Whether you count down the hours until brunch starting Monday morning, or you wouldn’t touch a two-hour wait for eggs with a ten-foot pole, brunch is a part of life in NYC that’s hard to escape. And Williamsburg might as well be Brunch Disneyland - it has pretty much every kind of food and setting you could ever want. With all those options, it’s an overwhelming prospect. Where do you go? This guide is here so that you always know the answer to that question, and so that when you do encounter that two-hour wait, you know where to turn.
You probably know that Diner is one of those restaurants you really need to try already. You probably know that it has a legendary burger. But what you might not know is that it’s a truly excellent place for brunch in Williamsburg. Just like at dinner, the brunch menu changes daily - and while we advise you try the breakfast sandwich or brisket and eggs or pancake, you really can’t go wrong. And yes, the burger is always available.
Marlow & Sons has been around since Williamsburg was a just little bit edgier and not just another nice neighborhood with a Whole Foods, and it’s where you go when you want to remember why you started liking this neighborhood in the first place. You can sit on the front patio and people watch or you can hang out in the cabin-like space in back while you eat a biscuit egg sandwich or housemade gravlax. The crowd is a mix of people who live nearby and tourists who live very far away, but it’s always a comfortable spot to hang out over some quality food.
El Almacen is our favorite place for affordable steak in Williamsburg (without the insane wait you’ll find at St. Anselm). So if you want some beef for brunch, it’s an excellent choice. You can get some steak and eggs, or you can just have something like avocado fries or huevos rancheros. Everything here is pretty affordable, and despite being just off the Bedford L, the space never feels too crazy.
If you have some Manhattan friends who are constantly on their phones and talk about Brooklyn like it’s somewhere north of Westchester, bring them here. Sunday In Brooklyn is just over the Williamsburg Bridge, and the food is both photogenic and highly edible. You should know, however, that brunch here is extremely popular, and it can get a little crowded. Once you get seated, have an egg sandwich and some pancakes with an extra-thick praline syrup. And, if it’s nice out, tell the host that you’re allergic to the indoors and that you need to sit on the upper balcony (or at least the sidewalk).
The original 12 Chairs is in Soho, but we prefer the Williamsburg location. It’s a more attractive space, there’s more natural light, and there’s some nice outdoor seating, including a little bar where you can sit and eat shakshuka by yourself. The food here is Israeli, and they serve a huge menu of breakfast and lunch things all day. Everyone will find something to eat, and it’s casual enough that you can stop by in whatever clothes you wear to bed. If you’re facing a multiple-hour wait at Sunday In Brooklyn, walk across the street and eat here instead.
You could bring just about anyone to Lighthouse, and they’d have a good time. Most of the food is at least a little bit healthy, although they do a really good burger, and by the time you’re done eating here, you’ll probably wish that you lived closer. At brunch, the food skews Mediterranean, but they also have things like chilaquiles, ceviche, and salad.
Reunion looks like a little coffee shop, but it’s actually an Israeli cafe that does brunch all day. There’s also some nice sidewalk seating when the weather is decent, and the whole place is relatively under-the-radar. So if you’re walking around Williamsburg on a Saturday or Sunday, possibly hungover, and looking for a low-maintenance brunch, try this place.
When you need an extremely easy brunch option in Williamsburg, try Gotan. It’s pretty much just a really nice coffee shop with food. You order at the counter and seat yourself, and you can hang out for as long as you want. The food is also much better than you expect from such a casual place. The scrambled egg breakfast sandwich is excellent, and the bowl of granola that looks like something you try to make at home when you’re working on becoming a better version of yourself.
Maybe it’s the kind of Saturday that requires bottomless rum punch, and would also benefit from some jerk chicken or French toast. If that’s the case, Pearl’s is where you want to go. This is a Caribbean restaurant, and they do a bottomless brunch for around $15 (in addition to your entree). The dining room isn’t fancy, but if you sit in the backyard you might just feel like you’re on vacation.
Some restaurants just get it. They go beyond the call of serving you overpriced omelettes and really make you feel like we’re all in this journey called life together. Rabbithole is one of those restaurants. They serve brunch every day of the week, until 5pm. The coffee and the drinks are strong, and the pastries are made in-house. The menu is long and covers every possible craving besides maybe Doritos. And there’s a beautiful back patio with big umbrellas. This place takes care of its customers.
When will the brunch bubble burst? We can’t as a society go on like this - making our entire weekend plans around it, waiting three hours for it, going hangry for it. But in the meantime, you’ll find us brunching at places where the meal feels less like an event and more like a, well, meal. Brunch at Allswell is something you can just show up for - excessive planning/strategizing not required. You might have to wait a bit - but never too long - and the menu is an appealing mix of breakfast-y and lunch-y options.
There’s a pretty good chance that your first brunch experience in Williamsburg happened at Juliette. People mob it for its atmosphere: part French bistro, part well-kept jungle. You’ll want to be eating on the roof if it’s warm, but the plant room (actually covered in vegetation) is a very good second-best if it’s not. As for the menu - it’s totally serviceable, French-ish food. But the food isn’t really why you come to Juliette anyway.
