The Bay Cafe Review

by Frayda
penne a la vodka- pasta in creamy tomato sauce with basil and paremsan cheese at Bay Cafe

The Bay Cafe is a dairy restaurant, located in Brighton Beach. The Kosher Cactus visited The Bay Cafe in July of 2021. This review was written in July of 2021. 

Where is The Bay Cafe located? What is the best way to get there?

exterior of the Bay Cafe
The iconic outside of the Bay Cafe (the doorway on the left is now blocked by outdoor seating).

The Bay Cafe is located at 2 Neptune Avenue, at the intersection between Shore Blvd, Emmons Avenue and E 14th St. The Bay Cafe sits across from Holocaust Memorial Park, and overlooks Sheepshead Bay (above Manhattan Beach). 

If you drive there, THERE IS VALET PARKING!!!!! In Brooklyn!  And- get ready for this- it’s free! 

If you’d rather take public transport, the B and Q trains stop at Sheepshead Bay station, which is just a 6 minute walk from the Cafe. 

You can also take a B4 bus, which stops directly outside the Bay Cafe. 

The Cafe is open from 11AM – 10PM Sunday through Thursday, 10AM – 12PM on Fridays, and is closed on Saturdays. 

What is the vibe at Bay Cafe?

Interior of the Bay Cafe- with hand painted murals adorning the walls

Besides the food, which will be the fascinating subject of many a paragraph to come, the Bay is known for its beautiful space. There are hand-painted murals on each wall, a gorgeous interior, and comfortable plush chairs. 

Bay Cafe also has outdoor seating that is covered by an awning and protected from the elements by plastic windows. When we went, it was a beautiful evening and many people were sitting outside. 

The Cafe is directly across from Holocaust Memorial Park on the Sheepshead Bay waterfront. After supper, we walked around the park and over the bridge that bisects the bay. It was gorgeous, and provides the restaurant with a stunning view. 

What is on the menu at the Bay Cafe?

mushroom cheese pizza with arugula greens ontop at the Bay Cafe in Brooklyn
The perfect pairing: Mushroom Cheese Pizza with fresh arugula

Our visit was with a party of 14, and we ordered a ton of dishes. I have a LOT to say about the food. 

First of all, all the starters we ordered were great. 

There were Fish Tacos, which have breaded fried fish and herbs with micro-greens. The tacos were soft shells, and there was a dollop of guac on top. They were served with limes on the side, and tasted incredibly fresh and delicious. 

The Butternut Hummus was a lot less butternut-y than I had expected, but paired so well with the pita chips, feta cheese and zaatar. This was another favorite at the table. 

The breaded cauliflower was kind of plain on its own, but came with a dipping sauce that completely altered its flavor profile- in such a good way! I also really appreciated that the sauce was on the side, so the cauliflower retained its crispiness. 

The Baby Bella Mushrooms were delicious. This dish comes with a cheese, herbs and chopped mushroom dip that sits neatly inside the cap. If you love mushrooms, as I do, these are amazing. 

What Main Dishes do the serve at the Bay?

Some of the favorite main dishes at the table were:

limonana lemon mint iced drink
So good that it didn’t quite make it into the picture- Limonana

Porcini Mushroom Sea Bass- Absolutely delectable. It tasted very mushroom-y, and served with toasted spinach. The menu specified ‘buttery’ and that was exactly the flavor we got. 

Penne Vodka. Exactly what you want in a penne a la vodka- an incredible tomato sauce incorporated into the penne pasta. It’s loaded with cheese, extra parmesan and a hint of basil. 

Arugula Salad, packed with fresh mozzarella and goat cheese. This salad also has the titular arugula, orange bits, and red onion, and is served with a fragrant raspberry vinaigrette. 

What else is on the menu?

  • Starters
  • Salads
  • Pizzas
  • Paninis / Wraps
  • Stuffed Baked Potato
  • Burgers
  • Pastas
  • Fish
  • Drinks
  • Desserts

For your information, the menu was presented in a beautiful leather-bound book, which is so much easier to peruse than an iPad. Thanks, Bay Cafe. 

What is the best dish?

Mushroom Cream Sauce Gnocchi. This was the winning dish at the table- by a mile.

It had garlic, mushrooms and an incredible cream sauce to tie everything together. The gnocchi was pan seared and then put into the sauce, and all the flavors blended so perfectly together.

