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 waiting, the decision-making on a weekend, 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 in order to go to any of the 37 places on this guide.
For a casual brunch outside with your roommate or a morning date with the best breakfast burrito in Brooklyn, stop by Ursula before noon. This Crown Heights spot offers chorizo, bacon, vegan, and vegetarian breakfast burritos Wednesday-Sunday, all of which come with either red or green New Mexican chile. If you’re there in the afternoon, pick up a stuffed sopapilla with pork or beef, and no matter what, add a side of chile sauce.
Cemitas el Tigre
Now that you’ve moved on from eating homemade sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days on end, it’s time to check out Cemitas El Tigre. While visiting this Mexican spot any time of the week guarantees you a multi-layered and meat-packed cemita that you’ll be dreaming about for days, stopping by for brunch means you can choose from a range of weekend-only dishes like a breakfast burrito, breakfast tacos, and a cemita with onion rings, scrambled eggs, and chorizo. This Woodside restaurant has a few patio tables where you can enjoy a laid-back brunch from 10:30am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Every Saturday and Sunday between 12-5pm, this South Bronx spot hosts a bottomless brunch including mimosas, sangria, and live Hip-Hop DJ sets for $24 per person. Between rapping Jay-Z lyrics and rocking in your seat to hits by Lil’ Kim, you can order dishes like chicken and waffles, rum cake french toast, and shrimp and grits at Beatstro. Keep in mind that this place gets crowded, so make sure to follow their Instagram and stay up to date on all their brunch events.
Dacha 46 has taken over the former space of Meme’s Diner in Prospect Heights with a new weekend-only brunch series called “Banya Brunch.” The East European pop-up is serving dishes like breakfast piroshki, pork-stuffed pelmeni, and a sweet dough pastry with cheese and sour cherries in the middle. It’s takeout-only, but you can always pick up your food and head over to Prospect Park for a brunch picnic. We recommend placing your order online ahead of time, but they’ll also hold a limited amount of dishes every weekend for walk-ups.
Xilonen is a vegan restaurant that isn’t afraid to let vegetables be the stars of every bite. Throughout your meal at this Greenpoint spot from the team behind Oxomoco, you’ll find stunning vegetables in places you don’t expect. From a crispy heirloom corn tostada topped with tender carrots to creamy guacamole that involves crunchy winter greens and pickled serrano peppers, the food at this Mexican spot will make you want to hug the nearest farmer in sight. While their excellent masa pancakes aren’t topped with perfectly charred vegetables, you can lather them with maple syrup and salted butter.
The next time you’re in Bushwick and need a more laid-back brunch spot where you can catch up with a few friends in peace, stop by Tong for some banana blossom pancakes, crispy grilled catfish with mango salad, and grilled octopus skewers covered in a chili-lime sauce. The Thai menu here has a big section dedicated to kub klaem, or small plates, and all thirteen of them deserve your undivided attention. Tong’s sidewalk patio is big enough for a group brunch, perfect for ordering family-style, and ideal for a weekend morning meal that doesn’t involve rowdy teenagers wielding fake IDs to order mimosa pitchers.
The Bonnie is one of our favorite bars in Astoria for several reasons. It’s fun for groups, has a backyard with picnic tables, and the weekend brunch menu has much better food than you’d find at most other bars that open at 10am on Saturdays. Expect dishes like everything biscuits with honey butter, brunch burgers with a fried egg, and bacon-topped tater tots. It’s also really busy on weekends, so make a reservation ahead of time if you plan on bringing a group.
Sek’end Sun is a casual neighborhood bar right by the Broadway subway station in Astoria. For brunch, they have a range of dishes like French toast with hot honey fried chicken and a BEC with arugula. Come here during the brunch and sit in the big backyard with a date or a friend you haven’t seen in a few months - there’s a big neon sign out here that says “Queens” just in case you briefly forget where you are.
Some people think brunch is just a rotation of the same food on different tables. But those people have probably never had brunch at Olmsted. This Prospect Heights spot makes inventive breakfast dishes - which means that instead of eggs, French toast, and mimosas, their menu has sourdough waffles topped with Fromage Blanc ice cream, BEC egg rolls, and latkes with trout roe. And while their dining room is pretty nice, the best place to enjoy it all is in Olmsted’s lush backyard (where they grow vegetables and house a few birds).
Sunday In Brooklyn is as synonymous with brunch as any place in Williamsburg. That could be because the brunch menu is longer than the dinner one, or that brunch is served every day, or the fact that most of the drinks could be described as “breakfast cocktails.” Try to figure out while eating a triple stack of fluffy pancakes with hazelnut maple praline, or a BEC with gochujang aioli at a sidewalk table Monday through Sunday.
You’ll be able to order off the Golden Diner breakfast menu from 10am-5pm every day except Monday. That means you can combat a hangover with matzo ball soup and Korean fried chicken wings, or pair breakfast burritos and honey butter pancakes with soju cocktails in the afternoon.
Melba’s serves dark meat fried chicken and eggnog waffles with strawberry butter and maple syrup. This Southern spot in Harlem also serves lots of other dishes worth ordering, but if you’re not already sold on brunch here, then you might be reading the wrong guide.
Rather than refreshing your weather app every five minutes, or using game theory to figure out when a place is most likely to have an open table, just head to Le Crocodile. Not only is the stringlit and brick-surrounded yard at this French spot in Williamsburg covered by a retractable awning, but you can also reserve a table up to a week in advance. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to order from a brunch menu that ranges from a raw bar to French toast to a smoked whitefish sandwich.
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 with short rib and masa pancakes with agave nectar, but their outdoor space is what makes eating here feel like a vacation. Another win: they take brunch reservations.
