Home to such a large Italian population, you’ll be heading in the right direction by taking a trip to Brooklyn to find some of the best pizza, pasta, and bruschetta you might have ever tasted before.
Many neighborhoods are actually considered Little Italy’s and the popular carrying of the Giglio at the OLMC Feast in Williamsburg every year is just one of the many Italian events that happen regularly throughout the borough. So if you’re ever on the hunt for an authentic Italian experience, head no further.
With many different Italian restaurants offering their own specialties and delicious dishes, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Luckily, we’ve helped you narrow it down by picking a few of our favorite restaurants. From budget-friendly lunch bites to ultimate dine-out experiences, we’ve found something for everyone. So let’s get to it!
248 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
First on our list is Al di la trattoria, which you will find on 5th Avenue in Park Slope. Their menu is rooted in Northern Italian cuisine and each ingredient is responsibly sourced by local farmers who work sustainably. It is run by Emiliano Coppa and the chef, Anna Klinger consistently promises to produce high-quality dishes from delicious antipasti, to creamy tagliatelle to ricotta ravioli.
We would recommend the Trippa Alla Toscana to start, which is delicious tripe stewed slowly in white wine, sofritto, and tomatoes, and our two top main recommendations would be the Malfatti, which is swiss chard and ricotta gnocchi with brown butter and sage or the Hanger Steak “Tagliata” with Arugula. If you have room left after indulging in Anna’s wonderful cooking, treat yourself to the creme fraiche panna cotta to end on a totally authentic Italian dining experience.
7414 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
If you’re asking for a recommendation from a local, Gino’s is the place they’ll tell you to go. Voted one of the two best Italian restaurants in Brooklyn for 2021, Gino’s took the top prize in Kings County for their delicious, authentic Italian cuisine.
Located on Fifth Avenue since 1964, a traditional Italian restaurant, Gino’s promises to give you an old-fashioned experience full of Italian heart and soul in both the atmosphere of the place and delectable food. Appetizers include grilled shrimp with white beans to fried zucchini, there are plenty of soups and salads to choose from and pasta includes traditional ravioli and lasagne to bowties with sweet peas, shiitake mushrooms, and grilled shrimp.
If seafood is what you’re after, look no further than Gino’s as the Shrimp Oreganata promises the best-broiled shrimp with breadcrumbs and garlic in Brooklyn and the day boat pan-seared scallops are to die for. We promise this family-owned restaurant will be welcoming and warming, as well as tasty and mouth-watering, and leave you wanting to come back for more.
14 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn
Bushwick offers some of the greatest graffiti and art spots in Brooklyn, so after you’ve checked these out, what better way to spend your evening than visiting this neighborhood favorite Italian. The restaurant was opened by Christian and Max in 2008, who are childhood friends, and their goal is to ‘take their customers on a culinary journey to their region of Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy’.
All their ingredients are fresh and their pasta is even made fresh on the premises. Il Passatore Trattoria also offers some of the best vegetarian dishes in Brooklyn from gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and walnuts to butternut squash-filled tortellini, to vegetarian lasagne.
Our top recommendation, especially if you weren’t in the mood for pasta would be the filetto di salmone in salsa di fumetto, which is pan-seared fresh Atlantic salmon fillet in a fumetto and artichoke sauce, served with sauteed spinach and roasted red potatoes.
Moreover, Il Passatore Trattoria also offers a great take-out service and promises to bring their great Italian food to your home, packaged in a way that will not affect quality or taste, so you can get your Passsatore fix whenever you crave it!
151 Union Street. Brooklyn
Located on Union Street in the Carroll Gardens waterfront district, this classic little Italian offers some of the best Italian cuisines in the city. Fernando’s Focaccia opened all the way back in 1904 and specializes in Sicilian food. Our top recommendation would have to be their famous panelle sandwich which incorporates tasty fried chickpeas and is bursting with flavor.
We also recommend the vastedda’s and rice balls, but whatever you choose we promise it will be some of the best Sicilian food you’ve tasted outside of Palermo. If you’ve still got room left but are in the mood for something savory, don’t be afraid to have a stroll around the local area either.
Nearby you’ll find Mazzola Bakery which offers some of the best Italian bread in Brooklyn and Pastericceria Monteleone which bakes some delicious Italian pastries and cakes so you’ll even be able to satisfy that sweet tooth if you didn’t have room for dessert at Ferdinando’s Focacceria.
279 71st Street, Brooklyn
In the heart of Bay Ridge on 71st Street, you’ll find this perfect little spot that is Lombardo’s, serving some of the best Italian food in Brooklyn. They are famous for their traditional Neapolitan pizza, as well as delicious calzones and so if you’re in the mood for a real Italian feast, look no further.
The interior of Lombardo’s is nothing short of spectacular as it is decked out with some of the finest Italian antiques, along with a brick oven and beautifully designed brick walls. The atmosphere is perfect for a cozy date night finished off with some of their famous pie, or equally as enjoyable to share some pizza with the family.
Emanuele Lombardo, who owns the pizza restaurant even confessed that one of how main goals was to encourage his guests to talk to each other, making it a friendly and communal place, welcoming both visitors and locals all day and all night. A unique selling point of Lombardo’s is that you’re even allowed to bring your own wine, making it perfect for that weekend dinner. It’s no wonder they were joint first with Gino’s in 2021 for best Italian in Brooklyn!
