12 Best Restaurants in Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront District, New York City

Baked

$ | Red Hook Fodor's choice
Original creations like the Brookster (chocolate chip cookie dough baked inside a brownie) and delicious interpretations of whoopie pies, blondies, bars, and cookies keep this sleek bakery and café buzzing. There are breakfast items and a few lunchtime savory selections, too. Buy the cookbook so you can re-create the recipes at home.

Hometown Bar-B-Que

$$ | Red Hook Fodor's choice
The smell of barbecue will have your mouth watering even before you get in the door of this cavernous hall, which many say serves the best BBQ around. Head for the counter to order meats by the pound, chicken, sandwiches, tacos, and sides. It's all outrageously good, but the brisket is a must.

Pok Pok Ny

$$ Fodor's choice

The New York outpost of Andy Ricker’s famed Portland, Oregon restaurant continues to serve delicious Thai food that goes well beyond the dishes typically found on menus here. Knockouts include the pork belly and pork curry, the boar collar, the wings, and the papaya salad, but it’s hard to go wrong—and the servers give excellent guidance.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Red Hook Lobster Pound

$$$ | Red Hook Fodor's choice
For a taste of Maine in Brooklyn, head to the Red Hook Lobster Pound, where legendary lobster rolls are served with just a touch of mayo. There are variations on the classic, including "Connecticut style" (served warm, with butter) or "Tuscan style " (vinaigrette instead of mayo), as well as lobster dinners, lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese, and a few noncrustacean options.

Alma

$$
Spread over three levels, Alma is a neighborhood treasure, serving excellent Mexican food. The bottom floor is a busy bar; the second floor is a cozy dining room; and the third is a roof deck, heated in winter, with views of Manhattan. Start with a margarita and guacamole—or the salsa sampler-—then move on to delicious renditions of flautas (crispy rolled tortillas with various fillings), tacos, and enchiladas.
187 Columbia St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231, USA
718-643--5400
Known For
  • Year-round roof deck
  • Excellent margaritas
  • Upscale prices
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekdays

Brooklyn Crab

$$ | Red Hook
Hanging out at this sprawling year-round crab shack can feel like you're a world away from New York City. The food hits all the high points—from peel-and-eat shrimp to seasonal crab specials, crab rolls, po'boys, oysters, and the Crab Royale dinner for two with a selection of crab and a lobster. On the main level is a tiny minigolf course,bean-bag-toss games, and even a few sandboxes to keep the kids entertained.

Defonte's

$ | Red Hook
The outrageously good heroes at Defonte's Sandwich Shop, overstuffed with cured meats, mozzarella, chicken parm, or fried eggplant, have made this storefront a Brooklyn institution. And after almost a century in business, they've certainly had time to perfect their recipes. The shop is delightfully old-school, with framed newspaper clippings and head shots of Sinatra and other celebrities on the walls. Seating is limited.
379 Columbia St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231, USA
718-625--8052
Known For
  • Old-school atmosphere
  • Awesome sandwiches
  • Just a few seats
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner, closed Sun.

Ferdinando's Focacceria

$$
Basic decor, a pressed-tin roof, and family photos set the completely unpretentious, old-school mood at this laid-back neighborhood temple of Sicilian comfort food. Everything is delicious, but standouts include the arancini (rice balls), the pork-chop pizzaiola (cooked with peppers, tomatoes, and capers), and the panelle special, in which chickpea fritters meet ricotta in a sandwich with delicious results.
151 Union St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231, USA
718-855--1545
Known For
  • Great food
  • Reasonable prices
  • Closes at 8 Monday--Thursday
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Hope and Anchor

$ | Red Hook
There's a full bar and extensive menu at this convivial diner, but breakfast (served all day) is the main event: jerk-chicken or root-vegetable hash, a breakfast burrito that knocks out hangovers, eggs any style, and pancakes deliciously doused with butter and syrup are some of the choices. There are sandwiches and burgers, too, as well as excellent fish tacos.

Red Hook Food Vendors Marketplace

$ | Red Hook
Food trucks selling top-notch, mostly Central American food have been congregating at the Red Hook sports fields on weekends (April--October, 10 am to sundown) for more than 40 years to feed hungry sports enthusiasts and foodies looking for exemplary cheap eats. The nine fields are undergoing a rotating, several-years-long rehabilitation, and there are fewer food trucks than in years past, but the selection is still tempting. Be on the lookout for the Vendy Award–winning El Olomega, with their famed pupusas (corn tortillas stuffed with delicious fillings).

Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies

$ | Red Hook
Freshly squeezed key lime juice is just part of what imbues every bite of these pies with a taste of Florida sunshine. Steve Tarpin is a Florida native who's been making pies in Brooklyn for more than 20 years—always, always, always using Florida key lime juice squeezed fresh right before the pies are made. Pies are available in 8- or 10-inch sizes or as individual 4-inch tarts.
185 Van Dyke St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231, USA
718-858--5333
Known For
  • Tart-size minipies
  • Picnic table seating
  • Frozen pie dipped in chocolate and served on a stick

The Good Fork

$$ | Red Hook
The husband-and-wife team behind the Good Fork marry Eastern and Western sensibilities at this charming restaurant. He's a native New Yorker and she grew up in South Korea, and the fusion-style menu ranges from homemade dumplings and Korean-style steak 'n' eggs to roasted chicken with fermented black-bean butter sauce. In warm weather you can dine in the garden.
391 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231, USA
718-643--6636
Known For
  • Hand-built wooden interior
  • Lovely back garden
  • Creative Korean fusion food
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.; no lunch Tues.--Fri.