A morning in picturesque Greenwich Village isn’t complete without breakfast or brunch.
Although there are plenty of neighborhoods teeming with the best breakfast and brunch spots in NYC, Greenwich Village is a neighborhood that has it all: tree-lined streets, backpack-toting college students, an important historical setting for the counterculture movement and enough beautiful brownstones to easily convince you to pack all your bags and move there. After all, people around the world flock to Greenwich Village to roam the tangled cobblestone streets and clink glasses at The Stonewall Inn. And for when you’re craving flaky French pastries and doughy bagels, the neighborhood has that, too. These are the best places for breakfast and brunch in Greenwich Village.
Housed in what was formerly the Eighth Street Bookshop – often frequented by famous writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg – Stumptown Coffee Roasters has a staff swirling drip coffee, cold brew and brew-by-the-cup selections as well as a full espresso bar. A small case hosts an array of locally made pastries, including colorful donuts from Du’s Donuts, ham and cheese croissants from Roberta’s and scones and muffins from Ovenly.
Everything at Loring Place is influenced by the seasons, since chef Dan Kluger builds a menu based on what’s fresh and in season at the farmer’s market. During weekend brunch, dishes run the gamut from morning fare – cheddar waffles and eggs and crunchy french toast garnished with cinnamon crumbs and chocolate – to afternoon savory items such as grandma-style pizzas and a cheeseburger topped with a tangle of crispy bacon. Make sure to snag a couple of the house-made pastries (think apple fritters and pumpkin danishes) for the table to share.
Breakfast in New York simply isn’t breakfast without a bagel. Murray’s has been slinging the dense, doughy variety since 1996, and although it’s since given in to allowing customers to request their bagels toasted, these are better eaten fresh – after all, they’re often straight from the oven and still warm. These should be piled high with a schmear of cream cheese and sheaths of lox or jammed with eggs and sausage.
This lively, bi-level restaurant is strewn with towering Indian paintings and a projector streaming old Bollywood movies. During the weekend-only brunch, the food is a mix of traditional street food and playful modern Indian. There are squat Indian donuts and chickpea samosas swollen with tomato, mint and yogurt; omelets are whisked with paneer and vegetables. Also, pancakes find a new form in Nutella-stuffed naan, crowned with coconut and vanilla cream.
Since 2001, Jane, a neighborhood restaurant frequented by locals, has served brunch in Greenwich Village. There are eggs just about every way – poached in eggs benedict, fried with kale and scrambled alongside plush popovers – along with custardy vanilla bean french toast and a pastry basket overflowing with sweet-potato bread, banana bread and cranberry-orange scones. The bi-level space is also home to a spirited bar crowd, who belly up to the bar sipping cocktails such as Engine 24 (tequila, chipotle, agave and smoked salt).
Long before Minetta Tavern was reincarnated as the clubby restaurant it is today, it was frequented by poets and writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound. The storied, speakeasy-like restaurant juts out on the corner of MacDougal Street and Minetta Lane, home to the famed black label burger (a massive puck of prime dry-aged beef crowned with caramelized onions and served with pommes frites). The burger is offered at weekend brunch and is a must-order, along with poached eggs doused in hollandaise sauce atop latkes and smoked salmon, eggs and buttermilk biscuits with grilled ham, and a pastry basket brimming with sticky buns, apple strudel and croissants.
It’s all about vegetables at Nix, an intimate vegetarian and vegan restaurant on University Place. Brunch revolves around elevating and celebrating ingredients less likely to be found on other brunch menus, and here, there’s even a separate vegan menu. Start with an order of warm tandoor bread, flanked by pots of hummus, smoky eggplant and mint and ginger, before settling on things such as cherry cake topped with a dollop of vegan whipped cream and polenta fries with dill and creamy feta. Tofu often replaces eggs, and almond milk takes the place of milk. However, vegetables are always the main attraction.
Named for the eponymous French pastry (translated to a thousand layers), Mille-Feuille bakery is a family-run operation churning out traditional French viennoiseries such as soft brioche rolls, pain aux raisins and almond croissants, all made with locally sourced flour. There’s no better deal for breakfast in Greenwich Village than the bakery’s $5 morning special: a croissant or pain au chocolat plus a coffee or tea. Sit at one of the few tables in the narrow space, catching a whiff of melted chocolate and pastries baking.
This Brooklyn-born sandwich shop now boasts four restaurants, but the only Manhattan location is in Greenwich Village. Here, three breakfast sandwiches are available. One is a pork roll, brimming with soft scrambled eggs, american cheese and taylor ham, and the other two are similar riffs on the classic breakfast sandwich: one vegetarian with soft scrambled eggs, cheddar and arugula on ciabatta, the other overflowing with bacon and the same accoutrements. The cute shop on LaGuardia Place flaunts counter seating and a few tables, and all of its sandwich offerings are painted on the wall in a rainbow of color.
On a quiet strip of Sixth Avenue is O Cafe, a hang-out for NYU students and locals looking to catch up over a mug of coffee and a plate of house-made pastries. At this Brazilian café, you can sip steaming cortados or bright green matcha, and you can even pick up a sack of coffee beans to take with you. Munch on morning fare such as crispy focaccia topped with ribbons of cheese and vegetables, thick slabs of banana loaf cake, and the house favorite pão de queijo, light buns made from yucca and jammed with cheese that are often still warm. Many of the pastries are gluten-free and vegan.
Designed to resemble the slew of West Indian restaurants in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Miss Lily’s has morphed into a destination for Caribbean food, fruity cocktails and dancing to the music pumping out of the speakers. Brunch consists of Jamaican rancheros (sunny-side-up eggs crowning plantain chips and stewed peas), jerk pork-belly hash and other Miss Lily’s specialties like oxtail stew, fried chicken and waffles, and jerk chicken roti, served with rice and peas and Trinidadian flatbread. Bottomless brunch is only an extra $15 and includes an hour of unlimited punch, bellinis or bloody marys.