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Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The best brunch in NYC to try right now

The best brunch in NYC includes boozy specials, old-school New York gems and newcomer all-day cafés

By Emma Orlow

Dining out on weekend mornings 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. Hungry for more? Check out the 101 very best things to do in NYC.   

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Brunch spots we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

Photograph: Teddy Wolff


Restaurants Japanese Noho

If Bessou only offered its chicken karaage and nothing else, we'd still sing its praises to no end. But this exceptional Japanese restaurant offers stellar pancakes, pickle-accented bowls and, yes, one stand-out fried poultry dish.

Clinton St. Baking Company

Restaurants American Lower East Side

If we could brunch every day, we would do it in heart beat, and you'd find us at Clinton St. Baking Company. We never tire of the pancakes and breakfast-as-dinner fare, so, naturally, we invited it to hold court at Time Out Market New York. 

Best brunch in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Jake Lindeman

1. Gertie

Restaurants Cafés Williamsburg

Williamsburg’s new hot-spot, Gertie serves up near perfect breakfast with the soul of old-school New York. Here, luncheonette-style dining is made for 2019 (there's an Instammable mural designed by artist, Lea Carey). Excellent egg 'n cheese sandwiches are offered on bialys (made in-house by Savannah Turley) to which you can add mushrooms, lox or seasonal ingredients, such as ramps.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Brittany D.

2. House of Small Wonder


If last night went, um, well, take your new “friend” here: They’re sure to be impressed that you know about this clandestine Japanese brunch spot, hidden behind a nondescript door in a windowless wall. House of Small Wonder is perfectly named, with a small, enchanting tree sprouting at the center of the greenhouse restaurant.Think of it has a romantic (but not too romantic) way to start the morning after.

EGG SHOP el camino
Paul Wagtouicz

3. Egg Shop

Restaurants Sandwich shops Nolita

Capitalizing on the versatility of eggs, this eatery fries, scrambles, poaches and pickles its organic, locally sourced main ingredient, which tops sandwiches and anchors bowls of miso-soaked quinoa and farm greens. And it all happens in a pleasant, mint-green environment that sports playful, yolk-related illustrations and ceiling lights shaped like egg cartons.

B&H Dairy
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/C. Johnson

4. B&H Dairy

Restaurants Diners East Village

Open in the East Village since 1938, B&H Dairy is a 400-square-foot lunch counter that still serves sunny-side-up eggs and pierogi with a side of on-the-house challah.The incredibly gregarious staff makes every moment worth it, even when it’s mobbed with hungry (and hungover) diners.

Broken Shaker
Photograph: Clay Williams

5. Broken Shaker

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Cocktail bars Kips Bay

Everyone's favorite hotel bar, Broken Shaker just launched their very own brunch. Pulling inspiration from its Miami roots, the  Saturday and Sunday morning menu offers a clever play on the brunch classics: avocado toast is transformed into a tostada (avocado salad, black bean, cotija, red onion, and radish and corn tortilla); a Bloody Mary by mixologist Evan Hawkins is made light and refreshing as a green juice of smoked tomatillo, cilantro, lime, jalepeños, beer, pickles and vodka; but the best is their ode to the everything bagel, instead using malawach Yemenite bread, served with cream cheese and lox. 

6. Freemans

Restaurants American Lower East Side

Tucked away in an easily missed dead end, this treasure feels like it’s straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, in all of its taxidermied, vintage-wallpaper–laden, old-book–strewn glory, creating a nice atmosphere to spill the beans with pals at one of the long communal tables.

Photograph: Ben Nusbaum

7. Golda

Restaurants Mediterranean Bedford-Stuyvesant

So much about brunch is centered on gossiping about last night, but sometimes you just want to eat alone. If so, head to this healthy-ish all-day Mediterranean café, where you can sit at the counter and nibble on Levant brunch options, such as cauliflower chermoula or our favorite, the eggplant menemen with crispy egg and saffron yogurt.

