Best Pizza for Wiseguys
You can fuggedabout finding many pizzas in Brooklyn better than this one, cooked to perfection in a gas-and-wood-fired oven and topped with fresh mozzarella and free garlic and basil. Just don't be a mook while you're there; Chef Chris Iacono, brother of Lucali's Mark Iacono, has supposed mob ties, as evidenced by Mark's recent run-in with the law over a knife fight with suspected mobster Benny Geritano.
Best Bar for Nerding Out
Tired of mentioning Daleks or your sonic screwdriver and being met with blank stares? Then this Prospect Heights steampunk bar is for you. Owner Andy Heidel built his very own TARDIS (the space-and-time-traveling call box from the BBC's Dr. Who) over the bathroom, making for a great conversation starter when you're sipping specialty cocktails with that very special Time Lord.
Best Place to Sip Oysters While Pretending it's the 1800s
Like Marion Cotillard in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, it appears Brooklynites are desperate to experience La Belle Époque. No mystical cab is needed to reach this place; inside you'll find a jade absinthe fountain, faded photographs and creaky wooden floorboards, plus a crowd heavy on antiquated clothing and facial hair. The real attraction, however, is the raw bar, featuring a selection of more than 30 East and West Coast oysters.
Best Breakfast Sandwich
Start your morning off with a shot of grease to the heart with the The Czajkowski, a monster of a breakfast sandwich made with a thick slab of fried bologna, a slice of American cheese and a big, runny egg, all on a dense, chewy sesame roll that thankfully keeps the whole mess off your hands as you run to the subway. Pair it with a cup of coffee from Intelligentsia and you're ready to fake it through another day of work.
Best Place to Melt the Skin off Your Face with the
Peaches Hot House
Have you ever had one of those moments when you cry out in pain (and ecstasy) while eating fried chicken? Peaches Hot House can take you there with its face-melting Nashville-style hot house chicken. Order it "extra hot" and see if you can eat more than one perfectly fried, cayenne pepper-rubbed piece before you admit defeat. Water will be of no help to you here.
Best Hidden Restaurant in the Back of a Mexican
Located in the back of an unassuming bodega on a grungy strip of Myrtle Avenue, this restaurant serves what is arguably the most authentic "down ‘n dirty" Mexican food in Brooklyn. Get any of the cemitas or huaraches (hint: al pastor) and you're in for a meat-laden treat. Suck it, Bushwick. Photo by Joe Hume
Best Place to Blow a Paycheck on Cocktails
Sometimes you just want to fork over $15 for an expertly crafted cocktail, and there's no better place to do this than Clover Club. The eponymous tipple—gin, dry vermouth, lemon, raspberry syrup, and egg white—is one of the simplest on the menu, but also the most satisfying and refreshing. Just be sure to pace yourself, as more than three of these will have you on the floor (and broke).
Unexpected Use of
Of all the gosh-darned places you could stick a banana, who would've thunk to stuff it in a croque monsieur? The visionary cooks at Smith Street's French countryside spot Sue Perrette are onto something. The banana's sweetness balances the saltiness of the ham and melted cheese and gives this classic brunch-time sandwich a French-Caribbean vibe. Plus, it comes with crisp mixed greens and potatoes-of-the-day. Get a sunny-side-up egg on top and thank us later.
Best Place to Eat Controversial Duck Parts
Do or Dine
This irreverent "American izakaya" serves up a variety of goofy takes on the genre of drunk food—boob-shaped, tempura-fried eggs stuffed with bacon being one stand-out among many—but the foie gras donut is the dish you shouldn't pass up. Stuffed with raspberry jelly and a healthy dose of inhumanely fattened duck liver-based goodness, the donuts, which are made around the corner at Dough, are the Platnoic ideal of decadence. Photo by Joe Hume
Best Place to Meet a Hardcore Vegan Dreamboat
Cruising for honeys on your way to the Hannibal Montana show at the Acheron? Look no further than this teensy hummus joint across the street. Here, dip fresh-baked pita bread into stoneware bowls of rich chickpea puree. Vegan options include the earthy and luscious Baked Bulb, hummus with roasted garlic that's drizzled with olive oil and tahini and dusted with the house spice mix.
Best Schlep-Free Smoked Salmon
Gotta love a Jewish deli whose official slogan is "No more schlepping." But if you don't live in the Smith Street vicinity, it's worth a schlep to sample the Shelsky's Pastrami sandwich: House-cured "pastrami salmon" (that is, smoked fish that's crusted with coarse salt, pepper, and spices) and sauerkraut on pumpernickel or rye gets a sharp kick from house-made mustard herring.
Most Anticipated Brick-and-Mortar Shop
The Treats Truck's bakery
Dear Treats Truck: We're tired of chasing you all over the city. It breaks our heart to see you peddling your peanut butter sandwich cookies in Manhattan and sharing your candy-studded Rice Krispy treats with every Joe Schmo on Staten Island. We love your gooey cake cones. Can't get enough of your dessert nachos. Commit to us already and open that brick-and-mortar bakery that you've been promising. We'll be waiting for you at 521 Court Street.
Van Horn's Smoked Sweet Potatoes
In truth, bacon has no replacement. But for all the vegans and vegetarians out there who are frying tofu to oblivion in hopes of finding something vaguely similar, get thee to Van Horn Sandwich Shop. The Sweet PLT is piled with chewy-crisp smoky sweet potato rounds with lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli. It ain't bacon, but it is delicious.
Lead photo by Cody Swanson