Could you cook french toast at home? Perhaps. And could you drink mimosas while your roommate hits snooze in the next room over? Definitively yes. But brunch isn’t just about what you eat and drink. It’s a social experience, and it’s one you shouldn’t let cold weather deprive you of. You could try recreating it by filling your apartment with cardboard cutouts of strangers in sunglasses who may or may not be watching you pour syrup from behind their blinders, or you could go get brunch on the heated outdoor patios at the 33 spots on this guide.
If you’re looking to eat dim sum on a heated patio, try Ping’s. They built a tiny heated outdoor house in front of their restaurant on Mott Street where you can get pork buns and egg tarts all day, as well as a full menu of Hong Kong-style dishes like garlic eggplant, and a massive, fried soft shell crab. Whatever you do, order the fried shrimp balls - they’re crispy with light batter, and we’d like to stuff our pillows with the shrimp in the middle. Ping’s is cash-only, but know there’s an ATM in the bodega at the end of the block.
With carpets, hanging wreaths, and vintage ski photos on wood-paneled walls, Hutte goes a lot further in embracing the alpine theme than a fake pine tree and faker pair of antlers. That includes what they serve at brunch, like a traditional Austrian breakfast spread, fondue with Swiss bratwurst for dipping, and multiple types of mulled wine.
Some outdoor heaters are more effective than others. For example, the ones in the three-sided tent on the outdoor patio at K’ook are fine, whereas the ones on the tables are phenomenal. Those come in the form of Korean soups, like yukgaejang with spicy shredded beef, or budae jjigae with ham, sausage, and a lot of ramen noodles.
Hanging out by the water doesn’t need to only be a nice weather activity. After all, it’s not like you’re going to cool off in the Hudson. You do it for the views, and they’re still on full display. Check them out while eating walnut-crusted french toast with nutella, or a thin-crust pizza with bacon and fried eggs in a private, heated, glass-enclosed table outside of Industry Kitchen at the Seaport.
For some people, brunch is an excuse to eat pancakes at 4pm, while for others, it’s an opportunity to put whiskey in their coffee in a socially acceptable manner. No matter which one you relate to more, you’ll be happy at Golden Diner. They serve the same menu until 5pm every day, which 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.
The thing about sports is, they’re often played in the middle of the day. And while we love buffalo wings as much as anyone, we don’t always want to eat them at 11am. Fortunately, The Grafton serves weekend brunch, so you can pair an Irish breakfast with your Irish coffee while watching European soccer, Irish or otherwise.
Bloody Marys and huevos rancheros are great on a Saturday, and you know what? They’re just as nice on a Wednesday. Bubby’s understands this, and serves its full brunch menu, including pancake flights with a bunch of different toppings, every day from 8am-4pm.
Another heated dim sum spot is Dim Sum Go Go. They have a couple of heaters set up under a big red tent on their sidewalk. We always order the dim sum sampler with 10 different types of steamed dumplings, including both meat and vegetarian options. In general, the variety at this spot is strong, with dumpling options like duck and crab in addition to the more usual suspects.
“Would you like to add a fried egg to that?” isn’t quite rhetorical, but it’s pretty close. So rather than making it an option just for burgers and avocado toast, this Harlem Italian spot offers it as an addition to every dish on its brunch menu, from fried chicken and waffles to a prosciutto grilled cheese. If you don’t feel like making such big decisions at 11am on a Sunday, go with the breakfast carbonara, which comes with a fried egg, or a wood-fired pizza with cream cheese and lox.
If you use brunch primarily as a means to drink with friends before noon, you won’t hear any judgment from us. But you will hear a suggestion, and that’s to drink something better than pitchers of house sangria. For example, any of the more than 500 natural wines offered at Four Horsemen would fit the bill, and from 11am-4pm Thursday through Sunday, you can pair them with dishes like a ham and comte sandwich on sesame focaccia, and chestnut custard donuts with toasted almonds.
You know what to expect from Cookshop, and that makes it a good option for people who like to keep curveballs to meals that aren’t portmanteaus. But don’t confuse predictable with boring, as this dog-friendly spot in Chelsea is far from that. They serve excellent vegetables, a perfectly proportioned cheeseburger, and one of the best roast chickens in NYC, which is offered in a huge salad at brunch.
You can find waffles and fried chicken sandwiches at lots of brunch spots, but you won’t find many versions like the ones at Rahi. The waffles here differentiate themselves in their ingredients, like lentils and curry leaf chutney, while the fried chicken sandwich separates itself from pretty much all the others in NYC by being, well, better.
Williamsburg has the seventh longest bridge in NYC, two major parks, and countless places to pick up tour shirts from ’90s bands you never saw tour. But one thing it doesn’t have in great supply is big outdoor dining spaces. Ten Hope is a notable exception. This Mediterranean spot’s massive outdoor space is covered in hanging vines and string lights, and it’s a great place to have a shakshuka flatbread while day-drinking with a group (and your dog).
There’s a sign hanging at Playa Betty’s, with one arrow pointing to Malibu and the other to Montauk. And the colorful string lights, surfboards on the walls, and buckets of Coronitas do always make this UWS Mexican spot feel like a destination where you should be having a good time. That goes for brunch as well, which is served every day on their heated patio, and includes giant breakfast burritos, DIY grain and egg bowls, and plenty of spicy margaritas.
