Crown and Prospect Heights make up the area south of Bed-Stuy and north of Flatbush. Look at a map. It’s a big area - and there’s a lot to eat. Soul food, Caribbean, Korean, and more. Much more, actually. But if we listed every type of food you could find out there, it would be a long, boring list, and you’d resent us for making you read it. Read this guide instead. It has 22 places where you’ll like what you eat and have a good time.
Chavela’s is where you go for Mexican food in Crown Heights. It’s been around for years, and you’ll pretty much always find a crowd here. That’s because the food is good, the space is homey, and nothing costs too much. Also, margaritas. People like to drink margaritas. It has something to do with tequila, lime juice, and brain chemistry. Get a few here along with some queso. This place is also good for brunch.
Tom’s is a decades-old breakfast/lunch spot known for its old-timey feel, friendly service, and exceptional pancake selection. Try the ones that look like flat cinnamon rolls. And don’t be afraid to have crab cakes for breakfast. Theirs are deep-fried, and you won’t know if deep-fried shellfish works as a hangover cure until you try it. There might be a wait at brunch, but they also might be handing out free coffee or fries or breakfast sausage to people waiting in line.
Barboncino is this neighborhood’s top pizza place, and it’s great for what it is. Sure, it isn’t the best pizza in Brooklyn, but trying to have the best pizza in Brooklyn is like trying to be the highest person at a Dave Matthews concert. There’s a lot of competition. The brick-oven pizzas here are Neapolitan-style, the space is good for groups, and it’s family friendly. By all means, come here for a weeknight or weekend dinner. There will always be a crowd, but not an unmanageable one.
These people serve Creole food, and they serve it until 2am every night. The vibes at this restaurant/bar are laid-back, and they appear to have every kind of hot sauce (in case that’s a priority). As for the food itself, it’s heavy and highly recommended. Get the chicken fried steak. It’s a decent cut of beef made infinitely better once they bread it, fry it, and cover it in gravy. It also comes with about five green beans, which they’re probably legally bound to provide.
This is a tiny Jamaican comfort food place with a little upstairs dining room, and it’s about as mom-and-pop as it gets. Walk inside and you’ll see pans of undisclosed foods simmering behind the counter. Ask for jerk chicken. Or oxtails. Whatever you get, it’ll be large, hot, and sleep-inducing.
Glady’s is another Caribbean place in the area, but this one’s a little more modern. Like The Islands, they do oxtail, jerk chicken, and curry goat - but they also have a full bar (and jerk lobster). Glady’s is also better for a sit-down meal. They have a nice dining room with some hanging plants, but it’s still good and casual. Drink something with rum and eat some affordable Caribbean food.
Come on a Friday night, and this place will be packed. Mostly, you’ll see young people who enjoy raw fish but don’t yet have as much disposable income as their parents. It isn’t top-tier sushi, but these guys make up for that with some friendly service and affordable prices. It’s a little place with good energy, and they also have a long list of sake. Come with up to three friends, anything more and you’re looking at a wait.
If you don’t live in the neighborhood, you probably haven’t heard of this place. It isn’t flashy, and you won’t feel compelled to Instagram the food. But if you enjoy eating food, you should like this place. It’s global soul, and that means stuff from a variety of countries. Korean, Moroccan, French, Creole - they do a little of everything. Come down and eat a burger or some sake-glazed salmon. There’ll be a good crowd.
Mitchell’s does soul food like fried chicken, fried fish, and black-eyed peas. It’s perfect for when you want something quick and fried or for when you want to eat at a place that didn’t open last year and doesn’t have a PR team. Fried chicken is the go-to order, and just be aware that this place is cash only, fairly small, and extremely casual.
At Mayfield, you’ll find comfort food with an emphasis on Southern dishes like fried quail and spoonbread (a gooey version of cornbread). If you’re craving fried bird, however, you’d be better off going to Mitchell’s. For everything else, this place is great. It’s a crowd-pleaser, and it’s pretty affordable. Come have a burger on a weeknight or stop by on a weekend and have some oysters and steak tartare.
Chuko runs the ramen game in Prospect Heights, and if you have a cold, their ramen is a viable alternative to NyQuil. The effect with be the same - especially if you start your meal with pork buns. This place gets busy, and you’ll probably have to wait for a table, but if you don’t mind eating at a bar, you should get seated faster. Also, good news for vegetarians: their vegetarian ramen isn’t bad. Meat-eaters should get the pork and kimchi version, however.
Olmsted is a relative newcomer to Prospect Heights, but it’s already a destination. People travel across the city just to eat their carrot crepe or have a cocktail in the backyard, and we understand why. It’s a beautiful space, and the food is fantastic and unexpected. Head over for a date night or really any special occasion when you don’t want anything stuffy.
Faun is another somewhat recent addition to the neighborhood, and it’s tough to describe. It’s Italian - but it isn’t red-sauce, and ingredients range from sauerkraut to whatever dragoncello is. Oh, wait, we Googled it. It’s tarragon. Our point is, they make a bunch of pastas, mains, and small plates with stuff like ’nduja, meyer lemon, chicory, and brussels sprout leaves. Your parents will like this place.
Gueros is one of the only acceptable places for breakfast tacos in New York City. It’s a tiny spot with a front patio, a small but all-around solid menu, margaritas - oh, and it’s cheap. Come by yourself or come with a friend. It’s casual here.
This is a good, low-key place for a burger and a beer. Or some tater tots with melted cheese and a whiskey on the side. It isn’t fancy, but you could get away with bringing a date here (as long as they’re down with eating something kind of unhealthy). Plus, there’s a big backyard.
Like Faun and Olmsted (but not quite at their level), James is kind of fancy and kind of expensive. But unlike those other two, you can get a burger here (and it’s one of the best in the city). Think of this as your neighborhood, date-night American bistro. They have straightforward options like pork belly, roasted chicken, and kale salad, and they do these things well. The space is also nice and cozy, and it gets busy. Come for Burger Night Monday, when they serve a whole menu of different burgers priced lower than usual.
Morgan’s does Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and more. It’s some of the best barbecue in the city, and they also do some tacos and mac & cheese that you really won’t mind eating. Unless you’re trying to eat healthy. But then what are you doing at a barbecue place. (Do you know what barbecue is?) If you want a meal of smoked meat finished off with some pie, come here. In the summer months, bring a group after a day in Prospect Park and eat at the picnic tables on their front patio.
If fast-casual sushi sounds questionable to you, check out Silver Rice. You’ll wish you lived closer. These guys offer around nine different rolls, and they make them all to order. You can also get a bowl here, and it’ll be similar to what every poke place is selling now (although the fish won’t be cubed). And if you don’t want an entire bowl, you can get a cup. Yes, a cup of sushi. We’re pretty sure they invented that.
Lincoln Station is a fairly large coffee shop in Crown Heights where you can get breakfast, lunch, or a very casual (early) dinner - they’re open until 9pm. You can sit at a counter with a coffee and your laptop, or you can grab a table, drink a beer, and eat a plate of rotisserie chicken.
This is a casual Korean-fusion restaurant that specializes in buns (the fluffy kind). They do Korean fried chicken, pork jowl, and a few other varieties including cookie butter & spam. They also offer bowls with all of the bun ingredients (except for the spam), and you can get them with zucchini noodles or rice. So technically you could eat a kind of healthy dinner here. The more likely scenario involves fried chicken and pork, however. It’s worth it.