451 Carroll Street, Brooklyn
Monte’s, which is located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn offers some of the tastiest classic Italian dishes in Brooklyn. Opened in 1906, they value old-fashioned charm and classic, authentic food. Some popular menu items include Polpette, which is wood oven-baked meatballs, cavatelli, which is house-made ricotta cavatelli, and wild boar ragu and short ribs which is porcini red wine braised gogolzola and whipped potatoes.
Sounds delicious, right? In the nearby area, you will also find Ample Hills, where if you didn’t have room for dessert in the restaurant, you’ll be able to try some fresh ice cream instead.
348 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
Recently arrived in the Park Slope/ Prospect Heights area is the old Franny’s Pizzeria. This pizzeria is not your average casual dining experience, however, and is more of a fancy Italian restaurant that you can visit for a big celebration or birthday.
This new spot is popular with locals and tourists alike and is known for making some of the freshest pasta and cuisine in the neighborhood, inspired by the local farmer’s market. If you like a glass of vino with your Italian, look no further as Fausto not only serves great food but great wine too. With a well-curated wine list, you can indulge in a variety of aromas and tastes from orange wine, to sparkling and rich red wine.
If you are a cocktail drinker, you’re also in the right place as some of their best drinks include cocktails such as the Fausto Negroni (Gin, House Red Bitter Blend, Sweet Vermouth) the Rosmarino (Cappelletti Aperitivo, Charred Rosemary, Sparkling Rosato) and the Ciliega (Dry Vermouth, Rum, Maraschino, Pellegrino Amaro and Lemon).
Moreover, some of their most popular food items include the Spelt Gemelli, Rabbit Bolognese Tagliatelle, and Pork Chop with Charred Stonefruit, all of which go down a treat with whichever drink you opt for off their extensive drinks selection. Fausto offers great customer service and promises to make you feel satisfied, full, and wanting more!
7902 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
If it was wood-fired pizza you were looking for and you were near Giacomo’s, you’re in the right place. Giacomo’s was founded by a family that has experience in both the restaurant business and pizzeria business for over 40 years and with an extensive menu ranging from ziti and gnocchi to their famous wood-fired pizza, you’re in for a treat.
Giacomo’s promises to provide its customers with the truest authentic Italian experience as well as exceptional customer service and some of the friendliest staff in Brooklyn. With a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere to accompany its great-tasting food, you’re guaranteed to be returning to Giacomo’s for more and it doesn’t come as a surprise that they were voted the best Italian in the whole of Brooklyn in both 2017 and 2019.
32 Wither Street, Brooklyn
Located on Wither Street in Williamsburg, this classic Italian restaurant will give you an experience like no other. Not only is their food sublime, but it will send you back in time with their old-fashioned decor, their vintage cigarette machine in the bar area, their waiters dressed in tuxedo’s and its all-around charm of New York’s history.
Start your evening out with the Bamonte’s Special Antipasti, before indulging in some of their hot appetizers, and when it comes to the main, we recommend either the Veal Cutlet Parmigiana or the Chicken Rollatini with Mushrooms or their comforting homemade lasagne made with the finest ingredients of Italy.
With so many old-school favorites in this restaurant, it’s not only the ambiance and atmosphere that will take you on a trip down memory lane but also their carefully selected menu which will leave you feeling happy, full, and most of all, nostalgic.
2929 Avenue R, Brooklyn
Home of their famous nationally sold pasta sauce which is cooked and packed at the premises, a trip to Michael’s, although located deep within Brooklyn near Sheepshead Bay is more than worth it. Michael’s offers three generations of experience of pride in their restaurant and it is popular with both visitors and locals, who enjoy the generations-old family recipes that have been handed down as an Italian legacy of tradition.
Serving old-school Italian dishes since 1964, a trip to Michael’s means you’ll be indulging in some of the ultimate classics from lasagna and cheese ravioli to some of the tastiest specials in Brooklyn from Rigatoni Vodka to Butternut Squash Ravioli. If Seafood is what you were looking for, you’ve also come to the right place, we recommend trying the Fisherman’s Platter or if you’ve got a slightly smaller appetite, perhaps the Shrimp Oregano.
With an elegantly appointed dining room, Michael’s is also a great spot for private events and parties, so make sure you ask one of their friendly team members for more information if you have a big event coming up.
Whether you’re new to the area or have lived in Brooklyn all your life, it’s no secret to anyone that Brooklyn is home to some of the best Italian food, outside of Italy, in the whole world. From delicious antipasti’s to freshly-made pasta dishes, to wood-fired pizzas and some of the most finely prepared seafood you’ll find in New York, if you’re looking for a truly authentic Italian experience, you’ve come to the right place.
We hope by reading this guide, you’ve got an idea of some of the best places to visit, as well as noted down some of their popular menu items and our top recommendations.
However, since Brooklyn is so popular with visitors and locals alike when it comes to Italian food, ensure you have booked beforehand to avoid disappointment. So enjoy the food, enjoy the ambiance and enjoy the ultimate Italian experience, we’re sure you’ll be back for more!