This small Brooklyn neighborhood is one of the most sought-after in the city, and the largely Italian former residents have been largely been displaced by professional-class Manhattan emigres. As a result, the area has both a surfeit of old-school red sauce joints and some of the borough's best new bistros.
Sam's is about as old-school as it gets, from its big pork chop with vinegar peppers, to its eggplant and veal, to its (surprisingly good) pizza. It's one of the last places of its kind in Carroll Gardens, so get to it while the getting is good.
Romantic and cozy in that insouciant Brooklyn way, The Grocery, as its name implies, is another greenmarket-driven seasonal restaurant in the mold of Hearth, Craft, Gramercy Tavern, et al. Its quality is high and its prices low, and the combination makes it among the most popular restaurants in South Brooklyn.
How far can a well-made meatball take you? If accompanied by other straight-up Italian-American standards, pretty far. In the case of Frankie's Spuntino, it's launched a whole mini-chain, all of which share the virtues of the original: honest, well-made food, inexpensive wines, and a more-than-solid cocktail program.
Fresh seafood is the name of the game here, cooked in after the French fashion and very well. There are few, if any, French seafood restaurants in New York and the neighborhood is lucky to have one this good. Better still, a BYOB policy allows you to drink much better wine with your meal than most of us would normally be able to afford. The usual Brooklyn service is in full effect, but that's the only downside.
Conceived originally as a tribute the legendary New York pizzeria Di Fara, Lucali has become something of a legend in its own right, the subject of adoring articles and requiring its own endless wait to get into. Most New Yorkers seem to feel it's well worth it, though.
With a great, affordable wine list and roaring fireplace, this Carroll Gardens wine bar is the ideal place to while away a winter night -- or, in summer, to laze outside and drink in the sunshine.
An urban ode to Southern tastes, this is a swank bar hiding the soul of a barbecue restaurant. In truth the barbecue, while delicious, lacks smoky oomph, but it's delivered with refinement and care. And, more importantly, the bourbon selection is one of the biggest and best in the city.
This neighborhood spot, created by a former Asiate chef, features two things in exceedingly short supply in South Brooklyn: first-rate dumplings, Vietnamese-style bubble tea, and Hawaiian shaved ice. Get one of each and call it a day -- or a night. An ideal lunch or early dinner, or better still a casual drop-in, with or without a friend.