Best pancakes in NYC: Five great riffs on a brunch classic

Don’t put up with substandard takes on this breakfast and brunch staple. We’ve found the best pancakes in town.

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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Masa pancakes with smoked maple syrup and mole butter at Empellón Cocina

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Caramelized apple pancake at Bowery Diner

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Buttermilk pancakes with vanilla-blueberry jam and honey-almond butter at Char No. 4

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Ricotta pancakes at Maialino

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Buttermilk pancakes at Seersucker

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Masa pancakes with smoked maple syrup and mole butter at Empellón Cocina

The best pancakes in NYC come with inspired toppings; such as sheep’s-milk ricotta and seasonal fruit at Maialino, thinly-sliced apples and house-made caramel sauce at the Bowery Diner, and Grandma’s molasses at Seersucker.

Empellón Cocina

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Masa (ground cornmeal) from Tortilleria Nixtamal replaces most of the traditional flour in chef Alex Stupak’s variation on the morning classic. Maple syrup—smoked on-site—and ancho-spiked mole-poblano butter lend savory, spicy richness to the dish. $13.

  1. 105 First Ave, (between 6th and 7th Sts)
Book online

The Bowery Diner

  • Price band: 2/4

Laced with thinly sliced gala apples and rich house-made caramel sauce, this dense, buttery behemoth tastes like the love child of an upside-down cake and a Dutch-style flapjack. The pancake is baked in a cast-iron skillet, which gives its edges a crisp, golden-brown crust. $14.

  1. 241 Bowery, (between Rivington and Stanton Sts), 10012
Book online

Char No. 4

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

These pliant discs—rendered extra-fluffy thanks to whipped egg whites folded into the buttermilk batter—are currently crowned with a thick, tart jam made in-house with Satur Farms blueberries. Two pats of creamy butter mixed with toasted almonds and clover honey are the final luscious touches. $12.

  1. 196 Smith St, (between Baltic and Warren Sts)
Book online

Maialino

Sheep’s-milk ricotta from Di Palo pops up twice in this Italian pancake riff: Chef Nick Anderer works the cheese into his batter along with lemon zest, then tops each short stack with an additional scoop. A scattering of seasonal fruit (right now it’s macerated strawberries) makes a bright and sweet syrup alternative. $15.

  1. 2 Lexington Avenue, 10010
Book online

Seersucker

  • Price band: 2/4

The unassuming pancakes at this Southern-leaning eatery come to life with a swipe of their salty-sweet accompaniment—a blend of unsalted Wisconsin butter, gooey Grandma’s molasses and kosher salt. Two strips of Burgers’ Smokehouse bacon from Missouri complete the platter. $14.

  1. 329 Smith St , (between Carroll and President Sts)
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