NYCGuide

The Best Breakfast Sandwiches In NYC

Our 17 favorite breakfast sandwiches in NYC.
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photo credit: Teddy Wolff

Every breakfast sandwich in the city falls into one of two categories. The first is a tinfoil-wrapped roll slick with American cheese residue, famously available any time of day or night in a place possibly called Spring Deli Gourmet LLC. We call these sandwiches “utility BECs,” and it’s your job as a New York person to find the closest, most satisfying version near you.

The second category is what we’re here to discuss today: the destination breakfast sandwich. These are the breakfast sandwiches we venture out for, the ones that may create intimacy issues between you and your regular old bodega BEC. When a “utility BEC” won't suffice, use this guide to find one of the best breakfast sandwiches in NYC.

The Spots

photo credit: Teddy Wolff

Thai

Nolita

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysBrunchDate NightImpressing Out of TownersLunch

Thai Diner Egg Sandwich

Now is a good time to revise the statement that a great breakfast sandwich requires bread, since Thai Diner’s excellent version comes on a buttery roti. The roti keeps all of the sandwich elements tightly compact, so that every bite includes the same consistent layers and flavors. From top to bottom, you’ll taste herbaceous sai oua sausage, a mash of mayo and scallions, a soft, folded egg crepe covered in oozing American cheese, and a couple slivers of fresh Thai basil, all pressed tightly between that double-layered, flaky roti. Eat it at their Nolita restaurant or take it to Elizabeth Street Gardens for some privacy.


Chinatown Egg & Cheese Sando

If you don’t yet believe in the miracle of hashbrowns in your breakfast sandwich, try Golden Diner’s “Chinatown Egg & Cheese Sando.” This excellent BEC comes on a cushiony sesame scallion milk bun from a local Chinatown bakery, and includes at least half a carton of eggs scrambled, then layered with American cheese—and a big crunchy hashbrown to top it all off. The hashbrown is key: it’s almost an inch thick and the crispy texture contrasts perfectly with the soft bun and eggs.


Guanciale, Egg, & Cheese Sandwich

Leo’s soft-scrambled egg sandwich comes on a fresh sourdough brioche bun, which is as puffy and perfect as you’d expect from the makers of one of the city’s best sourdough pizzas. Between the salty, crisp, thinly-sliced guanciale, chili jam, cheddar, and aioli, every bite of this sandwich is as savory as it is creamy and sweet. Also, apart from this Williamsburg restaurant, we don’t know of any other pizza specialists that happen to make incredible breakfast sandwiches. That’s a feat in itself.


photo credit: Carina Finn

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunch

The Breakfast Sandwich

At this fashionable, farmer’s market-style cafe in Tribeca, you can get a perfect bunch of carrots and a breakfast sandwich that may or may not have made a cameo in our diaries, surrounded by little hearts. It consists of a thick square of silky, herbed frittata, cut to fit perfectly between two slices of toasted pan de mie. The gooey white cheddar cheese and a sweet-and-savory tomato jam take this from “pretty great” to “worth being late for your 10am.” Savor it at one of the little tables outside.


Seoul Meets Bagel Sandwich

Astoria’s best hangover cure comes in the form of the SMB, aka the Seoul Meets Bagel breakfast sandwich at Between the Bagel. Weekends are quite the scene at this Korean-ish cafe, when people file in for this glorious bagel filled with steaming bulgogi, airy eggs, cheese, kimchi, spicy gochujang mayo, and—crucially—the option to add a crackly hashbrown to balance out all the gooey textures. It’s a sweet and spicy mess that’ll revive you after a long night when a regular BEC just won’t cut it. They only take cash or Venmo.


The Breakfast Sandwich 

Did you think you were the only one putting chili crisp on everything that goes into your mouth? If their breakfast sandwich is any indication, Winner on Franklin in Crown Heights apparently has the same condiment habits as the rest of us. It’s a steamed, custard-like egg on a brioche, topped with cheddar and a homemade chili crisp that’s more of a savory umami agent than straight-up spicy. You can add Chinese sausage or bacon for $5 extra. Go for it.


Egg-N-Cheese Biscuit Sandwich 

As us Northeastern folk know too well, a good biscuit is hard to find. Surprisingly, one of the best we’ve had is at this Mexican-Chinese fusion cafe in Sunset Park. Their breakfast sandwich comes on a fluffy buttermilk biscuit with more layers than a Black Mirror episode, and it's filled with a folded omelet, cheddar, and an optional chorizo patty. Get the chorizo. It’s a combination we don’t see often, and it adds a nice kick to the whole thing. You can also add guacamole for $1 to balance out the protein.


Patacon Tres Golpes

Like Thai Diner, Dominican Cravings in Essex Market proves that a great breakfast sandwich does not need bread to be great. Especially when you sub in giant disks of salty tostones that are perfectly fried, and incapable of getting soggy. That’s only one component of the Tres Golpes Patacon. Between the plantains, you’ll find fried salami, fried cheese, a runny sunny side-up egg, and a slathering of mayonnaise-y pink sauce that cuts through all the salty, rich elements. This sandwich has single handedly increased our morning consumption of tostones, and also confirms that everything is better with fried salami.


