The 20 Best Restaurants in Williamsburg

Sunday in Brooklyn’s brunch menu offers many savory options.
Sunday in Brooklyn’s brunch menu offers many savory options. | © Evan Sung
Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor22 July 2019

Williamsburg has a foodie scene that easily rivals most Manhattan neighborhoods. From date-night spots you’ll want to linger at to fast-casual joints that don’t compromise flavor for efficiency, our list of the best restaurants in Williamsburg will satiate your every craving.

Enjoy ambient dining at St. Mazie Bar & Supper Club

Restaurant, American, $$$
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St. Mazie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
St. Mazie in Williamsburg offers many enticing options, including bowls of mussels. | © Henry Hargreaves

You’ll probably hear the music pouring out of St. Mazie before you step through the door. Live jazz – a regular fixture Thursday through Sunday – is a fitting accompaniment to strong cocktails and oysters in the intimate bar area. When you’re ready for conversation and a meal, grab a table in the back garden (temperature permitting) or the ambient downstairs dining room for hearty dishes such as mussels linguini, slow-cooked short rib, and creamy Portabello mushroom and parmesan risotto.

Settle down for cosy meals at Shelter

Restaurant, American, $$$
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This huge warehouse space somehow still manages to be extremely cozy thanks to the cabin-esque decor – shearling throws, tartan blankets and rustic wooden tables with a smattering of decorative deer antlers. Shelter’s giant wood-fired oven cooks bubbling pizza and more-ish empanadas, plus an assortment of lightly charred meats.

Zenkichi

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
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Zenkichi in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.
Dishes, such as the nagoya teba wings, come beautifully plated at Zenkichi in Williamsburg. | © Hiroshi Toyoda
This inconspicuous Japanese restaurant is a perfect date-night location. Zenkichi’s dark interior is a maze of different levels and private booths hidden behind delicate bamboo blinds. The food (which also caters to vegetarians and gluten-free diners) includes a huge assortment of small plates and sake pairings. If you’re feeling flush, opt for the eight-course tasting menu and sample a little bit of everything.
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Assorted Plate on this spring tasting menu.

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Casa Pública

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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Casa Publica in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
Bottles of liquor line the wall at Casa Pública in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. | © Evan Sung

Authentic Mexican dishes you’d find at a mercados (food market) inspire the menu at Casa Pública. There are seven different taco fillings on offer, including exotic octopus with fingerling potatoes and avocado, plus an extensive mezcal and tequila cocktail list to wash them down. The citrusy Mi Corazon with mezcal, blood orange and hibiscus salt is delicious.

Lilia

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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This Italian restaurant resides in a cavernous space once occupied by an auto shop. Lilia chef Missy Robbins creates silky homemade pasta dishes that will spoil you for life. Some dishes are elaborate (think agnolotti stuffed with sheep’s milk cheese, cooked in saffron, dried tomato and honey), while others keep it simple but incredibly flavorful, like spicy rigatoni with San Marzano tomatoes, chilies, oregano and a dusting of pecorino.

Llama Inn

Restaurant, Peruvian, $$$
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The Llama Inn bills itself as “part urban hacienda, part charming corner barrio bar.” This airy corner restaurant has a menu of Peruvian favorites including lime-drenched ceviche and beef tenderloin stir fry, as well as unique additions such as quinoa served with banana, avocado, bacon and cashew, and palo santo ice cream (yes, that fragrant wood burnt in yoga studios). Don’t forget to order a pisco cocktail – there are two mixtures on tap.

Pies-n-Thighs

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Homemade southern chicken is delicious with a waffle and syrup
Homemade Southern chicken is delicious with a waffle and syrup | © Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Perfectly executed comfort food is what makes Pies-n-Thighs so adored by customers. This no-fuss restaurant has won a slew of awards for its satiating, salty fried chicken, fluffy biscuits, crispy-edged donuts, and classic apple pie.

Emmy Squared

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Margarita Pizza at Emmy Squared in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
The margarita pizza at Emmy Squared in Williamsburg is one must-order. | © Emmy Squared
In a borough full of classic slices Emmy Squared’s doughy, angular Detroit-style pizzas, oozing with excess mozzarella, feel special. The Colony² (sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, pickled jalapeños and drizzled honey) is deservedly popular, and the Emmy (mozzarella, banana peppers, red onion, ranch, side sauce) is the antithesis of traditional but totally delicious. Remember the rule for deep-dish pizzas like these: one pie between two is plenty.

Diner

Restaurant, Diner, American, $$$
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Everything about Diner has an old-school feel, including its setting inside an old sleeper train carriage. Waitstaff scribble the day’s menu on your paper table cloth – a list of grass-fed meat dishes with a few appetizers and a selection of hard-to-resist desserts. The food isn’t overly pretentious (no ingredients you have to Google), but it’s always reliably delicious, which is probably why the restaurant is still going strong decades after it first opened.

