Best brunch places in East Village: The weekend starts here

Which places in the East Village are worth getting out of bed for? Check out the best brunch spots for a late-morning weekend meal.

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Start your perfect Saturday or Sunday in leisurely fashion at one of the best brunch places in the East Village. If the wait’s too long at legendary brunch spot Prune, there’s no shortage of worthy alternatives. Head to spacious, Southern-accented Peels for a buttermilk biscuit topped with scrambled eggs and bacon, Northern Spy Food Co. for the memorable “chicken and egg” sandwich, or Back Forty for seasonal-fruit-laden pancakes. Afterward, hit the neighborhood’s shops or attractions.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to East Village

Back Forty

  • Critics choice

Chef-restaurateur Peter Hoffman (Savoy) is behind this seasonal-eats tavern, where farmhouse chic prevails in the dining room (vintage tools adorn the walls) and on the menu. Gastropub fare—like the pleasantly gamey grass-fed hamburger or pork jowl nuggets, frozen in a crisp jacket of batter—is uniformly solid. Veggies shine too: Baby cauliflower gratin is layered with leeks and Gruyère, and the exemplary brussels sprouts are slicked with cherry butter and served with

  1. 190 Ave B, (between 11th and 12th Sts)
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JoeDoe

  • Critics choice

Inside this antiques-filled dining room, chef Joe Dobias (Savor NY) gives life to his wildest, and most successful, impulses: An appetizer of griddled challah smeared with chicken liver takes on a subversive (and delicious) edge when sandwiched with smoky bacon and caramelized onions. An inventive entrée features tender slices of beef served with sesame spaetzle and a gorgeous curl of bok choy, petrified in a translucent batter. The dining masses have yet to catch on—get in

  1. 45 E 1st St, (between First and Second Aves)
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Maharlika Filipino Moderno

  • Rated as: 4/5

After the success of their brunch-only pop-up at Resto Leon, new-wave Filipino darlings Nicole Ponseca and Enzo Lim have finally found a permanent home in the East Village. Fans of their daytime fare can revisit hits like eggs Imelda (poached eggs on pan de sal with taro leaves, coconut milk and prawns) and Sizzling Sisig (a spiced mix of shredded pig’s snout, ear, cheek and belly). New to this iteration: dinner plates, including Southeast Asian spins on American classics,

  1. 111 First Ave, (between 6th and 7th Sts)
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Mercadito

  • Critics choice

This slim, urban beach shack shrouded in bamboo thatch serves some of the city’s most consistently satisfying Mexican food. Instead of finding happy-hour throngs checking beepers for tables, you’ll see a chef-owner inside the open kitchen. At Mercadito, whose name means “little market,” the portions are designed to be small: Instead of huge platters filled out with rice and beans, you’ll find miniature tacos and tostados bursting with original flavors. Start with

  1. 179 Ave B, (between 11th and 12th Sts)
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Northern Spy Food Co.

  • Critics choice

Part of the problem with eating well—healthfully, deliciously and environmentally correctly—is that it’s expensive. Enter Northern Spy Food Co., a restaurant that serves locally sourced meals at reasonable prices (no dish costs more than $15). Chef Nathan Foot’s frequently changing menu is based almost entirely on what’s in season (Northern Spy is an apple indigenous to the Northeast). Rounding out the farm-to-table experience is a general store filled with locavore

  1. 511 E 12th St, (between Aves A and B)
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Peels

  • Critics choice

This homespun eatery, from the fashionable folks behind Freemans, offers a southern dining experience with urban polish. A downstairs café and lunch counter features baked goods, salumi and sandwiches. Upstairs, a more spacious dining room evokes a living room on an antebellum estate. Despite the domestic feel, even the homiest food tastes like a professional cooked it: Cheese grits, served under delicate shrimp and a fried egg, are as rich as polenta, and the buttermilk fried

  1. 325 Bowery , (at 2nd St)
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Prune

  • Critics choice

Tiny, well-lit Prune is still as popular as it was the day it opened. Gabrielle Hamilton’s French mother developed this fearless chef’s palate early on: Expect creative dishes like Manila clams with hominy and smoked paprika butter, and roasted suckling pig with pickled tomatoes, black-eyed-pea salad and chipotle mayo. This is the area’s go-to brunch spot, so beware: The wait for a table can stretch over an hour.

  1. 54 E 1st St, (between First and Second Aves), 10003
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