There was exactly the right ratio of sauce to pasta, and exactly the right amount of food on the dish.

Everything about this was so perfectly done. 

How do I go off-menu at the Bay Cafe?

fish and chips at the Bay Cafe in Brooklyn
Nothing a little salad couldn’t fix: Fish and Chips at the Bay Cafe

I tried to.

I’m not sure if it was the specific dish I chose (Fish and Chips) but the waiter didn’t really give me the option of adding a side dish. (I would have gone with roasted vegetables, personally.)

Which was a mistake, because (sadly for me) Fish and Chips was the one option we ordered that was…. Meh.

Don’t get me wrong, the fish was delicious, crispy and flakey inside. The chips were hand cut, golden outside and soft and delicious inside. But… that was it.

There was no color on the plate, no herbs to add bright flavors, no salad to break the monotony of fried things.

Anyway, Bay Cafe, if you are reading this: a little microgreens go a long way.  

Is the Cafe wheelchair accessible?

fish tacos at the Bay Cafe in Brooklyn, with guacamole, sof shell tacos, breaded fish, cilantro and herbs
The winning appetizer at the Bay Cafe: Fish Tacos

It can sometimes get a little tight navigating between tables, but yes- the Bay Cafe is wheelchair-accessible. The outdoor seating space, specifically, has lots of room to move around. 

What Hashgacha is the Bay Cafe under?

The restaurant is under the kosher supervision of the OK. All foods are Chalav Yisrael and Pas Yisrael. There is always a mashgiach present in the kitchen. 

Do they serve drinks?

new york style cheesecake with chocolate sauce and strawberries
New York style Cheesecake- not too dense, not too sweet

The Bay Cafe did not serve alcoholic drinks when we visited*, but there are plenty of cafe specials.

The best drink in the house has got to be a Mocha Cookie Frappe. It’s a mocha sauce coffee, blended with ice (that’s the Frappe), with a whimsical graham cracker on top of the whipped cream. You can ask them to put an extra shot of espresso inside, and it is golden.

Somehow (the extra coffee maybe?), this drink is not sickly sweet, and I could probably down one in about a minute. It is addictive, honestly. 

Are there Vegan options?

For the record, The Bay Cafe is dairy, so everything is vegetarian. And yes- there are Vegan options too.

First of all, there is an Impossible Burger, made from faux-meat, and topped with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. You can choose a regular or pretzel bun. 

The Avocado Salad is also vegan- it has mixed greens, sliced avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers and pickled red onion. 

Most of the salads are customizable- you can easily ask for the eggs, fish or cheese to be excluded. 

What is the service like at The Bay Cafe?

breaded fried cauliflower with teriyaki dipping sauce at Bay cafe in brooklyn
Sauce on the side for maximum cauliflower crispiness.

The wait staff were good. The food wait was… long.

We were seated almost immediately (we had made a reservation), and given menus and cold water right away. Admittedly, it did take a few minutes for everyone to arrive. In my opinion, that should not have impacted the length of time we waited.

We ordered delicious apps, which all came very quickly. Then we ordered mains… and waited almost an hour for our dishes.

They did bring everyone’s food out at the same time (except one salad that came out about 30 minutes before)… Alas, some of the food had gone cold.

Anyway, the food itself was really good. The apps were amazing. I don’t know if I’d go back with such a large group.  (Was that the issue? I’m not sure.) And to be fair, the waiters were helpful and fairly apologetic about the wait. 

Are there dessert options?

cheese mushroom raviolli
Cheese Mushroom Ravioli- the best dish on the menu

Yes, there are plenty of dessert options. Creme Brulee, the old classic,  Lemon Curd Mascarpone Cheesecake, if you’re looking for something tangy-er. There is also New York Cheesecake and Tiramisu, some of the tried-and-true favorites.

If you are looking for something exceptional, may I recommend the Churros with chocolate caramel and raspberry dipping sauces?

It’s perfectly fried to a crisp on the outside, and soft and doughy on the inside. Honestly, no other dessert can touch this. 

Final Thoughts

The Bay Cafe was a lot of fun.

We were a very large group, and although the food was very late, the staff were decent and the overall vibe was fun.

After dinner, we split the bill 14 ways, and each paid $70. That covered a ton of apps and desserts to share, and a drink and main each. Not bad, for a fun night out. 

*We visited the Bay Cafe during the 9 Days of Mourning. To learn more about this time period, visit

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