Brunch should be a comfortable experience. What’s the point of getting out of bed and maybe even brushing your teeth only to go sit in a rickety chair that digs into your butt when you move and eat off a table that rocks so much that every time you try to cut something it’s an exercise in balance? Brunch at Meadowsweet is a meal that won’t have you wishing you were sitting on your couch right now. And it’s not just comfortable - the food is excellent, and brunch is a great way to try the place on a leaner budget.
Maybe you’ve been around the Williamsburg brunch block. Maybe you’ve had it with the crowds of people and the sameness of all the food and the rickety, fake-vintage chairs and the fedoras. Maybe you’re THIS close to boycotting brunch altogether. Get a breath of fresh air at Llama Inn. Its awesome design is the perfect complement to the awesome, Peruvian-inspired food: beef tenderloin stir-fry covered in fried eggs, bananas, and french fries, anyone?
Hangover so bad you don’t know whether to cry or vomit or eat your weight in tater tots? Choose door number three, and do it at Jimmy’s. Breakfast is served all day, so even if you can’t manage to get out of bed until 5pm, you can still call it brunch. This is diner food done right, with a super laid-back setting to match. You come to Jimmy’s to eat the kind of food that will both hurt and cure you - not to Instagram your ricotta pancakes.
Want to eat a steak at St. Anselm? Of course you do. At 7pm, go ahead and line up with the other four hours worth of people. But brunch (which they insist on calling “lunch” despite the presence of eggs) is the sneaky time to get your hands on that Butcher’s Steak. We’re not promising you’ll be seated immediately, but if you arrive on the early side of brunch hours (they open at 11am) you have a much better chance of eventually getting a table than on any night.
You don’t have to love fried chicken, or waffles, or even the combination of the two, to appreciate brunch at Pies N Thighs. You do, however, need to love very bad-for-you food that tastes incredibly good. Even if you insist on ordering the one salad on the menu, do yourself a favor and get a donut.
No, we’re not talking about a Chinese proverb or a yoga studio for children. House of Small Wonder is a street-level treehouse (literally, trees grow through it) that’s part European cafe, part Japanese restaurant. And unlike most Brooklyn places that would like to claim the title, this place actually has the right to call itself a “hidden gem” - you probably wouldn’t be able to find it without the Internet (or go Internet-free and just look out for the exterior wood paneling). The menu includes everything from egg scrambles to french toast to sashimi bowls, so everyone in your group will both be pleased. And if you find yourself wanting brunch alone, there’s also free wifi to keep you occupied.
Egg definitely belongs in the Greatest Hits of Williamsburg Brunch. It’s been a staple since it opened many years (OK, like seven years) ago, serving high-quality, simple-but-still-interesting dishes that have earned the place a following. You should probably get the egg in a hole topped with smothered cheese.
This is the see and be seen capital of North Williamsburg brunch. The Moroccan food also makes for one of the better and more interesting brunches around. Which means that if you don’t come here with the expectation of ridiculously long waits, you’re going to walk away very sad. Or at least very hungry. Here’s what to do: put your name in, then go directly across the street to Bakeri to get a coffee and pastry while you wait. It’s like being rewarded for patience.
Provided you have no plans for the rest of the day, Italian food and brunch are a perfect combination. Add to that a huge, partially-covered, beautiful patio and you have yourself a real agenda. Pasta, mimosas, and exposure to the sun: the ideal cure for the Sunday Scaries.
We’ve hit The Brooklyn Star quite a few times since our review, and have figured out the key to this place: brunch. That’s the time when The Brooklyn Star truly excels with its tasty Southern comfort food. Get the Johnny Cakes (fruit-packed pancakes), which come with perfectly scrambled eggs and a perfectly fried hash brown patty. If you want to get seated right away, be there right when it opens at 12pm. Otherwise, your best bet is to wait a couple hours until the first rush dies down.
We’ve always wished we lived closer to Walter Foods. Not because the food is revelatory, but because it’s an excellent neighborhood restaurant, with an excellent back patio. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows each other, and the food is always exactly what you need it to be. If you don’t live in Williamsburg, there are probably more impressive places you could choose for your brunch in the neighborhood. But if you do live nearby, it’s about time you got yourself a standing order here.
Reynard offers what is probably the most sophisticated brunch in Williamsburg. Not “sophisticated” in the pinkies-up kind of way, but in the kind of way that your parents would be impressed with. It’s a beautiful space, with giant windows that let in tons of light, and the menu is slightly upscale takes on standard brunch fare. Get the Dutch pancake.
If you’re looking for a brunch experience beyond typical brunch food, we commend you, and we will send you straight to Okonomi - where you can get an awesome traditional Japanese breakfast or lunch. The meal is called “Ichiju Sunsai,” and it consists of a rice bowl, a miso soup, a piece of fish, and three small sides - it’s all decided for you, except for the fish, and it’s light, healthy (they don’t use any butter or oil in their cooking), and affordable. The experience feels special and communal, as you’re one of only twelve customers in there, and you’re all eating the same thing. Just be prepared for a wait.