8. Esperanto

Restaurants Brazilian East Village

Here, you can scarf down tapas and tap your toes to live music while gazing out on one of Avenue C’s gorgeous community gardens, located directly across the street. The good times don’t stop there. The brunch cocktails—mimosas, Bloody Marys, sangria and other quaffs—are ace for a buzzy day off, with a choice deal to match: One tipple is $8, two cost just $15, three are $20, and you can guzzle the whole damn pitcher for $36.

Photograph: Courtesy Ruby's Vintage

9. Ruby’s Vintage

Bars Café bars Harlem

Located on Strivers’ Row, Ruby’s Vintage is named after actor and civil rights activist Ruby Dee, whose childhood abode now houses the restaurant.With a focus on soul food and cocktails, the joint encourages you to sop up the pain of last night’s liquor with some carbo-loading grits and a hair-of-the-dog tipple.

Photograph: Tatsuro Nishimura

10. Clinton St. Baking Company - Time Out Market

Restaurants American DUMBO

We love all the curated offerings at Time Out Market, but Clinton St. Baking Company absolutely slays in the breakfast department. Opt for the iconic fluffy pancakes, which go downevensweeterthankstotheopen-air views of the river and the Brooklyn Bridge.


11. El Castillo de Jagua

Restaurants Dominican Lower East Side

This casual Lower East Side gem was an Anthony Bourdain favorite for good reason. El Castillo de Jagua serves up heaping portions of delicious food, like its mofongo, a dense mash of garlicky green plantains and fried pork. Rest assured, if you have a laundry list of chores to do, the grub comes out fast.

12. Oriental Garden

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

If brunch was simply about the food, we’d never make it beyond our local bodega for a bacon-egg-and-cheese. But as we all know, the meal is a ritual, allowing us to settle into our full weekend mode while catching up with friends and nursing
a hangover. Which is why dim sum is ideal for the tradition, especially at this Chinatown go-to, which has a convivial vibe and tables filled with bamboo baskets teeming with bite-size, 
piping-hot dumplings.

Photograph: Courtesy Nick Sethi

13. Short Stories

Bars Café bars East Village

It’s easy to overlook Short Stories as just another place where Reformation-clad fashion-industry folks post up while dancing to a hypebeast DJ’s spins. But this new millennial-pink nightlife spot serves brunch with bite thanks to Eleven Madison Park alum Daniel Bagnall. With the food on-point and a bumpin’ playlist, it’s the place for a high- energy weekend-morning meet-up.

The Honeywell
Photograph: Angie Vasquez

14. The Honeywell

Bars Cocktail bars Harlem

Who says brunch is a drag? This ’70s-style Hamilton Heights cocktail den has a weekend deal—$40 for a meal, a shot and a cocktail—all alongside drag performances that conjure up “Disco Inferno” visions.


15. Upland

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Contemporary American Flatiron

The California-inspired Upland has rustic design touches that let your mom and pop stay within their comfort zone while still feeling hip (Barack Obama has dined here several times). Chef Justin Smillie’s brunch burger is a crowd-pleaser, but adventurous folks can dig into beef tartare studded with black trumpet mushrooms, puffed farro, anchovies and an egg yolk.

Sol Sips
Photograph: Courtesy of Sol Sips

16. Sol Sips

Restaurants Vegan Bushwick
Francesca “Sol” Chaney and her mother, a certified nutritionist, offer vegan fare that’s affordable for even low-income communities. On the weekends, brunch is priced on a sliding scale, meaning customers can pay an amount that’s commensurate with their income. Pro tip: Order the chickpea-scramble breakfast burrito.
Russ & Daughters Café, best brunch NYC
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

17. Russ & Daughters Café

Restaurants Delis Lower East Side

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). There's another location on the Upper East Side, in the basement of the Jewish Museum.

