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. (If you're looking for brunch, check out our separate guide.) Here are the best early-morning spots serving great food all across the city.



K’Far is from the people behind Laser Wolf, and it’s at the same hotel (The Hoxton) in Williamsburg. But this Israeli restaurant is significantly more low-key than its rooftop counterpart. Located on the bottom floor of the hotel, the dining room is bright and leafy, and you can sit there with your laptop and eat some babka or an egg sandwich on a Jerusalem bagel. You can also hang out in the lobby and order food, in case you prefer to work from an armchair.

Open since 1914, Russ & Daughters is sort of like Coney Island, in that it has equal appeal for both tourists and locals. But there’s no seating at the original appetizing store on the Lower East Side, so if you’re looking for a place to camp out with a bagel, walk a few blocks south to Russ & Daughters Cafe (which opened in the 21st century). Find yourself a big booth, and eat some sable, a few latkes, and an omelet with nova.

S&P Lunch is from the sandwich specialists at Court Street Grocers. It’s located in the space that used to house the iconic Eisenberg’s in Flatiron, and, like its predecessor, it looks like an old-timey luncheonette where you'd drink an egg cream and read the paper. You can do both of those things here, and you can also sit on a vinyl stool and eat some lox and eggs while hunched over a counter. If you want to feel like you’re on the way to work in 1935, stop by for some diner-esque Jewish deli classics. The pastrami breakfast sandwich served on toasted rye is particularly great.

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.

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.

At this cafe and donut shop in Astoria, you order at a to-go window, and the menu involves various burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and pastries like a red velvet cream donut. 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.

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.

Aubergine is a corner cafe in Woodside where you can eat avocado toast, a bagel with ham and cheddar, or some oatmeal at a sidewalk table on Skillman Ave. They also serve a ton of pastries and drinks like iced mochaccinos or chai spiced lattes that will help get you going for the day.

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.

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 patio, and don’t forget to grab a pack of fresh tortillas before you leave.

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.

This all-day cafe in Crown Heights feels like a nice coffee shop, with a bunch of tables and some big windows up front, and it's always filled with people from the neighborhood. 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.

Buvette is a French bistro in the West Village where you can eat a croque madame with prosciutto, or a waffle sandwich that comes in a pool of butter and maple syrup. The space is charming and filled with knicknacks—but it's too cramped for groups, so don't come here with more than one person. On Saturdays and Sundays, there's always a line out the door, so be sure to stop by on a weekday.

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.

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 tomorrow morning, 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.

Veselka is an East Village institution, and it’s pretty much a Ukranian diner. They do breakfast all day, offering 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.

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photo credit: Emily Schindler

The Best Breakfast In NYC guide image