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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.

1/5
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

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

2/5
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Caramelized apple pancake at Bowery Diner

3/5
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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

4/5
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Ricotta pancakes at Maialino

5/5
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Buttermilk pancakes at Seersucker

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

Critics' pick

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.

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East Village

The Bowery Diner

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.

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Lower East Side

Char No. 4

Critics' pick

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.

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Carroll Gardens

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.

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Gramercy

Seersucker

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.

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Carroll Gardens

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