15 Coffee Shops That Serve Great Food guide image


15 Coffee Shops That Serve Great Food

A guide to the elevated coffee shops of NYC—the ones that serve great food. Lots of toast ahead.

We’ve come too far to accept stale, farmed-out pastries, dry paninis, and burnt coffee in New York City. There are just too many spots that make excellent coffee and great food to settle for anything less. Whether you’re looking for a place to post up all day with your laptop, take yourself on a lunch date with your favorite book, or have a quick caffeine-fueled lunch meeting, these are the best coffee shops in NYC that also serve really good food. 


Little Flower Cafe

Little Flower is an all-day halal cafe in Astoria that serves exciting food and some of the area’s best coffee in a beautiful space that you’ll want to hang out in all day. The wood is blonde, the lighting is industrial, the tables are modernist gray slabs. Everything about the space says “this is a cool place to be,” and it is. They brew Sey coffee, make all of their Afghan-inspired pastries in house (the Firni doughnut is a must-try), and they make one of our favorite fried chicken sandwiches in the five boroughs. 

Buunni is a coffee shop that specializes in small-batch coffee beans from Ethiopia (where the owners are from). They have locations in Washington Heights, Pinehurst, and Inwood, all of which have more than enough space where you can get some work done. They serve a full menu of juices, salads, sandwiches, and Ethiopian dishes like Fir-Fir, scrambled injera with berbere sauce and avocado. 

If you want to handle some emails in a space that looks like the inside of a salt cave, head to Daughter in Crown Heights. This coffee shop started out as a Kickstarter campaign but has now become a cafe with huge street-facing windows and a bunch of built-in banquettes that look like giant stones. In addition to its Stone Age-chic interior, Daughter also happens to be a mission-driven cafe in Crown Heights that donates to a rotating list of charities every month. During the daytime hours, they focus on breakfast items like fritattas, and really excellent biscuits and jam. At night, they turn into a wine bar, complete with small plates like cauliflower agrodulce and some very fancy bread and butter with anchovy relish. 

This incredibly chic little West Village coffee shop reminds us of the kind of spot we’d find in upstate New York, and the fact that it has a spacious heated backyard is a major bonus. Do Not Feed Alligators brews single origin coffees from small roasters like La Cabra (where they also source some of their pastries) and Prodigal, and the bread and butter with eggs might sound simple, but each element is perfect enough that it’s one of our favorite coffee shop breakfasts in Manhattan. Note that this is a no-laptops space. 

The Well feels like an oasis in the middle of Union Square, because you can take a yoga class followed by a luxurious shower with lots of nice products and Dyson hair dryers before posting up with your laptop in a cafe flooded with natural light. You might think a place that calls itself a "wellness café"  would be boring and "healthy" in all the wrong ways, but this is one of our favorite places to have a latte and a bowl of seasonal vegetables. We’re also big fans of their waffles and buckwheat pancakes.

Entering Kabisera on the Lower East Side is like being in the living room of that one aunt who always seems to have new people over and has a penchant for rearranging all the furniture every few months. This Filipino cafe makes a pandan latte we can’t stop thinking about, and excellent sweets like biko, sapin-sapin, and bibingka. They also have savory foods in the afternoon, but since the menu changes frequently, you’ll need to pop in and see what they’re making. 

This East Village Japanese cafe is one of the few places in NYC where you can get siphon coffee. The space has lots of kitschy elements, like decorative mismatched china and stained glass lampshades. They take coffee and tea very seriously here, and the bean selection is exciting and eclectic and includes options from small Japanese roasters. You can get a great proper lunch here, and there’s really no wrong choice. They make our favorite omurice and mentai cream pasta in the city, and the katsui, egg, and fruit sandos are destination-worthy. 

