Grandlife guide


back to list

Who better to take us on a culinary field trip to Greenpoint than the chefs behind one of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood, Chez Ma Tante. With their European comfort food (chips with aioli, pig’s head terrine, the best pancakes you’ll ever eat) and well-edited wine list, Aidan O’Neil and Jake Leiber are an integral part of the food explosion taking place in Brooklyn’s northernmost neighborhood, helping make Greenpoint a destination for those seeking great food in a variety of settings. Here, O’Neil and Leiber share the local spots they return to time and time again, along with some tips into what to order, where to sit, and if the mood strikes, where to party.

Five Leaves

“Five Leaves is kind of a remarkable little restaurant. It’s an all-day cafe that stays full all day. We see people lining up to eat outside rain or shine. Sandwiches and burgers for lunch are the go to, but the quiche is rather exceptional. You could spend an entire day at Five Leaves, coffee in the morning, lunch into dinner into late night drinks. And you’d have a good time doing it! Every time we’re there we bump into half of our friends who live in the neighborhood, mostly because some of the best locals work there.”

18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY; T. (718) 383-5345

Peter Pan Bakery

“Peter Pan is an old donut shop that makes the best cake donuts we’ve ever had and certainly some of the best egg sandwiches in the city. We order our egg sandwiches on fresh bialys, but we’ve seen people order them on everything from bagels to sweet rolls to crullers. We like to sit at the winding counter and order from any of the young Polish women who dawn the pastel pink and green uniform that is the bakery’s signature. Neither of us can get over the fact that the person who takes your order is also charged with preparing your food start to finish. They cook your eggs, crisp your bacon, stir your coffee, they do everything. Every time we go, we fall in love a little with whoever’s taking care of us.”

727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY; T. (718) 389-3676

Achilles Heel

“Achilles Heel is really one of our favorite watering holes in the whole city. The wine list is superb and the food by Desiree Tuttle is focused and delicious. We’ve been known to throw impromptu parties thereby inviting all of our friends and walking over with the whole staff of the restaurant. It looks like an old dock-workers tavern (because it is) and feels far enough away from everything to get lost in the night.”

180 West St, Brooklyn, NY: T. (347) 987-3666

Cafe Colette

“Colette is technically in Williamsburg but we like it so much we thought we’d throw it in anyway. Aidan, in particular, frequents Colette for what he likes to call “‘tini Tuesdays.” He’s been known to pair his Vodka Martinis with chicken fingers off of the kids’ lunch menu. That said, Chef Patricia Vega is wonderfully talented and everything on the menu at Cafe Colette is worth your attention.”

79 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY; T. (347) 599-1381

Sapporo Ichiban

“Sapporo Ichiban is a place we hold dear. We’ve visited Ichiban frequently together throughout the opening of Chez Ma Tante. It’s a quiet place to host meetings and drink sake and beer. But mostly we go to plot and scheme. We like to sit at the sushi counter and chat up the Chef who always gives us his daily special nigiri.”

622 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY; T. (718) 389-9712

Chinese Musician

“Like Sapporo Ichiban, Chinese Musician is our local Chinese canteen. It has all your Chinese-American staples and they’re all a cut above the rest. It’s a clean and well-lit place, which is why we go there when we’re having a rough day (or a few in a row).”

151 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NT; T. (718) 383-2413

Tamale Lady on Manhattan Avenue

“Our bar manager Carlos Salazar, a longtime Greenpoint resident, often brings us delicious tamales for breakfast on the weekends. They’re all great, but somehow the chicken tamales with salsa verde seem to disappear the fastest.”

Manhattan Ave. between Green and Huron Street

Diamond Bar

“Diamond is our next door neighbor. We share a block. When our sole bathroom is out of order, we send our customers there. They take care of us. It’s also a great hang, and more nights than I care to admit, when I’ve told everyone I’m not having a drink that night, I find myself at Diamond with the crew. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but something about the extreme proximity to the restaurant makes us all a little more at ease in there, I think we end up saying and doing things we might not normally. And for that reason, every time I go to Diamond, I leave feeling a little closer to the team at Chez Ma Tante.”

43 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY; T. (718) 383-5030

Capri Social Club

“Capri is another bar conveniently located down the block from Chez Ma Tante. It’s a host to all the local flavors. Light beer and well shots are most everyone’s usual there, but I’m partial to dollar jello shots…”

156 Calyer St, Brooklyn, NY; T. 347-392-7591


“Frankly, we love Ponyboy. Chef Michael Stember and Barman James Dorje have teamed up to give the world quite possibly, the most fun bar/restaurant/club/thing that we’ve experienced in recent history. Suffice it to say we’ve become fast friends with Mike and James. On slow nights it’s a chill place to hang. But we really go to Ponyboy to party. It’s so fun it should be a crime, we don’t know how it hasn’t been shut down by the police and we pray that day never comes.”

632 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY

WORDS Aidan O’Neil and Jake Leiber

PHOTOGRAPHY @hunter_Mikles

You May Also Like

New York Film Festival 2019 Noah Baumbach Illyse Singer

Lens Crafters: New York Film Festival Musts

Roxy Cinema curator Illyse Singer offers up her top picks and commentary. 
Babs Restaurant Greenwich Village New York Interview

New Classics: Babs Opens on MacDougal

We talk with the boys behind the newly opened neighborhood spot about the influence of the Basque Country, the importance of longevity, and why simplicity is key.
Editor Recap NYFW New York Fashion Week Laura Brown

NY Editors Recap the Week that Was

art & design
As we close out NYFW, we get the lowdown from a few influential editors on the looks, the vibe, and the downtown hotspots they favor.
How to Travel: The Ultimate Survival Guide

How to Travel: The Ultimate Survival Guide

Two Condé Nast Travel Editors on the travel accessories to know about before your next long or short-haul flight.
Fort Tilden New York Best Swim Spots

Get the Skinny on New York's Best Dips

Get yourself to any of these locations and come back once the sun has backed off enough to enjoy the cool air of the city's beautiful summer nights. 
Downtown Karaoke Bars New York Baby Grand Planet Rose Sing Sing Up Stairs Bar

No-frills, all thrills: Downtown Karaoke Bars

bars & nightlife
Our favorite downtown karaoke bars have something for everybody and we’re sharing them with you. 
Best Tacos NYC

A Taco Tour of NYC

These Mexican restaurants meet firmly in the middle between great taste and exciting atmosphere.
Summer Reads McNally Jackson Sam MacLaughlin

McNally Jackson Summer Reading List

art & design
For your reading pleasure. McNally Jackson’s Sam MacLaughlin shares his must-read list. 
Choose Your Stay
the hotel that made soho grand
meet me at the roxy
Book Now