Maybe you love brunch. If so, we don’t need to convince you to use this guide to find some places where you can have it outside.
But let’s say you don’t. The crowds, the waiting, the usually-overpriced food you could (maybe) make at home. Those are all completely acceptable excuses to avoid brunch, but they can be easily forgotten when you have the day off and want to be outside. And they should be forgotten if you go to any of the 30 places on this guide.
Having brunch in a backyard while someone a few feet away grills homemade tortillas is a special experience. Set a personal goal to make it happen this summer at Claro in Gowanus. Their Oaxacan brunch menu is great on its own, with dishes like chilaquiles and octopus tostadas, but their outdoor space is what makes eating here feel like a vacation. Another win: they take brunch reservations.
Brunch is so good at Buvette that there’d be a wait here if its outdoor patio were the size of a quidditch pitch, but it’s actually the size of Harry’s room under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive. But while you’ll almost always have to wait for a table, it’s worth it for dishes like perfectly fluffy steamed eggs with smoked salmon and a bacon, egg, and gruyere waffle sandwich that comes in a pool of butter and maple syrup.
All brunches exist somewhere on a very long spectrum. At one end, you have the places you go when you’re just trying not to vomit into your eggs. At the other, you have the places you go when the brunch itself is the start of the party. Llama Inn is an excellent choice for the latter - a slightly upscale, very fun Peruvian spot that would be perfect for a rooftop birthday party or impressing an out-of-towner.
Celestine has views as nice as any spot in Dumbo, but unlike other places a few feet from the water, it’s not a club-restaurant packed with people who really just wish they were at Dumbo House. It feels like a casual Brooklyn restaurant, with logs for the wood-fired oven stacked in the middle of the dining room, and a brunch menu entirely made up of dishes under $20. Get some Moroccan doughnuts with cardamom syrup and the lamb merguez wrap, and sit at an umbrella-covered table overlooking wedding parties in Brooklyn Bridge Park and ducks surfing the ferry wake right below you.
Miss Ada only offers brunch on Sundays, and reservations can be tough to come by, but it’s worth planning ahead for this Middle Eastern spot in Fort Greene. The partially-covered patio has brick walls and a bunch of hanging plants, and it’s a great place to share some burekas and chocolate babka while drinking harissa Bloody Marys. Along with a few dishes from their dinner menu, like sweet whipped ricotta that could be an appetizer or dessert, they serve some brunch-specific things, like french toast with labne mousse and shakshuka with pita right off the grill.
If Miss Ada is fully booked, head down the block to Evelina. They have a bunch of sidewalk tables where you can eat really good pasta at 10am. If strangozzi carbonara with guanciale and egg yolk sounds like it’ll ruin any hopes you had of walking around Fort Greene Park after brunch, there are lighter options, like avocado toast topped with Dungeness crab, too.
You could pick up food on the way to Domino Park, but if you don’t want to have to protect your BEC from errant volleyballs and clouds of spray-on sunscreen, just get an outdoor table across the street at Mekelburg’s. At brunch, which they serve every day (8am-11am on weekdays and 10am-3pm on weekends), you can get things like spicy, sweet, lightly fried chicken over waffles, and some of the best chocolate babka in the city.
The indoor space at Bombay Bread Bar provides some entertaining scenery, with portraits of animals dressed like businessmen, multi-colored place settings, and floor-to-ceiling pop art. There’s just as much to keep you entertained outside too, as the outdoor tables at this Indian spot in Soho are right on Spring Street, where you’ll find some of the best daytime people-watching in the city. Get a bunch of dishes, like polenta with mushrooms and an egg sandwich with coconut chili-chutney, and jugs of tamarind margaritas while watching tourists get honked at for taking pictures in the middle of street.
Esme is the outdoor brunch for brunch haters. Their back patio has tables both big and small, plus plenty of shade, and they make simple, good brunch food. The pancakes are some of the best in NYC, the avocado toast will actually fill you up, and the cocktails are strong and not too expensive.
Flora Bar is in the bottom of a museum on the Upper East Side, and, despite this fact, it isn’t all that stuffy. Sure, you can get a $60 caviar supplement here (even at brunch), but most other things are less than $30, and there’s no dress code. The food consists of mostly smaller plates, like lobster dumplings, oysters, and lamb ribs, and, at brunch, they serve a lot of these things in addition to some egg dishes and waffles. You can also eat on the big patio when it’s nice outside.
Marlow & Sons is cool. Almost too cool. It kind of feels like a neighborhood clubhouse, but if you’re not a member you can pay a visitor’s fee (the cost of your meal) to get in for the day. And you should. The food is great (they have breakfast fried rice, gravlax and house-made pastries), there’s a small but nice little front area, and the crowd tends to be made up of people who care more about eating their food than taking photos of it.
Krupa Grocery is the kind of neighborhood restaurant that has you pulling out your phone to check your StreetEasy app in the middle of brunch. Which is to say, if you don’t already live in South Park Slope/Windsor Terrace, Krupa Grocery is worth traveling for. The back patio is great, and they make the kind of food you could never make in your apartment even if you tried. Get at least one order of breakfast gnocchi for the table.
