Brunch: you either love it or you hate it. And for those who fall into the “love” category, it’s usually because brunch is bibulous, social, and fun. Food is an afterthought. But it need not be this way.
If you know where to look, you can go have all the trappings of a good brunch and still eat very well. Here are 12 places serving the best brunch in NYC.
Breakfast by Salt’s Cure
This LA import first fired up its griddles in the West Village in 2021. When you only focus on one meal—in this case, surprise surprise, breakfast—you know it’s going to be good. And Breakfast by Salt’s Cure does not disappoint. The oatmeal griddle cakes here are a killer way to start any day.
Emilia by Nai
Chef Ruben Rodriguez, from the Spanish province of Galicia, takes the idea of brunch to new heights at this East Village restaurant. Instead of the usual eggs and pancakes, Emilia by Nai gives lucky diners things like a flavor-popping mushroom katsu sandwich, a refreshing charred peach and ricotta toast, and a light and flaky curried onion puff pastry that is so good you’ll maybe want to order two. There are also a number of excellent coffee-infused cocktails which were created in collaboration with Coffee Project New York. This a brunch every food lover should experience.
Restaurateur Gabe Stulman’s Fairfax, located on the improbable West Village intersection of West 10th and West 4th Streets, offers a legion of inspired brunch fare in a room bedecked with mid-century modern stylings.
Brunch standouts include the Mediterranean Brunch, which is really more Middle Eastern, with hummus, baba ganoush, za’atar flatbread, and harissa, among other delights. Also available at brunch is the outstanding Bar Sardine burger, a remnant of Stulman’s now-closed restaurant across the street.
Set at the end of an alleyway on the Lower East Side, Freemans’ wacky Wes Anderson-esque decor (think: taxidermy and antique kitsch) set the trend in restaurant design when it first opened in 2004. And it’s still going strong today.
It also happens to serve an amazing brunch menu, which is offered every day. Flirt with a heart attack by tucking into the hearty English breakfast or go healthier with the Norwegian Benedict which comes with aji-amarillo-spiked hollandaise sauce.
Restaurants with great views are supposed to suck, right? Well, not The Fulton, super chef Jean-George Vongrichten’s France-meets-Asia eatery in the South Street Seaport.
With the Brooklyn Bridge looming out the large windows, feast on sashimi, a fried swordfish sandwich, and/or Faroe Island-roasted salmon for a spectacular weekend brunch.
This place lives up to its name. Set on the fringes of Chinatown, Golden Diner is an Asian-accented eatery that serves seriously inspired brunch fare cooked up by an erstwhile Momofuku chef. From honey-butter pancakes to green tea coffee cake to lemongrass-spiked avocado toast to Korean fried chicken wings, this place has it all.
Brunch isn’t a thing in Vietnam, but it is a thing at Hanoi House, one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in New York City.
Located in the East Village, Hanoi House’s weekend brunch consists of a way-better-than-it-sounds papaya and pig ear salad, the classic Hanoi dish bun cha, and, of course, the restaurant’s insanely good pho (which in Vietnam is usually eaten in the morning, so it would be appropriate to order it for brunch here).
Why go all the way to the Caribbean for brunch when you can just settle into Kokomo in Williamsburg?
You can get a brunch-y taste of the islands with roasted and stuffed sweet plantains, stewy oxtail on flatbread, and tender grilled lamb chops. Fork out $55 for an entree on Friday and it opens a 90-minute window to chug all the mimosas you can.
From the people who brought you the French-Canadian charmer Chez Ma Tante in Greenpoint comes Le Crocodile. Brunch at this Williamsburg spot in the Wythe Hotel is an epicurean delight with dishes like waffles and rhubarb, juicy roast chicken, and a dreamy croque monsieur.
This lively East Village spot goes way beyond the usual egg/pancakes/burger offerings to serve some of the best brunch in NYC. Take, for example, the luscious andouille sausage corn dog, the super flaky roasted mushroom and onion tart, the coconut-milk-spiked pumpkin soup, and the blue crab sandwich.
Oh yeah, they do have a burger here but it’s lamb and it’s topped with gouda and mint jelly. Yum!
Sunday in Brooklyn
You need not wait until Sunday to dig into the amazing brunch items at this popular spot in Brooklyn—Williamsburg, to be exact—because it’s offered every day here. The tall stack of pancakes here are a thing of delicious Instagrammable beauty. And the burger is one of the best in the city.
There’s also a fried chicken sandwich, biscuits and gravy, and variations on the theme of egg—but if you don’t get the pancakes and/or the burger, you might not be human. Easily a contender for some of the best brunch in NYC.
This gastropub in Astoria is worth a subway ride. The brunch menu is loaded with hearty pub grub like bacon-and-egg-loaded breakfast nachos, fried pickles, literal green eggs and ham, and a sumptuous fried green tomato BLT. Throw in an extra $25 and you get 90 minutes of bibulous all-you-can-drink debauchery (choose between mimosas, Bloody Marys, sangria, or beer).
Did someone say “boozy brunch?” If so, point yourself to the Lower East Side where, since 2007, this Italian eatery (173 Ludlow St.) has been offering a 90-minute, all-the-champagne-you-can-drink weekend brunch for $38.
Soak up all that sparkling wine with excellent rigatoni alla Carbonara, prosciutto-and-burrata-stuffed piadina (a tortilla-like flatbread from Emilia-Romagna), and banana pancakes.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.