The Best Places for Brunch in New York City

Brunch is never in short supply on one of the world’s densest islands
Brunch is never in short supply on one of the world’s densest islands | © Travel Wild / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Culture Trip
9 July 2020

The city that never sleeps nevertheless enjoys a good brunch, complete with avocado toast and a healthy dose of mimosas. Make the most of its cornucopia of options with our guide to brunching in the Big Apple.

Bar, Diner, American, $$$
With both indoor and outdoor seating available, Bowery Bar and Grill is the perfect place for weekend brunch at any time of year. Their menu is versatile with a wide selection of eggs and sides, from sausage to bacon and fries. Other classic plates include cinnamon French toast, buttermilk pancakes, steak and eggs, and the smoked salmon plate. On Sundays, customers can indulge in their freshly baked banana bread; the best possible reason to pay B Bar and Grill a visit.

Restaurant, American

Good Enough to Eat has been the Upper West Sider’s destination for “good old-fashioned American food” since it opened in 1981. Brunch plates including apple pancakes, pumpkin French toast, and a smoked salmon-stuffed “Upper West Side Omelette” are as beloved now as they were then. Retro wall hangings and wholesome holiday decorations fit right in the residential neighborhood.

Restaurant, Caribbean

You may recognize 188 Bakery Cuchifritos from its appearance on the popular food show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (for the record, Bourdain was a fan). Follow in the chef’s footsteps, and check out this neighborhood gem for garlicky mashed plantains served with fried salami, cheese, or eggs, authentic flan, and, of course, cuchifritos, the Spanish word for just about anything bite-sized and fried. This luncheonette is far from being a luxurious brunch spot, but it is serving up some of the best food you’ll have anywhere in New York’s five boroughs.

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Añejo’s fundido dish comes with warm flour tortillas | © Añejo NYC

Two words: bottomless brunch. The Añejo has a brunch that is off the charts with mojitos and margaritas. Their pancakes are light and fluffy with a dulce de leche sauce and plantains. The atmosphere is comfortable, and the staff is attentive. The food is rich and flavorful with spice but not too much spice, and the menu is diverse with something for everyone. A bottomless brunch with good food and free flowing drinks can’t be missed. It’s the perfect way to fuel up for a day of shopping in SoHo.

Cafe, Restaurant, Middle Eastern, $$$
Serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare, Cafe Petisco serves a good weekend brunch. Start off with a Bloody Mary, mimosa, or bellini and move on to a meal of ‘Zoë’s Malawah’, a Yemenite dish made from crispy layers of filo pastry and topped with two eggs any style, served with tomato purée. Other options include Norwegian eggs served over potato pancakes with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce.

Restaurant, American, $$$
A communal feeling, quirky décor, and relaxed vibe can be found at the cozy East Village hideaway, Feast. Feasts offer of a brunch cocktail, lovingly brewed coffee, three small plates and an entrée make it a steal in the world of NYC brunching. A regularly changing menu with an emphasis on flavorful ingredients results in culinary masterpieces, like the spicy lamb merguez sausage stew, and quail egg-adorned, fontina cheese-stuffed croque madame.

Restaurant, French, $$$
Breakfast at Balthazar | © Michael Grimm

Gracing New York City patrons since 1997, Keith McNally’s iconic haunt offers a wide range of unparalleled fare for your weekend brunch. From French onion soup to the caramelized banana tartine, perfectly executed eggs Florentine, and more, Balthazar is one brunch spot that every New Yorker should visit at least once. Brunch is served from 9 am until 4 pm, and reservations are highly recommended.

Restaurant, American, $$$
One of New York City’s most classic brunch spots with multiple additional locations around the city, you can never go wrong with Sarabeth’s, where a full bar with specialty cocktails awaits you. Arrive early, as Sarabeth’s reputation precedes itself, and they don’t take reservations for Sunday brunch. Come for expert gourmet spins on the classics, from eggs to pancakes, French toast, and more.

Restaurant, American
Sage General Store is a very popular brunch spot for locals and visitors of the scenic Long Island City. Much of their success is a direct reflection of owner Leslie Nilsson, chef Matt Bernero, and general manager Nicole Biscardi, who are experts in the culinary field. This fair priced restaurant is a perfect location for a romantic rendezvous and catching up with friends, as it possesses a cute and comfortable atmosphere. Bring the kids, some friends, or a date, but most importantly your appetite, as the apple wood smoked bacon and French toast are absolutely delectable.

Restaurant, American
Eatery, New York
Eatery, New York | Courtesy Napkin Burger
Upon entering Eatery, you’ll be greeted by friendly waitstaff and an inviting indoor and outdoor dining atmosphere. This restaurant offers delicious, reasonably priced brunch options from 10am to 5pm, seven days a week. Locals can even order online to pick up or have their meal delivered. Choose from a selection of flavorful dishes, from the ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ on an English muffin with goat cheese, pesto and baby greens, to ricotta-lemon pancakes. Eatery gives the ultimate brunch experience with many flavorful options to enjoy seasonally on their menu.

Gastropub, Bar, Cocktail Bar, American, Vegetarian, $$$
The Penrose, New York
The Penrose, New York | Courtesy of The Penrose, credit: Tony Hoffer
There’s seemingly always a wait to get into The Penrose, especially on weekends when brunch is served. This half bar, half restaurant certainly knows a thing or two about cocktails. A particular highlight is Mister Pink, made with pink-peppercorn-infused tequila, hibiscus and lime. Once seated, sample fun dishes like French toast sticks (to be directly plunged into brown-butter maple syrup), mac and cheese bites, and fried chicken and waffles.

Restaurant, American, $$$
Folks who are serious about brunch should experience the sleek setting and quintessential hotspot that is Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien New York. The utmost professional service by a friendly, prompt staff is only one reason this premier brunch spot is a cut above the rest. With servings that are huge, clever takes on traditional plates (foie gras brioche French toast, for example) and fresh fruit smoothies, Norma’s is definitely worth multiple trips.

Restaurant, French, $$$
Unlike many of the other brunch restaurants in the area, L’Antagoniste is a modern take on a classic French menu. Procuring meat and fish from local sources, this brunch spot is not too pricey. Try one of their house-made croissants to start, and indulge in L’Antagoniste’s raved-about duck hash, served with a soft boiled duck egg. For sweeter brunch options, dip into their French toast with passion fruit foam, or their fruit salad with vanilla chantilly cream.

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