18. Atla

Restaurants Mexican Noho

The more casual, cooler follow-up from Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes' Flatiron megahit spotlights healthy Mexican and Central American fare: chayote squash salad, flax seeds chilaquiles and striped bass aguachile. There’s also a strong emphasis on drinks; diners can begin the day with café con leche and end with agave-leaning cocktails by beverage director Yana Volfson. Taking cues from the community-focused restaurants of Mexico City, the 60-seat venue features sleek black and oakwood furniture, a white terrazzo bar and verdant monstera accents lining the walls.


19. Roey's

Restaurants Italian West Village

Rosemary’s, the scene-y Italian restaurant in the West Village, reconceptualized it's second location, Rosemary's Pizza, flipping it into Roey's. In place of pizza, the new concept offers an all-day menu of savory miso oatmeal, Dutch boy pancakes and cacio e pepe egg sandwiches, both in their pleasing sit-down area and their to-go counter, which also serves coffee. At night, the coffee area converts into a bar.

Banana cream pie from Pies & Thighs
Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

20. Pies ’n’ Thighs

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Soul and southern American Williamsburg

Beginning as a drunk-food closet at the back of a bar, this Southern-fried grease trap run by the three chefs—Carolyn Bane, Erika Geldzahler and Sarah Buck, who met working at Diner—retains the DIY, seat-of-the-pants spirit of the dive that it sprang from: food specials scrawled on sheets of paper, chairs and tables that might have been salvaged from a public school, and borderline aggressive bright overhead lighting. The food, not the venue, is clearly the draw. The down-and-dirty Southern fare is honest, cheap and often delicious. The fried chicken—simply brined, floured and fried—is among the city’s most succulent, with a greaseless, extra-crispy crust.

Studio Freehand
Photograph: Courtesy Eric Medsker

21. Studio at Freehand Hotel

Restaurants Mediterranean Kips Bay

Were not one to go all the way to Midtown for brunch, let alone in a hotel. But if you’ve been to Grammercy’s Freehand Hotel, you’ll agree it’s worth the distance. The Freehand property has multiple restaurants and bars, but for brunch you’ll want to head to the casual-yet-stylish Studio at the Freehand for head baker Zoe Kanan breakfast-time carb mastery.

Photograph: Yelp/ Lana T.

22. Chez Ma Tante

Restaurants Canadian Greenpoint

A visit to Chez Ma Tante sometimes feels like you’ve stepped into a Montreal restaurant with its European influences sans any pretense. You’ll find the restaurant on a sleepy corner in Greenpoint not too far from the waterfront. The menu seems simple but everything coming out of the kitchen speaks for itself: stripped down recipes that focus on quality ingredients that you can’t stop eating. Our favorite? The stracciatella with marcona almonds and preserved lemon.  

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sara S.

23. Clay

Restaurants American creative Harlem

Housed in what was once the legendary Perk’s jazz bar, this uptown sleeper opened late last year with chef Gustavo Lopez (Terroir, Lupa, DBGB) at the helm, turning tired “farm-to-table” on its head. Trend chasers should seek out the corner spot’s contemporary yet cozy bi-level dining rooms, where rib-sticking midday meals are ushered to blond-wood tables on hand-thrown earthenware. At this historic jazz stalwart, you’ll catch a glimpse of both new and old Harlem.

Waffle brunch at Queens Comfort
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

24. Queens Comfort

Restaurants American Astoria

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.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Charli H.

25. Davelle

Restaurants Japanese Lower East Side

Milk toast seems to be everywhere in New York right now. Get out of bed this weekend to see the artistry that is Davelle's own mesmerizing berries and cream toast that creates a delicious checkerboard effect.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Daniel H.

26. Kopitiam

Restaurants Malaysian Two Bridges

The Malaysian café is now bigger and (arguably) better with an all-day menu of affordable small plates and snacks. Their nasi lemak, the national dish of Malaysia coconut rice, ikan bilis sambal (fried anchovies and peanut sambal), cucumbers and hard boiled egg, is a comforting way to start any morning.   


