The best spots for brunch in Queens
For a chill dining experience filled with burritos, tacos and fantastic huevos rancheros, visit this Long Island City restaurant and comedy theater, which houses two stages and a separate dining area. At each table you’ll start with a complimentary order of tortilla chips and homemade salsa. Check out the patio or the downstairs bar and performance space, which hosts a variety of acts. The kitchen serves all kinds of savory Tex-Mex standbys, but for a twist, try the “yoga” burrito (avocado and fresh goat cheese) or the seafood burrito (fried shrimp or fish with wasabi sauce).—Evelyn Derico
This dinner-focused spot opens its doors to the daytime crowd for a weekends-only $15 prix fixe. Coffee plus one cocktail is included with each entrée—choose from hearty favorites such as banana-bread French toast or the Breakfast Lox pizza—or upgrade to bottomless booze for just $17 more. Even if you’re recovering from late-night shenanigans, the atmosphere has the perfect amount of bustle without being annoying. Sit near the entrance for a front-row seat to the live-music duo, performing soulful acoustic covers of Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson and Jewel.—Jessica Lundgren
A museum morning followed by weekend brunch simply screams New York. Especially when that brunch comes courtesy of husband-and-wife eccentrics Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, who run this funky daytime cafeteria inside Long Island City’s MoMA PS1. The digs are cheekily familiar—fashioned after a schoolhouse, they boast decorative chalkboards, old class photos and cubbyhole desks—but the midmorning offerings are brash, bold and daily-changing. Take that picky-eating, pancake-ordering brunch friend and teach ’em the golden M. Wells rule: Eat first, ask questions later.—Christina Izzo
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.
Expect this trendy spot to be packed during peak brunch hours, as patrons wait for excellent coffee, craft beers and hangover-helper classics. With offerings such as Gouda grilled cheese and Ranchers' Eggs, carnivores won’t even realize the menu is completely vegetarian. Early risers may drop in as early as 9am, while late sleepers can brunch until 4:45pm.—Jessica Lundgren
So you took the N train to the famous Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, caroused all night and went home with an attractive Astorian (is there any other kind?). Now it’s morning, and you need a perfectly balanced prosciutto-and-Brie omelette in a quiet, wood-paneled pub. Head to the humble but mighty Sparrow, just across the street from the beer garden. Its low-rent gray awning belies its foodie status, but your new Astoria friend will know it. The lookers all do.—Silvija Ozols
Empire Steak House – East
For the classic New York steakhouse experience, look no further than Empire Steak House. Start with an hors d'oeuvre like jumbo shrimp cocktail ($21.95), a Maryland crab cake ($18.95) and French onion soup ($8.95). Carnivores might have a hard time deciding on a main course, though—choices include a Kobe burger ($28.95), dry-aged emperor’s steak for two ($129.95) or a twelve-ounce Wagyu ribeye ($275). Chilean sea bass ($35.95) and spaghetti with lobster ($36.95) might tempt seafood lovers, too. There are plenty of steakhouse sides to go with your meat, like truffled mac and cheese ($15.95), creamed spinach ($10.95) and a jumbo baked potato ($6.95). If you somehow still have room for sweets, the dessert menu is also quite extensive, with treats like apple strudel a la mode ($13.95), chocolate lava cake ($10.95) and creme brulee ($9.95).
Venue says: “Host your private event in our upstairs mezzanine with a full bar or downstairs in our private wine room.”