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10+ Best Restaurants in Carroll Gardens

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Carroll Gardens is one of New York City’s most charming neighborhoods, located on the border of Brooklyn neighborhoods Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Boerum Hill and Gowanus. This family-friendly neighborhood is filled with charming brownstones and some of the best restaurants in NYC, especially if you’re looking for Italian. I’ve put together a list of the 14 best restaurants in Carroll Gardens, plus their average prices and location. 

Where is Carroll Gardens? 

Carroll Gardens is a family-friendly neighborhood in Northwestern Brooklyn, a borough in New York City. Carroll Gardens spans approximately 40 city blocks, with borders with Cobble Hill, Red Book, and Gowanus. While it doesn’t make the list for most 4 days in New York itineraries, it is definitely a neighborhood worth visiting for an authentic New York experience.

How to Get to Carroll Gardens 

The best restaurants in Carroll Gardens can be easily reached by the NY subway. The subway station’s of Carroll Street and Smith-Ninth Streets are serviced by both the F and G subway lines. It can also be reached by either the B61 or B57 bus lines.

You will need a metrocard to ride either the bus or the subway in NYC. A single ride on either costs $2.75. You can purchase a 7-day unlimited card for $33, which is a great deal if you plan to use public transportation frequently. Metrocards can be purchased at most subway stations.

Best Restaurants in Carroll Gardens

1. Lucali 

There is quite literally always a ridiculous wait to get a table at Lucali in Carroll Gardens, and is most definitely worth all of the hype. The Lucali storefront was once a beloved candy store, and Mark Iacono opened the pizza shop to save the storefront from what he believed was an undecided but inevitably generic fate.

The menu is simple, offering only a large pie, with the option of extra sauce, and large and small calzones. There are also a handful of toppings that you can add to your pie, but I personally keep it classic with basil and garlic only.

Tips from the restaurant itself are to show up before 5, get your name on the waitlist, go grab a drink, and come back to enjoy NYC’s best pizza when your table is ready. Personally, I love the open kitchen vibe, where you can see your pizza being prepped and cooked. If you can’t snag a table, takeout is (almost) just as good.

$24 for a large pie, $3 for additional toppings. $22 for a large calzone and $12 for a small calzone. Lucali is a cash-only establishment.

Location: 575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

best pizza in nyc from lucali in brooklyn
Takeout classic pizza from Lucali in Carroll Gardens

2. Ugly Baby

If you’re looking for Thai dishes with a whole lot of kick, Ugly Baby should be on your list. Ugly Baby Brooklyn is a tiny spot in Carroll Gardens, known for serving up authentic Thai dishes. This is not your average NYC Thai restaurants, but trust me when I say, the dishes at Ugly Baby have got a whole lot of spicy kick to them.

I recommend going with a group, so you can sample an assortment of dishes. I enjoyed the Khao Soi, and I’ll admit that I was crying from the spice, but the flavors were more than worth it.

Main dishes at Ugly Baby average $25, with a few small plates for $9-11.

Location: 407 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

3. Frankie’s 457 Spuntino 

Frankies 457 Spuntino is known for their classic Tuscan Italian dishes, and is easily the best backyard date-night spot in Carroll Gardens.

A few fan favorites at Frankie’s 457 include the Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup, the Burrata, and any of their House-Made pastas. And do not pass on the meatballs. Of course, if you’re looking for something a bit quicker, their sandwiches are some of the best in Carroll Gardens.

Appetizers and small plates range from $8-17, with house-made pastas ranging from $18-26 and grill specialties averaging $25-30. Sandwiches average $15.

Location: 457 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

4. Buttermilk Channel 

Whether you’re interested in dining for brunch or dinner, Buttermilk Channel is best known for their out-of-this-world fried chicken.

Most diners come for the famous fried chicken and cheddar waffles, but don’t miss out on their house-made pickles, or their famous popovers, served with sea salt and honey.

Also, Buttermilk Channel served root beer floats which are my forever favorite dessert, and the perfect compliment to some fried chicken.

Most brunch options range from $15-20, with their famous chicken and waffles priced at $24. Throw in the house-made pickles for $6 and a trio of popovers for $4.

Location: 524 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

5. Black Mountain Wine House

This cozy wine bar sits on the border of Carroll Gardens and Gowanus, just east of Smith Street, but for the sake of this article, we’ll say it’s in Carroll Gardens. And cozy really is the best way to describe the local wine bar, Black Mountain Wine House, with bottles of wine serving as decor and a roaring fire to keep you warm all winter long.

There are a few small plates available as well, including a cheese plate and a selection of meats.

Despite the classy, yet cozy, ambiance, Black Mountain Wine House serves great wine at super reasonable prices. The average glass of wine is $10, with half bottle and full bottle options available as well.

