There’s more to New York’s best breakfast sandwiches than a mere bacon egg and cheese. Doled out at the city’s best coffee shops, New York delis and all-day restaurants, these morning sammies range from smoked salmon piled on bagels to Italian porchetta on fresh-baked bread.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to brunch in NYC
Best breakfast sandwiches in NYC
Venue says: “Let High Street cater your next breakfast meeting, photoshoot or event! Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org for catering inquiries.”
At some restaurants, bread is an afterthought—baskets of chalky, uninspired dinner rolls shuffled out with chilled, foil-wrapped butter. Here, it's the meal. In the morning, it takes the form of pillowy, amply poppy-seeded potato rolls that come slathered with plucky gherkin mayo and padded with thick slices of sweet Lancaster bologna, horseradish-zapped Amish cheddar and fried red onions in the fan-favorite Hickory Town sandwich; or it’s the buttery biscuit, popping with black pepper and subdued with sage, that hugs a cloud-soft egg, malted sausage and melty aged cheddar in the kitchen’s gorgeous send-up of a breakfast sandwich.
When Ben Jones’s Park Slope coffeeshop reopened in September 2016 following renovations, it didn’t just come back with a fresh coat of paint—Jones had also brought on new partner and sandwich connoisseur Josh Sobel (Mile End, Court Street Grocers), who added a slew of sammies to the café’s breakfast lineup. For the namesake sandwich, Sobel jumpstarts the classic scrambled-egg sandwich with Heritage Meats ham, aged Cabot cheddar, pickled red onion and finger-licking red eye-style sauce that you’ll crave. $8
New York’s lox-and-schmear field is crowded. Not to be outdone, Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman—the brains behind those cult-inducing Manhattan-meets-Montreal bagels—unleash this larger, 1,500-square-foot East Village expansion in the former home of century-old Italian bakery De Robertis. Inside, head baker Dianna Daoheung rolls out honey-boiled rounds topped with Black Seed standbys (tobiko cream cheese, beet lox), as well as exclusive new sandwiches like smoked salmon bookended with arugula, crème fraîche and a fried-caper omelette.
Capitalizing on the versatility of eggs, this breakfast-minded shop fries, scrambles, poaches and pickles its organic, locally sourced main ingredient to anchor bowls and to top sandwiches. Of the latter, find an advanced take on steak and eggs: Grass-fed tenderloin is crammed with chimichurri, caramelized onion aioli, farm green, fresh pickled jalapeno and a sunny-side-up egg inside a French hero.
There are plenty of healthy, colorful toasts on offer at this SoCal-inspired café—rhubarb compote with dragon fruit, housemade tahini with rasbperries and honey—but for a heartier morning meal, look to the house breakfast sandwich: Scrambled eggs are layered with sliced avocado, cheddar and pickled jalapenos, and doused with plenty of hot sauce. Now that should wake you up.
Ignacio Mattos has reined in his modernist tendencies at Estela, with an ever-changing, mostly small-plates menu that pivots from avant-garde toward intimate, bridging the gap between space-age Isa and the homey Italian he used to cook at Il Buco. You can see both influences at play with the chef's high-brow breakfast sandwich, which features salty pancetta, creamy avocado and a sunny-side-up egg tucked inside one of Bien Cuit's beautiful tebirke pastries.
At this restaurant-market hybrid, you can stock your larder or settle into the 19-seat dining room for dressed-up versions of classic sandwiches. You can go the refined bodega route with the house breakfast sandwich (soft-scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and arugula on a Balthazar ciabatta) or do as the Jerseyans do with a pork roll, featuring scrambled eggs, American cheese and Taylor ham on a Martin's potato roll.
At this 24-hour corner market, find stacked sandwich classics (chicken club, Italian sub) and original creations like the teriyaki-and-hot-pepper sandwich layered with creamy avocado slices, or the famous P.H.O. Sometimes what you want, though, is a purist BEC and for that, turn to the shop's breakfast sandwiches, simple combinations of griddled eggs, morning meats and American cheese on your choice of a roll or bagel.
At Il Buco’s casual offshoot—one part winecentric restaurant (Vineria), one part gourmet food pantry (Alimentari)—you can find an Italian-accented breakfast sandwich with a fried egg, slices of salame rosa and nutty Fontina cheese built on a loaf of house-baked bread.
Photograph: CC/Flickr/Robyn Lee
Low-and-slow meats are the stars of this midtown sandwich shop, outfitted with a communal table, wood counters and exposed brick walls. Breakfast combos include the Southern-style Ol' Grumpy(beef chili, soft-scrambled eggs, pimento cheese, cilantro) and the Mediterranean-esque Giulia, with sunny-side eggs, olive spread and basil.
Venue says: “Come visit us for homemade breads, pastries, pizzas and more!”
This tiny, low-key sandwich shop comes to us from owners Caroline Fidanza (Marlow & Sons), Rebecca Collerton (Diner) and Elizabeth Schula (Il Buco). Together, they create simple yet remarkable sandwiches that rely on pedigreed produce. Most are served on house-baked sea-salt-speckled focaccia, a versatile vehicle that encases sardines, salsa verde;and house-pickled eggs in the Captain’s Daughter, a delicious riff on a pan bagnat.
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In walking distance to the Barclay Center, Brooklyn’s Bella Gioia is reminiscent of an underground eating club I once saw on an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Weathered crates lined exposed brick, adding to the European charm and open kitchen. Bella Gioia’s 5-10pm dinnertime is ideal for the after work diner. make sure to watch the clock because the kitchen stops serving at 8:45pm and is subject to change daily. Our server worked the room like a ballerina touching each table with a welcoming energy. With Italian accent in tow she pronounced everything on the menu with authenticity, making me want to reach for my Rosetta Stone. The sharable arancini ($9) was rich and flavorful enough to stand alone, only to be enhanced by the four dipping sauces and our red wine. Entrées missed the mark on flavor, texture and temperature. Ravioli de Cacocciuli ($19) served artichoke two ways, filling and fried – the subtle flavor of the filling was bumped up by the salt level of the tomato crème and the fried artichoke topper should have its own place on the menu since it was so good, however the ravioli’s pasta was thick and lacked that melt-in-your-mouth feel. Speaking of lacking, the Scallopini al Marsala ($23) lacked heat – the veal and sauce were room temperature to touch and the creamy polenta was bland. Dessert was a delicious dense chocolate cake ($10) swirled with a passion fruit drizzle. Overall, Bella Gioia has potential and great service, but can lack in final det
Venue says: “Voted as one of the top 10 best Italian restaurants in Brooklyn, we invite you to come in and truly taste the difference of Sicily.”