The Best Places for Brunch in New York City

Brunch, as seen from above

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

It doesn't matter which borough you live in (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or Staten Island) or where you come from; in New York City, brunch is a sacred pastime honored by all. The food and drink offerings, and opportunities for people-watching, are at their best, as you and your friends or loved ones tuck into a spread of breakfast food, mimosas, Bloody Marys, and coffee. And being that you're in NYC, center of the universe, it goes without saying that you're celebrating this delicious and intriguing cultural phenomenon in some of the best brunch places in the world.

Many restaurants throughout The Big Apple offer brunch on weekends between 11 p.m. and 3 p.m. While some are boozy and cater to large groups, others are more intimate and focus on the food. Here is your guide to finding the best brunch spots in New York City.

01 of 24

Upland

Plate of Scones

 OctopusHat / Wikipedia Commons 

Address
345 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010, USA
Phone +1 212-686-1006

A chic restaurant with globally-inspired creations, Upland garnered a lot of attention when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama came to visit in 2017. Choose from Upland's many creative menu items, like Eggs In Hell, a dish made with tomatoes, oregano, and Fresno chili peppers. If you're not in the mood for eggs, Upland also serves pizza, buttermilk pancakes, and "The Larry David," an everything bagel with smoked whitefish, capers, tomatoes, and cream cheese. The restaurant can get busy, so make a reservation early.

Neighborhood: Midtown, Manhattan.

02 of 24

Buvette

Brunch

 Buvette / Flickr

Address
42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014, USA

Don't let the long lines outside Buvette every weekend intimidate you: The wait is worth it. With exposed brick walls, chalkboards featuring hand-drawn maps of France, and a sign for the restaurant attached to a bicycle parked out front, this tiny French bistro in Greenwich Village can only be described as charming.

One of Buvette's signature items is the Croque Monsieur, a traditional French sandwich made with ham and Gruyère cheese. Other crowd-favorites include the saumon fumé (eggs served with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and capers) and steak tartare. You can also enjoy French wines (rosé all day!) and a selection of popular French cocktails.

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

03 of 24

The Smile

Delicious brunch of steak and eggs

 Katherine Lim / Wikipedia Commons 

Address
26 Bond St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone +1 646-370-1446

When you first walk down the stairs into the subterranean café near Bond Street, it's hard to know what you're getting yourself into, but you'll be pleased to find it feels like your cool friend's kitchen.

Breakfast is served all day at The Smile, so you can expect to see standard brunch fare like smashed avocado toast and eggs Benedict alongside signature items like the Harissa honey roasted chicken breast sandwiches and quinoa and root vegetable bowls. Get here early to snag one of the wooden tables before it fills up with the fashion and media crowd that loves to come here.

Neighborhood: NoHo, Manhattan.

04 of 24

Bellwether

Taco Bowl

yamada taro at publicdomainpictures.net

Address
47-25 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11101-5408, USA
Phone +1 718-392-3257

This New American restaurant has everything you could possibly want in a brunch spot. Bellwether's 60-seat dining room is both welcoming and casually chic (think whitewashed brick walls and a wood ceiling that’s been painted white), while ample outdoor seating allows you to enjoy the sunshine on a beautiful day. The large bar surrounded by plants also adds a serene touch as you sip your cocktails. 

And then there is the food. Though the menu changes seasonally, you can count on creative dishes like baked eggs with curried vegetables (English peas, arugula, dukkah, and cucumber yogurt sauce) as well as brunch classics like fried chicken sandwiches made with buttermilk biscuits and house-made pickles.

Neighborhood: Long Island City, Queens.

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05 of 24

Sunday in Brooklyn

Sunday in Brooklyn

 Lou Stejskal / Flickr

Address
348 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA
Phone +1 347-222-6722

Sunday in Brooklyn tries to bring the best part of Sunday straight to your table: breakfast sandwiches, fried chicken, coffee, and plenty of cocktails. This neighborhood restaurant near Brooklyn's Domino Park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike and one of the best outdoor brunch spots in Williamsburg. Sit in the open-air kitchen in summertime and see how the magic happens, or opt for a table on the sidewalk and people-watch as you eat. When it’s too cold to sit outside, warm up by the wood-burning ovens placed in every room. Don't miss the hazelnut maple praline pancakes, which are so good you'll never be able to go back to regular pancakes again.

Neighborhood: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

To learn more about the best outdoor brunch spots in Brooklyn, check out our guide to the best brunches in Williamsburg.

