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All photos by Robert Sietsema

Sietsema Plunges Into Bath Beach

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2013_bath_beach_map12.jpgBath Beach in one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and one of the sunniest, too. Wedged between Coney Island and Bensonhurst, and adjacent to the sinister-sounding Gravesend, this neighborhood is notable for its range of good and cheap restaurants, and streets that rival a Middle Eastern bazaar in color and commotion. Just off the shopping main drag of 86th Street, you find neat houses with front-yard flower gardens competing with well-maintained red-brick apartment buildings for housing supremacy. You won't encounter hipsters searching for cocktail lounges.
Pause a moment to admire the view from the elevated D platform at Bay Parkway, then descend the stairs into the hubbub.

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First stop is Istanbul (2202 86th Street, 718-714-4300), a corner storefront with blue tiles on the façade, a window into an open kitchen where several doner (a/k/a gyro) cylinders spin, and a pretty sidewalk cafe where customers sip their espressos and read Turkish newspapers. Grab a freshly cooked kebab (best is the oniony ground-lamb adana) or one of the composed salads or dips – many featuring eggplant.

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Follow the subway tracks southeastward down 86th Street past a bewildering array of delis and restaurants, including a branch of the well-regarded Malaysian eatery Nyonya (2322 86th Street, 718-265-0888). You'll also note Chinese bakeries and duck shops, Italian butchers, Irish bars, and market stalls selling housewares and budget clothing hung out to flap in the cooling maritime breezes.

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A few blocks from the station, Pho Tay Ho 86 is one of the city's better Vietnamese spots, offering a whopping 20 versions of pho and related soups, including renditions featuring egg noodles rather than rice stick, a favorite of the Mekong Delta region. Seafood fondues (hot pots) are a sideline.

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Two blocks oceanward from the Bay Parkway D-train stop is a Central Asian neighborhood harboring what may be New York's only Kyrgyzstani restaurant, Café Avat (2158 Bath Avenue, 718-676-4667). The menu is similar to what you might find in a Uzbek cafe, with standards from other Silk Road destinations (Xinjiang, China for example) thrown in. Anything that comes in a bamboo steamer is fab, including the bulging lamb dumplings called manti, and the roll-ups of peppery potatoes in noodles served with red sauce called hanim. Expect the usual over-charcoal lamb rib and chicken kebabs, rice-pilaf "plov," plus some Russian stuff involving preserved fish and pickled vegetables. Anything featuring the homemade noodles called lagman – offered in several regional variations – is desirable. The meat may be halal, but this splendid place allows you to BYOB anyway.

For dessert, why not step down the block to Carvel (2166 Bath Avenue, 718-946-1020). Because nothing goes with summer in Bath Beach quite like a soft-serve cone dipped in sprinkles. And in case you wondered: the area is named for the English spa of Bath. In the 1920s this wealthy and fashionable neighborhood was known for its yacht clubs, resorts, and big-ticket restaurants. I bet the food is much better now.


· Previous Guides and Articles by Robert Sietsema [~ENY~]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Istanbul Turkish Fast Food & Restaurant

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2202 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 714-4300

Grab a freshly cooked kebab (best is the oniony ground-lamb adana) or one of the composed salads or dips – many featuring eggplant - here.

2. Pho Tay Ho

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2351 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 449-0199

One of the city's better Vietnamese restaurants.

3. Nyonya

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2322 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 265-0688

Bath Beach has a branch of the well-regarded Malaysian eatery Nyonya.

4. Cafe Avat

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2158 Bath Ave
Brooklyn, NY

This may be New York’s only Kyrgyzstani restaurant.

5. Carvel

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2166 Bath Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 946-1020
Visit Website

Nothing goes with summer in Bath Beach quite like a soft-serve cone dipped in sprinkles. {Photo: Yelp]

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1. Istanbul Turkish Fast Food & Restaurant

2202 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

Grab a freshly cooked kebab (best is the oniony ground-lamb adana) or one of the composed salads or dips – many featuring eggplant - here.

2202 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214

2. Pho Tay Ho

2351 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

One of the city's better Vietnamese restaurants.

2351 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214

3. Nyonya

2322 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

Bath Beach has a branch of the well-regarded Malaysian eatery Nyonya.

2322 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214

4. Cafe Avat

2158 Bath Ave, Brooklyn, NY

This may be New York’s only Kyrgyzstani restaurant.

2158 Bath Ave
Brooklyn, NY

5. Carvel

2166 Bath Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11214

Nothing goes with summer in Bath Beach quite like a soft-serve cone dipped in sprinkles. {Photo: Yelp]

2166 Bath Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11214

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