Brooklyn is one of New York’s best-kept secrets. While tourists think the best of New York is in Manhattan, locals know that when you’re looking for something delicious, you will find some of the region’s best delights in Brooklyn.
The various neighborhoods within Brooklyn each have their own flair, and Crown Heights has so much to offer.
This multicultural neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most beautiful brownstone buildings and Victorian-style mansions.
Tucked among them and along the cross streets, you’ll happen upon mouth-watering Caribbean food, mind-blowing barbeque, and tasty kosher treats. There’s something for everybody in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Best Restaurants in Crown Heights
- Colina Cuervo
- Cafe Rue Dix
- Izzy’s BBQ Smokehouse
- Puerto Viejo
- Aita Trattoria
- Ursula Brooklyn
- La Ñapa
- Ital Kitchen
- Brooklyn Suya
- The Islands
So whether you’re out for a stroll along the tree-lined Eastern Parkway, learning about local history at the Weeksville Heritage Center, or taking the kids to explore the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, be sure to plan ahead to enjoy at least one meal in Crown Heights while you’re out. Check out my list of the 17 best restaurants in Crown Heights, Brooklyn!
759 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216
This Latin-American-inspired restaurant is classy and flavorful. Promising to pack a punch, the flavors in each dish are carefully selected by chef and owner Jorge Salamea.
Using his childhood in Ecuador as inspiration, he’s put together dishes like empanadas with red onion relish and chimichurri. I love the mushroom melt sandwich, with two kinds of cheese and avocado on top.
Their coffee game alone is reason enough to check this place out. Open every day for breakfast and lunch, starting your day at Colina Cuervo is a great way to ensure you’re going to have a great day.
The name itself speaks to its neighborhood roots. Crown Heights was formerly known as Crow Hill in the early 1900s, and “Colina Cuervo” is Spanish for “Crow Hill.”
Cafe Rue Dix
1451 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
When you’re looking for an eclectic lunch or dinner spot with fresh ingredients and bold spices, look no further than Cafe Rue Dix.
Combining French and Senegalese foods, this menu features tons of seafood options, an array of sandwiches and burgers, savory pasta platters, and full meat entrees. I recommend the spring rolls and theibou jen, the national plate of Senegal.
They have signature coffees and hot sauces for sale at their local shop and online. And in a unique twist, this funky place also has a nail salon on site.
Sounds like a perfect afternoon date with the girls! Their outdoor dining is fully heated with lamps, so you can be safe and cozy while you eat!
987 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225
After a morning wandering the corridors of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, stop by Gloria’s for some doubles and callaloo. Before you have to ask, allow me to translate!
In case you’re not familiar with down-home Caribbean cooking, “doubles” refers to a delicious street food originating from Trinidad and Tobago.
It’s made with two “baras” (which are made of flat, fried dough) that are stuffed with curry channa (chickpeas) and are then paired with a chutney sauce. Callaloo is a type of richly seasoned cooked greens, the perfect side dish to complement your meal.
Some reviews are mixed about Gloria’s. This truly is a local’s joint, and with the output of high-quality flavor coming from this kitchen, the emphasis is on food over the dining-in experience. Plan to grab Gloria’s to-go, and be sure to take home enough to share!
791 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Oxalis is fine dining in a casual package. Plan your next special celebration with a walk in Prospect Park and a carte blanche menu, their seasonally-inspired array of nine servings offered every night.
You can also select outdoor dining in the “garden” alley behind the restaurant, where the menu is a la carte sweet and savory dishes.
Every plate is carefully constructed here, piled with thoughtfully arranged accents and drizzled delicately with the perfect sauce pairing.
These picture-perfect meals are sure to please even the harshest food critic. Check out the dazzling nasturtium, featuring fish, carrots, and a floral element. Don’t forget to check out the highly-praised cocktail menu.
1075 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11216
The only Japanese restaurant on our list, Uotora earns its spot as the best of Crown Heights with the help of Chef Atsuomi and Chef Hiroyuki.
With over twenty years of experience in sushi, they specialize in omakase, where the chefs make careful selections of fish and rolls that are often thoughtfully crafted one at a time.
