The Best Breakfast Spots in New York City

breakfast spots in NYC

TripSavvy / Ashley Nicole Deleon 

It's often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and whether you're spending your trip at a business conference or wandering around Manhattan seeing the sights, breakfast is especially crucial for the energy to pound the pavement in New York City. 

Fortunately, New York is home to a number of great restaurants that start serving early and offer every menu item imaginable—from soft-boiled eggs and freshly grilled bacon to out-of-this-world pancakes and Brooklyn's favorite morning treat, chicken and waffles.

While some of these restaurants are quite popular, you can usually find a table with little to no issue, especially during the week. However, if you're planning on grabbing a bite to go before a meeting, make sure you plan for extra time during the morning rush hour.

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Balthazar (SoHo)

Balthazar Restaurant in New York City, New York
Angus Oborn/Getty Images
80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone +1 212-965-1414

Breakfast at SoHo institution, Balthazar instantly transports you from SoHo to Paris. The brasserie has a very popular weekend brunch, but for a more low-key meal, stop by for a weekday breakfast. It's a serene opportunity to enjoy favorites like eggs florentine, cafe au lait, and pain au chocolate.

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Dominique Ansel Bakery (SoHo)

Andre Maier LLC/Getty Images
189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone +1 212-219-2773

Just a few blocks up from Baltazar, this SoHo bakery has both counter and table service, and a year-round greenhouse garden area in the back. Home of the original cronut that will have people waiting for hours in line, the pastries are the biggest draw here. The DKA, a croissant-like pastry with a caramelized exterior, is a crowd favorite while the blossoming hot chocolate is perfect Instagram bait. For more savory options there are also egg sandwiches, quiches, and soup.

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Barney Greengrass (Upper West Side)

Barney Greengrass
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024-2803, USA
Phone +1 212-724-4707

Located in the Upper West Side, Jewish deli Barney Greengrass is famous for its smoked salmon, sturgeon, and Nova, which can be enjoyed with eggs or a traditional New York bagel with cream cheese and capers. If you're looking for something a little different, try the cheese blintzes or chopped chicken liver salad.

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Clinton Street Baking Company (SoHo)

Pancakes at Clinton Street Baking Company
gamemall104/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Phone +1 646-602-6263

Clinton Street Baking Company has been drawing crowds for its amazing pancakes since it opened in SoHo in 2001. If you want to avoid a long wait for brunch, try to dine during the week, but if you're craving breakfast for dinner, they also serve a selection of breakfast items in the evening. If you're lucky enough to visit during pancake month, you have the opportunity to sample unique flavor combos like blueberry yuzu or Mexican chocolate.

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Buvette (West Village)

Buvette/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014, USA

Inspired by European traditions and established in the West Village neighborhood by Chef Jody Williams, Buvette New York offers pared-down breakfast and brunch menus of French classics. Whether you want a waffle sandwich or steamed eggs with smoked salmon, there are plenty of options, both indulgent and healthy, to enjoy in this easy-going spot.

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Bubby's (Tribeca)

120 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013, USA
Phone +1 212-219-0666

Bubby's has been a Tribeca staple since 1990, offering classics like smoked salmon bagels, eggs Benedict, and huevos rancheros to hungry diners. While quite popular as a brunch spot on weekends, weekdays at Bubby's are relatively quiet and calm.

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Shopsin's (Lower East Side)

Three poached eggs garnished with sliced scallion on two pieces of cheesy bread

Courtesy of Shopsin's

88 Essex St, New York, NY 10002, USA

If you're looking for an "only in NYC" breakfast experience, look no further than the legendary Shopsin's Restaurant, which is located inside the Essex Market on the Lower East Side. Keep in mind the rules, though, as there are no reservations, no groups larger than four, and no ordering the same thing as someone else at your table. Otherwise, prepare yourself for a dense menu of pretty delicious food and possibly foul language.

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George's New York (Financial District)

Close up of eggs benedict

Courtesy of George's New York

89 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10006-2205, USA
Phone +1 212-269-8026

For a quintessential diner experience in the Financial District, swing by George's New York, a neighborhood stalwart since the 1950s. Expect typical diner fare like chocolate chip pancakes, eggs with hashbrowns, and a number of specialty omelets.

