River Café

Image: River Café
MONDAY - THURSDAY: 5:30 P.M. – 10:30 P.M. | FRIDAY: 5:30 P.M. - 11 P.M. | SATURDAY - SUNDAY: 11:30 A.M. – 2:30 P.M., 5:30 P.M. – 11 P.M.
718.522.5200 | WEBSITE

The River Café opened in 1977 on the banks of the East River in Dumbo, then a mostly-deserted section of Brooklyn; it remains, to this day, one of the most fortuitous (save, of course, for the devastation of Hurricane Sandy) instances of foresight in Brooklyn restaurant history. The restaurant, which has played host to some of the most influential American chefs—from David Burke to Charlie Palmer—has remained true to its classic roots. The wine collection has been helmed by the same beverage director, Joseph DeLissio, since it opened. Though the list is long on trophy California wines—something you’d expect from a restaurant so heavily trafficked by the banker set of the 1990s and early aughts—after Hurricane Sandy decimated much of the collection, the DeLissio has begun to restock the cellar with an updated point of view. But this is not a list that seeks to score brownie points with the hipster set; it’s an old-school destination that still happens to have one of the deepest collection of classic French wines (and some notable old-school California), often at low markups. And, not for nothing, it also boasts one of the most epic views in Brooklyn.

Known For
  • vintage wine
  • full menu
  • historic
  • outdoor / patio
What to drink
While the list has gained a number of wines under $100 that are intriguing, this is really the place to go if you want to drink back vintages of classic California cabernet, Burgundy and Bordeaux.