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.
Breakfast at Balthazar instantly transports you from SoHo to Paris at Keith McNally's bistro. While weekend brunch can be crazy, weekday breakfast is a serene opportunity to enjoy favorites like eggs en cocotte, cafe au lait, and pain au chocolate.
Just a few blocks up from Baltazaar, this SoHo bakery has both counter and table service and a year-round greenhouse garden area in the back. People love their pastries as well as their egg sandwiches, making it a suitable choice whether you're craving something savory or sweet. This is also the home of the original Cronut, which is available in just one flavor per month.
Located in the Upper West Side, 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 different, try the cheese blintzes or homemade chicken liver.
Clinton Street Baking Company has been drawing crowds for their 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.
Whether you want something healthy, such as a grapefruit with ginger sugar and mint, or decadent, like a full English breakfast, April Bloomfield's restaurant in the Ace Hotel is a great choice for breakfast. The brunch service offered on Saturday and Sunday typically fills up rather quickly, but you'll likely get a table immediately if you visit during the weekday breakfast services.
Inspired by European traditions and established in the West Village neighborhood by Chef Jody Williams, Buvette New York offers a truly unique breakfast menu. Whether you want a croissant served with butter and jam or steamed eggs with prosciutto, there are plenty of options, both indulgent and healthy, to enjoy in this easy-going spot.
Bubby's has been a Tribeca staple since 1990, offering classics like smoked salmon bagels, eggs Benedict, and huevos rancheros to visitors and residents alike. While quite popular as a brunch spot on weekends, weekdays at Bubby's are relatively quiet and calm.
Landmarc in the Times Warner Center is a great choice for breakfast, whether you're in the mood for oatmeal with brown sugar or an eggs benedict meal with all the fixings. Families traveling together will appreciate the restaurant's children's menu with options that are sure to satisfy young palates at a fraction of the cost of the adult's menu.
From classics like eggs Benedict and buttermilk pancakes to inspired creations like "waz-za," a waffle with fruit inside and out, Norma's, located in the posh The Park New York, offers the ultimate indulgent breakfast. Featuring menu items like the "Irresistible Banana-Macadamia Nut Flap Jacks" and "Very Berry Brioche French Toast," reading the selections at Norma's is sure to entertain you while you order and delight you when you eat your meal.
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 in 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 the craziest menu you've ever seen, possibly foul language, and some pretty delicious food.
Located on the ground floor of the Beekman Hotel, Keith McNally's Augustine Restaurant is the place to enjoy a leisurely breakfast away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Featuring traditional breakfast items like avocado toast alongside pastries provided by Balthazar Bakery, this restaurant is a great place to sample a few breakfast items from around the city.
For a quintessential diner experience in the Financial District, swing by the 1950s George's New York, which serves up typical diner fare like chocolate chip pancakes, eggs with hashbrowns, and a number of specialty omelets.
Typically wheeling around Manhattan Park in the Financial District of Manhattan and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, the mobile cart for King David Tacos 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.
For a Cuban-Mexican breakfast, consider stopping by Café Habana after the morning rush between 9 and 11 a.m. any day of the week. Featuring spicy menu items like huevos divorciados, which is made with salsa verde, and eggs with spicy chorizo, most of the menu options are also not only delicious but also surprisingly affordable.
This Los Angeles-inspired restaurant considers itself to be "accidentally vegetarian, decidedly wholesome," offering healthy menu options alongside breakfast standards like yogurt, porridge, granola, waffles, eggs, and even breakfast tacos. West~bourne also has a community-driven company ethos, offering job training and hiring through local charitable partners including the Robin Hood Foundation to provide assistance to New Yorkers in need.
Veselka is a Ukrainian diner with breakfast service 24 hours a day, and a menu featuring challah French toast, latkes, pierogis, and blintzes alongside domestic breakfast favorites like bacon and eggs. This cheap, no-hassle restaurant almost always has a table open, even during the busy morning commute hours. Founded in 1954, Veselka offers a taste of somewhere exotic to shake up your early morning routine.
This Philadelphia spinoff restaurant serves up its breakfasts complete with pastries and bread made in-house. With three delicious breakfast sandwiches to choose from including the vegetarian "Forager" and a malted breakfast sausage, egg, and cheese on a sage-black pepper biscuit, High Street is a great place for a casual breakfast or even to host a business meeting over some coffee and light snacks.
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, orange Kouign-Amann, or the cream cheese everything croissant from the bakery for a real treat.
Located right off the Highline in Chelsea, the all-day Cookshop restaurant, owned and operated by Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman, is a great place to grab a seasonal breakfast treat before exploring the elevated walking path above it. Featuring healthy and comfort foods like squash blossom frittatas and a kale bowl with spinach, faro, falafel, feta, and an egg, Cookshop has something for everyone's taste palette.
The NoMad Restaurant (Chelsea/Korea Town)
Although this restaurant is a bit on the pricier side for a New York City breakfast, the elegance and decadence of the NoMad Restaurant inside the hotel of the same name are worth the cost of admission. The breakfast sandwich with duck sausage and cheddar on a homemade English muffin is a local favorite, but you can also go for healthier options like granola or yogurt with fresh fruit.
Located in the Turnstyle Underground Market, this homestyle Taiwanese restaurant offers up a far-eastern twist to American-style breakfasts. Here, you can enjoy a sesame flatbread breakfast sandwich instead of on a bagel or English muffin or try rice porridge made with pork belly, bamboo, and pickled cucumbers.
Good Enough to Eat's menu more than lives up to its name—the delectable breakfast options at this Upper West Side restaurant are truly unique takes on American comfort food. Try the waffles filled with bacon or the corned beef hash with biscuits for a real taste of American home cooking.
Located inside the Hotel Wales on the Upper East Side, Sarabeth's Restaurant is a popular posh restaurant chain serving traditional American fare with some slightly decadent modifications. With five other locations in Manhattan including at Central Park South, Park Avenue South, Tribeca, Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side, you'll have plenty of chances to stop into one of these establishments no matter where you're starting your day in the city.
Head to Kips Bay for a great meal in a country-chic setting at Penelope, which completed renovations in June 2019 to update its casual dining room with more modern features including a new kitchen and dining tables. Try the "B.B.E.L.T.," a double-bacon, over-medium egg, green leaf lettuce, and tomato sandwich on sourdough or the lentils and eggs scramble with mango serrano salsa, harissa aioli, and your choice of toast.
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 eggs any style, vanilla bean french toast, and a ranchero scramble.
The California-style kitchen at Dimes offers a health-conscious variety of dishes in a tidy, small cafe in 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 bananas, dates, cinnamon, coconut milk, almond butter, and hemp and walnut granola and two tacos with scrambled eggs, mango salsa, cheddar, avocado, and hot sauce.
Located in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood, Friend of a Farmer is a Vermont-based family-owned micro-chain of restaurants offering farm-to-table meals prepared country style. Try out the farmers market omelette or the fresh crab Benedict for a savory meal or sample Carrie Dee's buttermilk apple pancakes for a sweet breakfast treat.
Featuring a location 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.
Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company (Chelsea)
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 and Coffee Company in Chelsea (or Astoria, Queens). Featuring a cream cheese flavor of the week as well as over 30 signature spreads and a multitude of bagel varieties, Brooklyn Bagel is the epitome of the New York breakfast meal to-go.