A culinary review of this type should naturally start near the most iconic structure in the neighborhood: the Brooklyn Bridge. And for those looking to score the perfect view of its architecture from their table, that means Sugarcane. On a cool summer evening, there’s nothing better than their grill and the roasted chicken or Branzino with a side of sweet soy and orange Brussels sprouts. But for most summer suppers, we prefer to indulge in the raw bar side of the menu. Slurp your way through a seasonal selection of fresh oysters or make a meal of small bites with the full sushi and sashimi menu. If you’re still craving something “cooked,” explore Sugarcane’s ceviche and crudo selection. Our picks are the Hokkaido scallop with compressed apple, black truffle, lime, and jalapeño or the local fluke ceviche with ají amarillo, sweet potato, and crispy maiz cancha. If your group can’t agree on that “anytime” meal, Italian at Cecconi's is your play.
You’ll find a full selection of upscale Italian cuisine in an upscale setting. Choose from a full assortment of handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, or traditional dishes of veal, New York strip, and Dover sole—or better yet, make a date for cicchetti. Similar to Spanish tapas, cicchetti is the Italian version. Popularized by bars serving small plates along the Venetian canals (usually with a glass of white wine), cicchetti is fresh and proportioned for indulgence. Stacked with inspired bites such as shishito peppers with bottarga, oregano, and lemon or whipped ricotta served with true honey and crostini, these treats show that Cecconi’s has mastered the art. Better still, make a Sunday brunch reservation so that the full menu PLUS a few more items and breakfast twists like quiche of butternut squash, mushroom, and caciocavallo or baked egg “arrabiata”with sourdough are available for your sampling pleasure. As with the other spots on our list, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline await your viewing pleasure.
While many of our favorite locales put you near the river, only one actually puts you on the river. Aptly named, The River Café sits atop an underwater pier practically under the Brooklyn Bridge. Conceived in 1974, the restaurant is an institution unto itself, boasting only six chefs in its 40+ year history and holding a Michelin Star—stats which make it legendary in the competitive culinary landscape of New York City. Perfection is the standard for service, ambiance (a jacket is required for dinner, and a tie is suggested), and of course, the food. One of the first to adopt both locally sourced food from the nearby Hudson Valley and California wines at a time when French varietals were the standard, The River Café’s legacy of cutting-edge culinary adventure endures with refreshed takes on classics such as pan-roasted organic Amish chicken breast, topped with crisp Trumpet Royale mushrooms, chestnuts, and caramelized Vidalia onion agnolotti in a Madeira wine natural jus, or the vegetarian mushroom Wellington of truffled mushroom duxelles, crisp puff pastry, and vegetarian Bordelaise. For an extra-special evening, book the six-course pre-fixe menu with full wine pairing and let Executive Chef Brad Steelman show you why The River Café gets better with each passing decade.
Of course, there’s more than one bridge that leads to Brooklyn, and while the brick work of the Brooklyn Bridge gets most of the press, the steel span of the Manhattan Bridge is equally impressive—dare we say more so?—given its capacity, with seven-vehicle lanes, four subway tracks, a pedestrian walkway, and a dedicated bike lane. For the best view of it all and an impressive eastern Mediterranean selection of mezze and entrees alike, find your way to Celestine. Seasonal fare dominates the menu, albeit seasonal to the Mediterranean coastline, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The twist is that many of the ingredients are typical to more rural parts of the US, but delivered with a Mediterranean zest such as Olympia Provisions loukanika of pickled kohlrabi or the chermoula-rubbed branzino (for two), served with preserved lemon, hearty but delicate gold nugget potatoes, radishes, and capers. Always inspired but with a refreshingly new take on what home cooking can be, a hearty table at Celestine with unimpeded views of the skyline ranks as a consistent favorite.
Dumbo makes full use of beautiful waterfront access while still delivering some of the best fare in not just the neighborhood, but in all five boroughs. With more to explore beyond this list, you’ll be sure to find a favorite (or two) that become your go-to spot for relaxing vibes and excellent cuisine. They’re all convenient to the Dumbo, Brooklyn, condos for sale at 98 Front, so pick one and settle in for an enjoyable meal. And don’t forget to enjoy the view.