Think of the limited seating at dot & line café in Brooklyn as VIP areas. If you can snag one of the three bar stools by the front window, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. dot & line have clearly established themselves as a to-go coffee establishment (unless you like standing around in blank space) with tons of craft coffee and trendy blends to choose from. Understand that this Brooklyn café is caters to the hardcore coffee addicts; all Espresso shots in your macchiato, dirty chai, or otherwise is a double shot unless you request for them to tone it down. I bet you’re glad I told you that as I’m sure that plenty of first timers here leave the café wondering why they feel like they are on speed. Grab a scrumptious vegan Banana Chip Muffin or an Artichoke & Goat Cheese Croissant to go along with your beverage for the road.
El Gordo, or “the fat one” in Ingles, is the place to stuff your face with extremely delicious Peruvian dishes. This Jersey City gem specializes in seafood dishes that you have to taste to believe. My personal favorite is the Mariscos Sudado which takes fresh fish, crab, squid, and mussels, stews them in a rich Latin sauce topped with hard-boiled eggs and dusts them with parsley. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you’d like something a little crispier, the Chicharron de Pescado is the Peruvian version of Fish & Chips. This dish is served with a delectable salsa to balance the crisp salty flavor- yum! Last but not least on my list of favorite El Gordo dishes is, of course, the Ceviche served with their famous green salsa. The seafood is slightly cooked in a lime marinate which gives you this half-sushi/half-seafood platter experience. Come fall in love.
Hato Japanese restaurant might just be enough to lure Manhattanites out to Staten Island- this place is that good! There are plenty of fabulous and fancy Japanese spots in New York City where all the cool people mingle, but sometimes you just want to get away and dig into dinner with nobody watching. That’s whats up at Hato in Staten Island. You can get some seriously fresh salmon, tuna, Yellowtail, you name it Nigiri here with perfectly pink pickled ginger and a generous dollop of wasabi that won’t break your bank. Coming here on date night? Go for the Sashimi Platter that is sure to wow. Ordering delivery or pick up? There is no better form of Japanese food to take on the go like a classic Dragon Roll or an out-of-the-box Darkwing Duck Roll (yes, made with duck). with A true Japanese lover, however, will surely order the sweet shrimp heads where you get to suck out the brains.
Call up your friends and tell them to meet you at Istanblue Kings Restaurant after work. This Halal Turkish spot not only has some of the best kebabs in Brooklyn, but they’ve got tons of small plates that are great for sharing in a group. Without question, my crew and I always order the large Meze Platter that comes with all of my favorites like hummus, white bean salad, Cacik yogurt dip and more. Throw in a Falafel Plate and you’re good to go on appetizers for the table. They’ve got all sorts of soups, chicken dishes, lamb dishes, seafood dishes, and even vegetarian dishes. You could come here and order something different every time- that’s how extensive their menu is. In proper Turkish form, Istanblue Kings Restaurant is always prepared for a party; just check out their party menu which is prepared to cater for your next big event.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Chocolatier’s shop off of 5th Ave that goes by the name of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. The killer location of this dessert shop signifies that some serious coin has gone into making this place top notch which is easy to see the moment you enter. Your eye will be drawn all around the room, making you feel like a kid in a candy store, except this experience will be a bit more refined. Check out the decadent cakes and tarts which come in every shape and color. Next, drift on over to view the wide selection of unique macaroons that come in flavors such as the popular Banana’s Foster. What would a Chocolatier’s shop be without chocolate? There are specialty Bon Bons and gourmet chocolates galore! Have a seat in the shop where you can watch chocolate being made in their fancy chocolate lab. This is a unique find, indeed.
Musashi’s Asian Cuisine is my favorite place to grab lunch on my break in Brooklyn. Part of this is due to the fact that I can have a glass of wine or Japanese beer under the guise of dining at a classy and respectable establishment. The trick here is that Musashi’s is a BYOB restaurant. They don’t yet have a liquor license and I hope this never changes. With long, comfy booths, dark wood tables, and a sushi bar- this place ticks all the boxes required to be a nice sushi spot without having a pricey bill to match. Order 3 sushi rolls (I recommend the Magic Roll) and walk away paying just $11- split that between two people and you’ve got yourself quite the bargain. I always order the crispy edamame and hot miso soup because eating sushi without these staples just isn’t the same. Come here for a little afternoon delight and the rest of your workday will be pretty fun.
