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
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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.
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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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While New York's steakhouse stalwarts (Keens, Peter Luger) remain staunchly true to their original forms, today's newer meat meccas have redefined the boundaries of the genre. From glitzy extravagance (and Bieber appearances) at Bowery Meat Company to laidback fun (and $19 cuts) at Quality Eats, it's clear there's no one way to cut that cake. For their take on the trope, European proprietors Emir Muhic and Gigi Dzidzovic (DiWine) adopt the meet-in-the-middle approach, taking over the first three floors of a renovated 1920s-era brownstone with a contemporary-minded restaurant that also channels the building's old-time grace with gray-stained wood panels, sleek marble counters and a working fireplace. In the 132-seat space, diners can settle elegant Windsor-style chairs for an array of traditional and creative starters, as well as seven cuts of steak—all tag-teamed by co-chefs Russell Rosenberg (the Boathouse) and Dusan Celic (DiWine). A crab cake ($22), garnished with marinated jicama, apple salad and remoulade was wonderful—you’ll fight over the last bite. The jumbo shrimp cocktail ($18) featured plump, finger-long crustaceans served over ice, the cocktail sauce fiery from just enough horseradish. Of course, if you’re at a steakhouse, you’re going to go for the beef (why bother if not?). A gargantuan ribeye ($49) arrives at the table still sizzling, flanked by béarnaise and peppercorn sauces. The well-seasoned cut is perfectly cooked, so the sauces are gilding the lily. Yo
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