Value is important to the culture of Uotora, and many fans are delighted to find quality omakase without “Manhattan prices.” The interior is cozy and unassuming, allowing the food to be the evening’s focus.
You’re in good hands and in for a real treat when you surrender to the expertise in the kitchen.
If you order the omakase, you can expect an appetizer, a small salad, ten pieces of chef’s choice sushi, one hand roll, and a bowl of miso soup.
781 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
I know what you’re thinking. It’s pizza in Brooklyn, so of course, it’s going to be good! What makes this one so special? Well, there’s some intense competition in this city, and Barboncino is up for the challenge.
Before we get to the pies, let’s talk about the rest of the menu. When they could rely on their fire-oven bubbly pizzas to get by, Barboncino goes a step farther by offering tantalizing appetizers and an intentional salad selection.
The fire-roasted peppers and burrata are so luscious they’re almost sinful. The moment you taste this starter, you’ll wonder what you’re in store for the main event—just as an appetizer should make you feel.
Thankfully, their red and white sauce pizzas stack up with all the classics and still a few fun surprises, too. Try the artichoke and smoked pancetta, or get bold with the cherry-stone clam pizza. You won’t be disappointed.
736 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
For Mexican fare, you can’t go wrong with Chavela’s. Chef Arturo Leonar, born and raised in Mexico City, brings his expertise to this delicious and approachable menu.
With weekday and weekend brunch menus, happy hour, and a creative cocteles menu, there are a lot of ways to enjoy a great meal here.
The decor is cozy and colorful, creating the perfect atmosphere for the best of what Mexican cuisine has to offer.
Enchiladas are a crowd-pleaser here, and the crispy tortillas and housemade trio of salsas will have you hoping they keep refills coming.
Next time I’m there, I want to try the huitlacoche quesadilla with Mexican corn truffle paired with the La Abuela to drink—made with Abasolo Mexican whiskey, chocolate Abuelita milk punch, and citrus.
Izzy’s BBQ Smokehouse
397 Troy Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Barbeque? In Brooklyn? You better believe it! At Izzy’s, the menu takes inspiration from multiple cuisines and turns them into their best versions with a smokehouse flair.
Pulled beef egg rolls and empanadas, Korean chicken bites, and hot wings are all making me drool—and that’s just the appetizers.
Classic mains like burnt ends, brisket, and a half-chicken are a staple, and tacos, sandwiches, and ribs round out this complex menu.
This barbeque joint is unique because it is beef-based with no pork on the premises, making it a joyful find for kosher-eating barbeque lovers. Locals claim this is the best brisket in town!
688 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
New American cuisine still earns its place on the list of best eats in Brooklyn with Mayfield. This establishment emphasizes seasonal ingredients prepared in “simple yet creative ways.”
They’ve recently added a $2 oyster special to the menu, the perfect add-on for just about any meal.
Their winter menu features so many cozy vegetable options, like roasted squash salad with whipped ricotta and a maple cider vinaigrette.
Grab a main after, like the lemon trout with sauce béarnaise. The brunch menu tempts with tons of eggy options, an oyster po’boy, and special brunch cocktails from the well-rounded bar and talented staff.
564 Grand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Puerto Viejo promises more than just a meal, but an experience. This Dominican bistro has been going strong for nearly forty years, and it’s easy to see why.
They emphasize comfort foods that make you feel at home and build upon that with upbeat music and vintage furniture. The ambiance creates the perfect environment for these hearty dishes.
Their desayuno menu has familiar breakfast favorites as well as delightful surprises. I love the los tres golpes—two fried eggs with queso frito and salami, mangu, and pickled red onions.
For lunch and dinner, check out the pernil, a slow-roasted pork shoulder dish, and the yucca—a fluffy, buttery potato-like side that is going to knock your socks off.
798A Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
While Italian food might seem like it’s around every corner across the city, Aita Trattoria stands out with its out-of-this-world pasta, unpretentious vibes, and solid brunch offering.
The location makes it another great option if you’re checking out the Brooklyn Museum or Botanic Garden, which are nearly a stone’s throw down the Eastern Parkway.
