Slathered in butter, drizzled in syrup and piled high—there’s something truly magical about a good stack of pancakes, especially when they’re the best pancakes in NYC. Flipped off flattops at the city’s best diners and luncheonettes, or delicately dressed with seasonal fruit at one of New York’s best fine dining restaurants, a fresh-from-the-griddle stack is one of the best ways to do breakfast in NYC.
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Best pancakes in NYC
This mile-high stack has probably been flooding your Instagram feed for some time now and there's a good reason why: They're the best pancakes in NYC. The fluffy flapjacks are smothered in an ethereal matled hazelnut maple syrup for a nutty and rich sauce to sop up every bite in.
The folks forming queues outside this stroller-friendly bakery-café aren't doing so for their health. Instead, it's for the kitchen's wildly popular pancakes: fluffy, golden griddle cakes that you can (and should) smother liberally with Maine blueberry jam and warm, luscious maple butter.
Choosing between Bubby’s sourdough and sour-cream pancakes is like a parent picking which child they love more. The griddle cakes are adapted from an heirloom recipe by famed food writer James Beard: Half the milk in Beard’s recipe is subbed out for delicately tangy Hudson Valley sour cream, yielding tender, golden pancakes with a supremely airy crumb. The stack is dressed with maple syrup, copious pats of butter and your choice of fruity accoutrements.
The legendary eatery has relocated from the West Village to the LES, but still churns out kitchen-sink dishes for a 12-year-old’s palate, such as pumpkin-pistachio–peanut-butter–cinnamon pancakes and chicken-burrito soup. Diners marvel at the wacky fare on a 200-item menu and then bide their time; many sit on the floor while waiting for one of 20 seats.
Not much changes at the perfect pre–Brooklyn Museum eatery, Tom’s: The lemon-ricotta pancakes slathered in a medley of butters are still heavenly, cherry-lime rickeys maintain an old-soda-shoppe allure, and on weekend mornings, a line of hungry diners of all ages—munching on cookies and orange slices proffered by friendly staff—stretches around the block. Get here early for a timely eggs and coffee fix.
Brunch is the most indulgent and escapist of meals. Enter Santina, a glass box of coastal Italian exoticism opened by Major Food Group titans Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick in the Meatpacking District in 2015. Even a humble stack of pancakes gets a transportive update, with almond flour used as a nutty base, and almond butter and berries available for topping.
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A throwback to the artsy East Village of decades past, this 24-hour Ukrainian diner is famous for such authentic savory grub as borscht, kielbasa and pierogi, but if it's all-American wholesomeness you're after, you can't go wrong with a plate of their from-scratch buckwheat pancakes, served all day.
The restaurant is a painstaking homage to the neighborhood trattorias of Rome with a menu representing dishes of the region. The pancakes harken back to the Italian city, with copious dollops of ricotta in the custardy batter and orange marmalade on top of their browned, crispy-edged exterior.
Café Luluc sets itself apart from the Smith Street bistro-and-brunch pack by starting out early and staying up late, serving full breakfast from 7:30am on weekdays, and keeping the hopping dining room going until 2am on weekends. Eggs and pancakes (butter-drenched cast-iron flapjacks served with mixed fruit and maple syrup) give way to tasty twists on bistro classics at lunch and dinner.
At Norma’s, breakfast is the whole affair: Gourmet egg and pancake concoctions are served in impossibly huge portions. Will you go sweet (banana-macadamia-nut flapjacks topped with whipped banana–brown-sugar butter) or savory (seared-rock-lobster-and-asparagus omelette)? Lean toward simple (warm ham-and-Brie crêpes) or strange (foie gras French toast over wild mushrooms)?