Location: 415 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

6. Avlee Greek Kitchen

Avlee Greek Kitchen is a place that should definitely be on your list of Carroll Gardens best restaurants if, like me, you love great Greek food.

Main dishes range from $15-27. Their grilled options are available as both pitas (average $13-14) or platters ($15-20). Salads come in both small and large sizes.

Location: 349 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

7. Vinny’s of Carroll Gardens 

You’ve probably already noticed that there are quite a few Italian restaurants on this list of best restaurants in Carroll Gardens, but Vinny’s definitely deserves a spot on this list. Established in 1997, Vinny’s of Carroll Gardens checks all of the boxes for a perfect Sunday night family dinner. You’ll find classic Italian dishes served in a casual, but friendly atmosphere. Trust me when I say, Vinny’s is one of the best Smith Street Brooklyn restaurants.

Portions are large and are best enjoyed family-style, mostly because everything on the menu is delicious. If I had to choose a few classic dishes though it would have to be the Penne alla Vodka, the Chicken Parmigiana, and an order of Fried Calamari. You can throw in an order of the garlic broccoli if you want to add a little green to your meal.

Pasta dishes (with massive portions) range from $14.50-18.50. Main dishes are reasonably priced as well, ranging from $16-28, depending on the meat. You can also grab a sandwich starting at $8, and sides and antipasti starting around the same price.

Location: 295 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

8. Gersi 

Gersi is a neighborhood favorite, sitting on the border of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. You will fall in love with the food at Gersi’s from the very first bite. And I mean that because they serve the most delicious garlic bean spread with their complimentary bread basket.

There is plenty of great food on Court Street, but Gersi is some of the best in my book. If you’re looking for a classic Italian Carroll Gardens dinner, Gersi should be high on your must-try list.

Prices are super reasonable, with their famous lemon spaghetti priced at just $12.99 for a large plate!

Location: 316 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

9. Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain

It’s only fair that this list of great Carroll Gardens restaurants includes on that errs on the sweeter, and Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain definitely checks all of the boxes in the sweet department.

Elaborate sundaes, milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, and of course, pints of their homemade ice cream, the all-American dessert experience.

Milkshakes are priced at $10.50, with sundaes ranging from $10.50-13.50. You can grab a pint for $9, plus any other toppings you need to make their famous sundaes at home.

Location: 513 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

10. Court Street Grocers

Court Street Grocers has got four locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan, but today we’re chatting about their location in Carroll Gardens on Court Street.

From their Macho (Wo)man, with heritage pork shoulder, cheddar cheese, coleslaw, pickled jalapenos, and duck sauce on garlic-toasted ciabatta to their Ollieflower sandwich with roast cauliflower, provolone, broccoli rabe, and crystal hot honey.

Sandwiches range from $7-15.

Location: 485 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Handwritten menu board at Court Street Grocers
Handwritten menu board at Court Street Grocers

11. Ferdinando’s Focacceria 

A classic Sicilian eatery in the heart of Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. But really, can there ever be too many great Italian restaurants in one neighborhood? Ferdinando’s Focacceria is one of the best NYC restaurants. The Panelle sandwich is a classic, as well

Ferdinando’s Focacceria is a neighborhood favorite, that is known for their regular clientele. I’m sure once you visit once, you’ll be back again soon as well!

Mains are priced at $20, with their “Three Course Meal” plates priced at $30. You can grab a side for $6-8, with antipasti plates ranging from $10-20.

Location: 151 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

12. Bar Bruno

Bar Bruno is consistently our go-to for frozen margaritas and bloody marys, no matter what time of day! But don’t fret, they also have some great classic Mexican dishes. Bar Bruno is a great spot to grab a drink while waiting for your table at Lucali.

Location: 520 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Frozen margaritas from Bar Bruno
Frozen margaritas from Bar Bruno

13. The House of Pizza & Calzone

If you’re looking for cheap, casual classic Italian dishes, The House of Pizza & Calzone is a great restaurant to add to your list. Their pizzas are huge and delicious at $18 for a large classic pie. Same with all of their pasta dishes that start at just $8.75. However, the favorite for me is definitely an order of the fried zeppoles covered in powdered sugar.

Location: 132 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

14. Dolce Brooklyn

It is only fair that I finish off this list of the best restaurants in Carroll Gardens with a classic gelato stand. Once you’ve had your fill of pizza and pasta down the road, swing by this window to grab a scoop of delicious Italian gelato. Prices are on par with what you would expect of a scoop shop, with a regular gelato going for around $5. But the price is worth every penny! By far some of the best ice cream in NYC.

Location: 204 Sackett St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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