The current brunch menu at Chez Ma Tante only has 16 dishes on it. In other words, it has 15 more options than you really need. That’s because this Greenpoint spot serves the best pancakes in the city, which you can order on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am-3pm.
When you go to Comfortland for brunch, get the “McGruffin” biscuit sandwich. It’s got a fried egg, grilled sausage patty, and a layer of melted cheese - all of which create a combination of sweet and salty flavors that’ll make you wonder why “pastry sandwiches″ don’t have their own tier in the food pyramid. They’ve also got more of the best meaty breakfast sandwiches, colorful donuts, and deep-fried eggy things you can order from a takeout window here, plus a few sidewalk tables for you to try them on.
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 starting at 8am, you can get things like spicy, sweet, lightly fried chicken over waffles, and some of the best chocolate babka in the city.
The partially-covered patio at this Middle Eastern spot in Fort Greene has brick walls and a bunch of hanging plants, and it’s a great place to drink harissa Bloody Marys on a weekend afternoon. 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 a savory pancake topped with a soft-boiled egg.
If Miss Ada is fully booked, head down the block to Evelina. They have a bunch of sidewalk tables where you can pair spicy watermelon margaritas with any of their excellent pastas. If pappardelle with oxtail ragu 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.
Jimmy's Grand Cafe
Jimmy’s is a diner, and as such, you won’t be surprised to find a huge menu ranging from pancakes topped with nutella and ice cream to grilled salmon over fried rice. But this Castle Hill spot also has some things you might not expect from a neighborhood diner, like a ton of outdoor seating in a recently converted parking lot, and a menu packed with Latin influences, like French toast dunked in coquito batter or eggs and salami served with mangu.
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.
Waiting is never a particularly pleasant experience, and that’s especially true when you’re varying degrees of hungry, humid, and hungover. Fortunately, that’s not an issue at Thai Diner. They have a bunch of seats where you can order a breakfast sandwich with Thai herbal sausage served in a roti, or disco fries topped with massaman curry.
You won’t find $15 mimosas or Dua Lipa’s next outfit at La Bonbonniere, but you will find some very good bacon, blueberry pancakes, and egg sandwiches. If that’s all you really need, then head to this West Village diner any day of the week.
Anyone who’s tired of orange juice with a splash of Prosecco calling itself a brunch cocktail will appreciate the drink menu at Esperanto. This Latin spot in the East Village offers brunch specials, like three cocktails for $20 and pitchers for $36, which not only include mimosas and Bloody Marys, but also mojitos, margaritas, and (very strong) caipirinhas. If the drinks start to put the rest of your afternoon in jeopardy, order another round of pão de queijo or chips and guacamole.
Soup dumplings and shrimp siu mai from Nom Wah would make for a great dim sum brunch no matter where they were served. But the fact that this century-old spot is on Doyers Street means that it’s in the middle of what feels like a giant outdoor dining room, with foliage and tables covered in yellow umbrellas available starting at noon.
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 brunch involving ceviche and plenty of spritzes on tap.
Anyone who finds it tough to keep a cactus alive for one-tenth as long as the internet says they’ last will be at a total loss when they step into the backyard of this American spot in Greenpoint. It’s filled with as much as many plants, trees, and ivy as a modest greenhouse, and it’s one of the most pleasant places to eat outside in Brooklyn. And if that alone isn’t enough to convince you, then the banana bread pudding and bottomless mimosa situation should.
Hudson Clearwater’s back patio is always one of the most pleasant outdoor dining spaces in the West Village, and right now is no exception. Make use of it with grapefruit brulee and sugar-free smoothies or duck hash and a spicy Bloody Mary any day between 8am-4:30pm.
This Southern spot in the East Village has a very nice streetside patio covered in plants, and a canvas roof that’ll give you comfort on afternoons when the clouds can’t decide how they want to proceed. The first-come, first-served tables are available for weekend brunch starting at 10am, when you can order some shrimp and grits or sweet tea-brined fried chicken with honey tabasco sauce.
Aurora’s covered patio looks like a place where the best-friends-turned-soulmates in a rom-com would feed each other pasta just before the credits roll. It’s decorated with lots of hanging ivy and more lights than a fairly large Christmas tree, as well as high walls and a roof that make it feel far removed from the corner of Wythe and Grand. They serve a few of their pastas and Italian small plates brunch, as well as more breakfast-y options like brioche French toast vanilla mascarpone or crab and avocado eggs benedict. You can make a reservation through their website.
The front patio at Harlem Tavern might be even larger than the tavern itself. Covered in picnic tables and big umbrellas, it’s perfect for when you can’t decide if you want an extended boozy brunch, or day-drinking with intermittent food orders. They open at noon every day, but if you come on Saturday, you’ll get to hear some live jazz while you eat.
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 dip fresh challah in shakshuka, and spread whipped feta over a fried pancake. And now that this Israeli spot has expanded its outdoor seating, you might not need to loiter quite as long, especially if you come on a weekday - Reunion opens every day at 9am.
Sweet Afton is a bar in Astoria that serves brioche french toast sticks, breakfast burgers, and homemade biscuits. That’s already reason enough to eat here year-round, but they also have a nice garden in the back, and expanded seating on the sidewalk out front, both of which are good spots to order another round of frozen strawberry margaritas after you’ve finished eating.
Esme is the outdoor brunch for brunch haters. Their back patio has plenty of shade, and they make simple, very 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.
Bronx Ale House opens every day at 11am, but brunch is only served on weekends. So if you want to pair this Kingsbridge bar’s great beers with some breakfast tacos or eggs and biscuits covered in sweet sausage gravy, you’ll have to go Saturday or Sunday between 11:30am-3pm.
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 probably couldn’t make in your apartment (or at least make it well), like chicken liver pate with pickled egg and candied cocoa nibs or breakfast gnocchi with a fried egg and bacon lardons.