27. Peaches

Restaurants Soul and southern American Bedford-Stuyvesant

At this pioneering Bed-Stuy restaurant, owners Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman (both of the Smoke Joint) ably merge two trends—Greenmarket and upscale Southern. Appetizers emphasize salads, like the toss of watermelon, arugula and spicy pickled ginger. The rest of the menu hews closer to Cajun and Creole: a juicy half chicken sports a salt-and-chili rub, and garlicky shrimp with tomato gravy are served over fluffy grits.

28. Sunday in Brooklyn

Restaurants American Williamsburg

Contrary to what the name might suggest, Sunday in Brooklyn is open for brunch every day of the week. The rustic three-story space boasts an outdoor patio, private dining room and rooftop garden. The brunch menu includes items like an egg and sausage with gochujang aioli or fried eggs with chickpea panisse, feta cheese, charred onion and pepper relish.

Photograph: Courtesy Shuka

29. Shuka

Restaurants Mediterranean Soho

Shuka is complete with a rustic yet vibrant menu inspired by Ayesha Nurdjaja’s travels through Spain and North Africa, as well as by her experience on the line at top Tel Aviv kitchens. The decor has likewise been rejuvenated, with Moroccan-influenced tiles and textiles to accompany a menu full of meze (fried halloumi, spicy turmeric-ginger carrots) and dishes like whole porgy with zucchini, tomatoes with a fiery zhoug sauce, and cod tagine with potatoes, cracked olives and pickled lemon.

30. Fairfax

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Wine bars West Village

Another sunny café from Gabriel Stulman’s team is Fairfax, parked right in the middle of the West Village. Sporting of-the-moment mid-century modern decor and large windows, it’s a prime place to post up alone with a laptop or for break-up with that might go south.


31. Pilar Cuban Eatery

Restaurants Cuban Bedford-Stuyvesant

The name of this family-run restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant comes from Ernest Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, which he used for fishing trips in Cuba. One peek at the menu reveals this eatery stays true to its Cuban roots. For entrees, there’s a classic pressed cubano sandwich served with more plantain chips, arroz con pollo or ropa vieja. Sip on cuban soft drinks like the pineapple-flavored Jupiña or the yerba mate–spiked Materva. If you need a caffeine fix, they’ve got you covered there too: the cafe con leche especial is a sweet combination of Cafe Bustelo espresso and condensed milk.

La Mercerie
Photograph: Courtesy La Mercerie

32. La Mercerie

Restaurants French Soho

The stylish sit-down café, set in Roman and Williams Guild, also has to-go service for its food and home goods. While you're noshing on French fare from chef Marie-Aude Rose (wife of Le Coucou's Daniel Rose), scope out the kitchenware that is also for sale. 

Photograph: Courtesy Joyce Kim

33. Golden Diner

Restaurants Diners Two Bridges

The former Momofuku Ko and Torrisi chef opened an unlikely solo project: a diner in Two Bridges. Diner culture is dwindling in New York and Sam Yoo hopes to change that. In addition to classics like grilled cheese, expect yuba club sandwiches, matcha crumb cake and chicken katsu BLTs.  

Bottomless brunch at Miss Lily's 7A
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

34. Miss Lily’s 7A Cafe

Restaurants Caribbean East Village

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 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.

Photograph: Courtesy West-bourne

35. West-bourne

Restaurants Vegetarian Soho

Inspired by 1960s Los Angeles, this California cool café in SoHo boasts a flavor-packed, health-driven menu that won’t leave you feeling guilty or lethargic. That said, the plates—named for neighborhoods and institutions around L.A.—don’t follow any strict nutritional rules, but rather a general ethos of wellness lead by owner and Golden State native Camilla Marcus. The healthful additions from the open kitchen are smart and subtle, like buckwheat in vanilla crème-fraîche–topped Malibu waffles, a pair of Echo Tacos loaded with potato-pepper hash and crisp romaine, and, of course, a chia pudding tinged with coconut and decorated with toasted almonds and fresh raspberries. If nothing else, the donation from every purchase to the poverty-fighting Robin Hood Foundation will leave you feeling pretty damn full.

