Williamsburg has it all - except affordable apartments and an efficient subway. And while there are plenty of great restaurants in this neighborhood, it’s a bit harder to find the ones where you can eat an excellent meal without spending too much money. So like we did for the East Village and the Upper East Side, we put together a list of the best places where you can eat dinner (defined as an entree with either an appetizer or a drink) for around $30. Here are 16 spots for your next casual Williamsburg meal.
We always leave Emmy Squared with mixed feelings. Not because we’ve ever had a bad meal here (quite the opposite), but because we tend to eat so much pizza that we’re incapable of doing much else for the rest of the night. This is all just another way to say that Emmy Squared serves some of our favorite pizza in the city. The Detroit-style pies have a buttery crust that’s covered in melted, slightly-burnt cheese, then topped with things like oily pepperoni and spicy chilies. We also love the burger here, and while it’s $25 on its own, it’s never a mistake to split that and some pizzas with a group.
Knowing about Zizi Limona is kind of like being able to speak a second language - you can use it in a bunch of different situations. Whether you want a low-key date night, a healthy solo meal at the bar, or a group dinner before a night out, this casual Middle Eastern spot will work. The portions are big, and while the shawarma with chicken, lamb, and a mountain of hummus is more than enough food for one person, we recommend sharing that along with a few small plates, like the crunchy falafel over curry yogurt.
Concord Hill is most popular at brunch, when the tables in the small, bright space are topped with things like grain bowls and breakfast burritos. But it’s also a nice spot for an affordable dinner. Most dishes here revolve around vegetables, but they also serve a big double cheeseburger and a very good fried chicken sandwich with spicy coleslaw and sriracha mayo. Come here for a casual weeknight meal with a friend or date, and try the house cocktails, like the one with mezcal, Aperol, and jalapeno.
Allswell is a neighborhood pub on Bedford Ave that looks like something you’d find in a small English town where people wear plaid and assume it’s going to rain every day. It’s a one-room space with mismatched wallpaper and a chandelier, and you can either bring someone and sit at one of the tables or just grab a seat at the bar and eat one of NYC’s best burgers. They also make a good chicken burger, as well as some healthier things like a grain bowl.
The Commodore is a borderline-divey bar that doesn’t get much natural light, and does get very busy on weekends. So if you’ve ever walked by and thought, “They probably don’t have good food,” we don’t blame you. But don’t dismiss this place - they serve a lot of great Southern food, including a fried chicken sandwich that you’ll think about every time you close your eyes or see a chicken. Stop by on a weeknight, grab a table, and consider ordering a pina colada to go with your dinner.
Even if Tikka weren’t BYO, it would be one of the best deals in Williamsburg. The big portions of Indian classics, like lamb vindaloo and tandoori chicken, are all around $15, and the fresh-baked naan is fantastic - get a few extra orders so you’ll have enough to dip in everything. Bring some beers from a bodega on the block, and you’ll finish dinner and drinks having spent half as much as you would for a Sam Adams and overcooked chicken breast at some random spot on Bedford half a block away.
When you think deeply and come to the conclusion that you want to eat fried things for dinner, go to Pies ‘n’ Thighs. A fried chicken combo here costs $15, it comes with both a biscuit and a side, and you can either eat it in the little Southern-themed dining room or take your food to go. They also serve a solid burger, a great fried chicken biscuit covered in hot honey, and some other things like catfish and pulled pork. Add a slice of pie to any entree, and you still won’t spend more than $25.
At first glance, Best Pizza looks like any other neighborhood pizza spot. There are pies stacked in a glass case on the counter, and the menu above the register lists the five types of slices that come out on white paper plates. But once you actually taste the pizza here, you’ll realize this is no ordinary slice shop. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven, and they come out hot with a slightly charred crust and the ideal amount of sauce and cheese. The best pizza at Best Pizza is the white pie with ricotta, pecorino, and globs of caramelized onions that taste like jam.
If you want to sit down and eat tacos in Williamsburg, go to La Superior. It’s a little place a few blocks from the Williamsburg bridge, and it’s open until midnight every night except Friday and Saturday, when it stays open until 2am. But this isn’t just a late-night spot. It’s also a good place to go after work for a margarita, some tacos, and a bowl of queso. Unless you get carried away with the margaritas, you shouldn’t have to spend more than $30.
This Caribbean restaurant has one of the best back patios in Williamsburg. And when it’s too hot, cold, or rainy to sit at a picnic table out there, you can hang out inside and eat some curry goat, ribs with grilled corn, or a sandwich stuffed with jerk chicken. It’s never too hard to get a table here, so stop by any night, eat some good Caribbean food, and drink a rum punch.
Samesa serves really good Middle Eastern food, and it’s one of our favorite takeout options in Williamsburg. But you can also sit and eat there - the tiny space (with about 10 seats) is filled with the smells of chicken roasting on a spit and lamb braising in the open kitchen behind the register. Come for a quick solo dinner, and get the chicken shawarma platter, along with dips like the avocado hummus with fresh pita.
Dokebi works well for big group dinners, but it’s also a solid place to stop by on a weeknight and eat a quick meal while you Google yourself on your phone (there’s a bar area in the back that’s great for dining solo). They have both Korean barbecue and shabu-shabu, in addition to other dishes like bibimbap, tacos, and various stews.
If you want to lay down a solid base of food before bar hopping from tequila shot to High Life around Williamsburg, order some giant burritos and loaded nachos at Taqueria Diana. They have a nice outdoor patio upstairs where you can drink $3 Tecates and eat giant, $10 burritos, and it’s across the street from The Commodore, one of our favorite bars in the neighborhood (see above).
Some mornings you wake up and think, “I should eat more things with nutritional value.” Those are good days to go to Abracadabra. This is a tiny Turkish cafe where you can get a plate of wild rice and vegetables, hummus, and a protein like lentil quinoa balls or chicken. They also have burritos and smoothies with ingredients like turmeric and chia seeds. There aren’t many tables, but this is a great spot for a quick, casual meal, and it also works well for takeout.
This spot less than a block from Bedford Ave serves Indian-Chinese mashups like tandoori kung bao chicken and Darjeeling hakka lo-mein, and the most expensive thing on the menu is $16. The big, colorful space has pop art on the walls and bunch of large tables, as well as $25 towers of draft beer. In other words, it should work well for that group dinner your friends have been planning and canceling for months. (Just make sure it actually happens this time.)
12 Chairs is a big spot that’s open from 8am-11pm (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays), and has a huge menu. So it’s a very useful place to know about. The food here is Middle Eastern, and they have a lot of salads and sandwiches in addition to some bigger plates like couscous and schnitzel. Plus, breakfast is available all day, so if you want to have a beer and an omelet at 10pm, that’s something you can do here.