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The Best Date Nights in Brooklyn For Under $25

By: Sophia Marina

Brooklyn is well known for its gritty goodness and easygoing, super-mod lifestyle, but these days, getting the best of its diverse cuisines without emptying your purse can be just a tad trying—especially when it’s a meal for two. But when you know where to look, all the flavorful, authentic taquitos and salty-sweet Pad Thai can belong to both of you for just about $25, and set you on a cute, cheap and down to earth date where it’s all about that no frills, real-deal meal. Find your dream Bahn Mi or go for some Syrian-style Mediterranean digs using our guide to Brooklyn’s most affordable food hotspots.

The Best Date Nights In Brooklyn For Under $25

Dar 525
Williamsburg—525 Grand Street, Brooklyn | Greenpoint—168 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn

With two locations and a mission to bring the best of Mediterranean food in Brooklyn out in both of them, Dar 525 stands out as a down to earth spot with heartfelt food you can experience a lot of, affordably. Catered by the owner’s parents—two Syrian refugees, one cheffing at each location—the spots bringing those traditions into the Mediterranean food we recognize, like an amazing, chunky Syrian hummus, which incorporates whole chickpeas into the lemony, creamy mix, for a delightful small plates experiences. Whether you shoot for the platter at $13.50, a totally shareable choice of 5 items, then rack it up with bigger portions, usually at $6 each for flavorful bowlfuls of options like Muhammara or spiced foul beans, or decide to go all out with big plates like the vegetable couscous ($10), you’ll still have a buck or two left to order some extra warm pita. With prices like these, Dar 525 wants you to try it all.

dar525 nyc
Credit: Dar525, Facebook
Arepera Guacuco
Bushwick—44 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn

This family-owned establishment serves up Venezuelan hits like loaded, hearty arepas and stuffed to the seam empanadas that make your mouth water just at the sheer size of them. Like all the best genuinely good and authentic restaurants, the magic behind the cuisine at Arepera Guacuco comes from none other than a mother, who named this spot after her town in the mountains. There’s no one better to introduce you to mealy, delicious arepas ($6-$9 each), aka thick corn patties stuffed with the likes of juicy pork shoulder (pernil), grilled ham and white paisa cheese (Jamon con queso), or fresh avocado, Venezuelan Guyanese cheese, sweet plantain and sliced tomato—to tempt you with just a few of their options. There’s also an array of South American specialty sides that fit nicely under the $25 for two on a budget, with a homey rice and beans at $4.50, and salty-sweet Tajadas, a serving of sweet plantains with aged cheese. Our advice? Skip the small plates and order yourselves at least one Cocada, a spiced coconut milkshake, to share. It’s the sweetest, most pure coco concoction you’ll ever taste.

arepera guacuco nyc
Credit: Arepera Guacuco
Best Pizza
Williamsburg—33 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn

There’s a lot of pizza joints that’ll fill you up for under $25, but in NYC, it’s all about locating the singular slice that really does it for you, and Best Pizza in Williamsburg could just be it. Saucy scents float in the air as you cram in and make the line for your slice at this cozy, bustling spot. Most pizzas are in the thin category, but they have a thick, melty Grandma slice that’ll knock you out with its thick, square crust spilling over with sauce and cheesiness. There are also whole pies available for just $23 (cheese) and $26 (white), if you’re really looking to devour something whole. Whether you mix and match your options or go for the whole luscious, gooey thing, $25 will take your pizza experience a long, flavorful way—so please, don’t forget your cash, ‘cause they won’t take card.

best pizza nyc
Credit: Best Pizza
Jalsa Grill & Gravy
Flatbush—964 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn

When you take a look at the humble storefront that is Jalsa Grill & Gravy, you hardly expect a miracle of a meal, but that’s what the homey, hearty Indian food you’ll get here is going to be—a delicious, aromatic miracle. Think their top-notch savory eggplant chaat ($6) to start, then mix it up something you’ll both be happy to split: saucy Chicken Tikka Masala for $10 paired with Palak Paneer Kofta (spinach with cottage cheese balls) at $9, or the perfect Paneer Nizami ($9) and daily daal ($9) with just enough left over for that essential basket of naan ($2). With portions meant for sharing, there’s no combination of homestyle dishes here that’ll leave you and your love anything less than perfectly satisfied with your meal and with each other.

jalsa grill & gravy nyc
Credit: Jalsa Grill & Gravy
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos
Bushwick—271 Starr Street, Brooklyn

