99 ESSENTIAL RESTAURANTS®
Brooklyn. It’s a brand that has been exported to the far corners of the globe. It’s a symbol for Americana, for DIY, for craft, for cool. A rusticity that’s also refined. A return to roots that embraces the future.
Over the past decade and a half, the borough’s culinary boom has fed that brand, and all that it stands for. “Brooklyn” restaurants: They question the core of what dining is supposed to be. They fuss over where their ingredients come from just as they carefully source their (often reclaimed) décor. They present inventive, unglossy experiences, ones that are, at their best, earnest, soulful, and charming in their unpretentiousness and authenticity.
But these restaurants tell only part of Brooklyn’s story.
As we hitched up our eatin’ pants and embarked on a quest for the 99 restaurants that define the fabric of this singular locale, we were well aware that the Brooklyn brand in 2015 merely scratches the surface. Here is a diverse conglomeration of neighborhoods, each with its own history. Here are restaurants that don’t fit the current definition but are nonetheless an integral part of Brooklyn’s culture.
This is the borough of coal-fired pizza, of red-sauce Italian, of dim sum, of Caribbean, of seafood shacks, of bakeries, of Russian feasts followed by floorshows, of Coney Island, of one of the oldest and most famous steakhouses in the United States. To ignore this would be to miss Brooklyn completely.
Brooklyn has always been a new frontier — that was as true for every immigrant community that tried to re-create a bit of its homeland here as it was for restaurateurs fleeing Manhattan for lower rents and fewer rules.
Here are the 99 Essential Restaurants in Brooklyn, a compendium that endeavors to capture the breadth, history, grit, creativity, and diversity of the place.
We hope it piques your interest in the borough’s unique culinary story. And we hope it makes you hungry.
99 Essential Restaurants in Brooklyn
Words: Jack Buehrer, Zachary Feldman, Tom Finkel, Brad Japhe, Kevin Kessler, Katherine Knowles, Scarlett Lindeman, Lauren Mowery, Laura Shunk, Sara Ventiera.
Photos: René Atchison, Nicole Franzen, Annie Gonzalez, Bradley Hawks, Robyn Lee, David Penner, Dominic Perri, Jennifer Spengler, Jonathan Schwartz.
Art Direction: Tom Carlson, Jesus Diaz.
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