Stroll along 5th Avenue and you’ll come across many Middle Eastern favorites like Yemen Cafe. This take-out joint offers special dishes like salta (a bubbling pot of goo with pita for dipping), fatah (lamb porridge with more bread for dipping), and haneez (spiced lamb). All of these are delicious, sharable Yemeni dishes that’ll make you feel warm and cozy from the inside out.
Hazar Turkish Kebab
If you’re a fan of Turkish kebabs, high-tail it to Hazar Turkish Kebab for one of the best in New York City. Locals will tell you that they also make the best falafel in New York, and be sure to try their yumurtali pide – a sort of Middle Eastern-style stuffed pizza. In short, if you like Middle Eastern food, you’ll be happy at Hazar’s.
Bay Ridge has a large number of bakeries, and Cedar’s is one of the best. If you like things like baklava you’ll be in heaven, but there are plenty more treats to try. Don’t leave without tasting dondurma – Turkish ice cream – it’s got a thick, laffy taffy-like consistency that’s unlike any ice cream you’ve ever had. There are very few places to find dondurma in New York City, so don’t miss your chance.
Before it was a Middle Easten neighborhood, Bay Ridge was home to Scandinavians, and evidence of that can be found in places like Leske’s Bakery. This bakery and donut shot has been a favorite for years, serving classic black & white cookies, jelly filled donuts, and danish baked goods. It’s an old-school neighborhood spot that hasn’t changed, and counts a loyal clientele that has been coming back for years.
Of course, Bay Ridge isn’t just for Middle Eastern cuisine, and if you’re in the mood for tacos you should head to El Puente. It’s a no-frills family run spot serving tacos fro $2.50, all made to order – and all delicious. Go for beef tongue or al pastor, or if you’re really hungry go for one of their tortas. And if you’re really feeling indulgent, fill it with breaded chicken.
El Puente, 9300 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 921 2580
The Owl’s Head
Like many other Brooklyn neighborhoods, Bay Ridge has had an influx of young people moving to the area. With the new community comes new restaurants like The Owl’s Head. Opened about five years ago, this natural wine and craft beer bar serves an enticing array of accompanying small plates. Despite being a sign of gentrification, the bar is approachable and low-key, making it a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Every New York neighborhood needs a classic New York pizza joint, and in Bay Ridge it’s Pizza Wagon. Hardly changed since it first opened in 1966, if you’re looking for an old-school slice joint, look no further. Grab a slice of plain cheese or a Sicilian and you won’t be disappointed – this place is often crowded for a reason.
Pizza Wagon, 8610 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 836 5725