It is quite a coincidence that I share the same name with my favourite area in Brooklyn, which is the quaint neighbourhood of Carroll Gardens. To be honest I love it so much that I now prefer to spend the majority of my time in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan when I’m visiting New York. I first discovered Carroll Gardens when my New York bestie moved into the area a few years ago and I went to stay at her new place. Although she has since moved over to Red Hook, I’m still fortunate to get to stay with her in a location that’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from it all. What I love about Carroll Gardens is that you’ve got everything you want at your fingertips, minus the hectic atmosphere of the city. Great bars, shopping, and amazing food — it’s all there! Since there are a handful of businesses that I always make a point of going to, I thought I would my top 5 best places in Brooklyn to eat, shop and drink!
Dinner at Frankies Spuntino
Asking if you love Italian food seems like a bit of a ridiculous question but if you love GREAT Italian food then be sure to take note of Frankies Spuntino in Carroll Gardens. Not only is the food at this place incredible, but it comes to you in a great low-key atmosphere that would be great for both a date or hanging out with friends. Surprisingly, it’s often one of the most inexpensive meals I have when visiting New York. The bill for three during my last visit was well under $100 — probably because a carafe of their house wine is only $13.
Breakfast/Lunch at Court Street Grocers
The breakfast/lunch suggestion has been strategically placed here underneath the dinner suggestion because you will undoubtedly be hungover the next morning. Did you see my note about $13 carafes of wine at Frankies? If you love adorable little delis with great selections of both fresh and packaged foods then you must stop in to the Court Street Grocers. I essentially live off of their delicious breakfast sandwiches when I’m there — eggs, bacon, arugula served piping hot on a ciabatta bun, need I say more? Oh and don’t forget to drench it in Sriracha!
Cocktails at Clover Club
Clover Club is actually a new place to me that was discovered on my most recent visit, and I’m so glad I did because I will most definitely be back! Did you know that GQ recently voted Clover Club as one of the top 25 best cocktail bars in America? Not bad Clover Club! Once you visit this speakeasy-style space and have a sip of their delectable drinks it is obvious why GQ would put them at #4 on their list of best cocktail bars in the country. My personal recommendation is to try the Port of Call from their cocktail menu, and don’t shy away from their snack menu either, the food is also to die for.
Margaritas at Dallas BBQ
Since Dallas BBQ is quite a large American chain restaurant, it is certainly not a Brooklyn exclusive, and just recently opened its Brooklyn location at Jay Street, which is in close proximity to Carroll Gardens. If you are Canadian, you will understand the reference when I say Dallas BBQ is like the Southern version of Swiss Chalet, only more fun and a lot cheaper. Frequenting Dallas BBQ for their Texas-sized margaritas became a tradition with my friends when interned at Teen Vogue many years ago. Their gigantic $7 dollar margaritas guaranteed a good time, even when you hardly had a dollar to your name. On many nights, they even replaced dinner. Even though we’re all older now, and all have paying jobs. we still like to visit Dallas BBQ for fun.
Boutique Bird in Brooklyn
If you think that you need to be in Manhattan to shop for cool designer clothes, you are wrong my friend. With three locations throughout Brooklyn, Bird offers shoppers a relaxed and down-to-earth environment to shop everyone from Isabel Marant to Alexander Wang. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sifting through the racks next to the likes of Michelle Williams or Maggie Gyllenhaal. Since I often find myself in New York in the fall, I always stop by Bird to pick up a cashmere hat by Steven Alan to keep my head war (and chic!) during the Canadian winter.