Access my Williamsburg Map Pack Here: I tried something new this time and added a tab with all of your Williamsburg suggestions from Instagram. Just cause I haven’t tried it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, right? Thanks to everyone who contributed! Looking forward to giving these spots a visit!
For some reason, one of the most difficult places to write about is where you actually live. Maybe it’s a symptom of it being too close to home? Maybe I don’t want to pick favorites among my neighbors? Maybe NYC is so ever changing that keeping up with my favorites is a challenge in itself I am not ready to face? Hence before I eventually ease into Manhattan, I will start with Williamsburg, which is a whole 30 minutes away from me by subway.
It felt very funny packing a suitcase and heading across the East River to stay in Brooklyn for a few nights. For those of you who are not from New York, heading into another borough can sometimes feel like no big deal at all. Other times you wonder if you’ll ever make it home. It’s just about the mindset. For me, Williamsburg thrives in the summertime. The endless rooftop options that give you the most iconic views of the city skyline sitting atop the Easet river. Williamsburg has a neighborhood vibe that makes long strolls a little less hectic. Plus, tons of outdoor dining options.
Inside and outside, from the first floor to the rooftop, the Williamsburg Hotel is charming and easy going. For me, feeling like you’re in a relaxed space with cool people is one of the most important criteria for a hotel. It sets the tone for how I exit to start my day and enter to end it. This is a boutique hotel that makes sure you don’t feel like just another guest. To tailor the experience to you, you can rent a bike (for free) for a more hands on commute around town, hang at the lobby bar, check out the awesome rooftop for drinks and great photos, or lay by the pool.
The rooms are well designed and like the rest of the hotel, are an homage to Brooklyn and the industrial design aesthetic that is undeniably unique to BK. The rooms are small, but so are the apartments of most people living in the NY area. You don’t travel to NYC to stay in your hotel room, and the Williamsburg Hotel does an incredible job of giving you a home base that allows you to explore. Starting from the balcony skyline views from your bedroom to the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff.
La Cafette – French bistro of my dreams. I’ve been doing hands on French Onion Soup “research” even since I can remember. I have to give a shout out to La Cafette for showing me what superior F.O. Soup tastes like. Not only is it visually scrumptious, it’s hands down one of the best I’ve ever tasted. We also had outstanding muscles, steak tar tar and roast chicken.
Maison Premiere – New Orleans restaurant with some of the best cocktails (especially Bloody Marys), Oyster selections and, behold, a garden dining space. Maison Premiere prides itself in staying true to the NoLa theme without any of the lameness that often comes with “themes”. The decor is cozy, the staff lovely, and the bar boozy. The clam chowder was a stand out for me -they somehow managed to make it light even with cream, bacon and clams. The razor clams were chopped and marinated and served back in their shells – super pretty and tasty. Another must is the Striped Bass Pontchartrain; a perfectly cooked flaky fish sitting under crispy skin and a mushroom medley.
Antica Pesa – A Roman restaurant with it’s only other location in Rome which makes it extra Roman! Come for the Cacio e Pepe (in both pasta and lollipop form), the frito misto and the incredible wine list. Next time I return I will definitely want to try the Cotoletta Di Pollo and the Pat LaFrieda Porterhouse for 2.
Lilia – What once was an auto shop, has been transformed into a big and bright space where you can down some top notch pasta and grilled seafood – a perfect combo. Tough to get a reservation but if you do, order the mafaldini with pink peppercorns, the stuffed sheeps’ milk agnolotti, grilled clams and shrimp.
Misi – If you’re able to, sit at the bar so you can watch the cooks work at the open kitchen. It’s from the same people as Lilia, so you already know -amazing pastas. Their vegetable menu is also something to explore . We ordered the sheeps milk stuffed occhi and cheese and black pepper fettucinne and the plates were licked clean. I saw a table order an off the menu T-Bone that came with a beautiful looking salad. Maybe next time.
Dekalb Market Hall – This market hall is not located in Williamsburg but it’s a short ride away. If you happen to be with a group that can’t decide on where to eat or just wants to try multiple things at once I would recommend taking a trip here. There are tons of options. Start at Craft + Carry where you can take your beverages around the hall with you as you make your choices. They rotate their local on tap beer weekly and their selection is always very unique. When we were there we tried Rose Beer which was awesome! You can also bottle the beer on tap with this wonderful machine from the future. Great Pierogis and Kielbasa at Pierogi Boys, awesome spicy Thai food at Chicks Isan, gooey cheese arepas at Arepa Lady and top it off with some ice cream from Ample Hills.
Lemons – There are tons of rooftops to choose from to have your sunset glass of whatever. Lemons is a great option and the bright yellow interior complements a beautiful sunny day reeeeaaal nice.