While building the list of 99 Essential Restaurants® in Brooklyn wasn’t exactly a scientific exercise, we worked to represent the diversity of the borough by highlighting many different aspects of the dining culture, and we attempted to showcase a breadth of neighborhoods, cuisines, and price points. Once we had a complete list, though, we crunched the data to find trends, commonalities, and oddities. Here are our 99 Essential Restaurants in Brooklyn, by the numbers.
Thirty-five different cuisines are represented here, and you’ll find Moldovan, Tajikistani, Uyghur, South African, and vegan Ethiopian food among the much more common New American bistros and barbecue parlors.
Italian food could very well be Brooklyn’s official fare: Twenty-three of the restaurants on our list are Italian; nine of those are pizzerias. Bakeries are also well represented — you’ll find nine among the ranks of the 99 Essentials, so long as you count Junior’s, which built its fame on its cheesecake. There are six Mexican eateries here, and there are also six Eastern European restaurants, which are clustered mostly in south Brooklyn, save for Karczma, a Polish restaurant in Greenpoint.
There are zero French restaurants. There are also zero burger joints, though there are two hot dog restaurants, and two places devoted to fried chicken. There are also three restaurants on the list that serve notable burgers — Peter Luger Steak House, The Commodore, and Northeast Kingdom.
Williamsburg is our best-represented neighborhood — fifteen of our restaurants are there. Carroll Gardens comes in second with eight restaurants. Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Bed-Stuy each boast five, and Park Slope and Bushwick each have six.
You can eat at 39 of these places for less than $10. On the other end of the spectrum, ten of these restaurants have notable tasting menus or omakase offerings. Six are tasting-menu-only.
Thirteen of the 99 Essential Restaurants are more than 50 years old, and three are more than a century: Bamonte’s, Ferdinando’s Focacceria, and Peter Luger Steak House. Peter Luger is the oldest restaurant on the list — it opened in 1887. The newest restaurant is Semilla, which opened in the latter half of 2014.
One restaurant is 99 years old this year. That’d be Nathan’s Famous, down in Coney Island.