Foodie’s Guide to Best Restaurants in Red Hook

In Brooklyn, Eat & Drink, Guides, Red Hook by Guest AuthorLeave a Comment

Looking for some of the best Red Hook restaurants? You’ve come to the right place! Not only is Red Hook a scene for some great food, it is also one of the best Brooklyn neighborhoods to spend a weekend afternoon at. It’s extremely walkable, right by the water, great views of the Statue of Liberty, and has one of the best food scenes in South Brooklyn.

Red Hook is also home of what is said to be one of Brooklyn’s oldest bars, Sunny’s, which should be enough in itself to visit. While it might not be the easiest part of Brooklyn to get to (there is no train access), it is definitely worth connecting to take the NYC ferry, bus, or grab a Citibike to explore some of the best places to eat in Red Hook. 

Whether you are a Red Hook local or just visiting the neighborhood, this guide will provide you with all of the best Red Hook restaurants and all the best places to eat in Red Hook. Aside from restaurants, there is plenty else to explore so make sure you take advantage and spend some time checking out the best things to do in Red Hook too.

Best Places to Eat in Red Hook

Red Hook Tavern 

the-famous-cheese-burger-from-Red-Hook-Tavern-in-Brooklyn

329 Van Brunt Street 

Looking for one of the best burgers in Brooklyn? Come to Red Hook Tavern. Looking for one of the coolest and most aesthetically pleasing facades in Red Hook? Come to Red Hook Tavern. Looking for a great selection of wine? Come to Red Hook Tavern. 

Burgers are everywhere in this city that we call home and yet there are very few that I feel like truly make the list as one of the best. Red Hook Tavern is one that makes the top of the list. It’s simple and cooked to perfection served with a giant pickle on the side, just the way burgers should come, which is part of the reason why Red Hook Tavern is one of the best places to eat in Red Hook. The other reasons are also listed above and if you don’t believe me, ask anyone else who has had the pleasure of dining at Red Hook Tavern. 

The space is old and inviting with stools lining a long wooden bar and wooden tables placed throughout the restaurant. They also have some small outdoor space set up to enjoy some of the best food in Red Hook, if that is more of what you prefer. While I am usually always an advocate for the outdoors, make sure you at least check out the indoors of this spot. You won’t regret the old-school charm. 

Red Hook Tavern serves dinner every night of the week but Monday and offers lunch on the weekends, including Friday. If you’re not a burger fan, there are plenty of other delicious things on the menu including shrimp cocktail, an incredible wedge salad, french onion soup, and fish and chips.

Red Hook Tavern accepts reservations (and highly recommend getting one if you’re really wanting to eat here) and should definitely be one of the first places you eat in Red Hook when you visit this amazing Brooklyn neighborhood. 

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie 

A dark chocolate swingle from Steves Authentic Key Lime Pie in Red Hook

185 Van Dyke Street 

Now that you’ve had one of the best burgers in town, it’s time to satisfy that sweet tooth. This will easily be done at Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie, some of the best key lime pie in the world, and one of the best places to eat in Red Hook if you’re looking for a sweet treat. 

Steve’s was started by an ex-South Flordian and he brought the deliciousness of Florida key lime pie to Brooklyn. It also kind of feels like you’re on vacation when you’re eating here because you’re right by the water (just don’t swim in this one). There are many pie varieties and I recommend starting with the classic key lime pie that comes in several different sizes. The graham cracker crust might be the best part of this very delicious and very refreshing treat, making for some of the best food in Red Hook.

If you’re not able to eat a whole pie or get it home, you’re in luck because Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie has a hot item for those looking for a single serving. Be sure to try a swingle – the frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick. It is equally delicious and best enjoyed right away and you get to choose from chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate.

Steve’s does have some picnic tables out front but the best is to grab your pie or swingle to go and head over to Louis Valentino Jr. Park. This park has a great view of the water and the Statue of Liberty. Steve’s is open every day. 

Brooklyn Crab 

Brooklyn Crab Restaurant with Car in Red Hook

24 Reed Street 

Brooklyn Crab is another one of those great Red Hook restaurants that makes this list for aesthetics but it helps that they also have some of the best seafood, easily making Brooklyn Crab one of the best go to spots to eat in Red Hook, especially in the warmer months when you can take advantage of their great outdoor seating!