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King David Tacos (Financial District and Brooklyn)

Breakfast tabco with egg, bacon, potato, and cheese in aluminum foil. There is a red sticker on the foil reading "King David Tacos"

Courtesy of King David Tacos

Plaza St E, Brooklyn, NY 11238, USA
Phone +1 929-367-8226

Starting as a food cart shelling out Austin-style tacos across New York, King David Tacos now has a brick and mortar headquarters in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The grab-and-go spot is a great place to grab a quick bite in the morning. The BPEC taco contains bacon, potato, egg, and cheese while the bacon is replaced with refried beans in the Queen Bean and Mexican chorizo in the Or'izo taco.

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Café Habana (Nolita)

Small diner table with four plates of food on it, two entrees and two side dishes. There is also a milkshake and two bottles of hot sauce.

Courtesy of Café Habana

17 Prince St, New York, NY 10012-3507, USA
Phone +1 212-625-2001

For a Cuban-Mexican brunch, consider stopping by Café Habana on weekends after 10 a.m. but before 4 p.m. The menu is short, with only seven items but it includes classics like huevos rancheros or enchiladas suizas, chicken enchiladas topped with a tomatillo sauce and crema and served with rice and black beans. People with sweet tooths will enjoy the challah french toast topped with whatever fruit is in season.

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Veselka (East Village)

plate of eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham. There is a small dish of cantaloupe, honeydew melon and grapes on the plate along with a mixed green salad.

Courtesy of Veselka

144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone +1 212-228-9682

Founded in 1954, Veselka is a Ukrainian diner with breakfast served all day, and a menu featuring challah French toast, latkes, pierogis, and blintzes alongside domestic breakfast favorites like bacon and eggs. For specialty pierogis and eggs Benedict, be sure to come for weekend brunch, served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This cheap, no-hassle restaurant almost always has a table open, even during the busy morning commute hours.

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Daily Provisions (Union Square)

Breakfast sandwich, pastry, and coffee from Daily Provisions

Courtesy of Daily Provisions 

103 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone +1 646-503-4440

If you're in a hurry to grab something to go, the fast service at Daily Provisions is pretty much unbeatable in Manhattan—but the breakfast sandwiches don't suffer in quality just because they come out fast! Try the maple cruller or the cream cheese everything croissant from the bakery for a real treat. If the Union Square location is out of reach, there are other outposts in West Village, the Upper West Side, and near Hudson Yards.

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Cookshop (Chelsea)

Person in a maroon sweater and nails painted bright green holding a plate with a cinnamon bun covered in icing

Courtesy of Cookshop

156 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011-4724, USA
Phone +1 212-924-4440

Cookshop—owned and operated by Marc Meyer, Vicki Freeman, and Chris Paraskevaides—is a great place in Chelsea to grab a seasonal breakfast treat before exploring the nearby High Line elevated walking path. The menu changes often but frequently features a mix of healthy and comfort foods like biscuits with jam or a grain bowl with a poached egg, chickpeas, beets, olives, and cherries. It opens at 10 a.m. on weekends and at noon on weekdays.

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Good Enough to Eat (Upper West Side)

Plate of three walnut pancakes photographed outside. The pancakes have two paper cups of strawberry butter and are topped with sliced banana and walnuts

Good Enough to Eat's menu more than lives up to its name—the delectable breakfast options at this Upper West Side restaurant include some truly unique takes on American comfort food. Think omelets stuffed with apple slices and swiss cheese or pancakes that use a mix of oats, cornmeal, and two types of flour. For a taste of classic American cooking, try the bacon-studded waffles or the corned beef hash with buttermilk biscuits.

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Sarabeth's Restaurant (Upper West Side)

table with plates of brunch food and the torsos of two people, out of focus. A feminine person in a blue shirt is holding a mimosa. There is a plate of pancakes with fresh berries and the center of the image.

Courtesy of Sarabeth's

423 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024, USA
Phone +1 212-496-6280

Sarabeth's Restaurant is a popular posh restaurant chain serving traditional American fare with some slightly decadent modifications. With four locations in Manhattan including Central Park South, Park Avenue South, and Tribeca, you'll have plenty of chances to stop into one of these establishments no matter where you're starting your day in the city. The French toast is a crowd favorite and the skillet cinnamon bun with earl grey icing is especially decadent. For savory fare, consider the Sarabeth quiche, with onions, ham, and gruyere cheese, or eggs Benedict

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Penelope (Kips Bay)

Three buttermilk pancakes dusted with powdered sugar on a dark plate. There is fresh blueberry compote on the pancakes and plate and

Courtesy of Penelope

159 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016-8154, USA
Phone +1 212-481-3800

Head to Penelope for a great meal in a country-chic setting at Penelope. Try the B.B.L.T., a double-bacon, arugula, and tomato sandwich on toasted sourdough. Or try the Hangover Bowl with pastrami hash, red potatoes, and caramelized onions topped with two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Those with a sweet tooth should sample the buttermilk pancakes served with blueberry compote and Vermont maple syrup.

