The rise of Bushwick in NYC’s culinary scene has been clear for quite some time. A quick look at the steady openings of new, increasingly impressive restaurants and bars is a clear sign that chefs and restaurateurs recognize the neighborhood as a choice location to test inventive concepts. Residents and visitors alike have rallied to the cause, supporting new openings, re-imagined spaces, and street-side dining throughout the pandemic. Bushwick is known to evolve quickly, producing an environment conducive to new spaces like High Low’s buzzy beer garden and classic haunts like Maite that are constantly reinventing themselves with unique dining experiences and inviting community spaces.Read More
Where to Eat in Bushwick Right Now
19 standout spots to find juicy tacos, top-notch pizzas, comforting pho, and more
Music venue-turned-restaurant seems to be a theme this year in Bushwick, but Outerspace has fully committed to the bit. The happening spot features a seasonal, Mexican-leaning menu created by chefs Conner Updegrave and Luis Herrera. Highlights include the dry-aged burger with garlicky aioli; and a massive, fire-grilled cumin lamb shank, which sits atop a delicious bed of grains and minty yogurt. They’ve revamped their outdoor dining setup with dozens of cozy, heated outdoor tables and fire pits, as well as plenty of indoor seating in their 5,000-square-foot space.
2. Elsewhere Rooftop
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Formerly known for its dancefloor, Elsewhere has transformed its rooftop into Icewhere Chalet, a winter-themed restaurant serving up strong cocktails and barbecue by Holy Ground, with a rotation of live music streaming to the dining area from its remote studio. The new winter menu boasts umami mac and cheese with gouda and jalapeno; juicy chopped brisket sandwiches; and warm winter cocktails, including a spicy Mexican hot chocolate made with mezcal and cayenne pepper. The space is decked out to transport guests to what feels like the inside of a snowglobe, while keeping tables warm with firepits and space heaters.
Faro, one of the most critically-acclaimed restaurants in the area, is still considered a well-kept secret. Chef Kevin Adey’s upbringing in Rome, as well as the restaurant’s former Michelin-starred status, are evident in handmade pasta dishes like gnudi and peekytoe crab spaghetti — even when they arrive in a takeout bowl. The restaurant is currently closed for in-person dining, but offers an extensive to-go menu, at-home pasta kits, and Thanksgiving and holiday wine bundles for delivery.
4. Sea Wolf
Sea Wolf transports diners from Wyckoff Avenue to a beachside pavilion with picnic-style tables, fresh seafood, and decor that pays homage to surf and skate culture. The menu has something for everyone, including a raw bar, a variety of seafood dishes, steak, sandwiches, and, even breakfast. Don’t miss the San Diego-style fish tacos, dressed with a spicy white sauce and served on freshly-grilled tortillas, or the mahi club, topped off with a thick slice of bacon and drizzled with a tangy house tartar sauce. All ordering is contactless, and there are two dozen sheltered outdoor tables available, plus well-ventilated indoor dining.
Operating inside a former tailor shop built in 1914, Otis is a restaurant and cocktail bar where husband-and-wife team Michelle Lobo-Hawley and Scott Hawley have put together a globe-trotting menu that pulls from all over the world including India, Italy, and South America.
The open kitchen allows diners to watch head chef Hawley and his sou chef Paul Terceros prepare ambitious dishes like chimichurri-topped market fish and miso-braised pork shoulder, served with housemade pesto and fresh gigli pasta. Imagined first as a cocktail bar, Otis’ bar program includes stellar cocktails like Bruce’s Revenge, made with shōchū, ginseng, and calamansi, and a curated list of global wines. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, pick up the restaurant’s date-night takeout package, which includes a four course dinner and a bottle of wine for $95.