Breakfast Sandwich

A morning spent with the breakfast sandwich at Che will leave you with one overwhelming question: Why don’t more things have pimento cheese on them? Of course, the towering sandwich here is not all about the pimento cheese—it’s also got a pile of soft scrambled eggs, and paper-thin slivers of pickled green tomato, stacked on a heavily toasted brioche bun that’s slick with paprika mayo. It’s tangy, rich, and just a little bit spicy, and best eaten at the counter with a friend on a slow Saturday morning in Bed-Stuy.


Egg Katsu Sando 

As you might guess, Prospect Heights brunch spot Little Egg has a lot of egg dishes. It even has multiple breakfast sandwiches. But the superstar sando here involves a fluffy steamed egg patty, panko-fried with a paper-thin crust, and topped with arugula and a fresh yuzu kosho mayo. It’s both novel enough to warrant a trek to the neighborhood, and simple enough to join your regular brunch rotation if you live nearby. Little Egg is the sequel to Egg, a beloved Williamsburg brunch spot that closed in 2020. Their loyal fan base is always present, so you might have a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it.


Bacon, Egg, & Cheese On An Everything Bagel

Bagel breakfast sandwiches usually let you down, often by way of excessive slippage and overpowering doughy bites without much egg. So it’s all the more impressive that Tompkins Square Bagels in the East Village constructs the perfect BEC on an everything bagel using nothing but the sheer power of American cheese glue. The thick layer of egg and cheese is about the same width as the bagel slices themselves, meaning you’ll taste every element of the sandwich. Fresh bagels normally shouldn’t be toasted, but in this case, the toasted bagel makes the bread hold up better against the delicious mess of well-scrambled eggs and crispy bacon.


Signature Egg Sandwich

Even though this tiny cafe right near the Franklin Avenue C train station in Bed-Stuy serves an all-around exciting Middle Eastern menu for brunch, we always get the same thing. Their signature breakfast sandwich is stacked tall on an onion and poppy seed challah bun, with melted kashkaval cheese, bright sumac onions, a heap of scrambled eggs, and nutty muhammara that kind of acts like a meat substitute. It’s delicious without anything added, but you should throw in some avocado for creaminess, too.


Merguez

The merguez, egg, and cheese from C&B might be the hardest-to-eat sandwich on this list. The combination of slightly runny scrambled eggs, melty cheese, and dripping sausage create a juicy, spicy mess that will deplete your napkin stockpile. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. The kaiser-like roll on this sandwich ultimately holds up. Our recommendation is to grab this sandwich early, since C&B is perpetually packed on the weekend, and enjoy it in Tompkins Square Park while watching squirrels search for their own breakfast.


photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Pastrami, Egg, & Cheese

Why must we settle for just bacon, sausage or ham for the choice of meat in our breakfast sandwiches? Why not throw in hunks of shredded pastrami that taste like they’ve been smoking since before you were born? That’s exactly what they do at this Jewish deli in Greenpoint. Frankels’ excellent pastrami joins three eggs and American cheese on a bagel or a challah roll—which we prefer. The buttery bread is the perfect vessel for the combination of smokey meat, and eggs and cheese that melt together, forming one unit. It’s the kind of teamwork that Knicks fans haven’t seen since the days of Willis Reed and Red Holzman.


The Brekkie Sando

The “Brekkie Sando” from & Sons is a sandwich that you’ll want to take your time with. This spot in Prospect Lefferts Garden moonlights as a ham and wine bar, so they know how to make magic with meat products. But we also appreciate the pillowy bread, which made us wonder why every sandwich isn’t served on a toasted milk bun. Since it’s only served on weekends, we recommend you pick one up on a Sunday afternoon, play some jazz, and savor every moment of the smoked sausage, thick egg patty, cheese custard, and tomato relish inside.


photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Egg & Cheese Sandwich

Sunday in Brooklyn is a Williamsburg brunch spot that feels like it should have a bottomless option for the influencer crowd that visits on weekends. But we’re here to talk about great sandwiches, and that’s exactly how we’d classify their egg and cheese. Add the syrup-infused sausage patty and you’ve essentially created a breakfast burger, except with sausage instead of beef. It’s topped with gochujang aioli and fried potatoes, on a fluffy seeded bun.


New School

Have you been let down by overcooked eggs, partially melted cheese, and un-sauced bread on a breakfast sandwich? That will never be the case at Southside Coffee, a tiny coffee shop in South Slope where people line up for sandwiches, cinnamon buns, pie, and Counter Culture coffee. Your first order of business should be a “New School.” The soft and buttery scrambled eggs, bacon, and miso-tahini kale on a crusty seeded hero will undo any malaise caused by a subpar bodega BEC. This sandwich is a pleasant reminder that crunch, spice, and greens don’t have to be reserved for lunch or dinner.

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