The thing about New York, and maybe this is similar in other big cities, is that it is always changing. You have your favorite place you go to, and then you go back a couple years later and see that either that place has changed to keep up with the times (sometimes in a good way and sometimes not) or it is gone for good. So in that way it’s hard to make guides sometimes, but here is to hoping these places make it in the big apple for a while!
I recently went back for a weekend and did a lot of wandering around Brooklyn, because I tried to not go into Manhattan unless I really had to. So here is a tip for traveling, if you go to New York spend some time in Brooklyn. Honestly, if you booked a trip only in Brooklyn I bet you would have an awesome time. You can go along the waterfront and take the ferry and look at Manhattan from a distance. There are so many different neighborhoods and awesome parks, museums and the best food these days seems to be happening in Brooklyn. Sure, Manhattan will always be cool, but Brooklyn is like super cool now and it’s worth spending more than a day there.
These are places I actually would go to, and I don’t go out a lot because I am a babushka. Some were neighborhood spots and some were more places my friends would go. I am not sure you need to plan a whole trip around these places, but if you find yourself in these neighborhoods check them out!
(This has become a very hip place to live lately but if you look past the ramen and juice shop and the tattoo parlor that used to be a gravestone shop you will find an old Italian neighborhood where people still walk around talking to each other in Italian and grow tomatoes and basil in there tiny yard and walk to church at 7am with rosary in hand ❤️. Things you’ll only see living there. I lived here for a bit and I really miss it.)
This place is the best. It has all your Italian staples. Jerry is such a nice guy, works hard and makes amazing food. They have real cheese and meat, they have pictures on the wall of all the people who love this place, some famous! They have awesome rice balls, or aracini. For sure get the dried sausage, that is what he is holding up in the picture, it is my favorite thing there, spicy and sweet are both delicious. Also, if you are hungry and just want a sandwich they make awesome roast pork sandwiches with mozzarella and sweet peppers. Gevork has one of those shirts hanging up there and was wearing it in Chicago and got stopped by a man who used to live nearby and also loved this place. It is that good!
This place is pretty popular. Other bakeries have tried to open in this neighborhood but this one always does the best. They keep it simple. Pies, biscuits, quiches, scones, cookies. I think it has become a bit pricey but sometimes you can treat yourself. Also, it feels like grandma’s kitchen, and you know I love that.
I have a soft spot for really small restaurants. This is one. They serve Brazilian food. Just simple, good stuff. It’s great in the summer when you can sit outside but also great in the winter huddled inside at a big table.
(This is the Polish neighborhood of Brooklyn that is slowly being taken over by hipster families. My favorite hole in the wall Polish restaurant shut down and I kind-of stopped exploring. But there is one I really like that is super cool)
This is kind-of like a updated deli, not intimidating at all, it’s appealing to those who maybe don’t know Polish food as well. Meats, pickles, soups, blintzes. They make everything really well and it’s very fresh.
(This was the first area I lived and worked, I worked at a restaurant called Miriam, it’s pretty good but I’m not putting it on my list because I haven’t been there since I stopped working there like 5 years ago. This is a yuppy neighborhood. But some good classic food spots.)
They just make really good stuff, and sell really good stuff, it’s like a little taste of what Brooklyn’s about. Get the tune egg anchovy sandwich, deliciously salty 🙂
Blue Sky Bakery
Oh the days when I used not wake up or have the right groceries to make breakfast and instead would get a muffin and a coffee here. Solid, interesting muffins, they sell them other places too but here is the original. Cute vibe inside, it feels like someone’s beach house. Newspapers being read, books in case you don’t have one, people chatting. It’s been a while since I’ve gone here regularly but I’m guessing it’s the same.
(I really like Bed Stuy, it’s really the epitome of gentrification but it has really pretty brownstones and it’s far enough from Manhattan that those people don’t make it out.)
This place is so hipster, it’s hasn’t been here forever but long enough. It’s so good though. Sit outside in the summer in the back and get pizza, it’s the real deal. Also it’s called Saraghina. Fellini anyone?
So there is my short list. I wish it was longer, but these are all solid places. Enjoy!!