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6. Momo Sushi Shack
The menu at Momo Sushi Shack nods to the eclectic spirit of Bushwick, featuring both dishes that use traditional Japanese cooking methods and ingredients as well as vegan adaptations inspired by local produce. Find sushi served in their signature “bomb” style — warm rice balls topped with sashimi and a dollop of avocado or spicy mayonnaise — alongside items like crispy garlic cauliflower wings and maki made with mushroom and tofu skin in lieu of fish. The variety makes this one of the best dinner spots in the neighborhood to accommodate a group with different diets. The restaurant currently offers takeout, and also has covered tables available for outdoor diners.
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Roberta’s is synonymous with Bushwick’s food scene because it quite literally put the neighborhood on the nation’s culinary map. The restaurant’s inventive, wood-fired pizzas can be eaten solo or shared for variety’s sake. Everything on the menu is great, but do not miss the Normcore, a pie topped with blistered sungold tomatoes and garlic, or the Bee Sting, a sweet and salty pie with sopressata, basil, and honey. The restaurant has a dedicated takeout window next door, some seats inside, and plenty of tables in their outdoor beer garden.
Note: As of December 8, Roberta’s is offering exclusively takeout and delivery from its Brooklyn locations after previously shutting down temporarily due to several staffers contracting COVID-19.
8. Bunna Cafe
Bunna Cafe was started by owners Sam Saverance and Liyuw Ayalew as a pop-up to highlight the importance of coffee (bunna) in Ethiopian cuisine and culture through elaborate coffee ceremonies. It has since become a permanent fixture of the vegan food scene in the neighborhood. Perfect for sharing, the main attraction is the Beyaynetu feast, a pizza box containing injera with a choice of five to nine sides including Misir Wot, spicy red lentils with garlic and roasted tomato, or Yater Kik Alicha, an Ethiopian split pea stew with turmeric and ginger. Bunna is open for limited indoor seating, as well as takeout and delivery.
9. Nene’s Deli Taqueria
Brooklyn, NY 11237
After a hiatus with his family in Puebla, Mexico, former Jean-Georges cook Andrés Tonatiuh Galindo Maria decided it was time to create something of his own, and recently opened Nene’s Deli Taqueria. He serves up Mexican classics like pork mulita alongside new inventions like birria ramen and bone marrow, tucked away in a non-descript deli. The birria, a meat stew made with guajillo chillies and garlic, comes topped with onion, cheese, cilantro and is served on homemade tortillas. These juicy tacos have quickly become the talk of the neighborhood, and can be snagged for just $2 each on Tuesdays. Currently, Nene’s is available only for takeout and delivery.
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10. Sally Roots
John De Piper, James Freeman, and Matthew Maddy created Sally Roots as a reasonably-priced, Caribbean-American restaurant that strives to be the type of place where customers can hang out for hours. Every dish is generously portioned for its price, particularly plates like the jerk chicken hash with eggs and the crispy coconut shrimp with sweet chili sauce, which each cost around $15 apiece. The entire menu is available for takeout, but there’s an option to dine on a large back patio while sipping one of the “extra fun-sized” cocktails — that are about three times larger than average — for $25 each.
Ops is the lesser known pizza champion of Bushwick. The small pizzeria serves up Neapolitan-style pies made with sourdough crust, crafted with a custom wheat flour blend, creating a perfectly balanced crispy and chewy base. You can’t go wrong with the margherita topped with fresh basil, or try the Pops pizza — loaded with guanciale, onion, and pecorino — cooked in a tiled wood-fired pizza oven. Ops is currently taking a limited amount of reservations for tables on its patio, as well as accepting takeout and delivery orders.
12. Mad Tropical
Brooklyn, NY 11237
While the title of best taco in Bushwick may be forever contested, the short and sweet taco menu from Mad Tropical is a winner. Grab a frozen cream pie colada, made with light and dark rum, coconut, and orange, while pondering the taco menu, which includes just four different options along with chips and guacamole. The carnitas, topped with grilled cabbage, pickled red onion, and cojita cheese; and the fiery chicken tinga with guacamole, smoked chile oil and cilantro, are must-haves. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout and delivery.
