The once-industrial Brooklyn neighborhood is perhaps most frequently associated with its Superfund-site canal, but in recent years, it’s become quite the dining mecca, with authentic cubanos, cozy wine bars and everything in between. Here, nine spots that are worth the trek.
Black Mountain Wine House
This neighborhood stalwart’s rustic facade beckons diners inside to its similarly comforting interior, replete with working fireplace and (big surprise) a well-curated wine list. Menu items like pork meatballs or mac and cheese with wild mushrooms and truffle oil make worthy accompaniments to whatever glass you choose. You’ll likely want to stay a while at this log cabin-esque spot—particularly if you go on Fondue Tuesdays.
415 Union St., Brooklyn; blkmtnwinehouse.com
Technically speaking, Threes is a bar that serves food (along with, you know, really good beer), but the eats, provided by sustainable butcher shop The Meat Hook, are worth a visit in their own right. Unsurprisingly, the carnivorous offerings (like an unreal cheeseburger and a hot chicken sandwich) are excellent, but you’ll also find things like mussels and shishito peppers.
333 Douglass St., Brooklyn; threesbrewing.com
This former warehouse is a haven for those seeking traditional Korean barbecue, cuisine that’s otherwise lacking in this part of town. Standard fare, like bibimbap and japchae, is offered alongside more creative items, like a seafood corn dog and crispy cumin lamb ribs, while cocktails include a smoky mai tai and a martini with salted plum sake. The icing on the cake? Private karaoke rooms in back, ready for a post-meal sing-along.
328 Douglass St., Brooklyn; insabrooklyn.com
Runner & Stone
At this bakery-restaurant, farm-to-table is the name of the game. The head baker is a Per Se and Bouchon Bakery alum, which means anything carb-related is a must—think pastas like spelt gemelli and nettle gnocchi along with mushroom panzanella and housemade pretzels.
285 Third Ave., Brooklyn; runnerandstone.com
This former carriage house, named for one of the canal’s jokey monikers, is best known for its leafy back garden, but the food menu is no afterthought, with items ranging from a cauliflower reuben to grilled octopus. Psst: Stop by on Monday for the all-day happy hour.
383 Carroll St., Brooklyn; lavenderlake.com
If you find yourself in the nabe with a craving for barbecue, head to this meat mecca. (The outdoor restaurant recently added a winter-friendly indoor space.) Menu items aren’t limited to the porcine: Turkey, beef and beer-can chicken also go right into the smoker. And once you’ve sampled everything, keep an eye out for special offerings, courtesy of guest pitmasters from around the country.
480 Union St., Brooklyn; pigbeachnyc.com
This buzzy spot does two things really well: creatively prepared seasonal fare and cozy (dare we say “Brooklyn-y”?) ambience. Stop by for dinner for charred pumpkin and stracciatella or dry-aged duck with fennel and burnt honey, or upgrade your brunch with honeynut squash toast topped with a poached egg and huckleberry clafoutis (aka French custard). And we can’t argue with a wine list that offers a whole lotta Chenin Blanc.
285 Nevins St., Brooklyn; freeksmill.com
Eastern European comfort food abounds here, where you can choose from eight fillings—including potato, sauerkraut and mac and cheese—plus toppings like mushrooms or bacon, for your handmade boiled or panfried dumplings. Recipes come directly from the owner’s grandmother, the eponymous baba. (Doesn’t get more authentic than that.)
295 Third Ave., Brooklyn; babasbk.com
My Cuban Spot
Unlike a trip to Cuba, you don’t need a government-approved reason to visit this quick-serve spot. But you do need an appetite, because you’re going to want to eat the whole menu, prepared by a Miami-born chef with Cuban roots. The only seating is a few sidewalk tables next to the takeout window, but that’s more than adequate when you’re scarfing down guava and cheese empanadas or a sandwich piled high with slow-roasted pork and crispy potato strips.
488 Carroll St., Brooklyn; mycubanspot.com