Like this high-end grocery store’s Williamsburg location, the original in Clinton Hill has a bunch of heated outdoor seating, a fantastic beer selection, and the best sandwiches in the neighborhood. At brunch, those sandwiches include thick-cut bacon and chive frittata on brioche, and house-cured porchetta and bechamel with cracklin’. You’ll have access to all the sandwiches on the menu starting at 11am, or you could just get the french toast, which is made with some of the best chocolate babka in NYC (and topped with vanilla ice cream).
A “two bites for me, one bite for you” arrangement with your dog seems perfectly acceptable to us, but things get more complicated when it comes to sharing drinks. That’s not an issue at Barking Dog on the UES thanks to their in-ground watering hole, which Maggie can enjoy while you sip a spicier beverage out of a mason jar at the table.
As you might expect from a brunch menu, there are lots of eggs on the one at Bar Primi. And as you might expect from this Italian spot in the East Village, there’s also a lot of pasta. Take advantage of both by ordering the breakfast spaghetti, or stick to one with pomodoro baked eggs, or penne bolognese.
In the event that steaming cauldrons of feijoada, Brazilian r&b music, and passion fruit caipirinhas aren’t enough to convince you to hang out in the covered backyard at Santo Bruklin in Carroll Gardens, the pão de queijo should be. Their version of Brazilian cheese bread comes with a side of ground, spicy ’nduja that makes it arguably the best version of PDQ in NYC.
Hudson Clearwater’s back patio is always one of the most pleasant outdoor dining spaces in the West Village, and thanks to its space heaters, the occasional gust of jacket-defying wind can’t do anything to change that. 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.
Bar Boulud is from the same chef as Daniel, and now you know his full name. If you’re familiar with his tasting menu restaurant on the UES, then you won’t be surprised to hear that even the brunch menu includes multiple types of truffles, and a raclette-topped burger with tomato compote and confit pork belly.
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 options, like french toast with labne mousse and a savory pancake topped with a soft-boiled egg.
The covered front patio at Harlem Tavern might be even larger than the tavern itself, and it’s ideal 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 a weekend, you’ll get to hear some live music while you eat fried chicken and waffles or a lamb burger with mint pesto.
The sides section of the brunch menu at Extra Virgin ranges from a single pancake to fries with gorgonzola fondue. That’s pretty indicative of how you can experience brunch at this West Village Mediterranean spot in general. But whether you just go for coffee and a yogurt parfait with someone who reached out on LinkedIn, or colorful cocktails and spicy shrimp tacos with a group of friends, you’ll be able to sit on the heated, covered patio out front.
Pastis is the best restaurant in Meatpacking, so when you work up an appetite walking on the The High Line or shopping nearby, head to this French spot for a steak sandwich smothered in gruyere and aioli and some fantastic pastries.
Whether it’s the limited amount of time to make a decision, or the unlimited wine the night before, there’s something particularly tricky about planning brunch for more than a couple people. That’s why it’s useful to know about Shuka. Make a reservation for a group of up to 10, and order a bunch of shareable Mediterranean small plates, and sub-$20 entrees like beef adana and egg tagine.
The two main draws of this Park Slope Vietnamese spot are its greenhouse-like back patio, and its unshaking beef. You can enjoy the former without worrying about the weather thanks to heaters and tents, and you can experience the latter without committing to a $36 slab of ribeye since it’s offered in a much more 11am-appropriate portion in a bánh mì.
Adda serves the same menu during weekend lunch as it does for dinner, so if you’re in the market for another spinach and tomato omelette, you can skip to the next spot. However, if you want to K.O. Jack Frost while eating some of the best Indian food in the city, then order the biryani, and breathe in the saffron-scented steam after you cut into the dome of fresh-baked dough on top.
There are people who plan ahead, and then there are people who plan ahead for brunch. If you count yourself as part of that elite second group, you should know about Le Crocodile. Not only is the stringlit and brick-surrounded yard at this French spot in the Wythe Hotel 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, and it’s one you should make happen as soon as possible by making a reservation at Claro in Gowanus. Their Oaxacan brunch includes three courses for $45, with your choice of dishes like masa pancakes with apple butter, chilaquiles with short rib, and chocolate mole cake with whipped cream.
Lafayette is a massive French restaurant in Noho with plenty of dog-friendly, umbrella-covered sidewalk seating on Lafayette Street. That makes it a prime spot for people-watching, while its fantastic in-house French bakery makes it a great option for brunch.
Thai Diner is one of our favorite spots for both breakfast and lunch in Manhattan, so whichever direction you decide to go with your order, you’ll be very pleased with your decision. Stop by any day after 11am for a breakfast sandwich with Thai herbal sausage served in a roti, thai tea babka french toast, and disco fries covered in massaman curry.
Brunch at this Staten Island Mexican spot is all about choices. Do you want the stuffed sweet plantain plain or with garlic shrimp and avocado? Do you want your crepe with chantilly cream or chorizo and scrambled eggs? And with your huevos rancheros, do you go with crispy potatoes or black beans and rice? The good news is, you can take your time deciding while drinking $7 mimosas in the string light-covered backyard.