Brunch may be a New York institution, but too often the best brunch in NYC gets messed up by long lines, watered-down mimosas and substandard eggs. Ugh. But don’t despair, dear bruncher: With our brunch guide, you can discover under-the-radar and overlooked joints by browsing the full list of spots for the best brunch. NYC also has plenty of options to narrow it down by borough (looking for the best bagels in your neighborhood?). Plus, whether you're looking for top-notch mimosas, Bloody Marys or some of the most unique cocktails in NYC, we have your day-drinking bases covered with our list of boozy and bottomless brunch spots. In short: Read on, and own brunch.
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Best brunch in NYC
Enrique Olvera’s Mexican blockbuster has been a tough reservation to snag since its opening in late 2014—a #squadgoals dinner starring Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Adele and a visit from the Obamas hasn’t helped matters—but it’s less of a chore to enjoy the smash hit during brunch service. Pull up a stool at the sleek, blond-wood front bar for a serrano-fuesed Bloody María and inventive Mex plates.
The glowing Noho café from Andrew Carmellini—the man behind perpetually crowded downtown spots the Dutch and Locanda Verde—is like the current answer to that bustling Sex and the City–era favorite, Balthazar, with booths as buttery as béarnaise and an A-list clientele that includes Anna Wintour and Gwyneth Paltrow. Lush bistro eats are the go-to—think beef tartare with Tabasco aioli and soft-scrambled eggs with chèvre and truffle vinaigrette—punctuated by pâtissier Jennifer Yee’s acclaimed breads and viennoiseries.
Let’s put it this way: Where does the former President of the United States go for an idyllic brunch burger when he’s in town? Justin Smillie’s splashy, Italian-tinged Gramercy brasserie, that’s where. And when it’s not busy sating POTUS’s Peppadew-topped cheeseburger cravings, the copper-and-jade dining room beckons power brunchers and preternaturally leggy models, like Gigi Hadid and Iman, with smoked-salmon pizza, porchetta-and-egg sandwiches and farm omelettes.
Bloody Marys are to brunch what pinstripes are to the Bronx Bombers. At this dark-wood, naval-inspired Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, tavern, you can get their civilized take on that time-honored hair of the dog à la carte, or bring a buddy to split the bar’s brunch-on-steroids Bloody Mary Platter. It’s a cure that almost makes your hangover from last night worth it—almost.
No matter the weather, you will always find a Lululemon-clad crowd clamoring for a table outside the Australian café. The resident twenty-somethings are so desperate to eat at the Greenwich Ave locale, that you’ll regularly spot them chowing down al fresco in 40-degree weather under complimentary blankets. Maybe it’s the OG avocado toast with feta and sunflower sprouts? Maybe it’s the warming flat whites or the cooling ice-cream-topped iced lattes? Or maybe it's those friendly Melbournian attitudes radiating from the staff in the beachy dining room?
If you’ve spent more than one Saturday afternoon waiting in line for a few gorgeous slices of nova, this is the brunch for you. Gather your fellow lox lovers and slip into a time-warp vinyl booth to split a smoked-fish platter for four people at the coffeeshop sibling of the Lower East Side’s revered appetizing store. The beefed-up boards are each named after one of founder Joel Russ’s daughters and padded with a laundry list of accoutrements (rye bread, cream cheese).
Inventive riffs on morning fare draw both locals and comfort-seeking travelers—unfortunately even Guy Fieri and the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives crew—to Donnie D’Alessio’s homey Astoria standby. Post up on the turquoise swivel stools or settle into the family-style communal tables to nosh on a whopping 11 jazzed-up varieties of poached-eggs Benedict, from a King Creole with fried tilapia and shrimp to a South by Southwest plate with a corn tamale and pulled pork. Equally adventurous are brioche sandwiches, with fillings like sweet-savory Cap’n Crunch–crusted chicken and deep-fried pork tenderloin.
It’s not exactly orthodox for the neighborhood ramen-ya to offer a boozy brunch, but this counter from Ivan Orkin—a Jewish Japanophile from Long Island—has always been anything but traditional. On weekends, pair the chef’s steaming bowls with free-flowing pours of Japanese-ified cocktails. Want something tamer to tipple the day away? (Wimp.) Opt for draft pours of Kirin Ichiban or sake-splashed mimosas.
This downtown Caribbean corner joint playing a reggae-and-dancehall soundtrack offers a brunch power hour with the purchase of any brunch entrée. Guzzle 60 minutes’ worth of island cocktails like the Bob Marley–nodding One Love bellini (champagne, passion-fruit puree) or a boisterous, soju-based Hotstepper (spicy Bloody Mary, Scotch bonnet pepper) while feasting on West Indian–inspired platters.