Brunch in New York is an institution. A meal half-breakfast/half-lunch, that people have on the weekend and which is adored by both traditional families and party animals. While the American brunch is catching on all over the world, New York masters this weekend favorite. I’ve gathered recommendations from travel bloggers around the globe. They share their thoughts on the best brunches in New York.
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Contributed by Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad
Manhattan’s Eataly is one of the most fun Brunch spots in the city – not just a restaurant but an Italian feast for the senses. The brainchild of local celebrity restaurateurs Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Joe Bastianich, Eataly has two locations in the city: one downtown near the World Trade Center, and the larger flagship space near the Flatiron Building on 5th Avenue. Head to this location, where the action is. From the moment you walk in, Eataly grabs you with its lively, marketplace social scene, Diners sit among shoppers browsing fresh produce, delectable meats and cheeses, mouth-watering desserts, and Italian specialty items, all available to take home. But grab a table and some friends and stay for brunch. You can easily linger for hours.
There are several restaurants to choose from and literally something for everyone to enjoy. Manzo has a vibrant meat-lovers menu and an expanded bar area. La Pizza & La Pasta features two of the best-loved Italian dishes: authentic Napoli-style pizza and al dente pasta. Le Verdure is veggie-focused and serves creative dishes starring seasonal local ingredients. Il Pesce is all about fresh seafood including a daily selection of fresh oysters and a catch of the day. La Piazza sits in the middle of it all like the quintessential Italian square, where you can enjoy a glass of wine and some antipasti.
For an open-air atmosphere and a great view of 5th Avenue, head upstairs to Birreria, Eataly’s rooftop restaurant, and microbrewery, for excellent craft beer and food under the stars and skyline. It’s well equipped for sun and cooler weather so you can enjoy the incredible view any time of year.
Russ & Daughters Cafe
Contributed by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch of 2foodtrippers
Open since 2014, Russ & Daughters Cafe is the quintessential New York City brunch spot. This status should be no surprise since the Russ family has been selling smoked fish and bagels from their counter-only space on Houston Street for over a century. The relatively new cafe offers these items along with table service and adult beverages, shining with its range of boards loaded with smoked fish like laser thin sliced smoked salmon and melt in your mouth, delicate flakey sturgeon. Add fresh NY bagels and you’re in business!
If bagels and lox aren’t your thing, you can order classic deli dishes like knishes, matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwiches in addition to specialty items like the outrageous Super Heebster Bagel Toast with whitefish and salmon salad, wasabi-infused roe and horseradish dill cream cheese. To end brunch, diners can splurge on desserts including Chocolate Babka French Toast and Noodle Kugel or, if you’re like us, you can order a second Super Heebster Bagel Toast.
Contributed by Amy Butler of The Wayfarer’s Book
Queens Comfort is one of Astoria’s best diners, a restaurant that will warm you with comfort food and nostalgia. As soon as you walk in you get blasted with the past, with twinkle lights strung up and old-school toys cluttering the shelves. The brunch menu is a long list of homemade favorites reimaged with a new twist, including an Oreo brioche French toast, cereal-crusted chicken and waffles, and eggs benedict half a dozen ways.
Definitely get an order of Atomic Fire Balls, deep fried mac and cheese bites with sriracha sauce. While they serve brunch every day of the week, Friday through Sunday you have a chance to snag one of their decadent donuts from Donut Diva. Queens Comfort is cash only and BYOB, so make sure you have both cash and champagne on hand. There’s often a wait for a table in the tiny space, with its tables wedged in close together, but it’s well worth it. It’s half belly-filling home-style food, half neighborhood meeting hall, backlight by projected cartoons and memories of the 80s and 90s. It’s comfort food made with heart, soul, and imagination, making it one of my favorite brunch spots in New York City.
Contributed by Dan Bagby of Honeymoon Always
Chef Daniel Humm, know for his 3 Michelin star rated restaurant, Eleventh Madison Park, opened The NoMad in 2014. The NoMad, located in the hotel and district that shares its name, has since been critically acclaimed and last year earned its first Michelin star and has three stars from The New York Times and a James Beard Foundation Award.
When you arrive at the Nomad you will notice the elegant décor and unique seating areas. If you need to wait for a table, head to the library, a comfortable room with floor to ceiling books and cozy tables to sit at and get a drink. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 2:30pm.
