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Home > Restaurants > The River Café

The River Café

1 Water St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 40.70295 -73.994401
at Old Fulton St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
718-522-5200 Send to Phone

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  • Cuisine: American Nouveau, American Traditional
  • Price Range: $$$$

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  • Reader Rating:

    8 out of 10


    16 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by Carmen Lopez and AJ Wilhelm

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Official Website


Daily, 11:30am-3pm and 5:30pm-11pm

Nearby Subway Stops

A, C at High St.; 2, 3 at Clark St.

Payment Methods

American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Bar Scene
  • Brunch - Weekend
  • Classic NY
  • Live Music
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Private Dining/Party Space
  • Prix-Fixe
  • Romantic
  • View
  • Waterfront
  • Special Occasion
  • Online Reservation


  • Full Bar




The views at this historic waterfront restaurant — propped up by a submerged pier — are breathtaking enough to produce a blasé-busting, hyperventilating rush of civic pride. The city is surprisingly short on such restaurants, and the River Café’s ability to attract out-of-towners like moths to a lamp have given it a reputation as a tourist trap. But over the years owner Michael “Buzzy” O’Keeffe hired some of America’s most influential chefs to run the kitchen, including Larry Forgione (once called “the godfather of American cuisine”), Charlie Palmer, and David Burke. From its earliest days, it focused on American ingredients and wines, casual service, and a more inclusive approach to fine dining. The restaurant’s greatest asset, its location, is also its Achilles’ heel, and when Hurricane Sandy smacked into the city in 2012, the Café was flooded knee-deep and closed for 14 months. Its reopening was celebrated, but the restaurant isn’t necessarily in conversations among the culinary cognoscenti these days. Still, it hasn’t wavered in its mission to focus on American ingredients. Dining on the comfortably lounge-lit floating barge, simply decorated to defer to the obvious visual splendor, with a pianist who cannily plinks instead of plunders, is like living in a Woody Allen movie — one of the wonderful ones, with all the Gershwin, and the specter of looming lechery replaced by the possibility of a happy ending.


Prix fixe, $125; Six-course tasting menu, $155; Brunch, $55

Couples who book this local institution will enjoy the bohemian romance of old Brooklyn without sacrificing a glorious city backdrop. The Terrace Room is festooned in abundant greenery, boasts a water-stream entrance, and opens up to an expansive view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan’s skyline. The intimate room can hold 100 guests (80 with a dance floor). From $225 per guest.

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