I lived in New York for over 5 years, and I think I went to Williamsburg exactly once. But when besties Candela and Jon moved out of Manhattan to an amazing luxury high rise overlooking the river, with their invitation included pool, spa and Argentinean restaurants at walking distance, I signed up for the adventure – I went to Brooklyn.
I only spent a few days in and around Williamsburg, and I am sure I am missing a few key hidden places only locals might know. However, the following are some of my favorite places to recommend when someone asks me where to eat in Williamsburg.
Let’s start with the coffee shops – there are more than plenty, which I really liked. Most of them were empty, with a few people hunched over laptops typing away their dreams. Lavazza coffee was the brand of choice, and all kind of baked goodies where in abundance, from coffee and empanadas, to coffee and sugar free, vegan coconut merengue. I fell in love with Toby’s Estate Cafe, Sweetleaf and Blue Bottle Coffee. And yes, get ready for amazing leaves, hearts and other fun doodles coming to life in your cappuccino…they got it down to a science and it’s always fun to try to guess what they might draw in next. (As a side note, I had a great time with all the Argentinean girls celebrating my birthday! Thank you!)
On 6th street Zenkichi is a romantic hideaway and must-see experience if you are in the area. Hey, it might even be worth the trip from the city. Bamboo shades are pulled over each table to seclude each couple in its personal hideaway booth, yet a buzzer is cleverly provided at the corner of the table to call for service when needed. Each dish from the sampling menu was beautifully crafted and presented, and though the combinations of flavors might be a little bit weird for some, everything was indeed delicious. We fell in love with the jellied grapefruit dessert (made with agar agar), which was tart and perfectly sweet, and the perfect ending for an amazing evening.
This was my first Williamsburg restaurant and as it is Argentinean, I was immediately in love with it. El Almacen is cozy and trendy, and they have a full bar. It is a great place to on a date, unwind with friends after a long week, or catch up with visiting family members looking for a low key destination with great food and atmosphere. Order Malbec wine to go with the Parrillada, but don’t forget the melted provolone cheese at the beginning as an appetizer. Don’t worry – all Argentineans are skinny, so the food must be all diet!
On Bedford street, Five Leaves is the place of choice for weekend brunching. But beware, the wait is long. We tried a little bit of everything, but our top favorites were the truffle fries, the bruleed grapefruit (with pickled ginger and fresh mint), the coconut chia pudding and the ricotta pancakes. You will see on Yelp that vegetarians and vegans go nuts for Five Leaves, and they are correct! Though everything was a little bit heavy, you can definitely eat around meat and dairy without making too much fuzz or spend hours scrutinizing the menu!