A classic plate of heaping nachos, a gigantic chicken torta, a gooey quesadilla, a spicy stewed chicken bowl- are you getting the picture? These dishes and more have made Nacho Macho Taco in Brooklyn part of my weekly rotation. More times than not, I order delivery and the food turns up at my door piping hot and plated just the way I’d get it in the restaurant. This place is super affordable during both lunch and dinner which makes it an easy option when you’re looking for a quick bite without taking out a loan. If you do have the time to pop into their restaurant for a sit down meal, your ears will be tickled with some pretty lively music that I can only describe as instrumental Latin pop. On every table, you’ll find a bottle of hot sauce which you might recognize if you’ve ever been down to Mexico. This place is authentic, fun, and cheap- what’s not to like?
The Good Sort has the good prices. Everything you’ll find here is under $10 which means that you can go absolutely ham. Located in China Town, you know that their dishes and beverages are going to be authentic. I like to come here for breakfast as they’ve got tons of drink choices and some Eastern eats that will surprise you. To start, The Good Sort has a nice coffee selection including drip, has several tea choices like Green Jasmine, Rose, Red, and Matcha, and also offers Signature Lattes like a Gold Latte with Turmeric & Pepper or the Pink Latte with Beetroot. Add a Magic Drop to your drink to infuse it with Ginseng and Royal Jelly which is good for your body and mind. Once you’ve got your drink order down, consider jumping outside of your breakfast comfort zone and order a classic Congee bowl with stewed rice and fruit. Who knew you could be so cultural so early in the morning?
If you haven’t already heard, Santa Panza makes some of the best pizza in Brooklyn. You wouldn’t immediately guess it by the décor. Café style seating with small tables, bar stools perched at a quaint countertop lined with a garden-esque wall, and modern hanging light bulbs don’t exactly scream “Authentic Pizza” but trust me on this one. The crust is handmade giving it that crispy-doughy combination that comes out with specs of slightly burnt edges and the fillings are gourmet. One of their most popular pizzas is the Prosciutto e Funghi which gives a nice balance of salty and savory, but my favorite is the Ortolana pizza with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, topped with roasted veggies. If you’re not all about these fancy, gourmet style dishes, coming here simply for the Margherita pizza with fresh (so fresh) mozzarella is worth it in itself.
Italians have forever been famous for their cold cuts and cheeses. Praise whatever god you believe in for Suprema Deli in New Jersey. This place has got about a dozen sandwiches to choose from so listen up while I list of a couple of the best. First sandwich that deserves mentioning is the Liguria with grilled chicken, melted Fontina cheese, arugula, fresh tomato, and basil pesto- this is basically Italy on a bun. Second is the Napoli which uniquely combines fried eggplant, mozzarella, provolone, roasted red peppers and balsamic- it’s to die for. Not to be overshadowed, however, is the king of all Suprema Sandwiches: the classic Campania. The Campania is simple with Mozzarella, roasted Roma tomatoes, EVOO, and balsamic. Each individual ingredient is so pure and heavenly that writing will never do it justice. Plan a day trip to Jersey, or if you live there then consider yourself lucky.
Three Seat Espresso & Barber. You heard that right. This place is an espresso bar and a coffee shop- both of which they are pretty darn good at executing. This means if you’re a dude who is looking for a good cut and a hand crafted espresso, you can get both things done at one time. Alternatively, if you’re just fine with your locks, you can actually come here without the fear of getting your hair chopped off. There is a totally separate café section for lounging around with your friends, doing some work on your laptop, or reading a nice book while intermittently people watching the ‘before & afters’ walk in and out. Don’t forget to grab a membership card; with 10 punches, you get a drink for free. And if you get hungry, there are yummy pastries to choose from and a menu off which to order that offers dishes like Avocado Toast or Housemade Muesli.
There is no missing Burger Heights in Washington Heights with their large garage-door walls and huge silver and orange sign that you could see from a mile away if we were in the burbs. You may have walked past it a couple times and thought, “hmm, looks generic”. I’m not going to argue with you on that one as their décor is nothing spectacular but let me assure you that the food here is anything but generic. They’ve got huge burgers such as the Broadway Burger with is two thick patties topped just how they look in the movies; the sweet potato fries are practically steak-cut and perfectly seasoned; and the shakes are super special in that they are made with gelato- try the Hazelnut shake for a magical experience. And the best part- they give you one of the vibrating alarms to let you know when your food is ready.