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The Smith (Midtown East)

Eggs Benedict on a white plate with roasted potatoes

Courtesy of The Smith

956 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022, USA
Phone +1 212-644-2700

If you don't mind navigating the crowds of Midtown East, The Smith on 2nd Avenue is a great location for a quick or leisurely breakfast. This swanky American bistro offers traditional favorites like steak and eggs, vanilla bean french toast, and a ranchero scramble. The weekend brunch menu boasts a raw bar, churro waffles, and an omelet with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, herbs, and mixed greens. There are also locations in Nomad, Lincoln Square, and East Village.

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Dimes (Lower East Side)

Corner table in a restaurant with wooden bench seats. There are four dishes on the table: thick toast with olives; grilled salmon with carrots and greens; a plate of cauliflower, cabbage, and beets; and a fried eggs with tortillas and chickpeas. There is also a yellow menu, short glass with an orange liqueid, and carafe of water, and a tallker class of a cloudy white liquid

Courtesy of Dimes

49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002-6269, USA
Phone +1 212-925-1300

The California-style kitchen at Dimes offers a variety of health-conscious dishes in a tidy, small cafe on the Lower East Side. Combining the traditional diner feel with a West Coast flair for eco-friendliness, the menu at Dimes includes fruity and savory options like the carob acai bowl with honey, bananas, dates, cinnamon, coconut milk, almond butter, and granola or two tacos with scrambled eggs, mango salsa, cheddar, avocado, and hot sauce.

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Friend of a Farmer (Gramercy Park)

Overhead view of a table filled with breakfast dishes. There are three rows of food. From left to right, he top row has a plate of three strawberry pancakes and a plate of scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, and pancakes. The middle row has a cast iron skilled of mac and cheese; a mixed greens salad with walnuts, sliced apples, cheese, and dressing on the side; and a cast iron skillet with scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes. The bottom row has a side order of breakfast potatoes and a plate of three blueberry pancakes.

Courtesy of Friend of a Farmer

77 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone +1 212-477-2188

Located in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood, Friend of a Farmer brings a Vermont farmhouse to the city. The family-owned restaurant offers farm-to-table meals prepared country-style. Try out the farmer's market omelet (with spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and cheddar cheese) or the fresh crab Benedict for a savory meal. For a sweet breakfast treat, sample Carrie Dee's buttermilk apple pancakes.

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Jack's Wife Freda (SoHo/Little Italy)

Over head view of 10 dishes at a restaurant. From left to right the top row of dishes is: poached eggs on toast with roasted tomatoes; steak, two sunny side up eggs, slices avocado, toast, and roaste tomatoes; a green salad with radish slices, and a bowl of carrots, beets, spinach, and a hard boiled egg. The middle has: a cup of coffee, mixed green salad with avocado, a bowl of berries and a pink drink. The bottom row has a plate of fried, a skewer of peri peri chicken with couscous and a chopped salad, a croque madame with arugula, an orange drink in a plastic cup, and grilled halloumi with olived

Courtesy of Jack's Wife Freda

226 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone +1 212-510-8550

With locations in both SoHo and the West Village, this family-owned restaurant chain serves up a hybrid of American and Mediterranean breakfasts in rustic-chic dining rooms. The flagship location in SoHo has very limited space, so tables typically fill up quickly during the morning rush. The entire menu is served all day but breakfast highlights include a green tomatillo shakshuka and rosewater waffle.

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Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (Chelsea)

Two halves of a pumpernickel bagel on a marble table. One side has smoked salmon and capers, the other has scallion cream cheese, tomatoes, and red onion

Courtesy of Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company 

286 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001, USA
Phone +1 212-924-2824

No trip to New York City is complete without having at least one NY-style bagel, and the best place to get one in a hurry is at the Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company in Chelsea (or Astoria, Queens if you're visiting the borough). Featuring unique cream cheese spreads like jalapeño asiago, lox, and honey bacon sriracha as well as a multitude of bagel varieties, Brooklyn Bagel is the epitome of the New York breakfast meal to-go.

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The Best Breakfast Spots in New York City