• The River Café

  • American Nouveau American Traditional
  • 1 Water St.
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • Neighborhood: DUMBO/Fulton Ferry
  • Phone: 718-522-5200
The River Café Photo
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.

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  • Hours

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

  • Payment

    American Express Diners Club Discover MasterCard Visa

  • Special Features

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

  • Alcohol

    Full Bar

  • Reservations


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