Brunch is a thing in New York. A big, talked about, debated about thing. Some people love it, some people hate it (gasp!), and many plan their weekends around it.
Regardless of which side of the fence you lean on, there is no denying that the choices are absolutely endless in New York City.
There are a few factors which helped to supply the chosen ones that made the cut for this list below. They needed to have a traditionally skewed brunch menu; pastas or pancakes alone wouldn’t cut it. Eggs had to factor high on the menu; I’m admittedly biased.
And for this list in particular, they needed to be in Manhattan. Brooklyn brunch spots are a whole other beast.
One of my forever favorites, I’ve been a frequent Mogador goer since I first moved to NYC, back when Friendster was still a thing, Facebook was just becoming a thing, and Instagram definitely wasn’t a thing.
Even without the now famous shots of the Middle Eastern Eggs platter, it was always a brunch staple. Now fast forwarding to a lot of years later, it’s proven it’s here to stay, in both picture as well as real life form.
Russ & Daughters
If you want to eat a Jewish deli on a platter, go Russ & Daughters. Be brave and go solo, (the only surefire way to attempt not waiting so long it’s nearly dinnertime, to be honest), pick a cured fish, pick an egg style, a bread, a bagel, even throw on latke on the side.
And eat it all, all by your lonesome self.
Best known for its avocado, lemon juice, olive oil and chili flakes on seven grain toast (they were one of the originals!), this place attracts the masses, with a certain tilt towards the Euros.
Even if it’s cool vibe has calmed down a bit over the years, Cafe Gitane is still a kind of a see and be seen sorta spot with some good dishes that keep the people happy.
I like eggs, I like avocado, and it’s no secret, I really like Australians. Two Hands is what I’d call “very me,” but it’s also very everyone else too, as the crowds, wait times and Instagram posts would prove.
Two Hands has a whimsical cafe vibe to it, some awesome egg, ricotta, avocado and yogurt driven dishes (all things quintessentially Oz breakfast style) and some not too bad looking waiters serving and smiling broadly as they go.
What are you waiting for?
See above. Slightly less whimsical, maybe more nautical? Either way, it offers a lot of the same as Two Hands, just presented as different versions.
Bluestone Lane has several versions at this point scattered all over Manhattan, and even has an outpost in Philly. The one on Carmine is the biggest, but you can satisfy all of your Aussie needs at all of them.
Butcher’s Daughter is for when you’re feeling like you want to pretend you’re in some hippie town in California and you’re happy to choose from a few simple greens and eggs and juices.
This is likely not for the masses, but if you’re looking to bring your alter-ego to life, step right in.
There is a method to my brunch madness, and it starts with a different continent. The menu reads like granola, porridge, muesli, avocado, eggs, pancakes and culminates with what they call “The Big Brekkie.”
Putting Australians into the equation at noon on a Sunday is just one that works; those Aussie’s know what’s up.
Jack’s Wife Freda
I go here on the weekly sometimes. It’s great for a weekday lunch, equally good for a weekend session and I somehow never tire of it. The quinoa grain bowls are incredibly full of color and flavor and are slightly different everyday.
The egg options are varied and feel a little more exciting than your standard scramble; think shakshuka, halloumi, labne and grilled tomatoes. Everything I’ve ever gotten at Jack’s Wife Freda is pretty much A+ caliber.
Egg bowls. Egg sandwiches. Make your own egg and cheese. Egg shaped salt and pepper shakers. You get it.
While not traditionally know for brunch, it’s actually a really great place you can hit, and pretty last minute at that. Locanda’s reputation of always been booked precedes it, and for once, that’s a good thing.
The famous ricotta with sourdough bread is available at all meals, and makes a nice start to a long and lazy Sunday session.
Simple and to the point, 12 Chairs brings the best of the spreads from Israel to Manhattan and doesn’t leave an ounce of the taste behind. Get hummus, get falafel and duh, get eggs, and then dig on in.
Jeffrey’s makes me happy. It’s a great and large space with friendly, also happy looking staff members, and the food is always solid.
There’s a kind of nautical, relaxed vibe happening hereIt’s been around for years at this point and is an establishment I’m more than okay with going back to again and again.
Estela is another hot spot more known for its ricotta pasta dumplings at dinner rather than its eggs at brunch. It’s also often pretty consistently a real challenge to get yourself into. At brunch you can usually snag an easy reservation, and you’ll get a seriously good meal while you’re at it.
I’m way into the egg, pancetta and avocado breakfast sandwich (the roll it’s on is oddly wonderful) and really, who ever said no to an omelette with a fat pile of caviar on top? Not me.