The Best Breakfast In NYC guide image


The Best Breakfast In NYC

Where to go for an early-morning weekday meal in NYC.

Most days, breakfast might mean a reheated egg sandwich and a cup of stale coffee consumed in front of a computer. But if you've called out sick despite not having a fever, or if you have a meeting with someone who's down to watch you eat a plate of pancakes, you might as well start your day right. Here are the best early-morning spots serving great food all across the city.


photo credit: David A. Lee

Old John’s Diner imageoverride image

Old John's Diner


148 W 67th St, New York
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Opens at 8am

In 2021, the quintessential UWS restaurant Old John’s Luncheonette reopened in the same 67th Street location with a new name and a spruced-up dining room. Their menu has plenty of diner classics like buttermilk pancakes, steak and eggs, and omelettes, as well as lighter options like a quinoa bowl. Despite being revamped, you'll still feel the old school charm as you listen to jazz playing over the speakers and interact with the staff who've been working here for years.

Opens at 8am, Closed on Tuesday

If you're around Crown Heights on a weekday morning, stop by Agi’s Counter for their pastries and cheese-stuffed palacsinta crepes. The sparse breakfast menu here is a distinct ode to Hungarian and Austrian food, and we especially enjoy the towering Leberkase breakfast sandwich with an over-easy egg, thick griddled pork pate, and sweet pear mostarda.

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Opens at 8am

This all-day cafe in the West Village is an import from LA known for its oatmeal griddle cakes, which are pre-sweetened and served without syrup. The griddle cakes come in varieties like blueberry, banana nut, and chocolate chip, and they're thin and slightly crispy, with a very moist consistency. We're fans. The whole menu leans heavy, with savory items like fried chicken and egg sandwiches.

Opens at 9am, Closed on Monday

The people behind a famous brunch place (Queens Comfort) that closed in 2020 run this cafe and donut shop in Astoria. You order at a to-go window, and the majority of the menu involves elaborate pastries like funfetti Twinkies and a donut whose flavor is reminiscent of a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. The go-to breakfast sandwich is the “McGruffin”—you’ll struggle to fit all of its layers in one bite, and the moist buttermilk biscuit is so fluffy and sweet it could be classified as a cupcake.

Opens at 8am

This cafe in Rockefeller Center from the team behind Cafe Altro Paradiso and Estela feels sort of like an Au Bon Pain for the 1%—but it's one of our favorite daytime spots in the city, and it's perfect for any Midtown workers who have been begging the NYC gods for a place to eat blood orange bombolones, egg paninis, and frittatas made with spinach and pecorino.

photo credit: Adam Friedlander

Aubergine Cafe review image

Aubergine Cafe

Earn 3X Points

Opens at 8am

Aubergine is a corner cafe in Woodside where you can eat baked beans on toast, waffles with fresh fruit, and egg and tuna bagels at a sidewalk table on Skillman Ave. They also serve a ton of pastries and drinks like iced mochaccinos and chai spiced lattes that will help get you going for the day.

Opens at 8am

Bo's in Harlem is so good that you always end up leaving with way more bagels than you planned to buy. Behind the giant bagel hanging in the window is a full-fledged baking operation where the chewy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside bagels are made from scratch. Specialty sandwiches include the Nacho Camacho with chili, jalapeño cream cheese, and lettuce. But if you want to keep it simple, get an egg-and-cheese sandwich, which always comes out hot and melty.

Opens at 8am, Closed on Monday

When it comes to Mexican breakfast options in Brooklyn, this place should immediately spring to mind. This Bed-Stuy restaurant serves Oaxacan-style dishes like giant memelas topped with fried eggs, chilaquiles with avocado and cheese, and tlayudas covered in refried black bean spread and chili oil. Come here for a laid-back breakfast on the first-come, first-served patio, and don’t forget to grab a pack of fresh tortillas before you leave.

Opens 24 hours

This Dominican-Cuban diner is open 24 hours and is famous for its sandwiches—especially their Cubano with fatty ham, roast pork and Swiss cheese. You’ll also find breakfast staples like French toast and pancakes, as well as dishes like bacalao and mofongo. If you want to customize a plate, you can choose from bases like mashed plantains and add toppings such as fried cheese and sausage.

Opens at 7am

Guevara’s, a vegan cafe and specialty foods store from the people behind Mekelburg’s, is where you’ll find some of the best plant-based breakfast food in the city. They serve a torta with king trumpet mushroom bacon as well plant-based lox bagels, picadillo empanadas, coconut ceviche, and posole—and nothing costs more than $15. We recommend taking your laptop outside where you can hang out all morning on the patio.

Opens at 8am

This all-day cafe in Crown Heights is always filled with people from the neighborhood, and most of them are here for the Latin food. We especially like the pork hash with pickled vegetables and hominy, and we're confident that the chorizo and egg tacos will restore your faith in New York’s breakfast taco abilities.

Opens at 7am

There’s no better donut than a Daily Provisions cruller. Try to prove us wrong. And while you’re at it, find us another BEC that makes $8.50 seem like a low-cost, high-return investment. Still searching? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a spot with more consistently excellent breakfast sandwiches and toasts than the ones at this all-day spot from the Union Square Cafe team.

Opens at 10am

Kopitiam is an affordable counter-service place with a wide range of Malaysian food. Starting at 9am, you can order things like fish ball soup, nasi lemak, or a hot plate of sugar-coated French toast, which you’ll inevitably describe in vivid detail to your desk neighbor as soon as you make it to the office.

