Once a haven for artists, bohemians, and hipsters, Williamsburg has seen a lot of major changes lately. Restaurants in Williamsburg range from the original Bedford Avenue staples (which are slowly trickling out), to new, uber-chic spots that require a Wall Street salary to afford. But with restaurants in Williamsburg opening (and closing) nearly every week, there is still plenty of variety and creative cuisine for all budget and palates to enjoy. Here are some of our favorite Williamsburg restaurants, both old and new!
This Asian-European fusion restaurant opened in Fall 2013 and has continued to get better as the Chef Bao Bao plays with the menu to differentiate her unique cuisine. Highlights in the romantic, dimly lit restaurant include the seared duck breast ramen ($16), which combines Japanese and French flavors in a harmonious broth and noodle dish. Baoburg is also open daily for brunch, serving fusion dishes like Bao Benedict — pulled pork and sautéed spinach with pine nuts all served atop a fried “Bao” Asian bun ($12) or the quick soft boiled eggs with a shot of fresh orange juice ($6). Because who doesn’t want to start the morning with a shot?
126 N 6th Street, baoburgnyc.com
A classic Williamsburg restaurant, egg serves home-style Southern cuisine in North Williamsburg. Breakfast is served well into the afternoon and for good reason — it’s delicious. House-cured bacon ($3) is cooked to optimal crispness and enjoyed alongside an order of poached eggs with broiled tomatoes ($11) or their homemade biscuits in creamy sausage or mushroom gravy ($12). The newly renovated dining room offers plenty of natural light from the skylight, and diners can enjoy the white butcher paper with provided colorful crayons on the tables to make some art while waiting for the drool-inducing dishes. The food is excellent and the crayons keep you entertained while you draw your fellow diners in cartoon-form, what’s not to love?!
109 N 3rd St, eggrestaurant.com
Right across from McCarren Park, The Elm brings relaxed luxury to Williamsburg in a classy, yet subtle way. The subterranean 70-seat restaurant serves modern French fare with a Brooklyn twist, three meals a day. Weekend brunch features all-American classics along with lush variations, like lobster benedict with a homemade Béarnaise drizzled on top ($17). Dinner features a fantastic breadth of vegetable options, along with the classic Elm Burger ($14) served with tomato confit and Brooklyn Beer white cheddar on top. The $6 cocktail hour from 6-7:30 on weekdays is also a major steal!
160 N 12th St, theelmnyc.com
Traif, which refers to anything non-Kosher, like pork and shellfish, is an ironic establishment in Williamsburg, known for its big Hasidic Jewish population. The “globally inspired Soul Food” menu changes seasonally, and includes plenty of fresh produce along with its “traif”. Parties of three or more are invited to enjoy a tasting menu, which offers samplings of the chef’s most popular dishes at the moment. Traif only serves dinner, and reservations are highly recommended. For the super adventurous, we recommend trying the bacon and buttercream doughnut, the ultimate breakfast item appropriate at any hour.
229 S 4th St, traifny.com
One of the newest additions to Williamsburg’s dining scene, this Malaysian night market inspired restaurant serves fresh Malaysian cuisine well-tuned to the tastebuds of New Yorkers. Noodle, rice, soup, and stir-fry dishes are available, along with a fresh fish menu, but a meal can also be constructed out of the wide variety of tasty appetizers here. Tasting the roti (thin Asian crepe-like pancakes) is a must here: the crispy roti come filled with everything from hot peppers or curry to Elvis style with banana and peanut butter or S’mores style with melty marshmallows and chocolate!
208 Grand St, pasarmalamny.com
This Williamsburg restaurant is all about meatballs! Beef, spicy pork, turkey, and veggie are all on the menu along with the daily specials, which have included buffalo chicken, reuben, and breakfast sausage in the past. You can have your balls any way you’d like: in sauce, on a slider, on a hero, on top of spaghetti, or on the daily risotto or salad. Sauce choices also range from marinara to creamy mushroom to pesto, so the combinations are pretty much endless. The Meatball shop serves food and cocktails into the early hours of the morning (4am some nights!), so it’s the perfect place for your first or second dinner.
170 Bedford Ave, themeatballshop.com
Perhaps the biggest selling point of Surf Bar is its sand floor, but who doesn’t want to go to the beach any day of the year? Definitely one of the more unique restaurants in Williamsburg, Surf Bar is a great stop for a quick drink and shared appetizer or a full meal. Seafood is of course the specialty here. Lobster rolls ($15) are served in a warm buttery bun and five varieties of chowder are perfect to top off a meal. Homemade pastas are also available, served with fresh seafood, like the indulgent papardelle with lobster and blistered cherry tomatoes ($15), easily one of the best seafood specials in Brooklyn. Sandals are highly recommended. Bikinis are not.
139, N 6th St, brooklynsurfbar.com
Next time you find yourself among the prior land of the hipsters (future land of J Crew and Starbucks, maybe?), you can choose to dip your feet in the sand, dine in luxury on the lush white tablecloths of the Elm or go for the irony at the always-popular Traif. Are there any spots you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out our favorite Williamsburg bars (complete with each one showing us how to make one of their signature cocktails) and also check out our Where to Eat in Williamsburg section, constantly updated with reviews of our favorite spots to eat in the neighborhood!