Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhood is also a date night destination with restaurants ranging from casual fare to fine dining. Whether you’re looking for something affordable or want to impress your sweetheart, these Williamsburg restaurants offer some of the borough’s best in meals and ambiance. By Sarah Shaker.
Antica Pesa brought the flavors of Rome to New York City with their Williamsburg location. Since opening last fall, A-listers like Madonna have been known to hang here. Dine on sharable plates, such as Crudo E Bufala Croccante (Prosciutto di Parma served with fresh mozzarella covered in a warm phyllo crust), fresh pastas and main dishes, like their authentic Baccala ‘Alla Romana (Salt cod with onions, tomatoes and semolino gnocco alla Romana). Before or after dinner, snag a seat on one of the leather couches by the fireplace to cuddle with your lover as you sip wine available from a range of regions throughout Italy.
We’ve professed our love for their Bacon Doughnuts before, but sweets aren’t the only thing bringing lovers into Traif. This pork paradise offers eclectic small plates for an interactive date of tasting and discovering new flavors together. The menu changes seasonally, but standout plates include Hampshire Pork Belly (hearts of palm, bacon, snow peas, cauliflower, and mango) and Fresh Mission Figs (with burrata cheese, shaved foie, thai basil, hazelnuts and balsamic). The back patio is wonderful for late summer and early fall dining al fresco.
Paul Liebrandt’s The Elm opened last month in King & Grove Williamsburg, located across the street from McCarren Park. Celebrated Chef Liebrandt offers forward-thinking French fare in a unique setting, where nature meets industry. The menu is split into four sections – Raw, Sea, Land and Shared. The dishes in the last section are designed for two, perfect for a romantic evening. Make sure to enjoy a drink with beautiful scenic views of Manhattan at the hotel’s rooftop lounge Upper Elm before dinner.
Nothing says “romance” like a night of oysters and wine in a small Parisian cafe. Maison Premiere, an oyster bar and cocktail den in Williamsburg, provides a robust list of oysters covering almost 30 varieties, depending on availability, well crafted cocktails and absinthe, transporting your date from Brooklyn to France, if only for a few hours. Start with the raw bar and linger all evening over shared and large plates paired with libations of your choice.
Caracas Arepa Bar
The well-loved tiny East Village arepas restaurant has a larger location in Williamsburg for a cheap eats date night. Enjoy dinner in the dining room or stretch out on the patio with your love, for the same flavors as the original location with double the space to relax. Grab a drink at Roneria Caracas, the rum bar located within the restaurant featuring more than 30 sipping rums from the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America and unique rum cocktails, from classic to creative.
Williamsburg newcomer Sweet Chick has quickly become a hot spot for their signature Chicken & Waffles. The “Chick” in Sweet Chick may be getting all the attention, but the “Sweet” should not be missed for a dessert date night. Pastry chef Roni Ross’s new menu is destined to draw crowds from Bedford and beyond. Your grandma’s Southern kitchen meets Brooklyn cool with dishes like Mixed Berry Biscuit Bread Pudding served in a skillet large enough to share, with strawberry ice cream and rum caramel sauce, Butterscotch In A Jar with a layer of chocolate ganache, topped with bite-size espresso shortbread cookies, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake topped with a scoop of Il Laboratorio del Gelato vanilla ice cream and and a drizzle of pineapple tequila sauce. Your date is sure to be sweet on you by the end of this sugar high evening.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.