Sunday In Brooklyn, New York

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Sunday in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, New York, USA.
Sunday in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, New York, USA. | © Bess Adler

Warm fall vibes are what’s on the menu at neighborhood haunt Sunday in Brooklyn. Let the wood-burning ovens – and welcoming staff – at this Williamsburg hotspot warm your heart and stomach as you dig into an unexpected fall dish of pumpkin soft-serve ice cream with bourbon caramel and spiced pumpkin seeds.

Egg

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Egg’s farm-to-table menu includes brunch staples like biscuits and gravy, french toast smothered in Vermont maple syrup, and eggs rothko – easy-cooked eggs nestled in a slice of fluffy brioche, topped with melted cheddar (plus optional kale on the side, for those who want something green on their plate). The restaurant’s ingredients are all produced on pastoral Goatfell Farm in the Catskills area of upstate New York, which uses organic and permaculture growing methods.

Maison Premiere

Bar, Restaurant, American, Seafood, Gluten-free, $$$
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Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, New York, USA
Maison Premiere’s interior is cozy and intimate | © Noah Fecks
With its horseshoe bar, leather booths and trellised back patio, Maison Premiere is the kind of spot that makes you want to dress up for the evening. Start with an absinthe cocktail and a tray of oysters, and then move on to the seafood gumbo. It’s the best you’ll taste outside of New Orleans.

Cafe Colette, New York

Cafe, American, $$$
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Cafe Colette is best known for its brunch. Go healthy on the main, with a salmon bowl or green falafel with shiso cucumber quinoa, beet hummus and fresh pita, and then get a “small sweet” dish, like the dark chocolate ganache toast with whipped cream and sea salt, to satiate your sugar hankering.

The Four Horsemen, New York

Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Australian, $$$
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Four Horseman, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
The rib eye is one dish you might find on the Four Horseman's menu. | © The Four Horsemen
The primary reason to visit the Four Horsemen (which, incidentally, is owned by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem) is its extensive variety of “natural wines” produced by smaller vineyards and containing minimal chemicals and preservatives. The food menu features raw and cured fish with fancy toppings, and yummy small plates made for sharing.

Okonomi

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
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One restaurant, two incarnations. By day, Okonomi serves a set menu of ichiju-sansai – a platter of complementary small servings including a protein, rice, soup and veggies. By night, it turns into a ramen joint with light, flavorful noodle soups made from local ingredients and seafood broths.

Peter Luger Steak House, New York

Restaurant, Cafe, Steakhouse, $$$
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There are few steakhouses in New York City that are as charming as Peter Luger
There are few steakhouses in New York City that are as charming as Peter Luger | © Michael Kirby / REX / Shutterstock
The original Peter Luger opened in Williamsburg in 1887. Since then it’s gone on to garner a reputation as one of the best steakhouses in the city, with a Michelin star under its belt to boot. The restaurant only selects USDA Prime beef, which is then dry-aged on-site using tightly controlled conditions. Book a tour of the dry-aging facilities before dinner to see where the magic happens.

Fette Sau, New York

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Fette Sau, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
Fette Sau in Williamsburg offers a variety of barbecue meats and side dishes. | © Michael Parella
Fette Sau, which translates as “fat pig” in German, is one of New York’s most celebrated barbecue restaurants. Smother the best pieces of meat, from pulled pork to half a chicken, in your choice of four house sauces: vinegar barbecue, spicy barbecue, spicy mustard or the homemade rub containing espresso, brown sugar, salt, cumin and garlic powder.

Marlow & Sons, Brooklyn

Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, American, $$$
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Fresh oyster with lemon and lime.
Fresh oysters with lemon and lime make a great appetizer. | © Suporn Thawornnithi / Shutterstock
The front room of Marlow & Sons has more of a café/store feel – a casual space for coffee, biscuit sandwiches and conversation. In the back, a low-lit dining room serves reliably delicious meals that begin with briny oysters and orange wine and invariably involve the restaurant’s signature brick chicken – a chicken cooked under the weight of a brick.

Best Pizza

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Pizza oven.
A pizza is baking in an oven. | © andrewsegers.com / Shutterstock

In New York, you don’t have to go far to find a slice shop, but quality ones like Best Pizza are more difficult to come by. Owner Frank Pinello combines influences from his Sicilian heritage and upbringing in Bensonhurst (a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Italian-American population) to create flavorful pizzas, cooked in a 100-year-old wood-burning oven until the base crisps up.

Cafe Mogador

Restaurant, Moroccan, Middle Eastern, $$$
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Cafe Mogador has been serving award-winning Moroccan cuisine to patrons since the early ’80s and offers one of the more interesting brunches in the city (when you’re bored of avo toast, try eggs with hummus, tabouli, arabic salad and zahatar pita). The tagines – lamb or chicken stewed with apricots, prunes, chickpeas, raisins, preserved lemon, olives and spicy green herbs – are particularly memorable.
These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.