Ferdinando’s Focacceria

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83 Very Good

On the waterfront, this old Brooklyn Sicilian spot offers rustic food out of the past.

151 Union St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231



Known For

The lowdown

Near the BQE, where Carroll Gardens meets Red Hook, sits a jewel of disappearing Brooklyn, a century-old restaurant specializing in authentic Sicilian dishes. This is the real old-fashioned deal: faded photos of Palermo and scenes of the owner with family and the famous, statues of St. Francis and the Virgin Mary, and a plastic prosciutto hanging above the kitchen door. Regulars favor arancina — massive rice balls crammed with spiced ground beef and peas, encased in bread crumbs, deep-fried a golden brown, and served plain or smothered in a crimson tomato sauce and velvety ricotta. A fluffy potato-and-ricotta focaccia and chickpea croquettes called panelle are hard-to-find Mediterranean comfort treats, but the vastedda, baked flat rolls stuffed with layers of funky calf spleen, ricotta and pecorino, are a real rarity. The triumph of the menu is the classic pasta con sarde, spaghetti in a nut-brown sauce of sautéed fennel, onions, pine nuts, raisins, and sardines, pungent and evocative of seaside winters.

What you need to know

Recommended DishesPanelle; focaccia; arancina; pasta con sarde.

DrinksBeer and Wine

Noise LevelCivilized