The best breakfast in NYC

Make the most important meal of the day the best one at these top-notch breakfast restaurants in NYC

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Look, we love brunch in NYC as much as the next mimosa drinkers, but there’s something special about breakfast. Maybe it’s the sheer breadth of comforting options—from stacks of pancakes to hangover-curing breakfast sandwiches to the best bagels you’ll find anywhere. If you’re looking for serious a.m. fuel, turn to these restaurants for the best breakfast NYC has to offer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best breakfast in NYC



At her latest, the tiny Gallic-themed Buvette, Jody Williams has just enough space to feed a neighborhood following. As at Gottino (which still operates a few blocks away without her), the approach is small but exacting. She's filled every nook with old picnic baskets, teapots and silver trays, among other vintage ephemera. Breakfast standouts include a walnut-cranberry toast smeared with honey butter and pure bee pollen. 

Reason to get out of bed: Cr'Q Madame with classic ham, Gruyère and a sunny-side-up egg

West Village

Russ & Daughters

Russ & Daughters has been serving lox, herring and other specialty foods since 1914, and its Super Heebster of horseradish dill cream cheese, wasabi-flavored roe and sublime whitefish-salmon salad form a holy trinity with an unholy name.

Reason to get out of bed: Classic bagel and lox sandwich 

Lower East Side

El Rey Luncheonette

Chef Gerardo Gonzalez serves dishes inspired by the California coast at this Lower East Side eatery, having transformed the former El Rey café-bar into a modern lunch counter. In the 15-seat space—featuring communal tables, globe lambs and a multiwood bar—find breakfast dishes offered through the late afternoon, including garden-variety chia-seed pudding jazzed up with coconut ash and berries and an avocado del sur with flatbread and chimichurri eggs.

Reason to get out of bed: Bull’s blood beets with leeks, chili lime sunflower seeds and shaved egg

Lower East Side

Jack's Wife Freda

Keith McNally protégé Dean Jankelowitz (Schiller's, Pastis, Balthazar) is behind this morning-to-evening café. The 40-seat restaurant—sporting dark-green leather banquettes, brass railings and marble counters—serves homey fare. In the morning, find Stumptown coffee, homemade croissants and full breakfast plates.

Reason to get out of bed: Green shakshuka with two baked eggs in a green tomatillo and challah toast



A sit-down offshoot of Yuji Haraguchi's Kinfolk Studios and Whole Foods counters, the chestnut-walled restaurant specializes in ichi ju san sai—a traditional Japanese meal of one soup and three side dishes—for breakfast and lunch, with options like broccoli rabe shiraae (tofu-and-sesame-dressed salad), roasted Spanish mackerel and miso soup with ramp stalks.

Reason to get out of bed: Ichi ju Sansai meal


Barney Greengrass

Despite decor that Jewish mothers might call “schmutzy,” this legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch. Enormous egg platters come with the usual choice of smoked fish (such as sturgeon or Nova Scotia salmon). Prices are high but portions are large—and that goes for the sandwiches, too. Or try the less costly dishes: matzo-ball soup, creamy egg salad or noodle pudding served in a glass jar.

Reason to get out of bed: Smoked fish platters

Upper West Side


Since debuting Torrisi Italian Specialties in ’09, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick have gone from relative unknowns to restaurant moguls. Which brings us to theirsunny entry in the trio’s ever-growing domain: Santina, a glass-enclosed jewel box of a restaurant tucked neatly beneath the High Line. Though billed as “coastal Italian”—the place is named for Carbone’s Sicilian grandmother—the vibrant set-piece room reads more South Beach than southern Italy. Get the day off to a good start with an aromatic truffle egg salad and iced coffee. 

Reason to get out of bed: Italian chickpea pancakes

Meatpacking District


At this SoCal-inspired café, the lineup can change weekly. Expect colorful plates with equal parts Japanese, South American and Mediterranean influences like a bonito-chili–spiced black-rice bowl loaded with sweet potato and eggplant, and braised chicken in stick-to-your-ribs apricot couscous. In the early hours, start your day with love toast made with housemade tahini, raspberry, mint and honey or Encino man with sweet potatoe, za'atar, bacon, escarole, sunny side egg and alfalfa sprouts.

Reason to get out of bed: Huevo kathmandu with spiced chickpeas, fried egg, date relish, spinach, green chutney and corn tortilla


Tom’s Restaurant

Not much changes at the perfect pre–Brooklyn Museum eatery, Tom’s: The lemon-ricotta pancakes slathered in a medley of butters are still heavenly, cherry-lime rickeys maintain an old-soda-shoppe allure, and on weekend mornings, a line of hungry diners of all ages—munching on cookies and orange slices proffered by friendly staff—stretches around the block. Get here early for a timely eggs-and-coffee fix.

Reason to get out of bed: Lemon-ricotta pancakes

Prospect Heights

Clinton St Baking Company

Whether you’re craving a seasonally flavored muffin or a cold treat from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, this stroller-friendly bakery-café has what you need. Fill up on soup, salad or a sandwich for lunch; a burger, fried chicken or catch of the day for dinner; and eggs Benedict during the popular (i.e., crowded) weekend brunch. 

Reason to get out of bed: Pancakes (blueberry, banana walnut, chocolate chunk) with warm maple butter

Lower East Side
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See the best breakfast restaurants in America


Gary Seven

Is "Good Enough To Eat" still in business on the upper west side?  Also, Joseph Leonard in the village rarely disappoints.  Some of these selections make me suspect there was paid content in this article. 

Joe R M

Missed: Tom's Restaurant (made famous by Suzanne Vega and Seinfeld) and Deluxe up near Columbia University.