Dinner and a show: a classic combo, a tale as old as time. Williamsburg, Brooklyn has become a mecca for the food scene, with tons of options and something for everyone, from an intimate date night to a trendy hot spot. The Pre-Show Eats Instagram and Facebook Group were created to help answer the age-old question, “Where should we grab a bite before the show?”. In this edition of Pre-Show Eats, we tackle the many food options surrounding our beloved Brooklyn Bowl.
1. El Almacen
This Argentinian nook right off of the Bedford L stop is as cozy as it is tasty. Great spot for pre-show guac, tacos, ceviche, and other light bites, or opt for their popular meat dishes. Delicious margs and speciality cocktails complete the experience. You can’t go wrong here.
This is the best place in Williamsburg to get a classic slice but is also known for their creative specialty pies, most notably making national news headlines (literally) for their pizza-topped pizza creation. Reliably open late, Vinnie’s is always there for you at the end of the night. They also have vegan cheese, for all you hippies.
The menu changes often, but everything here is pretty solid. Good for burgers, small plates and cocktails. Go for happy hour from 4-7 PM for $1 oysters and discounted drinks.
The inside of Juliette feels like a secret garden in France. It’s cute, bright, and welcoming. Though you’ll usually find a wait during brunch time, dinner here is more lowkey, despite boasting a huge menu with something for everyone. During the summer be sure to sit on the roof.
This is the only restaurant on the list that you’ll have trouble getting into. However, the hype is merited, and you should definitely make it a point to go to Lilia at least once. Homemade pastas like malfadini with pink peppercorns, sheeps milk agnolotti, and even a simple rigatoni diavola are all perfectly executed by chef Missy Robbins. The grilled clams are also outstanding. Pro-tip: Use the app Resy and set a notification for the day and time range you want. When someone cancels a reservation, you’ll be notified and have the option to grab it, as long as someone else doesn’t get to it first.
6. Llama Inn
Everything on Llama Inn’s menu is extremely fresh and creative, with a funky, colorful decor to match. The Peruvian spot is a good place to go with a group, because you’ll want to share everything. Great ceviche, interesting cocktails, can’t go wrong.
7. Casa Publica
Solid Mexican food. Not much more to say. If you want pre-show chips and guac, margs, tacos, and the like in a nice setting, go here.
8. Brooklyn Bowl
This list would be remiss to leave out Brooklyn Bowl’s award-winning, Blue Ribbon-run kitchen. The Bowl is undeniably worth going for the food alone. The fried chicken is some of the best in the city, or opt for some apps for a lighter pre-show option. The hummus, roasted adobo corn, and buffalo cauliflower are some of my favorites to get and share with a group. The flatbread pizzas are also great and perfect for sharing (The Mediterranean is my favorite), and the mac and cheese is next level.
9. Cafe Mogador
Mogador is consistently one of the best brunch spots in Williamsburg, but it doubles as the perfect spot for pre-show eats. The charming Moroccan restaurants has a large selection of mezze (small appetizers such as dips) that make for the perfect lighter side meal that’s still satisfying and bursting with flavor.
Located inside of classical music venue National Sawdust, this place feels somewhere in the middle of sophisticated and quirky. The menu is somewhat random, but everything is pretty good. Standout dishes include the smoked ricotta and the hot fried eggplant. Go for happy hour from 3-7 PM for $5 pizettes and $6 glasses of wine.
11. Meatball Shop
An NYC staple. Your choice of meatball (beef, pork, chicken, or veggie) in any number of variations: on a hero, in a brioche bun with mozz, topped with a fried egg, on top of pesto pasta, you name it. Everything on the menu is good, including the make-your-own ice cream sandwiches that let you choose your cookie and handmade ice cream flavors.
A hidden gem right in the heart of Williamsburg, just three blocks from the Bowl, with a romantic ambiance that feels like you’ve been transported from Brooklyn to Barcelona. Good date night spot, or go with a group and order everything on the menu – it’s tapas style, so you’re allowed.
13. Mabel’s BBQ
A good place to go with a group pre-show that’s flexible in dealing with separate checks and arrival times. It’s also conveniently located just down the block from the Bowl.
14. Westlight/Leuca @ The William Vale
360 degree city views make up for the fact that this is the only place in Williamsburg that will have a line around the block on weekends – though if you have a res at either of the trendy hotel’s two restaurants, this won’t be an issue. Head up to Westlight, the rooftop bar/restaurant, for high-end cocktails and lighter fare, or hit Leuca downstairs if you want great Italian food with an innovative menu. Be sure to go up and check out Westlight either way, as well as the rest of the hotel’s funky decor.
Upscale restaurant in the trendy Wythe Hotel that’s a longtime staple for brunch or dinner. The place you bring your parents when they visit. Conveniently located just across the street from the Bowl.
When you need that late night falafel fix, Oasis is your reliable go-to. It’s conveniently located right at the Bedford L stop, in case you’re running late for the show and forgot to eat dinner.
17. Los Morelos Taco Truck
There are a few taco trucks in the area. This one on 7th and Bedford is the best. Though when you’re stumbling home at 3 AM it probably won’t make a difference.
Delaware and Hudson Tavern
Rosarito Fish Shack
Kent Ale House
Two Door Tavern
DOC Wine Bar
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster
Chez Ma Tante