Hook
A French-American menu with seasonal fare and mainstays like Steak Frites and Le Grand Socca — which is a vegetarian dish made up of a huge socca pancake (like a crepe made with chickpea flour) topped with olives, tangy whipped yogurt, hummus, and cooked veg. It’s fun to eat and a totally unique mix of flavors.
320 Atlantic Ave. | Neighborhood:
Local seafood, killer doughnuts for dessert, and cozy digs. They also have exceptional vegetable sides (their broccolini is my fave).
288 3rd Ave. | Neighborhood: Gowanus