Just like at Steve’s, Brooklyn Crab almost makes you feel like you’ve gone on a beachy vacation. This Red Hook restaurant is decorated heavily in fisherman decor and has a large enough space that you can always find room to sit with a big group. They also have lots of games that you can play and is down the street from Hometown Bar-B-Que (another one of the top restaurants in Red Hook that I will get to in this article), so this whole Red Hook strip of Reed feels like one giant block party. 

Obviously, you order seafood at Brooklyn Crab and, yes you guessed it, their crab is the best thing on the menu, they also do lobster well. The crab rolls are my favorite but they also have crab in the form of chowder, steam pots, and rolls. All of the other seafood is also great and you should always plan on adding a couple of sides including the mac and cheese to your order. 

Brooklyn Crab accepts reservations and is open every day for lunch and dinner. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating but please, sit outside, unless you’re at the bar. The bar is always a great place anywhere but especially at this delightful Red Hook restaurant where they also have games like corn hole and from the upper outdoor deck you can get a nice breeze.

San Pedro Inn 

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320 Van Brunt Street 

Another amazing restaurant in Red Hook is San Pedro Inn. Focusing on Mexican food and good vibes, this place does both very well. It is also one of the most inviting places in Brooklyn with large leather booths, light fixtures that you would have found at your grandmother’s house in the 70s, and random magazine clippings and photos throughout, you feel like you’re right at home the minute you step inside. 

With a focus on classic Mexican food, San Pedro has some of the best food in Red Hook and even made our round up for the best tacos in Brooklyn.

Chips and salsa and chips and guacamole are the obvious choice to start, no matter what Mexican restaurant you are at. Follow that by their tacos. I’m partial to the carne asada, al pastor, and carnita but they also have vegetarian options if you prefer. They also have incredible quesadillas, tostadas and enchiladas. Just don’t ask for am extra side of salsa, they charged a few bucks for a thimble size of salsa!

San Pedro Inn has very sporadic hours but they are open for a late lunch most days till late (2 AM on most nights) and open at noon on the weekends for brunch. They are closed on Mondays. Both indoor and outdoor dining options are available at one of the best restaurants in Red Hook.

Hometown Bar-B-Que 

ribs-from-Hometown-Bar-B-Que-in-Red-Hook-Brooklyn

454 Van Brunt Street 

As mentioned above, Hometown Bar-B-Que is just down the road from Brooklyn Crab and also has some of not only the best BBQ in Brooklyn but also some of the best food in the US. I know, I know, it’s New York but as someone from the South, I can say with confidence that Hometown Bar-B-Que has some of the best food in Red Hook (and I know BBQ). 

All of the classics (and really everything on the menu) is amazing here. I’m always partial to the sides when it comes to BBQ and want one of each, which I highly recommend at Hometown. If you’re not taking full advantage of this experience and don’t want to order them all, then start with the mac and cheese, pinto beans, hometown slaw, brisket queso, and cornbread (yes, I just named almost all of them because they are all that good). 

As far as meat goes, the pulled pork is some of the best I’ve ever had, the brisket is good, basically everything they do here, they do well. They also have sandwiches if you prefer and for our vegetarian friends, they offer a really good veggie bahn mi and spicy cauliflower wings.

Hometown is open every day for lunch and dinner but Monday. I highly recommend calling ahead way in advance if you plan on grabbing it to go, especially on the weekends. The last time I was there, we placed our order 2 hours before we were actually ready to pick it up. Don’t want to take it to go? They have both indoor and outdoor dining options and move pretty quickly. They also have a new location in Industry City, but let’s be honest that the original is still the best. 

Defonte’s Sandwich Shop 

Defontes-Sandwich-shop-in-Red-Hook-Brooklyn

379 Columbia Street 

A neighborhood is not complete without a good sandwich shop and for Red Hook, this is Defonte’s. Defonte’s has been around for over 100 years and for over a century they have been making some of the best food in Red Hook and some of the best sandwiches in Brooklyn

The minute you walk into Defonte’s you are transformed into what feels like the classic Italian sub-shop. It’s simple, yet delicious and classic yet unique. They have old photos all of the walls of family and celebrities alike, which also gives it that old-school establishment feel. 

As far as sandwiches go, you truly cannot go wrong. I’m partial to the chicken parmesan if I feel like a hot hero and for cold, go classic Italian. If you can’t decide, disregard the basic menu and follow the neon signs with the fun names for all the best sandwiches instead.

Defonte’s is open every day but Sunday early morning to early evening. They have a small indoor counter to eat your sandwich but mostly it is to go. There is a park right across the street if you want to eat your incredible sandwich outdoors but otherwise, Defonte’s is good enough to eat wherever. This is a cash-only establishment!