Before Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos is a restaurant, it’s a tortilla factory, so you know that the “antojitos” served in the cantina by the kitchen are going to be legit: fresh, homestyle and patted to perfection by experienced hands (not machines). Cozy, casual and located in a colorful garage that channels the warm, vibrant atmosphere of a proper tortilleria, the methods here are specific: you silently write your order on an index card, slip it to the cashier, and wait. You can get three plump little tacos for $9, loaded Tostadas for just $2.50 a pop, or stuffed quesadillas with everything from just fresh queso fresco to spicy pork, and it’s all guaranteed authentic. Sip on a sweet Mexican coke to make it just right, and it’s an easy, real-deal meal that’ll fill you up and make you and your love happy with all the down to earth vibes you want out of your Mexican food.

tortilleria mexicana los hermanos nyc
Credit: Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos, Facebook

See More Of Our Curated Dates This Week

Ba Xuyên
Sunset Park—4222 8th Avenue, Brooklyn

This modest, off-the-grid Vietnamese joint promises the best Bahn Mi in the city, with a $5 tag that makes it absolutely the best. At Ba Xuyên, hearty slices of pork, perfectly pickled pickles, sweet and sour veggie slaw, cilantro and jalapenos are stuffed into flawlessly toasted bread—crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside—for a no-nonsense Bahn Mi that checks all the boxes on freshness, heartiness and satisfaction. Kick it off with some spring rolls (Goi Cuon) to share, add an avocado smoothie for some creamy refreshment, then top it all off with the Bahn Mi of your choice. There’s everything from meatball to BBQ to turkey, although that classic pork roll will definitely hit the spot.  

ba xuyen nyc
Credit: Ba Xuyên, Facebook — Photo by Lê Hop Sing
Lillo Cucina Italiana
Cobble Hill—331 Henry Street, Brooklyn

With ingredients directly imported from Italy, you’d expect something painfully pricey, but in fact, the rich and deeply satisfying pasta dishes at Lillo Cucina Italiana fall between $10-$17—with portions that don’t skimp. This hidden gem of an Italian cafe is cramped in the best possible way, with patrons willing to squeeze in for a chance to slurp down some of this delicious, homemade fare (think dreamy potato gnocchi, fresh caprese di bufala or spinach-stuffed cannelloni). Although the menu changes every day, you and your love could sit down to a hefty plate of anything from Pasta Puttanesca (tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, garlic) to Branzino alla Lillo, to a simply delicious Cacio e Pepe. The seafood might be out of your price range, but two heaping servings of pasta will keep you under $25, and the paninis (between $7 and $14) are nothing to sleep on either. Cash only, and try to get there early for a seat.

lillo cucina italiana nyc
Credit: Lillo Cucina Italiana, Facebook
Klom Klorm
Bushwick—181 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn

Perfect Thai is a rare find, but at Klom Klorm—literally meaning “tasty”—you can get more than your fair share of incredible Thai at a totally unbeatable price. With a lunch special that gets you a heaping dish of your choice plus crispy spring rolls for 9.95, it’s the perfect place to whip over to anytime before 4 pm and indulge in, for lunch with your lover. Fresh ingredients and unique flavors make for the best versions of pad thai and drunken man noodles you’ll ever slurp—sweet, salty and drenched in wildly flavorful sauces that coat the veggies like a thick, delicious dressing. Even though lunch is the meal-deal, popping in for dinner won’t drain your purse either—most mains fall under $12, so you and your person can mix and match a piping hot green curry (Gaeng Kiew Warn) with a sticky pile of Thai basil fried rice and still make the budget. Portions are big, but the steamy, flavorful food will definitely push you to lick your plates clean, and if you don’t, you and bae have some scrumptious leftovers to look forward to.

klom klorm nyc
Credit: Klom Klorm
Naruto Ramen
Park Slope—276 5th Avenue, Brooklyn

Finding affordable ramen in NYC is practically impossible, where a bowl of broth and noodles costs you at least $15, and that’s without toppings—but couples craving ramen shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to bond and snuggle over hot soup, and Naruto Ramen actually makes it possible. A bowl of their house broth goes for $9, with Miso shooting just up to $10, and a tasty Tan Tan hitting $11—and yes, the portions are still huge, and absolutely shareable if you and your person aren’t too hungry. You can either add toppings like corn and bean sprout to your bowl or shoot for one of their satisfying little apps, like Gyoza ($5) or Takowasa ($4.50). All the warmth and nourishment you need out of your ramen is here, and it’s surprisingly cheap. So go grab a bowl with your S.O. and trap some steamy, delicious heat.

naruto ramen nyc
Credit: Naruto Ramen
Crown Heights—788 Franklin Avenue

All you need to be whisked away from the cold NYC winter can be found for around $12 a piece at Glady’s, a glowing, green, Caribbean eatery in the Crown Heights/Prospect Park area. Bask in the warm light of the hanging wicker lamps with a shared serving of jerk chicken for just $11.50, then go in on their comforting sides with ease: sweet plantains ($4.50), spicy slaw  ($4) and rice and peas ($4)—a perfect trio to complete your divine Caribbean meal.

glady's nyc
Credit: Liz Clayman for Glady's

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week