Win Son Bakery is a Taiwanese counter-service spot on the corner of Graham Avenue in Williamsburg, and we love coming here early on a weekend morning when everyone else in the neighborhood is still sleeping off their hangover—wait too long to get here, and you’re guaranteed at least half an hour in line. Before the hordes descend, though, this place is bright, airy, and serene. The xiao gai gai, a spiced riff on the cortardo, is our go-to coffee order, along with a millet mochi donut and any of their sandwiches, because they’re all perfect. 

Folks in Greenwood Heights/South Slope know that South Side Coffee is the best cafe in the area, and that’s why there’s usually a line wrapped halfway around the block every morning. Order at the window and take your food to the park across the street, since there’s no seating inside. They brew Counter Culture coffee, and the menu of sandwiches and baked goods rotates pretty much daily, with a few standbys. Their scones and biscuits are always excellent, and we love the New School breakfast sandwich, which comes with bacon, eggs, miso-tahini kale, and hot sauce, is one of our favorites. 

Pavé is a true refuge in the middle of a chaotic Midtown thanks to its quiet, charming atmosphere. Think exposed brick, airy arches, skylights, and tons of seating. Also, it isn’t mobbed by tourists and influencers who just want to take photos. The food here leans classic French with Korean influences, and all of their breads and pastries are baked in-house. There’s an excellent country pate sandwich, and a passionfruit brioche we’d go out of our way to eat. It’s the ideal location for a quick snack or lunch and a break from the crowds.

Do you want coffee that also tastes like a cookie? Get the butter-covered latte at Round K by Sol, a Korean-inspired spot in Chinatown that’s equal parts all-day café and speakeasy. The interior is dark and moody (in a good way) with a few small tables, but we prefer to sit in their spacious backyard when it’s nice out. They make their scrambled eggs using an espresso machine steam wand, so they’re extremely fluffy in addition to being a cool party trick. Speaking of parties, we love their Korean Party Toast, which makes us want to keep a tub of kimchi butter in the fridge at all times.

Mottley Kitchen in Mott Haven is the kind of cafe everyone wants to have in their neighborhood. It’s big, sunny, and filled with cheeky merch that feels genuinely representative of the area. They make a very good cup of coffee, and if you’re not in a rush, it’s worth trying the spiced Moroccan version, which takes a few extra minutes to prepare. All-day brunch is a big draw here, since that means you can get their awesome rancheros egg and pimento cheese sandwiches whenever you want, as well as a solid selection of pastries. There’s also tons of seating, outlets, and WiFi. 

Gotan, located in a big corner space outside the Franklin Street stop in Tribeca, is a great neighborhood café. This is kind of a Coffee Shop Plus, serving fresh, simple breakfast and lunch food until the early evening. It’s not a place for boozy brunch and stacks of pancakes, but it is the kind of place that makes you want to go out for a weekday breakfast.  The cheesy scrambled eggs on a biscuit is one of the best breakfast sandwiches around, and dishes like the eggplant flatbread, which is more like a dip, are unusual and highly satisfying. Note that they no longer have WiFi.

The Elk is a coffee shop in the West Village, and it’s about as “cute” as you’d expect for that neighborhood. It’s bright and well-designed, with a few tables and some stools in the window. They also do some healthy-ish breakfast/lunch items that you’ll find listed on a big piece of butcher paper. Expect stuff like scrambled eggs with sweet potato hash, a rice bowl with vegetables, and some sandwiches. And if you recently ran out of candles, journals, and succulents, you can buy those things here—they have a small selection.

Sweatshop is a small coffee shop in Williamsburg that also seems to be some sort of branding/design headquarters. Pretty much everything is a trendy shade of dark charcoal, from the dishware and the merch to the espresso machine. It’s an Australian spot, so this makes sense. But you don’t have to be into design stuff to like this place. Just stop by in the morning and get some avocado toast or a “Brekkie Bagel” with Australian-style folded eggs. It’s a nice little space, and you’ll see a bunch of young Williamsburg-types.

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15 Coffee Shops That Serve Great Food guide image