The Best Brunch In NYC guide image


The Best Brunch In NYC

All the New York City restaurants where you should be eating pancakes, eggs, chilaquiles, and more.

Brunch is good for a lot of things. It's a solid pretext for day drinking, and it's also a convenient way to eat breakfast food after you've spent a reckless amount of time in bed. Whatever your reason for subjecting yourself to the masses on a weekend morning, make sure you’re going to a place that serves great food. For the city’s best breakfast burritos, french toast, and biscuits and gravy, check out the spots below. If you’re specifically looking for dim sum, we have a guide for that as well, and we also have you covered when it comes to bagels and pancakes.


Thai Diner

The bamboo walls at this uber-popular spot sparkle like a disco ball when it’s sunny out, so it’s a great place for brunch on a nice weekend day. (But you should come even if the weather sucks.) Thai Diner’s must-order item is the buttery egg-and-cheese roti, which keeps all of its components compact, so that every bite includes the same layers and flavors. From top to bottom, you’ll taste herby sai oua sausage, a mash of mayo and scallions, a soft egg crepe covered in oozing american cheese, and a few slivers of fresh Thai basil. Get that and the Thai tea babka french toast, and you’re in for what is easily Nolita’s best brunch.

This tiny Prospect Heights restaurant is the reincarnation of beloved Williamsburg brunch spot Egg, but it feels like it belongs in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, with sunny nooks and super friendly staff. Fans of the old spot will recognize the country ham biscuit and Eggs Rothko, but we’ve made a weekend routine out of eating their dreamy katsu egg sandwich consisting of a fluffy, panko-fried steamed egg and yuzu kosho mayo. Stop by on a Sunday, when their in-house pastry chef whips up a different slab cake every week. It's exactly the sort of place we want to eat our eggs after inbox overload all week.

This East Village Texan spot is great at any hour, but we especially like coming for brunch, which feels like a collab between IHOP and Dolly Parton with floral wallpaper and mismatched ‘70s-looking lamps. Get a brunch cocktail and a few kolaches to start, then stock up on tacos. We especially like the smoked bacon and egg, bean and cheese, and carne guisada varieties, all of which come on fresh flour tortillas. They also serve a rotating menu of incredibly light and fluffy doughnuts on weekends—and they’ll wind up being what you remember most.

Located in the Ace Hotel in Nomad, Koloman takes the kind of food you’d expect to find at a fancy hotel in Europe, gives it a 21st-century makeover, then serves it all up in a surprisingly casual setting. Their brunch includes some of the greatest hits from their dinner menu, including duck liver parfait with Texas toast-style brioche, a thin and very crispy pork schnitzel, and what might be the best apple strudel outside of Austria. There’s plenty of breakfast-y food available too, like french toast and a soft scramble with chives and pumpkin seed oil.

You’re reading this guide, so we assume you embrace the concept of brunch, and you might be someone who gets moderately excited about pancakes. If so, head to Chez Ma Tante in Greenpoint and try theirs. The pancakes are fried until the edges are crispy and charred, and they’re topped with a bunch of butter that slides down the cakes like it’s trying to run away. Make sure to get some for the table, but keep in mind that pig’s head terrine and thick, crunchy fries are always great too. The rather plain space with bare white walls isn’t very big, and it gets extremely busy on weekend afternoons, so make a reservation.

This restaurant on the Chinatown/LES border does fun, modern takes on Cantonese-American cuisine in a space with faux movie theater displays and a bar with a sign that says “Here for a good time, not a long time.” Do not skip the salt and pepper fried chicken sandwich, even if you’ve spent the last two days polishing off a family meal from KFC. They also serve a Hong Kong-style french toast with salted egg yolk lava and radish cake hash with sunny-side-up eggs. A coffee milk tea goes perfectly with everything here, but we also love their mocktails, so try both.

At this Mexican restaurant in Astoria, you should start with the choriqueso, then move your way down to the brunch section of the menu and order the acidic, spicy, and partially-soggy chicken chilaquiles in salsa. Ruta is a great place to catch up with a friend, and it’s perfect for when you want to hang with a group and drink a bunch of mezcal margaritas while watching a game on TV. Take advantage of the two-for-one cocktail deal that runs from 12-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, or go for the bottomless brunch option. If you can’t make it here on a weekend, stop by for weekday brunch, which runs until 4pm.

If you’re going to brunch at Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper West Side, bring a handful of Tums and a big group of friends, then order a bunch of heavy Southern comfort food with reckless abandon. They have french toast and omelets, but what you come here for are the otherworldly biscuit “sandwiches” that are really just huge piles of food that happen to include bread on the top and the bottom. You won’t have room for anything else, but not getting something pickled here would just be disrespectful. Try the Bloody BLT cocktail that comes with bacon and a jalapeño pickled egg.

