Greenpoint is in northernmost Brooklyn, a close-knit community of older Polish Americans and the sort of young mavericks that hang out together in HBO's Girls (the show is largely set here). The factions coalesce at Lomzynianka, a charming, old school Polish eatery with huge portions and a BYOB policy that makes it affordable for all, including underemployed artists. Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop is another neighborhood classic, its nostalgic crullers and cinnamon buns best enjoyed at a counter seat along with a hot cup of coffee. For exceptional pizza, Paulie Gee's attracts fanatics from near and far. Five Leaves, a cool, casual bistro, is another local lodestar, its eclectic food and expert cocktails defying expectations. Greenpoint is soon to be even more of a food and drinks destination since plans are in place for spin-offs of Williamsburg cult favorites Maison Premiere and Daniel Delaney's BrisketTown. More great places that won't let you down are in our slideshow.
Explore more of Greenpoint in our guide to the neighborhood.
131 Greenpoint Ave., 347-689-3325, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Just to see the bar at the Bounty is worth a journey to Greenpoint. A jumble of tilting cabinets and desks with half-open drawers are piled up to the ceiling, looking as if the contents of a capsizing, century-old ship are ready to rain down on the barkeep. This seafood-centric restaurant also sports sail cloth tightened overhead, plank wood floors, barrels fashioned into tables and an abstract painting suggesting a roiling sea. What might sound like an overworked pirate-themed attraction is actually subtly artistic. Time a visit during happy hour (5–7pm), when North Atlantic oysters are $1 apiece. Stay for dinner and tuck into chef Evan Sloan's rich clam chowder, fish and chips, and slow-roasted lamb ribs with black garlic, pickled raisins and polenta. Crusty baguettes are baked in-house. Classic cocktails and an interesting list of New and Old World wines are other reasons to hang out at the bar.
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
114 Nassau Ave., 718-349-0400, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Past the retail fish market are seats along a marble counter and a few high-top tables where seafood lovers can enjoy the catch of the day, lobster rolls and Baja-style fish tacos with chipotle-lime mayo. An iced raw bar features a half-dozen oyster specimens plus littleneck clams from Long Island and live sea scallops from Cape Cod. New England clam chowder is creamy and buttery, with tender bits of clam and potato and a handful of oyster crackers to add crunch. The countermen look seafaring, wearing knit beanies or Greek fishing caps, adept at shucking bivalves, properly pouring beers and giving advice on seafood-friendly wines like muscadet and rosé. During the day, the white-tiled space is as sunny as a schooner on the water; at night it's buoyant, too, the crowd cheerful even if there's a wait (no reservations accepted).
136 Greenpoint Ave., 718-349-1744, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Greenpoint's reputation as "Little Poland" is alive and well at Karczma, where Polish is spoken as much as English and servers wear colorful folkloric attire. Open since 2007, it looks circa 1960, decked out like a kitschy, farmhouse-style tavern. Polish and Czech beer are on draft, and tables are laden with huge portions of authentic specialties like stuffed cabbage and hearty hunter's stew, a beefy blend of sauerkraut, mushrooms and red wine. Who knew pickle soup was so delicious? Pickled cucumber, carrots and dill are softened with butter and cream, filling enough for a meal and just $4. Grilled kielbasa, browned potato pancakes and crisp pierogi are also delightful. There is almost always a wait for a table: the place is popular, not only because the food is cheap and plentiful but because it's so good.
31 Greenpoint Ave., 347-689-3608, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Ovenly is heavenly for masterful, unorthodox baked goods. Scents of cinnamon and sugar waft from this mellow café, overpowering the smell of brine from Greenpoint's nearby waterfront. It's certainly worth a trip for their Brooklyn blackout cake sold by the slice, an ultra-moist tower of dark chocolate cake made with Brooklyn Brewery's Chocolate Stout and layered with a salty chocolate pudding buttercream. Pistachio-agave cookies are gluten free while other sweet treats are vegan, such as salted chocolate chip cookies. Open since 2010, Ovenly quickly gained a fervent following and translated that popularity into a rapturously received cookbook in 2014 whose foolproof recipes are guaranteed by founders Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga.
967 Manhattan Ave., 718-383-6963, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Early is a new breakfast and lunch spot on Greenpoint's main drag, specializing in well-constructed sandwiches. Each bite of the 12-hour pulled pork with barbecue sauce (ketchup-based or Carolina mustard-style) on toasted brioche is livened with blasts of pickled jalapeño and tangy red cabbage slaw. The vegetarian "zappie" on a hollowed-out baguette is a updated tribute to the Polish zapiekanka, a melding of mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic, melted fontina cheese and a dose of truffle oil. For early risers, filling breakfast sandwiches are ready to grab at 7am (on weekdays), such as a BEC—bacon, organic scrambled eggs and sharp cheddar on brioche. Pain d'Avignon supplies the bread and the strong coffee is by Toby's Estate, a local roaster.
21 Greenpoint Ave., 718-383-8833, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Toward the end of Greenpoint Avenue, almost at the East River, is a former machine shop imaginatively transfigured as a bistro of weathered elegance. River Styx exudes the sort of laid-back Brooklyn groove that's made the borough a brand. The menu is playful yet serious, from meatballs and nachos (topped with beer-braised chicken, chiles, crema and cheese sauce) to chicken liver pâté and short ribs. Co-owner Dennis Spina (Roebling Tea Room) and chef Homer Murray met as students at the School of Visual Arts and found a way to express their creative talents in the restaurant industry. Murray learned to cook during summer breaks at the family business, Murray Bros. Caddyshack at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. His dad happens to be Bill Murray, who sometimes pops in for a meal.