Pierogi Paradise - Exploring Greenpoint NYC’s Best Polish Restaurants
Known locally as Little Poland, Greenpoint has been the heart of the Polish community in New York City for decades, with more Polish businesses here than anywere else in the city. Standing on the main strip, Manhattan Avenue, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a small town in Silesia, as Polish bakeries, delis and restaurants line the sidewalk and the sound of the Polish language fills the air.
However, for many non-Polish New Yorkers, Polish cuisine remains a relatively unexplored dining option, with pierogi, golabki and schabowy yet to enjoy the mainstream foodie success of, say, Mexican or Italian. Yet this could all be set to change as Greenpoint becomes increasingly popular and the area’s Polish restaurants continue to serve quality yet affordable food. In this post we take a look at five of our favourites.
136 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
White Borscht in Bread, Karczma
Considered by many to be the best Polish restaurant in NYC, Karczma serves hearty, home-cooked Polish meals, including zurek in a bread roll, bigos, pierogi and much more. It’s a touch fancier than some of the other Polish restaurants in the area, with an interior decked out like a country farmhouse and waitresses dressed in folk costume, making it an ideal place to bring friends for a meal out. We particularly recommend their Plate of Polish Specialities, where you’ll be able to try many of the nation’s signature dishes in one sitting.
646 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Translating to “girl from Lomza”, Lomzynianka's name refers to restaurant owner-chef Janina Grzelczak and the town in Northeastern Poland in which she grew up. Janina's tiny nine-table restaurant offers quick, cheap and satisfying food the way they make it back home – plates piled high with melt-in-your-mouth pierogi and rich, creamy barszcz.
The food tastes great, and the prices are unbelievable (soups for around $2 and $5 for pierogi). It's BYOB, too!
Polish platter (pierogies, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, bigos, potatoes) - Lomzynianka
149 North 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222
A bakery rather than a fully-fledged restaurant, Northside caters for hungry Poles and local hipsters alike, offering authentic home-cooked meals and some of Brooklyn's freshest and best quality bread.
Baked according to old European recipes, expect to find rye bread and sourdough alongside classic Polish cakes, such as rose jam doughnuts. You can either grab a dollar coffee and a cake or sit down to a lunchtime buffet of pierogi and fresh salads. A Bedford classic!
Bread, Northside Bakery
694 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Looking for somewhere a bit more special? Krolewskie Jadlo, which translates to King’s Feast, is unmissable, with its two lifesize knights waiting to greet you at the front door and swords hanging on the wall to resemble a king's dining room. Restaurant owner Krzysztof Drzewiecki aims to give diners a taste of Poland’s other culinary traditions, beyond the usual “potatoes and cabbage” recipes for which the nation is known.
At Krolewskie Jadlo, you can therefore expect to find roast duck legs in apple sauce, venison meatballs and trout stuffed with spinach in yoghurt and herb sauce, alongside the usual golabki and potato pancake options on the menu. With its emphasis on quality and affordable prices (a three-course lunch costs just $9 on weekdays) a meal at Krzysztof's is a must if you’re visiting Greenpoint.
Roasted Hocks In Beer - Krolewskie Jadlo
118 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn NY 11222
Pyza is a long-running Polish diner, serving quick, no-nonsense Polish home cooking to a steady stream of hard-working locals. The 40-item menu is written in English and Polish, and has everything you could possibly need if you're missing home, including several varieties of soup, pierogi, kotlet schabowy and even pork tongue in horseradish sauce, with most dishes costing $5-$7.
In classic milk bar style, you should place your order at the counter, wait to be called and then grab your cafeteria tray of food – which comes complete with a glass of kompot (fruit punch), just like how they do it back home!
Polish Restaurant Pyza, 118 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn NY 11222
Over the last several years, Greenpoint has become an increasingly desirable place to live, with many Willamsburg residents migrating north for the cheaper rents and friendly, family-oriented atmosphere. There are now plenty of other attractions in the area, besides the quality Polish businesses, including art galleries, a thriving bar scene and Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. As Matthew Schneier writes in this useful post, “Today, Greenpoint is a busy area where young art directors, rockers and even the occasional celebrity too cool for Manhattan rub shoulders with Polish grannies.”
Some good nearby accommodation options include King & Grove Williamsburg, Box House Hotel and Loft Hostel (see HotelClub for more information). Greenpoint is served well by the G train (Nassau Ave and Greenpoint Ave stations), and if you need to travel into Manhattan, the Bedford Ave L train stop is only a short walk away.
Author/Source: Matt Lindley