Andrew Izaguirre

36. Tamra Teahouse

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Cafés Crown Heights

What initially feels like a hodge podge menu of curries, avocado toast with tostones, and ginger shrimp pho, makes sense when you learn more about the owners of Tamra Teahouse's personal history and culinary journeys. Founders Yunha Moh and Draman Berthe are first-generation immigrants (from Korea and Mali, respectively) serving up dishes that might just give fusion a good name again. With collective experience from prior jobs at Saltie, Milk Bar, Pok Pok, and Lucky Bee, the duo pair their culinary training with Afro-Asian inflections: curry is the common ground. We recommend the butternut squash curry served with corn, potatoes served with jasmine rice, chadon beni and daikon pickles or the oxtail version braised in coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, and shrimp paste, with beansprouts, chadon beni, scallions, peanuts, lime and jasmine rice. Finish things off with a korean medicinal tea made from dates or a Carribbean sorrel cocktail.

Copyright Caroline Voagen Nelson, Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

37. Cookshop

Restaurants American Chelsea

Nestled next to the High Line, Cookshop is perfect for alfresco dining. The seasonal, locally sourced dishes and array of fresh, piquant cocktails—many of which contain bitters or muddled fruits—are not to be missed. For a decadent brunch, try the French toast, served with almonds, poached blood orange, tangerines and cinnamon pastry cream. Appetizers include beignets with spiced pear compote and smoked arctic char with crème fraîche and pumpernickel toast. Many dishes are grilled, rotisseried or prepared in a wood-burning oven, in a wide-ranging display of sophisticated food craftsmanship.

38. Jack’s Wife Freda

Restaurants Contemporary American Nolita

Israeli-born Maya Jankelowitz met her South African husband, Dean, while working at Balthazar, and the patrons at their charming, sunlit Soho nook look like holdovers from that late-breakfast bastion—i.e., tiny-waisted ladies who brunch, and the men who love them. But the Jankelowitzes’ café offers Jewish-tinged bites as warm and comforting as anything your bubbe ever made you. With one (or three) refreshing cantaloupe mimosas, chowing down next to hoards of lithe brunch ladies ain’t so bad after all. In fact, it’s pretty damn great.

Photograph: Liz Clayman

39. Dimes

Restaurants Californian Chinatown

These days Dimes is overrun by skaters with trust funds, but the quality of the brunch has remained just as cool as ever. With playful interior design and art made by customers punctuating the space, it’s one of the most pleasant places for morning fare. Dimes has their market, the main restaurant and Dimes Deli, which remains our favorite of the three. Here you might find macro bowls with ingredients such as sesame seed, purple sweet potato or hijiki, salad with pomegranate and fennel, or their breakfast burrito, which is also excellent.  

5 Leaves
Jonny Valiant

40. Five Leaves

Restaurants American Greenpoint

Five Leaves these days is mobbed, but their truffle fries are worth the wait. Looking for a reason to get your booty out of bed? This might be it. 


41. The Butcher’s Daughter

Restaurants Juice bars Nolita

From humble juice bar beginnings to raw-food superstar with bicoastal outposts, this sun-drenched café in Nolita has vegetarians hooked — and for good reason. The rustic-chic vibe — complete with blonde-wood counters, white-washed brick, and a plethora of lush greenery — sets the scene for farm-forward plates. Not to be overlooked, the extensive drinks list includes super-food smoothies, elixir shots and even cold-pressed cocktails.

42. Egg

Restaurants Soul and southern American Williamsburg

This Southern-accented breakfast and lunch abode has no parallel in Billyburg or beyond—which means you can expect a bit of a wait to get seated. Once you do get in, perch on chairs at a paper-covered table (crayons are provided), wake up at a leisurely speed to the occasional old-time folk music on the sound system, and scarf down a cheap meal that may include eggs Rothko (a slice of brioche with a hole in the middle that accommodates an easy-cooked egg, all of which is covered with sharp cheddar) or a terrific country-ham biscuit sandwich.


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