DUMBO is full of great eats in addition to the wealth of coffee shops (seriously, so many) and unique spots to shop that I profiled last week. Here are our favorites, in no particular order:
Almar ~ Every Brooklyn neighborhood needs at least one cash-only Italian spot serving up great pasta and uncomplicated food, and for DUMBO, Almar is that place. It's relatively easy to get a table (no reservations) and always an enjoyable meal. Good for breakfast through dinner, with Italian wines and cocktails. If you go for breakfast or brunch, don't miss the eggs in a cloud!
Gran Electrica - Have I mentioned how much we adore Gran Electrica? Oh yes, I have. Great for brunch or dinner, with my favorite outdoor patio in the neighborhood. If you go, everything savory is delicious and I can never say no to their chocolate pudding for dessert. And I've tried. If you go and you're pregnant (hiiiiii!) the bartenders will kindly make you a virgin margarita good enough that you don't feel like you're missing out at all. And if you're in the San Francisco Bay area - lucky you! Gran Electrica just opened its second location in Napa.
Celestine ~ Our favorite newcomer restaurant. Excellent Mediterranean foods and great views under the Manhattan Bridge. An awesome date spot or good for a small group.
Superfine ~ I feel like Superfine is one of those restaurants that if you're not plugged into the neighborhood can get overlooked. Really excellent, locally sourced food and a very laid back atmosphere that often offers live music. This is where Doug and I celebrated with both sets of our parents and some of our siblings while we were engaged, with a memorable New Orleans-style jazz band performing Christmas carols.
Atrium ~ An established and beloved neighborhood spot that we went to probably every month, and definitely whenever we had visitors in town. For cocktails, check out the Tea and Kalamansi and don't miss the excellent French wines. For dinner, definitely get the bread and take a look at the chicken for two, but really everything is good. And don't miss the opportunity to sit outside for brunch.
Love & Dough ~ This is my favorite pizza spot in DUMBO. Get a little crazy and try their Surrpressata pizza (red sauce) and the Brontese (white sauce), the latter of which taught me that I'm a grown up who can appreciate mortadella. The paparedelle with pesto is one of our go-to pastas, but really you can't go wrong. You can eat in, order take out, or (my personal favorite) head just across the road / tiny plaza to the Archway Lighthouse. Under the Archway, the Lighthouse is open seasonally serving beer, wine and snacks and you can eat at plentiful picnic tables. We'd do this on summer Friday nights and take Foster with us. It was bliss.
Ramen Bar ~ Newly opened last year and such a welcome addition to the area. It's dimly lit, so comfy and cozy, and the ramen is fantastic. Win, win, win. Definitely worth checking out.
GRAB AND GO:
Untamed Sandwiches ~ I'm hungry just thinking about it. Untamed specializes in delicious braised meat sandwiches served on ciabatta bread (my favorite) or over greens or polenta. In addition to the meaty options, I love the Carla Bruni - it's the sexiest veggie sandwich I've ever eaten. As a disclaimer, we know the the founder and owner of Untamed, who worked with Doug many years ago. We would still love the sandwiches even if we didn't!
Vinegar Hill House Foods ~ VHH Foods nearly made last week's list for coffee spots (thumbs up for their cold brew) but we really like it as a spot to grab breakfast or lunch. The breakfast tacos are a fan favorite, and they have great quality food. My go-to lunch all winter from VHH Foods was their smoked chicken salad sandwich and saffron tomato soup. It could perk up even the grayest days. VHH Foods has lovely, sunlit indoor seating that looks out at the Empire Stores courtyard and to the water beyond. The real winner, however, is the outdoor patio (again, seasonal of course) that is lively and dog friendly.
Smile To Go ~ Tucked into the Shinola store, this takeaway counter has sandwiches, soups, and salads at the ready, plus space to eat them onsite if you're not planning a picnic. They also make delicious breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos to order, but expect to wait a few minutes while they make it up. I like that you buy sandwiches by the half, allowing you to customize your meal.
Lunchtime Under the Archway ~ For many years running, various vendors seasonally pop up under the Manhattan Bridge Archway from Wednesday through Friday to serve lunch. It usually runs May to October, and I'm waiting anxiously for the announcement that it's starting back up for the year. There are a few standbys and a rotating cast for variety. My absolute favorite is Rice & Miso Everyday for their onigiri (Japanese rice balls with tasty fillings) bento. UPDATE! As of May, Lunchtime Under the Archway is back for the season, including my beloved Rice & Miso Everyday. El Super Tacos will also be in the regular rotation. Find them each week on Wednesday through Friday from 12 to 2:30pm. Keep an eye out for me - I'll have to make a pilgrimage this summer during my maternity leave.
IF YOU WANT TO VISIT DUMBO...
A few insider tips:
- If you go on a nice afternoon in the summer, expect crowds. Possibly big ones.
- Ditto if you want to take the ferry on a nice day: expect long lines.
- To avoid those crowds, try to plan a morning exploring Dumbo. You can't go wrong grabbing a coffee and pastry and walking along Brooklyn Bridge Park before the hordes descend and there are numerous spots open for a proper breakfast. It's lovely and peaceful and my favorite time of day.
- The neighborhood is family and dog friendly...
- There's a playground for kids where Washington Street (the one with the iconic bridge view) dead ends into Plymouth Street and the park.
- There's a small dog park under the Manhattan Bridge along Plymouth Street, although it's been closed recently due to track work on the bridge.
- If you're dealing with inclement weather, take refuge in Empire Stores - you'll have multiple eateries to choose from and a big common space with couches and tables to hang out comfortably. This is where you'll find neighborhood families on weekend mornings, and bonus it's dog friendly too.
- Don't wait in terribly long lines for Grimaldi's pizza, please - I'm begging you. Juliana's is great, but we would call for takeout. Desperate for pizza? See my glowing rec for Love & Dough above. They have more typical pizza combos if you're not up for the crazy ones.