Opens at 8am

Buvette is a quaint French bistro in the West Village where you should stop by on a weekday to eat a croque madame with prosciutto or a waffle sandwich that comes in a pool of butter and maple syrup. It’s too cramped for big groups, but you should always find room on your table for a personal side of their espresso machine-steamed eggs.

Opens at 10am

From the BEC on a soft scallion milk bun to the buttery tuna melt on rye filled with salt and vinegar chips, the diner riffs at this tiny spot in Two Bridges make the original versions taste like they’re missing something. Nearly everything on the menu at Golden Diner has Korean, Japanese, Thai, or Chinese influences, and the food tastes especially good when consumed on a swivel stool facing the open kitchen.

Opens at 9am, Closed on Mondays

If all of our weekdays started with a meal in the bright, open space at Win Son Bakery, we'd all be considerably nicer people. Stop by this counter-service spot in East Williamsburg anytime before 2pm, and test our theory. You’ll find Taiwanese pastries like mochi doughnuts and pine nut cookies on the menu, in addition to one of the city’s best BECs. It comes on a milk bun with raclette, but we recommend paying the extra $6 to get it on a warm, chewy scallion pancake. It will ruin all other BECs for you.

Opens at 7:30am

Hell’s Kitchen’s Sullivan Street Bakery is a great place to go for an egg sandwich or a breakfast bowl. It’s counter-service, but there are some nice little tables, and it’s a good option if you don’t feel like dealing with a server. Just stop in and get some kind of bread/egg combo the next time you have anxiety dreams about work and need something extra to get you through your day.

Opens at 8am

If you need a quiet place to get some work done in Prospect Heights, but also want food motivation to get you out of bed, make your way to Ciao, Gloria. You’ll have no problem getting a table at this counter-service spot, and unlike most Brooklyn coffee shops with big windows and lots of natural light, the food here—like the prosciutto, egg, and cheese or any of the baked goods—is all stuff you’ll actually want to order, rather than settle for in exchange for free wifi.

Opens at 9am

If you spend many mornings in Fidi, you probably already know about Hole in The Wall. This Australian cafe is your best bet for things like chili scrambled eggs or avocado toast in the area, and the bright interior will make you rethink those black-out curtains in your bedroom. If you want something more interesting than the usual eggs and toast, ask for a plate of the pulled pork benedict or a few slabs of bacon (which are served hanging from a miniature clothesline).

Opens at 7am

This Australian cafe is an anomaly in Midtown East. The whole place is about the size of a barber shop, all of the surfaces are made from wood that seems like it was cut yesterday, and the ceiling is lined with miniature globe lights. The breakfast sandwiches here are excellent, but you can also get some amped up toast or a breakfast salad.

Opens at 8am

Banter is a nice little Australian cafe on a relatively quiet street in Greenwich Village, and it’s both bright and cozy. Come here on a Saturday morning, and it’ll be full of hungover people trying to take pictures of their turmeric lattes. On a weekday morning, however, it should be pretty quiet.

Opens at 8am

Veselka is an East Village institution, and it’s pretty much a Ukranian diner. They do breakfast all day, involving things like pancakes, latkes, omelettes, and blintzes. So either wake up early and come here before work, or take a morning off, get a table outside, and catch up with a friend.

Opens at 7am

Kirsh is both a restaurant and a bakery, and that means you should order something with bread here. Something like French toast. (Theirs is some of the best we've had.) They also make some pastries, along with most other things you’d want to eat in the morning: oatmeal, steak and eggs, an English breakfast (for some reason). So take a morning off, and get food here. It’s a great spot for kids, in case you have to feed a few of those.

Opens at 10am

Mogador will always be a solid brunch option, although it does get busy. So if you want to eat here in the daytime, but you aren’t the sort of person who waits for tables, come on a weekday and get breakfast. Have something like Moroccan eggs or the housemade sausage. The East Village location is older, but we prefer the Williamsburg one. It’s more spacious, and there’s a nice greenhouse-like area all the way in the back.

Opens at 9am

The Smile is a great place to be on a weekday morning. Unlike the weekends—when the restaurant is mobbed by people who rolled out of bed at 2pm and/or people who just got out of their Noho SoulCycle class—weekday mornings are when you essentially get the restaurant to yourself. The scrambled eggs with cheese are so good we’ve ordered double servings of them on multiple occasions.

Opens at 9am

Sadelle’s at brunch is a nightmare. But Sadelle’s on a weekday at 9am will be one of the finest early-in-the-day dining experiences you'll have in this city. If you want to be a hero, plan your team’s next working breakfast here, and order a bunch of bagel towers (and at least one French toast). It’ll be the best decision you make all week.

Opens at 6am

The Upper East Side has many diners, but Viand is one of the best. Our breakfast order is always the turkey omelet. (They roast their own turkey every day.) If you need to meet someone on the Upper West Side, there’s a location there, too. And if you’re an insomniac (or have to be at work at an ungodly hour) Viand’s ready to serve you starting at 6am.

Opens at 9am

Need breakfast near Columbia? Community Food & Juice is great for diner-y food with a slightly healthy slant (tofu scramble, grain bowl, etc.). Their pancakes are also some of the best in the city, and we suggest you go for the blueberry variety.

Opens at 7:30am

The Comfort Diner is everything its name promises: an actually-good, actually-pleasant diner in the armpit of Midtown East. This is the kind of place where you can come and order pretty much anything off the menu and know it’s going to come out exactly like you’re expecting. And sometimes, especially in this part of town, that’s all you need.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Brunch In NYC

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