Baked 

Baked bakery in Red Hook Brooklyn

359 Van Brunt Street 

The first time I visited Red Hook almost 10 years ago, Baked was at the top of the list for being one of the best bakeries in Brooklyn, let alone one of the best places to eat in Red Hook if you’re looking for baked goodies. Still to this day, it is at the top of that list and for very good reason. Baked has some of the best pastries and breakfast pastries around, making it one of my picks for best places to eat in Red Hook. 

Cakes, cupcakes, crumbles, cookies, brownies, and anything else that has massive amounts of sugar and tastes delicious are the best things at Baked. In fact, you should not leave without trying a brownie, after all it has a celebrity fan base including the likes of Oprah herself.

Baked also also allow you to preorder and customize cakes and cupcakes for birthdays, weddings, and other events, which you should also most definitely do. 

For food with actual nutrients (I still count dessert as food), they have a great quiche for breakfast as well as some other breakfast pastries. The best thing that I’ve ever eaten there (next to the brownie) is the crumbly blueberry tart. Do not leave without trying this or you will regret it.

Baked is open every day for breakfast and lunch. They have a few outdoor sidewalk tables and indoor dining available, they also have coffee drinks so this is a great spot for a morning or afternoon caffeine fix too!

Somtum Der 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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380 Van Brunt Street 

Continuing down Van Brunt, the main thoroughfare in the neighborhood, you will find another one of the best places to eat in Red Hook at Somtum Der. Serving some of my favorite Thai food in the borough. The vibes are also incredible, with a minimalistic approach of wooden tables and red accent colors throughout. 

Somtum means papaya salad, which if the name translates to a menu item, you automatically know you should order said menu item. They also have all the classics including some incredible pad thai, pad se ew, drunken noodles and Thai hot pots but make sure you save room for dessert. The Thai tea panna cotta is out of this world. 

This delicious Red Hook restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner and offers both indoor and outdoor dining. The outdoor is my recommendation (as always) but especially here because of their beautiful garden. It is the perfect place to enjoy some of the best food in Red Hook. 

Somtum Der accepts reservations and also has a location in the East Village (sans incredible patio so come to Red Hook). 

Brooklyn Ice House 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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318 Van Brunt Street 

Chances are you’ve seen Brooklyn Ice House on Instagram for its classic sign and spacious backyard. It is also in the center of Van Brunt Street, so it is hard to miss and it shouldn’t be as it is one of the best restaurants in Red Hook. 

It’s your classic no-thrill dive bar but with better food and the best vibes. They also have actual affordable beer and food, which always makes me want to come back for more.

As far as food goes, the frito pie is delicious as well as the caesar salad, onion rings, and pulled pork sandwich. The burger is good but you’re also around the corner from Red Hook Tavern so it makes it a hard comparison. They also have American bar classics like meatloaf, okra, and hot dogs.

Brooklyn Ice House has both indoor and outdoor dining. The indoor is pretty small but the outdoor is spacious and filled with locals, which you know means it is a great spot. They do not accept reservations but you can usually find a spot, at the very least at the bar. 

Red Hook Lobster Pound 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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284 Van Brunt Street 

It takes a lot to be considered a great restaurant on the East Coast, especially in New York City when your specialty is lobster rolls when you can drive a couple hours to some of the best in the world. Red Hook Lobster Pound rivals its competition and not only makes one of my favorite lobster rolls in the states but it is also one of my favorite places to eat in Red Hook. 

So, Red Hook Lobster Pound does have a leg up on its competition in that their lobster does come from Maine but that only makes it better. Obviously, you should order the lobster roll (they have several different varieties but the classic is my favorite) and a side of french fries. Their cole slaw is also amazing and they have some amazing raw bar items.

Red Hook Lobster Pound is open every day and accepts reservations, which I highly recommend because they get very busy, especially on the weekends. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining. 

Dolce Brooklyn – Artisanal Gelato & Ice Cream 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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204 Sackett Street 

Continuing on the Red Hook eating tour and your “mini vacation” outside of your typical New York City/Brooklyn fare, make sure you stop by Dolce for some of the best gelato outside of Italy and one of the best restaurants in Red Hook. 

The mint gelato is outstanding but they have also now introduced mini sundaes to their menu that comes with a macaroon and topping. Very delicious and very cute, so Instagram would be proud. They also have sorbet and rotate their gelato flavors on a daily basis (check their Instagram for daily flavors). 

