Ah, Ditmas Park! It's probably the very outmost edge of Brooklyn gentrification, the final frontier of the great Manhattan exile. Bistros are few and far between in this distant realm, but that's OK. There are a lot of great places to eat.
A lot of New Yorkers take classic diners for granted, but guess what? They're not a civic right and they are disappearing fast. Especially quirky old-school ones like George's, a 24-hour classic in the remote neighborhood of Ditmas Park. The usual 700-item menu is to be found here, as well as bus tickets to Atlantic City should you feel the urge to roll the dice. Or stay here: there's no risk involved in getting a burger, some onion rings, and a chocolate milkshake.
This New York slice joint is right out a textbook, but that's not to say that it's not outstanding. A lot neighborhoods in New York would be lucky to be served by such a first-rate pizzeria -- one, it should be noted, that also supplies first-class meatball sandwiches, sausage rolls, and garlic knots. The slice has a nice, acidic red sauce and a restrained hand with the mozzarella. The delivery is quick and the oven runs hot. What else can you ask of a neighborhood pizza joint?
Bahar is a very authentic Afghan restaurant -- not necessarily a good thing for the average American diner, but a definite beacon for intrepid foodies. If you can make it past the execrable hygiene, the food is exotic and delicious, from the spiced pumpkin dumplings to chicken marinated in pomegranate juice to various things served in yogurt sauce. It's not for everybody, but a serious eater needs to go there at least once.
Beloved in the neighborhood for good seasonal food, a fine hamburger, and a really good brunch, the Farm on Adderly is far and away the best restaurant in Ditmas Park -- but that's not saying much. Given how desperate the locals are for someplace good, it deserves the special "Better Than It Has To Be" award.
You don't really expect a creative, unique Philipino pan-Asian fusion restaurant in Ditmas Park, an area where you are generally lucky to find an open Subway. And yet there it is. The menu is constantly changing here, as new ideas cycle in and out; diners feel like they are part of an ongoing culinary experiment, which of course they are. A few standbys stay on the menu though. Don't miss the adobo, barbecued ribs, or anything made of pork.
New York's Tibetan restaurants can be counted on the fingers of one maimed hand, but that doesn't mean they're bad. The cuisine lacks the diversity of China or the spice of Bhutan or Myenmar. Generally, the flavors are as featureless as the vast plains of the Tibetan plateau. Which is why this place is so exceptional -- the food tends to have a lot of heat. Look out also for the various momos (dumplings) which are a specialty of the house.
As its name implies, Mimi's Hummus centers around its titular chickpea paste, and for good reason: the hummus is some of the best in Brooklyn. One would have to go deep into Midwood to find one that was smoother, sweeter, or more redolent of tahini. The rest of the short menu is well-made, but generally not the sort of thing that could quench the hunger of any but the old or infirm. Still, as a spot to pick up hummus and other Mediterranean treats, it's a godsend.
Here's what you need to know about Pomegranate: it's the kosher Zabar's. It's that simple. The crowds, the chatty countermen, the vast selection of appetizers, the high costs, it's all there. But where it differs is in its hummus and other kosher treats. Simply put, there is no better hummus anywhere in New York. That fact isn't wasted on the local citizenry, who routinely buy out all the stock. So if you make the trip get there early.
Ditmas Park finally got a third-wave cafe in 2012, and boy, did they get a good one. The single-origin coffee and espresso are first-class, and the breakfast menu, which is extensive, even better. The french toast, egg sandwiches, and some of the sandwiches are standouts, and the place even has wi-fi should you choose to stay once you've mopped up that last puddle of maple syrup.
Ox Cart Tavern has the distinction of being, to my knowledge, the southernmost bistro in Brooklyn, and its hearty bistro feel fits well on this remote frontier of gentrification. There's nothing particularly special about the menu, but the place is warm, the service is friendly, and pretty much everything on the menu is good. I was always a fan of the lamb lasagna, but the steak sandwich is worth a walk too.