Prospect Heights doesn’t cover much territory yet it’s jam-packed with some of Brooklyn’s coolest food and drink spots. Just the little row on Vanderbilt where there’s Little Cupcake Bake Shop, Unnameable Books and R&D Foods can provide someone with a glorious afternoon of entertainment, from lunch to book browsing to a big slice of cake. One can argue about whether places on the east side of Washington Avenue are validly included here, but they all deserve a shout-out.
Ample Hills Creamery
623 Vanderbilt Ave.
Started in 2011 and named for a line from a Walt Whitman poem, Ample Hills now has numerous locations—even one in California—and pints in supermarket freezers. But this tiny shop still has lines out the door on summer’s especially nice days, and the chocolate coconut sorbet in a pretzel cone will never fail to bring me joy.
686A Washington Ave.
A neighborhood bar that makes for a very lucky neighborhood, as its straddles that perfect line between being a cocktail spot and a beer-and-shot happy hour go-to.
565 Vanderbilt Ave.
The best place to go for ramen in the area. With minimal decor and a menu of noodle specialties that can all be made vegetarian and daily lunch hours, it’s an essential.
Gold Star Beer Counter
176 Underhill Ave.
For craft beer and snacks, check out this slightly off-the-beaten-path narrow bar. Everything is available to stay or go via bottles, cans or growlers, making it of use for a pre-picnic stop.
671 Washington Ave.
A very famous for very good reason Jamaican spot with jerk chicken, curry goat and all the other staples.
Little Cupcake Bake Shop
598 Vanderbilt Ave.
For when you want a giant slice of cake but don’t want to go through the trouble of baking one yourself. There are plentiful gluten-free and vegan options, as well.
LOOK by Plant Love House
622 Washington Ave.
Thai food via a Queens backyard, featuring all the most popular dishes of the cuisine and then some.
Ode to Babel
772 Dean St.
The community recently came together to save this bar from being forced out of its location, which says quite a bit about the way it serves the neighborhood. Owned by two sisters, it’s a cocktail oasis with deep ties that puts on many events with a social justice slant.
659 Vanderbilt Ave.
A very casual fine-dining restaurant with an exceptional backyard and garden. Even though this restaurant from chef Greg Baxtrom has only been around for a couple of years, it’s a staple.
820 Washington Ave.
It sounded like a Brooklyn joke at first: a non-dairy cheese shop. But with an amazing array of prepared foods, a huge selection of vegan cheeses made both in-house and out-, and a great sandwich menu, Riverdel has become a Brooklyn essential—and now has a stall at the new Essex Street Market.
782 Washington Ave.
Look no further for cash-only classic New York diner food—it’s been around since 1936—but show up early on weekends because brunch gets packed.
793 Washington Ave.
The best cocktails in the area, hands down, served in a fabulously chill atmosphere. There’s a tiny list of snacks and a backyard, making it the perfect, very grown-up place for a meet-up or a date.