Brooklyn rivals Manhattan as one of the most diverse food scenes around. With each neighborhood featuring a unique food culture, there's certainly not a lack for markets and shops to explore. And exploring by foot is the best way to go, which makes it all the more easy to work off what you've eaten along the way.
Foods You Must Try
• Beer (try Brooklyn Brewery, a Williamsburg Brewery, and Six Point Craft Ales, in Red Hook)
• Pizza (try Lucali's or Di Fara)
• Russian food in Bay Ridge, Polish food in Greenpoint, and Middle Eastern foods on Atlantic Avenue
• Cheesecake (try Junior's)
There are lots of farmer's markets in Brooklyn, but here are a few of the larger ones. For a listing of more Brooklyn farmer's markets, click here.
• Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market - Every Saturday from 8-4. Brooklyn's largest, most comprehensive farmer's market. (Flatbush Avenue/Prospect Park West)
• Greenpoint-McCarren Park Farmer's Market - Every Saturday from 8-3. (Bedford Avenue at Lorimer Street, in McCarren Park)
• Carroll Gardens - Every Sunday, April-December, from 8-4 (Carroll Street between Smith and Court)
• Fort Greene Park - Every Saturday from 8-5 (Washington Park and DeKalb Avenue)
• Brooklyn Flea - This isn't exactly a food hall, but every Saturday from 10-5 (at 176 Lafayette Avenue, at Clermont Street, Fort Greene) and every Sunday from 11-6 (at Water Street/New Dock Street, DUMBO) you'll find (among the throngs of eclectic flea market vendors) a great selection of many Brooklyn-based food artisans selling some of the best granola, chocolate, popsicles, ice cream, coffee, pickles, and cheese. Also, some of the best street food vendors: Mexican, hot dogs, and more.
Best Grocery Stores
• Union Market (754 Union Street at 6th Avenue and 404 7th Avenue at 13th Street, Park Slope) - It's not cheap, but the produce and selection is pretty great. Great selection of cheese, olives, and general grocery items. Definitely more of an upscale market, with a nice selection of prepared foods, which is great if you're planning a picnic in the (very nearby) Prospect Park.
• Fairway (480 Van Brunt Street, at Reed Street, Red Hook) - If you have a car, it's worth it to make the hike over to Fairway (also with locations in Manhattan). Great prices and quality. Huge store with great meat and fish counters, all with attention to price and value.
• Trader Joe's (130 Court Street, at Atlantic Avenue, Cobble Hill) - New to the neighborhood and the borough. Worth mentioning among the others here!
• Divine Taste - (150 7th Avenue, between Garfield Place and Carroll Street, Park Slope) - Varied selection of groceries, although not amazing for produce.
• Park Slope Food Coop (782 Union Street, between 6th and 7th avenues) - Residents of all neighborhoods belong to the coop because of its great prices and selection of produce. Membership is required, which involves a one-time membership fee and a monthly volunteer shift.
Specialty Shops of Note
• Blue Apron Foods (814 Union Street, between 6th and 7th Aves., Park Slope) - Small specialty food shop with great baked goods and chocolate.
• Bedford Cheese Shop (229 Bedford Avenue at North 5th Street, Williamsburg) - Excellent selection of small-production cheeses, both domestic and European. Very cute, small shop, with breads and other cheese-friendly accompaniments. Cheeses are always in nice condition, too.
• Sahadi's (187 Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton Street and Court Street, Cobble Hill) - Middle Eastern wupermarket filled with spices, herbs, specialty dry goods, and a mass array of other specialty food items, with a great selection of obscure food items and ingredients.
• Bklyn Larder (228 Flatbush Avenue, between Bergen Street and 6th Avenue, Prospect Heights): From the same owners as Franny's restaurant (right across the street) comes this newly-opened specialty foods shop, complete with an aging room for cheese and a full selection of charcutterie and other meats. A beautiful shop with an excellent selection of dry goods: great pastas and grains, plus fresh breads from some of the best bakeries in the city. Great prepared foods, too, and bulk olive oil.
• Marlow & Daughters (95 Broadway between Berry and Bedford, Williamsburg) - A newish butcher, from the owners of Marlow & Sons and Diner restaurants, just down the block. Great emphasis on off-cuts and offal, since they buy whole animals and butcher them at the shop. Also serious attention paid towards high-quality, sustainably-raised meats. Cheese, dairy, and other specialty items are also for sale.
• Stinky Brooklyn (261 Smith Street, between Degraw and Douglass, Cobble Hill) - Mainly cheese, and a great selection at that, but also great specialty food items, such as meats, honeys, crackers, jams, and dairy. Also try checking out their wine store, across the street, Smith and Vine (268 Smith Street, between Degraw Street and Sackett Street)
• Los Paisanos Meat Market (162 Smith Street, between Wyckoff Street and Bergen Street) - A great neighborhood butcher, family owned and operated for over 45 years. You'll get friendly service that you'd expect from such a neighborhood institution.
Independent Food Artisans
• Stumptown Coffee Roasters (419 Court Street, between 2nd and 3rd place, Carroll Gardens) - Amazing coffee from a Portland-based roaster
• Cake Man Raven (708-a Fulton Street, between South Portland and South Oxford, Fort Greene) - The best red velvet cake you've ever had. It's all they make, and they've perfected the art.
OK readers! Your turn! Where are your favorite places to shop for food, wine, artisanal products and cook's tools in Brooklyn?
About The Kitchn's Food-Lover's Guides
We focus mainly on home cooking here at The Kitchn, and we know that one huge source of inspiration is travel. We want to give you ideas for things to eat and places to visit even when you're away from your home kitchen. We want to inspire your inner chef and introduce you to the best spots for food-lovers in a dozen or so major cities.
These guides don't deal with restaurants; there are plenty of other resources for that. These are the spots for food-lovers and cooks: the markets, specialty cookshops, and best small-batch artisans. If you're traveling in one of these cities this summer, we hope these guides help you find something inspiring. And if you live here, maybe you'll find a new resource to inspire your daily cooking!
We need your help, too, with these guides. Each city's thread will have at least some recommendations, but of course they will be incomplete. So we need your insider help. Tell us where the best markets, food shops, jam-makers, brewers, butchers, independent groceries, bakery supply stores, and quirky, strange, out-of-the-way food experts are. What are your favorite places to shop, as a cook?
(Images, clockwise from top: Flickr member libbyrosof licensed for use under Creative Commons; Flickr member KidCityNY.com licensed for use under Creative Commons; Flickr member Paul Lowry licensed for use under Creative Commons; Flickr member PetroleumJelliffe licensed for use under Creative Commons)