New Yorkers take their brunches very seriously. And the options are seemingly endless, whether you’re in the mood for farm to table, to boozy, to the brunches where you need to make your reservation months in advance. Brunch is a social event for Manhattanites in and of itself, and can be hard for outsiders to navigate. Years of living here have made us connoisseurs of sorts. Here’s our ultimate guide to where to brunch in NYC. (PS: for most of these spots, you’ll want to make reservations in advance)
Virginia’s in the East Village is an amazing light-filled brunch spot that is equal parts homey and cool. We went here for a recent brunch and immediately fell in love with the vibe as well as the delicious food.
The brunch menu has a Southern influence, but the dishes are elevated. We started with a stracciatella toast drizzled in honey and aleppo pepper that was delicious. If I were inclined to carbo-load, I would have ordered more of this and had it as my meal because it was so yummy. Then, I had the egg strata with mushrooms cheddar and chives which was satisfyingly salty and decadent. My boyfriend went for the burger, which did not disappoint.
We couldn’t do brunch without some bacon, so we ordered a side of brown sugar bacon that was amazing. A nice perk: during brunch, bottles of wine are half price, which makes it a great place to meet friends or have a brunch date. We also loved the setting with exposed brick and a big window letting sun into the entire restaurant. Virginia’s feels a bit like stepping outside of New York but not sacrificing the quality of food, especially brunch, New Yorkers have come accustomed to.
Timna: If you’re looking for a very flavorful brunch in a cool setting, Timna is it. We ate at this charming East Village restaurant on a recent Sunday afternoon, and we were blown away by how tasty everything we tried was. The menu is a mix of traditional Israeli cuisine, combined with Mediterranean and North African flavors. The menu is set up so that you are given a bunch of starters to nibble on and then you order a main dish and a coffee. It’s very reasonably priced, as it’s a lot of food (we had to take home doggy bag) and is just $25. For $10 additional you can have unlimited drinks, which is a steal in NYC.
Now, onto the food. To start, we were brought a bunch of delightful small plates consisting of delicacies such as: the most delicious falafel, endive lettuce with goat cheese, marinated artichokes and olives, babaganoush, hummus, and warm, fluffy pita to dip into everything. Each dish was better than the next, and could have been a perfect meal in and of itself. For our mains, I had the cowshuka which is an amazing steak dish cooked in a skillet with a poached egg, tahini and tomato and pepper stew. This dish was incredible — maybe one of my favorite brunch dishes ever. The steak was cooked and seasoned to perfection. My boyfriend ordered the shwarma, which consisted of chicken thigh, lamb belly, hummus and tahini. We both left full and happy and will absolutely be returning.
Cocotte: Located in New York’s Soho neighborhood, Cocotte has everything you could want out of brunch in NYC. It’s got the cutest setting, cool French staff, food that’s presented beautifully and tastes out of this world good. We went on a recent Sunday afternoon and Cocotte just executed on every level.
The inside is small but charming, with chalkboards displaying the day’s specials, rustic wood tables and exposed beams. We started with two coffees as we perused the menu. The coffees were strong and hit the spot on a cold February day. We had the meat and cheese plate to start, and it was to die for.
Fat Radish: This Lower East Side spot is totally instagrammable and is a complete contrast to the surrounding gritty, graffitied neighborhood. You’ll step inside to a delightfully bright farm to table restaurant, complete with flower pots full of fresh flowers and long wooden community tables. Not only is the atmosphere delightful, but the food is amazing. This isn’t the type of place where you’ll want to stick to your diet. Just trust us and splurge on the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam.
Upland: Located in the Gramercy neighborhood, this new spot has a great feel to it. Tons of natural sunlight and creative cocktails. The checkered runners down the wooden tables also make for a very instagrammable backdrop. The burger is a standout, as are the pizzas. The pastas looked great too, although we haven’t had a chance to try them just yet.
Santina: This Meatpacking District hotspot is my go-to for lots of different meals, brunch being one of them. We love the Murano blown glass chandeliers throughout and the fun pineapple cups they serve cocktails in. Bonus points: it’s a great spot for a brunch date. Get the Aperol Spritz pitcher and definitely start with their famous Cecina (Mashed chickpea pancakes with your choice of a spread). From their egg dishes to the Swordfish Dogona (my personal fave dish on the menu) you can’t go wrong.
Jeffrey’s Grocery: This West Village institution has a cozy atmosphere and farm-to-table feel. The food is well worth their no-reservations policy, which can be frustrating at times, but do yourself a favor and wait it out. We went this past weekend and feasted on their burger, which has racket cheese and brisket in the patty, and my friend said it was one of the best he’s had in all of New York City, which is high praise. The fries were awesome as well. I had their corn omelette, which was also delish. Their bloodys looked great, but I stuck to rosé. Go early, drink at the bar and wait for your table to be ready.
Bar Boulud: On the Upper West Side is Bar Boulud, where food is taken very seriously. This is one of my favorite places to go before a stroll through Central Park. The food here is truly impeccable, and this is a bold claim but their ham, gruyere and mushroom omelette is the best egg dish I’ve ever had, period. We also love their steak and eggs, duck confit with potato hash, and literally everything else on the menu.
The Clocktower: Located in an old clocktower (duh!) in the Flatiron District, we instantly fell in love with the feel of this restaurant. It’s set up with rooms of different sizes and lush décor, like their billiards room and the vintage-inspired bar. The whole restaurant feels distinctly vintage and a bit British, in a good way. The food is equally pleasing. We had the full English breakfast and the aged cheddar omelette, both delicious. Oh, and we had the brioche French toast for dessert (don’t judge!)
The Standard Grill: Located in the swanky Standard Hotel, the Standard Grill has a great brunch and even better brunch drinks. We love the outdoor garden seating on warm days and there’s always a good chance you’ll spot a celeb or two. Some of our favorite dishes: the burger, the soft scrambled eggs, fritata, and their waffle. Added bonus, after brunch head on out to their beer garden for drinks after.
Estela:Two words – “ricotta dumplings.” Just get this dish and thank us later. The egg sandwich at this Nolita restaurant where President Obama has dined is a standout, too. The plates are small, so order a bunch and share them among friends. The restaurant is super cozy.
Locande Verde: This TriBeCa hotspot is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. It’s extremely chic and is simultaneously the best place for dinner, dates, meals with friends and brunch. That is, if you can get a reservation. The food is great. The drinks are strong. The atmosphere is equal parts rustic and sexy. I also appreciate that the menu has something literally for everyone. Feel like carboloading at brunch? Get the paccheri pasta with rock shrimp and calamari. Want something more healthy? There’s steak tartare or Zucchini frittata. Heck, there’s even cold-pressed juices if you’re on a liquid diet. There are also great desserts and sweet dished like lemon ricotta pancakes. You seriously cannot go wrong with Locande Verde.
Mercer Kitchen:In the heart of Soho is Mercer Kitchen which is a super swank restaurant great for a brunch date or brunch with girlfriends over drinks. It’s dark inside, which seems to promote drinking at all hours. The bar is awesome, the food is great. Start with the meatballs and then move on to their burger or egg dishes.
PS: We’ll be adding to this list, so if you have any suggestions, email firstname.lastname@example.org