It’s impossible to resist the siren song of Ursula’s breakfast burritos, especially when you’re a little bit hungover—the outsides get kissed on the griddle, and the insides are stuffed with hashbrowns, among other things. A meal at this pink and turquoise restaurant is the closest you can get to New Mexican food in New York, with chile peppers and other ingredients imported directly from the Land of Enchantment. They also have excellent coffee and cocktails for those mornings when you need one drink for energy, one drink for fun, and some water for hydration or whatever. 

The people behind Queens Comfort (now closed) run this cafe and doughnut shop in Astoria. You order at a counter, and a lot of the menu involves elaborate baked items. They switch up their offerings often, but you might see nutella crème brulée doughnuts or rainbow cookie crumb cake. For something savory, get the McGruffin biscuit sandwich. It’s so thick 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. On Sunday’s, Comfortland hosts a special brunch, which is $65 and cash-only. It includes four courses and a drink, and there’s a DJ present.

Unlike the food at whatever place comes up when you search “diner near me,” the classics at Golden Diner in Chinatown are updated and slightly unexpected. In most cases, they make the original versions seem inadequate. We recommend the honey butter pancakes, breakfast burrito, or breakfast sandwich on a soft milk bun with american cheese, eggs, and a big crunchy hash brown. The cement floors and exposed ducts makes this place feel industrial, but there’s also a long counter with retro chrome stools so you won’t forget that you are indeed in a diner.

This vegan cafe and specialty foods store from the people behind Mekelburg’s is where you’ll find some of the best plant-based brunch food in the city. They serve a breakfast torta with king trumpet mushroom bacon as well plant-based lox bagels, picadillo empanadas, and pozole. You can’t go wrong with any of those dishes, and nothing costs more than $15. If it’s nice out, we recommend hanging out all morning on the pleasant patio, but if you must do takeout, you can always grab some guava cream cheese doughnuts to go and eat them on your couch.

There are few things more exhilarating than trying to get a table at Buvette on a weekend afternoon. As you peek through the windows on Grove Street, you’ll see people enjoying brioche french toast and the fluffiest eggs in all of New York City, and you’ll think to yourself, “That could be me.” Yes, it could be you—if you put your name in with the host and wait a few hours. Think about waiting for a table at this cramped, yet charming French spot from the Via Carota people as a West Village rite of passage.

Brunch at Win Son Bakery in East Williamsburg involves food that's more exciting than your usual Saturday morning short stack. This counter-service Taiwanese cafe from the people behind Win Son (across the street) has fan tuan, mochi doughnuts, and one of the city's best BECs on the menu. For an extra $6, you can and absolutely should get your BEC on a warm, chewy scallion pancake. Think of this place as a neighborhood coffee shop that happens to serve food so good it’ll make you angry and confused, like a dog confronted with a mirror.

Housed in a building that looks like it was around when the founding fathers were alive, this Dumbo (or, technically, Vinegar Hill) restaurant has a smallish dining room and an immensely charming backyard with string lights and creeping vines. We always love the seasonal quiche, which has the consistency of a soufflé, but the must-order item is the incredible sourdough pancake that's cooked in a wood-fired oven. It’s custard-like in the middle and might come with strawberries, apples, or peaches depending on the season. No matter what it comes with, just get it.

Whenever someone mentions biscuits, we immediately think of Post, a small spot in Alphabet City that looks like a minimalist art gallery. Most of the brunch menu revolves around their somewhat dense and intensely buttery biscuits. (Think of the Popeyes version if it got into Harvard.) You can get your biscuits with things like chicken sausage white gravy (our favorite), peppery BBQ pulled pork, and avocado, and there are multiple vegan options as well. For something lighter, go for the arugula, avocado, and fennel salad with rice wine vinegar-marinated white beans

BGG is brunch royalty. That’s why we can use that abbreviation and just assume you know what we’re referring to. This 1908-established Jewish deli has plenty of room for you to sit and eat a real brunch, which sets it apart from a lot of the city’s classic smoked fish spots. The no-frills diner-esque space opens at 8am, and you probably want to get here by 10am if you don’t want to have to wait for a table. Bring a small group, and get some scrambled eggs, oblong-shaped latkes, and near-translucent nova. This place doesn’t accept credit cards, so bring cash.

You’ve heard of Sylvia’s. It’s famous, and you’ll undoubtedly see tourists here, but you’ll also see people from the neighborhood who recognize the fact that Sylvia’s is good at just about everything. Fresh, warm cornbread? Check. Thick waffles and chicken so crispy that you could shoot an ASMR video? Also check. And don’t forget the mac and cheese that comes with a thick cap of melted cheddar. The huge space hosts a gospel brunch every Sunday, so bring all your live music-loving friends.

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photo credit: Kate Previte

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