First Look at Missy Robbins’s Lilia in Williamsburg

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Sheep's-milk-cheese-filled pasta with saffron, tomato sugo, and honey.
Sheep's-milk-cheese-filled pasta with saffron, tomato sugo, and honey.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine.

Although Missy Robbins wasn’t originally looking to open a restaurant in Brooklyn, the former A Voce chef was captivated by the freestanding setting of a former Williamsburg auto-body shop. That skylit space, now an airy expanse of tile and whitewashed brick, reflects the unfussy spirit of the menu. Despite the presence of a few meaty options, Robbins gravitates to vegetables, seafood, and handmade pastas like one filled with sheep’s-milk cheese and sauced with saffron. The centerpiece of her open kitchen is a Grillworks wood-fired grill and rotisserie, on which she cooks everything from chicken and swordfish to chicories, potatoes, and clams. A takeout café is in the works, too, and will offer breakfast pastries and frittatas, lunchtime sandwiches, and soft-serve gelato, before morphing into a cocktail bar at night.

Here’s a peek inside the dining room and kitchen.

The restaurant occupies a former auto-body shop. Casement windows let in tons of light.
The restaurant occupies a former auto-body shop. Casement windows let in tons of light.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine

Cacio e pepe frittelle.
Cacio e pepe frittelle.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine

Ricotta gnocchi with broccoli pesto and pistachios.
Ricotta gnocchi with broccoli pesto and pistachios.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine

Chef-owner Missy Robbins in her element.
Chef-owner Missy Robbins in her element.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine

Grilled clams with Calabrian chile and breadcrumbs.
Grilled clams with Calabrian chile and breadcrumbs.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine

Olive-oil cake with persimmon, grappa, and honey whipped cream.
Olive-oil cake with persimmon, grappa, and honey whipped cream.Photo: Jody Wissner/New York Magazine


567 Union Ave., at N. 10th St., Williamsburg; 718-576-3095

*A version of this article appears in the January 25, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.