An unchanging fact about New York City’s neighborhoods is that they change, and Carroll Gardens knows this as well as anywhere else in Brooklyn. What was once an Irish enclave gave way to Italian immigrants, and that’s been changing once again over the last few decades.
But, somehow, it retains a lot of that Italian character. Even though you can (and should) sip an amazing mezcal cocktail at Leyenda or go for classic drinks at Clover Club, there are still centuries-old bakeries, as well as newer bars and restaurants like August Laura and Frankies 457 Spuntino sticking to tradition. Here, a few of our favorites.
387 Court St.
This bar only opened in 2016, but from the get-go it’s felt like an integral part of the neighborhood. It’s named after owner Alyssa Sartor’s grandfather—who grew up four blocks away—and serves distinctly Italian-American cocktails, like Sartor’s take on the Amaretto Sour.
Frankies 457 Spuntino
457 Court St.
Everyone knows Frankies—as well as Prime Meats and Café Pedlar, their other neighborhood projects—and its amazing backyard, as well as the olive oil with the restaurant’s imprimatur. There are sandwiches, house-made pastas and crazy-good salads that all pair quite well with a Negroni or two.
363 Smith St.
“It’s a classic pizza parlor,” says writer Suzanne Zuppello, whose father’s family called the neighborhood home before moving out to Long Island. “In terms of a classic plain slice, it’s the best I’ve had in the city, hands down.” She admits a very New York bias, though: “My cousin owns it.”
F. Monteleone’s Bakery
355 Court St.
Here’s where you go for classic Sicilian desserts—the cookies, cakes and cannoli. It’s an old-school gem in a changing neighborhood.
Court Pastry Shop
298 Court St.
This place has been open since 1890, so you know this stuff has got to be good. Go here for pastries year-round; in the summer, get Italian ices.
192 Union St.
Zuppello notes, “My dad paid $0.18 in the ’50s for a loaf here.” While it might be a little more expensive now, the plain, seeded and lard loaves are going to be worth it.
151 Union St.
A classic Sicilian spot that’s been open since 1904. Zuppello says, “You gotta get the Panelle and a Manhattan Special. And rice balls!”