So now you're living in Brooklyn, and Mom's coming to pay a visit on Mother's Day. OMG! Where to go? What to do? Is it absolutely necessary to try to score a $110 reservation at the River Cafe?
Well, relax. Here are a dozen local neighborhood restaurant ideas — scattered throughout Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, Prospect Heights and Greenwood Heights — where you can show mom a little of "real" Brooklyn, have fun, and not break the bank.
And, for the heck of it — because it's Mother's Day, each of these restaurants is named after a woman.
Alma is a good Mexican restaurant, and their numero uno attraction is an astonishing view of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor from the upstairs rooftop seating area. This sweeping vista is stunning any time and especially at dusk. If Mom has an artistic or romantic bone in her body (or if she's a realtor) she'll love the view, even if you just stroll outside for a few seconds. After, go for a walk in Carroll Gardens, or, a bit further, Brooklyn Bridge Park.
If you live in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint corner of Brooklyn and plan on rolling out of bed hungover on Mother's Day Sunday, then head to a nice calm brunch place. Anella serves up fine Italian fare in a low-key, hip environment. The pasta dishes come highly recommended.
Aurora's another good bet in Williamsburg rated highly by Zagat, and with a sister restaurant in Soho. They'll offer their standard menu on Mothers Day, and reservations are encouraged.
Living in Greenwood Heights, Sunset Park or along the Fourth Avenue corridor in Park Slope? Giuseppina's (like Toby's Ale House down the street) is a low key neighborhood joint. Combine this Mother's Day pizza with a fantastic tour of one of Brooklyn's historic jewels, nearby Green-Wood Cemetery, for a memorable Mom's Day
Beer culture is alive and well in Williamsburg — and that's an understatement. If your mom might enjoy a good European beer and authentic German Bratwurst sandwich, then consider this biergarten, housed in a former gas station. It is modeled after the Brauhaus in Cologne. The Williamsburg outpost is a sister restaurant to the Loreley on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
And, there's a delicious back story to the name. Loreley is a legendary water spirit in German folklore. "Lorelei was not willfully seductive, but men could not resist her charms, and she could not resist their advances," writes one expert from the Univ. of Pittsburg.
Come for a classic Italian Sunday lunch, complete with white tablecloths and old fashioned table service. This Brooklyn standard consistently gets rave reviews, despite the incursion of newer, hipper Smith Street restaurants within walking distance. A nice choice for grandma and she won't be bothered by any loud, pulsating music. Call for their Mother's Day menu.
Tatiana (Brighton Beach)
Tatiana's is the perfect Mother's Day destination if your mom prides herself on adventure travel or cross cultural experiences.
On Friday or Saturday evening, come with the extended family for an unforgettable evening of Russian night club dancing, over-the-top food, and vodka galore.
Or, come on Mother's Day Sunday in the afternoon for a modest brunch on the Atlantic Ocean boardwalk in this Russian enclave community. The food is pretty good, the service indifferent at best, and they probably don't really "get" Mother's Day here (it's not on the Russian holiday calendar). But, the people-watching is fabulous.
Teresa's (Brooklyn Heights)
Full disclosure: Teresa's is NOT fancy. Teresa's is NOT upscale. But if you want to have a good heart-to-heart talk without bumping into anyone you know, or just sit comfortably and read the Sunday newspaper and have coffee with your mom, then consider Teresa's.
Afterward, take a walk on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade for views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan Harbor or through DUMBO.
Named after its original founder, Teresa's modest diner in Brooklyn Heights has been turning out Polish comfort food for years. If your mom loves borscht and blinis and dislikes overpriced, noisy, pushy Manhattan bling, this could be just the place. Nothin' fancy, and sticks to your ribs. And, it's affordable, too.
Wanna-be-hip moms from the suburbs may never recover from the avalanche of cool that they'll experience at Roberta's in Bushwick. The neighborhood isn't obviously gentrified yet. But once inside, you cannot beat Roberta's for an eyeful of what it is that's made Williamsburg and Bushwick a mecca for 20-and-30-something creative types.
As for mom, tell her to dress down, be cool, and also be prepared to wait for a memorable meal. Meanwhile, speaking of cool, Heritage Radio Heritage Radio Network, is also housed at Roberta's.
Note: Group dining is available for parties of 10-18 people, and must be made a week in advance via email Monday-Friday between 9 am and 6 pm.
Living in the Cobble Hill area? Want to avoid stroller gridlock? This Thai restaurant doesn't make a big fuss over Mother's Day, so if you'd like to escape all the commercial hoopla, and just have a good lunch or dinner, then head to this Carroll Gardens spot, which got a "23" from Zagat reviewers.
Should you be living in Prospect Heights or Crown Heights, Amorina is a good place to consider for a family friendly Mothers Day. For starters, the restaurant's name means "loved." The restaurant gets an enthusiastic "23" on Zagat and usually offers a Mother's Day menu.
Head to Franny's for a tasty, unfussy sit-down pizza with the family. Franny's isn't planning anything special for Mother's Day, but you can still come and have a wonderful pizza! It's close to Prospect Park and Park Slope, a bus ride from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Museum.