06 of 24

Red Rooster

Red Rooster in Harlem

Maria Eklind / Flickr 

Address
310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027, USA
Phone +1 212-792-9001

Red Rooster in Harlem is the brainchild of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who wanted to revamp traditional soul food with fresh ingredients. Named after the legendary Harlem speakeasy that attracted authors, musicians, and leaders throughout the 20th century, Red Rooster still draws in the same crowd by displaying locally-made art and, in pre-pandemic times, hosting live concerts at Ginny’s Supper Club beneath the restaurant (which is temporarily closed).

While brunch is available all weekend, you won't want to miss the Sunday Gospel Brunch featuring Vy Higginsen's Sing Harlem Choir. You'll be rocking in your seat between bites of world-famous cornbread, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, lobster rolls, and crab cakes.

Neighborhood: Harlem, Manhattan.

07 of 24

Café Mogador

Cafe Mogador, NYC

 Chris / Flickr

Address
101 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009-5146, USA
Phone +1 212-677-2226

This East Village hotspot may have been founded in 1983, but it still screams cool and has lines out the door. The founder of Café Mogador is known for whipping up Moroccan-inspired brunch specialties like Moroccan Benedict (eggs Benedict with spicy stewed tomato sauce added in) and Malawach (Yemenite bread with a hard-boiled egg, grated tomato, and labne cheese.) Plants, unique light fixtures, and lots of colorful fabrics lend a lively vibe to the atmosphere. While the interior is beautiful, grab a seat outside on a warm summer day and watch the East Villagers go by. If you find yourself in Brooklyn, the restaurant also has a second location in Williamsburg.

Neighborhood: East Village, Manhattan.

To learn more about great outdoor brunch spots in New York City, check out our guide to the best brunches in Manhattan.

08 of 24

Russ & Daughters

Mensch Board from Russ and Daughters Café on Orchard Street

Coalfather / Wikipedia Commons 

Address
127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Phone +1 212-475-4881

The original Russ & Daughters location on East Houston St. is the place to go for a quintessential New York City breakfast: bagel and lox (smoked salmon and cream cheese). Since it opened in the Lower East Side in 1914, the NYC establishment has been a shop where you can pick up your cured salmon to bring home. Nowadays, there's a second shop in Brooklyn, too.

In 2014, the family opened a café nearby on Orchard St. where you can relax and dig into some seriously heavenly lox. This is a place where ordering too much food isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Don't skip the famous knishes filled with potatoes and caramelized onions or the potato latkes. If you're feeling brave, order some chopped liver for the table.

Neighborhood: Lower East Side, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn.

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09 of 24

Mother's Ruin

Mother's Ruin

 Phil Roeder / Flickr

Address
18 Spring St, New York, NY 10012-4134, USA

Although Mother's Ruin is a famous cocktail bar in Nolita, it also serves brunch every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so you don't have to wait until the weekend for the best meal of the week.

The menu might seem random, with items like blistered Shishito peppers alongside Cholula honey wings and breakfast burritos, but there’s one thing tying it all together: each dish pairs perfectly with cocktails. And since Mother’s Ruin changes its cocktail list weekly, you can always expect to find new offerings when you come here for a bite.

Neighborhood: Nolita, Manhattan.

10 of 24

Miss Lily's

Miss Lily's Lower East Side NYC

Barney Bishop / Flickr

Address
132 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Phone +1 212-812-1482

Miss Lily's brings the Caribbean to downtown NYC with home-cooked Jamaican food like jerk chicken, oxtail stew, West Indian vegetable curry, and corn covered in jerk mayo and toasted coconut. Inside the restaurant it feels like you're on an island, complete with umbrella drinks, colorful fabric tapestries, and women wearing flower dresses and halter tops. The best part of this brunch? If you pay $20 for bottomless brunch and order an entrée, you’ll get one hour’s worth of unlimited cocktails: One Love Bellinis, Mighty Hot Cydah, or the rum punch Miss Lily’s is known for. While the flagship location is in SoHo, there is a second outpost in the East Village named Miss Lily's 7A Cafe.

Neighborhood: SoHo and East Village, Manhattan.

11 of 24

The Shady Lady

Bloody Mary

 

William Clifford / Flickr

Address
34-19 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103, USA
Phone +1 718-440-9081

If you’re looking for a boozy brunch, nothing beats The Shady Lady in Astoria, Queens, one of the few places in New York City that offers a happy hour every day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., including weekends. And that's on top of a bottomless cocktail menu where you can get unlimited Bloody Marys, mimosas, Bellinis, Champagne, well cocktails, and sangrias. 

While you go there to drink, the food stands on its own. Try one of three different styles of macaroni and cheese (including the original; one with smoked bacon, prosciutto cotto, and fontina; and another with truffles.) Best of all, brunch entrées come with coffee or tea plus a free drink (same options as bottomless, above).

Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens.

12 of 24

Roberta’s

Amazing margherita pizza at Roberta's, Bushwick

Bex Walton / Flickr 

Address
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, USA
Phone +1 718-417-1118

While Roberta's is generally known for delicious pizza that brings people in from all over NYC to Bushwick, it’s a little-known secret that there’s a pretty amazing brunch here as well. The soft scrambled eggs, for instance, are made with kale, pecorino, and sunflower spelt. You can also find cornmeal pancakes served with strawberry and maple syrup; bacon, egg, and cheese croissants; and baked eggs arrabbiata with poblano peppers on the menu. Pizza, of course, is a given.

Neighborhood: Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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13 of 24

Joe's Shanghai

Pork steam buns at Joe's Shanghai

City Foodsters / Flickr

Address
136-21 37th Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354-4110, USA

Feast on fresh hand-rolled soup dumplings made with pork or crab and pork, as well as a variety of Shanghai-style specialties like scallion pancakes and fried rice. To safely eat the soup buns, bite off a small piece of dough, pour the liquid out into a spoon or simply slurp it up once it’s cooled a bit, then eat what’s left.

Serving up delicious soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) since 1994, Joe’s Shanghai has two NYC locations: the original restaurant in Flushing (from Manhattan, take the 7 train all the way to the end of the line in Queens) and another on Bowery St. in Chinatown.

Neighborhood: Flushing, Queens, and Chinatown, Manhattan.

14 of 24

The Thirsty Koala

Avocado toast at The Thirsty Koala

The Thirsty Koala

Address
35-12 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105, USA
Phone +1 718-626-5430

You don’t have to go all the way Down Under for a fantastic Aussie-style brunch, just take the N or W trains from Manhattan to the end of the line at Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. in Queens and head to The Thirsty Koala

Start with an order of halloumi fries or Australian meat pies, or dig into entrées like grilled skirt steak (served with caramelized cippolini onion and chimichurri), lamb lollies, eggplant parmesan (called “parma”), and beer battered cod. Save room for pavlova, lamingtons, salted caramel slices, the “Triple T” (a chocolate and caramel cookie soaked in espresso and rum syrup, with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream) and other decadent desserts.

Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens.

15 of 24

Tartine

Patrons outside Tartine in Greenwich Village.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Address
253 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014-2277, USA
Phone +1 212-229-2611

Since 2002, this cash-only BYOB West Village institution has been serving French brunch classics like Croque Monsieur (ham and Swiss cheese on brioche) and Croque Madame sandwiches (ham and Swiss on brioche, but with a poached egg); French toast with house-made brioche and smoked bacon; eggs Benedict, served with Canadian bacon; eggs Florentine, served with spinach; and eggs Norvegienne, served with salmon. Other notable specialties at Tartine include the Tunisian Breakfast (two poached eggs with Semolina break, roasted peppers, chickpeas, and Sriracha sauce), marinated chicken paillard, and the grilled chicken sandwich, served on focaccia with smoked bacon, arugula, cheddar, guacamole, and jalapeños.

Neighborhood: West Village, Manhattan.

16 of 24

Nom Wah

Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Manhattan

leesean / Flickr

Address
13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013-5104, USA
Phone +1 212-962-6047

What started as a tea parlor and bakery in 1920 has since grown into a legendary source of dim sum for hungry locals and visitors alike, with the original Nom Wah restaurant in Chinatown on Doyers St and an outpost in Nolita. The restaurant is known for its roast pork buns; almond cookies; steamed lotus, phoenix, and red bean buns; shrimp, chicken, and pork siu mai; and Shanghai-style soup dumplings; while you’ll also find favorites like scallion pancakes and egg-fried rice on the menu. Wash it all down with Oolong, jasmine, or chrysanthemum tea.

Neighborhood: Chinatown and Nolita, Manhattan.

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17 of 24

Veselka

Ukrainian meatballs at Veselka

Dave Winer / Flickr

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

Offering traditional Ukrainian food at the corner of Second Avenue and Ninth Street in the East Village since 1954, Veselka’s brunch menu features homemade pierogi (dumplings with scrambled eggs, bacon, potato, and cheddar), eggs Benedict served with salmon and potato pancakes, and waffles made with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and maple syrup. If you’ve worked up an appetite, order the Kozak Bowl, which comes with four pierogi, two eggs, and either bacon, sausage, or kielbasa. Veselka, by the way, translates to “rainbow” in Ukrainian.

Neighborhood: East Village, Manhattan.