The star of the menu is the chicken sandwich. Inspired by the whole roasted chicken on the dinner menu, the chicken is injected with foie gras, topped with a black truffle spread that is placed in between a toasted brioche loaf. Beyond the chicken, there are several other delicious choices like the French Toast, Short Rib Hash and French Frys as a side. With the size of the chicken sandwich, I recommend you get it to share with someone else, then order one or two additional things to share as well.
Contributed by Jackie of The Globetrotting Teacher
Café Cluny sits on a perfect cobblestone corner in the always trendy West Village. Flush with natural light and wrapped in a warm pastel color palette, brunch is inviting even before your first mug of coffee or chilled mimosa. Café Cluny is reminiscent of a French Bistro, yet is distinctly New York in vibe and atmosphere. Situated in Carrie Bradshaw’s neighborhood, you can bet the ladies from Sex and the City would have been Café Cluny regulars.
The brunch menu is compact but ranges from Eggs Benedict and Brioche French Toast to Short Ribs and Cured Salmon Tartine. The avocado toast with the poached egg gets rave reviews and has even been nominated as a top 100 dish in NYC. It’s safe to say no matter what your brunch craving is, the menu at Café Cluny has a dish to satisfy. Starter salads include fresh market ingredients. The portions are filling, but not oversized. And, best of all, the staff is friendly and the service quick.
Café Cluny serves brunch 7 days a week. As you might expect, weekends get busy so use the app OpenTable to reserve ahead of time to avoid a wait. New York City visitors looking for a quintessential neighborhood brunch restaurant full of local New Yorkers need not look further. You’ll be charmed by Café Cluny’s understated ambiance and delicious bites and it’ll undoubtedly become one of your New York favorites for return trips.
Contributed by Kaylie Lewell of Happiness Travels Here
Sarabeth’s has been satisfying the New York weekend brunch crowd for more than three decades. With its flagship locations in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, the popular cafe has spread to locations in TriBeCa, Park Avenue South and Central Park South. We wanted to enjoy the fall colors in Central Park before the crowds so chose to end our walk with brunch at Sarabeth’s Central Park South location. Booking a table is advisable since there is always a queue at this popular spot. We were taken through to our table, the tables are packed in quite tight and with the restaurant being full it felt quite busy. Service was fast and friendly.
Sarabeth’s serves contemporary American food. The sweet dishes include French Toast and Lemon Ricotta as well as traditional Buttermilk pancakes. Want something a little more exotic, go for the toasted coconut waffle served with pineapple, mango, and rum butter.
Plenty to choose from for egg lovers too with a selection of omelets and scrambled eggs. The top dish would have to be eggs benedict, poached how you like topped with velvety hollandaise sauce, served with Canadian bacon, salmon, or my favourite, crab cakes.
When it comes to drinks the Four Flower Juice is a favourite of the regulars and can be mixed with sparkling wine for a delicious Mimosa. Other cocktails include the Classic Bellini made with white peach puree and the Pickled Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary is perfectly spiced and served with a heavy garnish of pickled vegetables and optional jumbo shrimp.
Beauty and Essex
Contributed by Elaine & Dave of The Whole World is a Playground/a>
Masquerading as an antique pawn shop, Beauty and Essex is located in a former furniture shop on the Lower East Side. The old school vintage storefront belies the glamorous scene awaiting patrons behind its doorway where marble, mirrors, spiral staircases and chandeliers define the sleek brunch setting.
The tapas style menu with share plates is perfect for a brunch get together and our favourite dishes include the signature grilled cheese and the requisite avocado toast which are served among other brunch favourites like fried chicken and crab egg. The Beauty and Essex prohibition style cocktails are the perfect accompaniment to afternoon dining on the weekend and they serve a mean Bloody Mary which instantly clears any cobwebs from a Friday or Saturday night in the city!
If you are feeling like letting loose on a Sunday afternoon we love the champagne brunch – eating red velvet waffles while sipping champagne followed by dancing and an all-round party atmosphere (DJ and glow sticks included!), what more could a NYC brunch need?!
Don’t forget to check out the ladies bathroom which is a scene in its itself: the luxurious couches and antique perfumes are a delight but it’s the complimentary pink champagne that woes the crowds and makes a bathroom break a more frequent necessity!
How about you? Have you ever been to any of these restaurants?