Dolce Brooklyn is open every day. They have a few indoor seats and some outdoor dining but like most restaurants in Red Hook, this gelato is always good to walk with or head to Valentino park to sit and admire Lady Liberty. 

Jam’It Bistro 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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367 Columbia Street 

A neighbor to Defonte’s is a different style of cuisine that is Jam’It Bistro. This Caribbean & Jamaican fusion restaurant has some of the best food in Red Hook specializing in traditional dishes in a no-thrills, counter-serve spot. It is also woman-owned, further boosting its resume as one of the best places to eat in Red Hook. 

You must order the traditional beef patty with flaky crust and a spicy-savory filling, along with curry goat roti, sweet plantains, and platters of Jamaican staples. These are hands down the best things on the menu. Jam’It Bistro also has a ton of fresh juices and is the perfect pick-me-up on a hot day. 

Jam’it Bistro has a couple of tables indoors and some sidewalk seating but it can also be taken to go. This is also close to the park next to Defonte’s, the perfect place to enjoy some of the best food in Red Hook. 

Hoek Pizza 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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117 Ferris Street 

Hoek Pizza markets itself as Roman-style brick oven pizza and while I’d never heard of Roman-style pizza (and I’m still not sure what it is to TBH as even the internet said that there is no agreed-upon definition of Roman pizza), I still think Hoek Pizza has some of the best brick oven pizza around.

It is also probably one of the few places in Brooklyn where you can actually eat pizza under the stars and actually see some stars. 

All of the pizzas here are unique and delicious but as I always say, you have to start with the classic for the ultimate judgment of a restaurant. Good news is that Hoek Pizza does the classic margarita well, which means this is one of the best places to eat in Red Hook and should not be missed. 

They also have delicious bruschetta, a great little gem salad, and some really good cocktails. The space is also really cool, reminiscent of an old warehouse with a large open industrial dining room. The outdoor is covered with picnic tables and string lights where you can admire the graffiti on the building.

Hoek Pizza is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. It is open every day for dinner and lunch on the weekends. Both indoor and outdoor dining is available and reservations are accepted for parties of 8 or more. 

Fort Defiance 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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347 Van Brunt Street 

The sign on the side of the building for Fort Defiance says it’s a general store, which is automatically intriguing. Their tagline is “classic cocktails paired with seasonal American fare & weekend brunch in a vintage-inspired setting,” so it automatically makes for a place you want to try. The best part? It’s great food and one of the best places to eat in Red Hook.

Since they recently relocated, Fort Defiance now has a bigger space that operates as both a delicious restaurant and a general store. This seems to be a new trend for a lot of restaurants and I’m not mad at it. 

Their menu is small and while I know I went on and on about the burger from Red Hook Tavern (it is still and always will be one of the best), Fort Defiance also makes a really good burger, and sandwiches in general. This could be my biased opinion because it is cooked Oklahoma style and while so many things about my home state are an embarrassment, food is something I’m proud to claim. They also have a great veggie burger that is also cooked Oklahoma-style and equally delicious. 

Fort Defiance is open Thursday – Sunday for dinner. They offer indoor and outdoor dining and accept reservations.

Court Street Grocers Hero Shop 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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116 Sullivan Street 

While the original Court Street Grocers is a hop, skip, and a jump away in Carroll Gardens, this location has all of your necessary picnic items and or grab n go to a bench overlooking Lady Liberty items!

They also have all the delicious sandwiches as they have at the Carroll Gardens location so maybe you’re in Red Hook on Sunday (Defonte’s is closed) and you need a sandwich, Court Street Grocers Hero Shop is a great option. Really, it’s a great option any day of the week and one of the top Red Hook restaurants for a quick take-out bite to eat.

As far as sandwiches go, the breakfast sandwich (served all day) and the Veg-Delite are the best on the menu but truly, you can’t go wrong with any. I mean it. Court Street Grocers is one of the best sandwiches around. 

Seating is limited to outside at the hero shop but close enough to grab to go and head to a nearby park (Louis Valentino Jr. Park, Pier 44 Waterfront Garden, & Erie Basin Park).


Did we miss your favorite Red Hook restaurant? Let us know in the comments below.


About Our Guest Author 

Molly Royce – Originally from Oklahoma, I moved to NYC for grad school and have had a hard time wanting to leave ever since. There really is no better borough than Brooklyn where I live with my boyfriend and our black lab, Frankie. There’s no greater city in the world and I can’t wait to share my love of the city, eating, and drinking with all of you. 

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