Chef/owner Michael Ayoub’s wood-burning oven carries adds a touch of elegance to the laid-back vibe of this section of Williamsburg. Enter a narrow room with wooden tables and hand-blown glass fixtures, the kind that add to the ambience rather than detract from it. In the back dining room (an outdoor turned indoor greenhouse area), enjoy the view of the potted herbs that will soon be atop a disc of pizza. This is artisanal pizza at its finest—Ayoub uses organic flour, local produce and an array of artisanal cheeses. Far from the greasy, mozzarella slices that drip onto the sidewalk, the pizza served here is fresh, savory and sublimely mind-blowing. With toppings such as pancetta, gorgonzola, lamb sausage and truffles, it’s not easy to make a decision.
What's more, there is more: try the antipasti, clams or the daily pasta. Look for quality products, smoky flavors and those thin Italian crusts that confirm you have wandered into a good thing.
The all-Italian wine list features several vintages at around $20 a bottle. Service here can be fantastic or dippy, depending on the server and the level of ennui that he or she is suffering from.
Fornino — Williamsburg is located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Manhattan. As Manhattan has become increasingly upscale and overwhelmingly expensive, the New York intelligentsia and creative underclassmen have increasing looked to make Brooklyn their home. The neighborhood that has—arguably—taken the brunt of the exodus from Manhattan is the northern area of Williamsburg. Now a haven for starving artists and hipsters, the neighborhood has redefined and rebranded itself into one of the hotspots of Brooklyn, with bars, live music, and restaurants spawning in direct proportion to the increase in the now well-established sense of Williamsburg community. If the weather's agreeable, you can head to McCarren Park to throw the ol' baseball around or watch the many hipsters in Williamsburg's Kickball League lounge and pose their way to victory. The park's pool is splendid, and there's a brand-new, year-round recreation center. After running around on the grass or watching other people run around, it might be time for a trip to the borough's preferred brewery, the Brooklyn Brewery, where Williamsburg's beer of choice has been make for two decades. The brewery offers staffed tastings on Friday nights, as well as tours of the brewery itself. If the weather's disagreeable, you might be in need of some new threads. No sweat in trendy Williamsburg! Seek out Beacon's Closet on 11th Street for some great thrift-store shopping or native chain Brooklyn Industries for new fashions. Fashion-forward Francophiles will burst their pocketbooks over the selections at Jumelle and Noisette. For those chasing a more urban chic, Williamsburg's own Triple Five Soul should do the trick. Maybe your wallet's heart isn't in apparel and craves music instead. Williamsburg favorites Earwax Records and Academy Annex will satiate the most eclectic of musical tastes with new and used CDs, LPs, and DVDs. Ah, but nothing has a higher fidelity than live music, so check out the Music Hall Of Williamsburg, where national indie acts like Dr. Dog and Les Savy Fav have performed. For a bit of local music and a more neighborhood-appropriate atmosphere, the swank Union Pool offers live music and a bar but no swimming whatsoever. Now, replenish your dwindling energy with breakfast or lunch at the esteemed egg restaurant, or try more filling fare at the renowned Peter Luger Steakhouse. There's also the one-two punch of sister restaurants Marlow & Sons, a Mediterranean café/restaurant/bar/store, and Diner, both created by the same folks and well-known parts of Williamsburg's hipster pedigree. Then there's Bamonte's for Italian, Falafel Chula for Middle Eastern, and Planet Thailand for Southeast Asian. Finally, enjoy a local nightcap—which generally means a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon—at one of the classic neighborhood bars. At The Levee, you can supplement your drinks with great bar food and a game of pool, but at Barcade, the gaming is digital and as well-stocked as the beer selection. The Alligator Lounge is another neighborhood favorite and serves free personal pizzas from its wood-burning oven every night until 3:30am. Or if you'd prefer a subdued atmosphere and well-mixed cocktails—included seasonal potables like hot cider (spiked, of course)—then you should give Pete's Candy Store a go.
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