Pearl’s feels like a day at the beach as much as anywhere a block from the Bedford L stop could. This Caribbean spot has a big backyard with colorful, umbrella-covered picnic tables and fun, loud music. Bring a group, share large format cocktails (or go with the individual bottomless rum punch option), and try dishes like spicy pork hash or a BEC with jerk bacon.
In NYC, the combination of brunch, pizza, and eating outside usually comes with crazy wait times and/or sitting too close to a stranger while pretending they’re not there. But at Beebe’s in LIC, you can eat very good thin-crust pizza on a nice terrace without too much of a crowd. If you want something other than a circle of excellent dough with cheese and sauce on top, their brunch also has lots of classic breakfast options like french toast or a ham and cheese melt.
The West Village nearly has it all - cobblestone streets, pretty people, and a disproportionate collection of delicious restaurants. What it doesn’t have are many restaurants with outdoor seating. That’s why you should know about Hudson Clearwater, a semi-hidden American restaurant with an extremely charming garden and good food.
Eating at this spot in the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg feels kind of like being on stage in an amphitheater because of its stadium seating set-up. It’s less of a scene here during the week, when they serve the same all-day menu as they do on weekends, which includes breakfast-y options like eggs benedict with tomato hollandaise, and lunch dishes like an excellent burger topped with melted blue cheese.
Your mom’s in town, or your college roommate’s in town, or your college roommate’s mom is in town, and you have run out of activities that don’t involve eating. Foolproof summer idea: walk across the Brooklyn bridge. Then reward yourself for your activity with brunch at Vinegar Hill House.
This is a Williamsburg restaurant that’s named accordingly. Sunday In Brooklyn knows what the people want: giant bowls of healthy things, fluffy pancakes, mezcal Bloody Marys, and matcha lattes. This place is a bit of a scene, but eating on the semi-hidden rooftop is worth dealing with crowds for.
The backyard space at Forrest Point looks like someone started growing very nice plants in a large junkyard, and it is therefore unsurprisingly one of the best spots for brunch outside in Bushwick. Forrest Point is more known as a drinking spot, but their breakfast burritos, burgers, and french toast are all solid too. Just know you’ll have to make a hard decision about the pros and cons of ordering the cast iron s’mores while the sun is directly shining down on you.
Lafayette is a giant French restaurant in Noho that also has a giant sidewalk seating situation - complete with covered awnings for maximum comfort. Brunch is only on weekends, but you can eat breakfast outside here any day of the week. All you have to do to turn a Tuesday breakfast into brunch is to skip work and add a cocktail.
Amanda’s quitting her job to be a yoga instructor in Costa Rica, Josh got invited to your college frenemy’s wedding in Italy, and your roommate has a Hamptons house (that she never invites you to). Meanwhile, you don’t have plans to go any further than Rockaway this summer. But if you want to feel like you’re in Paris for a minute, have brunch at Sauvage. Sit in one of the wicker chairs overlooking McCarren park, and have a fancy cocktail while you eat a croque madame.
Walk around Williamsburg on a weekend afternoon, and eventually you’ll run into a bunch of people loitering outside of a spot on the corner of Withers Street and Union Ave. The place is Reunion, and these people are waiting for the opportunity to eat an excellent Israeli brunch, with dishes like schnitzel, shakshuka, and a savory pancake with an egg on top.
Sweet Afton is a bar in Astoria that serves french toast sticks, breakfast burgers, and homemade biscuits. That’s already reason enough to eat here year-round, but they also have a nice little patio in the back for a low-maintenance brunch with one or two people when the weather is nice.
Large, partially covered, with plenty of greenery, Aurora’s got all you can ask for in an outdoor brunch spot. There are plenty of breakfast classics on the Williamsburg cafe’s menu, but it’s also a great option if you’d rather eat a salad or some pasta on a Saturday afternoon.
The front patio at Harlem Tavern might be even larger than the tavern itself. Covered in tables and big umbrellas, it’s perfect for when you need an outdoor brunch spot that can handle a big group. The menu is huge, and no matter which dish you choose, it comes with a breakfast cocktail or a beer.
Want to feel like you’re in an Italian beach town, without leaving downtown Manhattan? Sit outside at Santina. Afterwards, take a walk on the Highline. Perfect summer day, complete.
We will say this very clearly because it’s important: Esperanto is where you should get rowdy brunch with a group outside in the East Village. You and your friends can eat Latin food and drink endless cocktails in the sun without spending tons of money or making enemies with neighboring tables (because they’re probably doing the same thing as you are).
Walter Foods isn’t new or trendy, and that’s exactly why we appreciate it. Don’t come here looking for avocado toast or acai bowls - you won’t find them. What you will find are solid versions of classic brunch comfort foods, and a mellow big back patio.
Find yourself wanting brunch outside at 4pm on a Thursday? We support you. And so does Rabbithole. This neighborhood Williamsburg spot serves brunch every day until 5pm, and you can enjoy it on their umbrella-covered back patio.
You might ignore us when we tell you to go to brunch at the very top of Greenpoint. But if you do, you’ll miss out on one of the best back gardens in the entire city. And if that alone isn’t enough to convince you, the bottomless mimosa situation should.