18 of 24

Locanda Verde

Brunch at Locanda Verde

Stu Spivak / Flickr

Address
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013-2338, USA
Phone +1 212-925-3797

If you’re in the mood for the ultimate Italian brunch, head to Locanda Verde in trendy TriBeCa for specialties like savory Caprese omelets and rigatoni lamb bolognese with mint and ricotta made from sheep’s milk. Satisfy your sweet tooth with lemon ricotta pancakes, brown butter waffles, and cream-filled donuts, or treat yourself to the Piedmontese tartar steak (wagyu beef with hazelnuts and black truffle). Save room for dessert, which includes Italian cookies, panna cotta, and other sweet treats.

Neighborhood: TriBeCa, Manhattan.

19 of 24

Five Leaves

Moroccan Scramble at Five Leaves

Erin / Flickr

Address
18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
Phone +1 718-383-5345

For Aussie-style brunch in Brooklyn, head to Five Leaves, located across the street from McCarran Park in Greenpoint. Croissants, spicy Harissa chicken pies, and an assortment of rolls made with pork or spinach and feta baked onsite, while other Australian brunch staples like avocado toast, ricotta pancakes, and pavlova also appear on the menu. Don’t miss the Moroccan scramble, which comes with spiced chickpeas, avocado, grilled sourdough bread, and merguez sausage.

Neighborhood: Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

20 of 24

Hi-Collar

Coffee at Hi-Collar

Bex Walton / Flickr

Address
231 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone +1 212-777-7018

Part café and bar, Hi-Collar offers an eclectic mix of Japanese lunch items like pork katsu sandwiches, Osaka-style omelets, sandwiches made of seasonal fruit, Japanese hot cakes (pancakes), and omurice (an omelet served over rice with tomato sauce and bacon), as well as a variety of coffees and teas. It’s also known for its impressive collection of Japanese whisky and sake if you’re looking for more of a cultural drinking experience than your average boozy brunch.

Neighborhood: East Village, Manhattan.

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21 of 24

Tim Ho Wan

Pork buns at Tim Ho Wan

Krista / Flickr

Address
85 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone +1 212-228-2800

With locations all over the world, including two in New York City (East Village and Hell's Kitchen), Tim Ho Wan is known for its delicious made-to-order dim sum, BBQ pork buns, steamed rice rolls, steamed egg cakes, and pan fried turnip cakes, among other offerings. The congee with pork and preserved egg is another popular choice, while desserts include pan fried mochi made with black rice and pineapple and sweet taro cream made with sago and coconut.

Neighborhood: East Village and Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan.

22 of 24

Jack's Wife Freda

Waffles, bacon, and brunch at Jack's Wife Freda

Bex Walton / Flickr

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

Bring your appetite to Jack’s Wife Freda, a popular brunch spot brought to you by a family hailing from South Africa and Israel, with three locations around Manhattan to choose from in SoHo, Chelsea, and the West Village. You’ll find a great mix of Mediterranean-style offerings featuring Haloumi cheese, as well as comfort foods like matzo ball soup, vegetable curry, chicken schnitzel, chicken kebabs, and Peri-Peri chicken, all reminiscent of food your favorite Jewish grandmother used to make.

Neighborhood: SoHo, West Village, and Chelsea, Manhattan.

23 of 24

Kopitiam

Breakfast and brunch offerings at Kopitiam

Kopitiam

Address
151 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002, USA
Phone +1 646-609-3785

Get to know Nyonya cuisine (a tasty blend of Malaysian and Chinese cooking traditions with Dutch, Portuguese, and British influences) at Kopitiam, which translates to “coffee shop” in the Hokkien language. Start with some kaya butter toast, made with a sweet coconut jam, or any of the Malaysian-style French toasts (made with Milo chocolate powder and condensed milk or peanut sugar), or dig into Nasi Lemak (coconut rice with cucumber, fried anchovies, peanuts, sambal sauce, and a hard boiled egg). Other delicacies include fish ball soup and pan mee (fresh flat flour noodles, mushrooms, fried anchovies, and minced pork).

Neighborhood: Lower East Side, Manhattan.

24 of 24

Sugar Freak

Chicken and waffles at Sugar Freak

Sugar Freak

Address
37-11 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103, USA
Phone +1 718-606-1900

Head to this Astoria brunch spot by taking the N or W train from Manhattan to the 30th Avenue stop. Bottomless brunch is available at Sugar Freak Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as are Southern and Creole bites like beignet sliders (made with scrambled eggs, spicy mayo, and praline bacon), buttermilk biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffle Benedict, shrimp Creole and cheese grits, and jambalaya and eggs. Sip on Louisiana staples like the Sazerac, Pimm’s Cup, or Hurricane, or opt for a smoky Negroni or rosemary Aperol spritz.

Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens.

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The Best Places for Brunch in NYC