Rice balls may seem pedestrian, but Aita Trattoria’s arancini is cheesy and surprisingly full of flavor.
I absolutely love the roasted octopus, but if you’re not feeling that adventurous, the cacio e pepe ravioli is sublime with some extra parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper added at home when you do take-out.
724 Sterling Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11216
Another memorable Mexican joint in Crown Heights is Ursula Brooklyn. Their breakfast menu features tasty burritos in four options—chorizo, bacon, scrambled eggs, or pinto beans.
Pastries come in a ton of varieties here, including gluten-free rainbow cakes to celebrate Pride all year long.
They embrace this new Mexican fare for dinner by offering sopaipillas, fried pastry dough stuffed with meats, cheeses, veggies, and beans.
Green chiles shine on the rest of the menu: in a cheeseburger with grass-fed beef and a little heat, in a buttermilk brine for chicken thighs, paired with mushrooms in a tasty sandwich. Make sure you also try one of their oat milk lattes!
656 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216
La Ñapa is more than just a restaurant. With a market and selection of wine and beer, this is a one-stop shop for dinner tonight and provisions for your dinner party tomorrow night.
Their lamb chop is top-notch, so be sure to try it with one of the wines recommended by their talented staff.
The patatas bravas are creamy, crunchy, and won’t disappoint when nibbled on beside a bright catalana salad.
Their fried options are soul food meets tasteful cuisine—mushroom croquettes, fried yuca, and the mahi mahi sandwich are all carefully breaded and crisped to perfection.
1032 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Ital Kitchen is a veggie-lover’s dream. They pride themselves on having “the most refined produce [the] world has to offer.”
Entirely sourced from the local Park Slope Food co-op, they serve their customers 100% organic goods.
The restaurant has a spunky charm, with bright pink and green walls and Rastafarian art featured on its exposed brick walls.
Enjoy live music and a peppered veggie steak in this hipster paradise. Curry jackfruit, turmeric stew with coconut milk, Thai curry, and portobello mushrooms in a coq au vin sauce fill out the vegetarian entree menu.
717 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
With so many different ethnic cuisines featured on this list, we could not miss out on the decadent African eatery Brooklyn Suya.
They are open for lunch and dinner, and you can get these spicy meat skewers in a tofu option, too! In fact, all of their sides are vegan, so this place is a happy haunt for the veggie-conscious in Crown Heights.
I recommend the steak bowl with onions, cucumbers, and plantains. The meat is slightly charred and has an incredibly juicy flavor in each bite.
You can also purchase their signature Suya seasoning to enjoy their flavors in your own home cooking.
671 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Caribbean cuisine is one of the crowned jewels of the culinary scene in Crown Heights. The Islands is among the best you’ll find, with fan favorites like jerk chicken and oxtail that simply fall off the bone.
If you’re checking out the Brooklyn Museum, you’re only a short walk away from next-level fried plantains, curry, garlicky shrimp, and mac n’ cheese so thick it’ll cut like a cake.
This is truly one of those “hole-in-the-wall” joints that may not look like much, but its underplayed interior with classic brick and bold colors will have you in the island mood, craving the sunshine on a warm sandy shore.
Because the restaurant does not serve its own adult drinks, they allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages, so plan ahead if you want something alternative to drink.
1433 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
We can’t leave this country-chic cajun kitchen off our list. Catfish is bold, different, and gives you the feeling you’ve been transported to the sweltering south the moment you spot their glowing red neon sign above the front door.
Brunch small plates encourage that quintessential southern pairing of sweet and savory—try the fried shrimp basket and split it with your friend that got the pancakes.
For dinner, indulge in the crab cakes with rémoulade and a wedge salad before you dive fork-first into a big pile of blackened catfish (I mean, it’s in the name!) and garlicky cheese grits and scallions. If you skip dessert, you’ll hurt the beignets’ feelings.
Need I say more? Crown Heights is clearly a major player in the greater NYC food game. With all of these strong contenders, your most challenging decision of the day will be deciding which pleasure to delay until you can try them all.
If you’re not interested in these Crown Heights restaurants, check out my favorite brunch spots in the area.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
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