The Best Restaurants in Gowanus

Jun 4, 2024 | Press

Centuries ago what’s now Gowanus was a rich Native American clam bed, a creek known as Gowanee. Over the years, its banks crowded with industrial architecture, including factories and warehouses, and in the process became one of the city’s most polluted waterways.

It was that maritime ambiance that, like decades ago in Soho, attracted artists and other loft dwellers, and gradually, the old usages were replaced with bars, restaurants, social clubs, and high-rise apartment buildings, though much of the industrial feel remains, especially in its picturesque bridges. So visit Gowanus and walk among its branching arms, still redolent of 19th century Brooklyn.

Note that the borders of the neighborhood generally extend to Fourth Avenue on the east, the Upper Bay on the south, within a block or two of the canal into what may also be considered Carroll Gardens on the west, and to Wyckoff Street on the north, the northernmost reaches of the Gowanus Houses.


There is no cooler place to hang out in the summer than Parklife — presumably named after the great Blur album. Over the years it has undergone several transformations of the menu in its graveled, fenced yard, and the current menu incorporates Tex Mex and Persian flavors, via chef Scott Koshnoodi. Included are such things as octopus tacos with smoked lentils, and a chicken taco with yogurt.