Believe it or not, there is more to New York City than just the island of Manhattan. When you are in town be sure to hail a taxi or hop a train ride and check out one of the "outer boroughs." One in particular that any visitor to the Big Apple should check out is Brooklyn.
If you make your way to the family- and foodie-friendly neighborhood of Park Slope, you will most definitely want to take a stroll down Fifth Avenue a.k.a. "Restaurant Row." Among the baby carriages you will find many different types of eateries -- fancy restaurants, quirky cafes, and everything in between.
Al di la Trattoria (248 5th Avenue): Husband and wife, chef Anna Klinger and Emiliano Coppa, run a restaurant so popular with locals and visitors that they refuse to take reservations. Yes, it is first come, first eat at this busy authentic Italian restaurant. You either have to arrive when the doors open or be ready to wait. Fortunately the couple opened a wine bar right around the corner, so you can sip on some reds and whites while you wait for your table. I highly recommend ordering the hangar steak with arugula smothered in a balsamic vinegar. Also note: This establishment only accepts cash.
Stone Park Cafe (324 5th Avenue): This often lively eatery is truly a great place to grab a few drinks and food with friends and family. Good music plays over the sound system as waiters shuffle from table to table ensuring a great dining experience. The decor of the cafe is bright and airy with brick walls in the front area and a more traditional look in the back area. Be sure to check out their $19 prix fix menu, which includes a first course, second course, and dessert. They also offer a brunch special and a great collection of beers on tap.
The Chocolate Room (86 5th Avenue): You didn't think I would leave out a great spot for dessert did you? If you're looking to dine at one place and then get some goodies elsewhere, or if you just want to pass up dinner altogeher for some serious sweet-tooth snacking, this is your place -- a chocolate covered cloud nine. Some items on their menu include a brownie sundae, a chocolate fondue for two, a chocolate layer cake, and a hot chocolate float. Plus, if you like beers, down a few chocolate flavored stouts!
All of these great restaurants and the rest of 5th Avenue's "Restaurant Row" are all within a short bus ride or walking distance from Brooklyn's Nu Hotel.
- Andrew Hickey of The Brooklyn Nomad