It’s not easy to stand out on Vanderbilt Avenue just north of Prospect Park - a stretch that includes places like Olmsted, Maison Yaki, Faun, and Chuko - but LaLou does, thanks to one of the best natural wine programs in the city. The wine list at this narrow, white-walled spot includes some Eastern European varietals your wine store clerk has probably never heard of, as well as plenty of familiar options from famous regions in France and Italy. Whether you’re looking for Grand Cru Champagne, or you have a higher tolerance for barnyard aromas than Babe the pig, the very friendly staff will help you find something you’ll like. There’s also a straightforward food menu, and while the cheese plate and peppery saucisson are enjoyable snacks, there’s no need to go out of your way for the entrees, like a small portion of steak for $32, or roast chicken served in what tastes like caper juice. Instead, get drinks in the backyard or at the long bar with a date, and if you like each other (or the wine temporarily makes it seem that way), head to one of the many great spots up the street for dinner.
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Emily not only has some of the best pizza in the city, it’s also got one of the best burgers. That means you should probably get there soon.
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Frankies is a tiny, cozy joint with simple Italian cooking, and the food is pretty damn great.
Calaca is a little cash-only Mexican spot in Bed-Stuy where you should drink flights of tequila while eating some great tacos and tostadas.
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Beebe’s is a restaurant in the bottom of The Boro Hotel in LIC, and it’s a perfect for when you’re in the area and need something easy.
Is it a restaurant? Is it a wine bar? Nobody may ever know. But there is one thing we do know - it's too pricey, whatever it is.
Locanda Vini e Olii
We’d love Locanda Vini e Olii if we lived down the street. But when it comes to traveling this far for dinner, there are probably other restaurants in the area that we’d rather be.
Suggested by our writers
A Prospect Heights restaurant serving some of the most inventive, delicious food in New York City.
The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side that serves some good small plates and $1 Happy Hour oysters every day.
Miss Ada is a small, comfortable spot in Fort Greene with great Israeli food and an outdoor garden in the back.
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