From the creators of vegan favorites Screamer’s and Champs Diner, Hartbreakers serves up vegan fried chicken made with seitan that rivals the real deal. The chik’n sandwiches are all stacked high and packed with flavor, especially the Thunderbird, which is made with a tangy slaw and finished off with jalapeño cilantro aioli. Make sure to stuff your to-go bag with a pile of Hartbreakers’ dipping sauces, including sweet mustard and sambal mayo. Currently, only takeout and delivery are available.
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Longtime Bushwick residents Liz Stauber, Ryan Dolliver, and Blake Ventura are the co-owners behind Palmetto, a thoughtfully-executed wine bar that opened a month before the pandemic hit. The menu is short and sweet, featuring a strong selection of natural wines and expertly-made cocktails like the Negroni Sour and Colonia Roma. They also regularly host pop-ups with local restaurants such as Towd Point Oyster Company and Ha’s Đậc Biệt. The bar has semi-private booths inside, plus outdoor seating depending on the weather, and hand-picked wine packs for takeout.
15. High Low Beverage Company
Owners Shriver Tran and Jaime Hodgkin’s Vietnamese-influenced all-day cafe and bar joins the ranks of new spots in Bushwick that opened during the pandemic. There’s an impressive selection of wine and craft cocktails to-go, but don’t miss the veggie banh mi or the selection of pastries developed by renowned Scratchbread chef Matthew Tilden, including a miso scallion scone and cherry lime leaf jelly donut. There’s also pho, available during the occasional “Mom’s Pho” pop-ups, made by Pho Vung Tau Bay. The name isn’t a gimmick — the pho is made by Tran’s mother when she visits. Patio outdoor seating is available, weather permitting, plus takeout and delivery.
16. Lucy's Vietnamese
Chef Johnny Huynh was raised in Bushwick by his grandmother, Lucy, and serves pho, banh mi and vermicelli inspired both by Vietnamese street food as well as classic dishes. The pho is served with vegetarian broth, made with star anise, cinnamon and charred shallots, and can be topped with a variety of proteins, including a 14-hour smoked brisket or vegan ginger chicken made with soy and basil. The Bushwick location is currently offering takeout and delivery.
Chef Ella Schmidt’s pinchos-style restaurant lives up to the meaning of its name — “one to be loved” — with dishes that combine Basque and Italian cuisine with influences from her Colombian upbringing. On the menu you’ll find staples like empanaditas and arepitas — with fillings that rotate seasonally — and salt-crusted rib eye, alongside an extensive menu of natural wines. The restaurant’s indoor space has plenty of fresh air from garage-style windows that will remain open throughout the winter, weather-permitting, plus some outdoor seating on one of Bushwick’s quieter streets.
18. Drip Coffee
Drip Coffee opened at the start of the year and became an instant classic because of the quality of the drinks and service. Owner Nigel Price operated the shop alone for the first six months, welcoming visitors in for work-day fuel and engaging conversation. Now, the staff has expanded to a team of baristas who are as skillful as they are friendly, answering questions about beans and serving up impeccable espresso, pour overs, and a cold brew that is steeped for 48 hours, bringing out an incredible depth of flavor and sweetness. There are a few seats inside, plus a few stools out front, and there’s a carefully curated selection of unique roasts from around the world to take home.
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19. Father Knows Best
Finding Father Knows Best is like stumbling upon a brunch oasis in the quieter end of Bushwick on a stretch — between Myrtle Avenue and Ridgewood — with fewer sit-down restaurants. The cheddar scallion biscuits, served with honey chipotle butter, are worth the trip on their own. The breakfast burrito with chorizo and ultra-crispy shoestring fries can be paired with a michelada or lavender collins to create a cure-all for any weekend morning ailment. While there’s limited indoor seating, there is a large covered back-patio decked out with colorful murals.