CONTRIBUTOR

The 59 Best Brunch Places In NYC

Read on, and own brunch.

08/16/2016 06:18 pm ET | Updated Aug 18, 2016
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Brunch may be a New York institution, but too often the perfect brunch experience gets messed up by long lines, watered-down mimosas and substandard eggs. Ugh. But don’t despair, dear bruncher: With our guide to the best restaurants in NYC for brunch, you can discover under-the-radar and overlooked joints by browsing the full list of spots for the best brunch. NYC also has plenty of options to narrow it down by borough (looking for the best bagels in your neighborhood?). Plus, whether you’re looking for top-notch mimosas, Bloody Marys or unique cocktails, we have your day-drinking bases covered with our list of boozy and bottomless brunch spots. In short: Read on, and own brunch. By Tazi Phillips, Dan Q Dao and Christina Izzo 

Photograph: Fiamma Piacentini

1. Cosme

Enrique Olvera’s Mexican blockbuster has been a tough reservation to snag since its opening in late 2014—a #squadgoals dinner starring Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Adele this past November likely hasn’t helped matters—but it’s less of a chore to enjoy the smash hit during brunch service. Pull up a stool at the sleek, blond-wood front bar for a serrano-fused Bloody María and inventive Mex plates like seafood-stuffed avocado (take that, avocado toast) and duck enmoladas dolloped with crème fraîche.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The glowing Noho café from Andrew Carmellini—the man behind perpetually crowded downtown spots The Dutch and Locanda Verde—is like the 2016 answer to that bustling Sex and the City–era favorite, Balthazar, with booths as buttery as béarnaise and an A-list clientele that includes Anna Wintour and Gwyneth Paltrow. Lush bistro eats are the go-to—think beef tartare with Tabasco aioli and soft-scrambled eggs with chèvre and truffle vinaigrette—punctuated by pâtissier Jennifer Yee’s acclaimed breads and viennoiseries.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Eateries under the Major Food Group umbrella, the one that brought us Sadelle’s and Dirty French, are equal parts sustenance and scene. This Meatpacking number, a people-watching glass box tucked beneath the High Line, is no exception: It’s a glossy Italian-coast concept set with coconut iced coffees and rock-shrimp frittatas. Brunch is a mash-up of the restaurant’s heavyweight breakfast and lunch menus, including the kitchen’s excellent, upmarket take on a bacon egg and cheese, festooned with tomato sofrito, gooey fontina and green chilies.

Photograph: Kate Burr

4. Upland

Let’s put it this way: Where does the President of the United States go for an idyllic brunch burger when he’s in town? Justin Smillie’s splashy, Italian-tinged Gramercy brasserie, that’s where. And when it’s not busy sating POTUS’s Peppadew-topped cheeseburger cravings, the copper-and-jade dining room beckons power brunchers and preternaturally leggy models, like Gigi Hadid and Iman, with smoked-salmon pizza, porchetta-and-egg sandwiches and farm omelettes shot with Bulgarian feta. 

Photograph: Michael Tulipan

5. Faro

Feeling generous—or simply hungry enough to eat for two? A section of the Sunday brunch menu at Kevin and Debbie Adey’s hyperseasonal Bushwick, Brooklyn, restaurant is dedicated to large-format plates, ranging from a dry-aged duck hash with emmer and pumpkin to pollo alla cacciatora with mushrooms and bacon to meatballs with polenta, fonduta and bread to sop up every bite. Cocktails are also tailored to groups: They are available by the pitcher, including a tequila-grapefruit Kings County Sunrise and a Bloody updated with ember-roasted tomatoes and fish-sauce-spiked Thai caramel.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Bloody Marys are to brunch what pinstripes are to the Bronx Bombers. At this dark-wood, naval-inspired Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, tavern, you can get master barman Damon Boelte’s civilized take on that time-honored hair of the dog à la carte, or bring a buddy to split the bar’s brunch-on-steroids Bloody Mary Platter ($70). The head-turning spread comprises two house Bloodys (your choice of vodka, tequila or gin), two sidekicks of pilsner and a two-tier tower set with local bivalves, fresh vegetables, shrimp cocktail, deviled eggs and a colossal king crab leg that can be tricked out with accompanying medicine droppers of mignonette. It’s a cure that almost makes your hangover from last night worth it—almost.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

If you’ve spent more than one Saturday afternoon waiting in line for a few gorgeous slices of nova, this is the brunch for you. Gather your fellow lox lovers and slip into a time-warp vinyl booth to split a smoked-fish platter for four people at the coffeeshop sibling of the Lower East Side’s revered appetizing store. The beefed-up boards are each named after one of founder Joel Russ’s daughters and padded with a laundry list of accoutrements (rye bread, cream cheese): The Ida is an ode to all things salmon; the Hattie is a mix of cold-smoked and hot-smoked fish; and the high-rolling Anne shows off primo varieties like private-stock sturgeon. 

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Why settle for one brunch restaurant when you can have 20, all under one roof? This 12,000-square-foot midtown food hall from the Mad. Sq. Eats crew—rigged with stools at each counter and a communal area of picnic tables—rolled out weekend brunch this past fall with a belt-testing array of vendor options. And yes, by belt-testing, we mean glazed pulled-pork doughnuts with maple sriracha, a collaboration between Dough and Mayhem & Stout; playful speck-and-egg–capped pizzas from Roberta’s, sans those Bushwick lines; and omelettes studded with crème fraîche, Gruyère and, naturally, lobster from Red Hook Lobster Pound

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

9. Estela

Ignacio Mattos doesn’t do predictable. (The chef notoriously let his culinary freak flag fly with his space-age cooking at Isa.) And even the more toned-down, approachable work at his intimate brick-walled Soho restaurant with co-owner Thomas Carter (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) is still plenty bold. His grab-bag brunch? More of the striking same: lamb ribs glazed in North African chermoula and honey and the kitchen’s superb burrata with herbaceous salsa verde and hunks of charred bread. 

Photograph: Jackie Gebel

10. Lupulo

Launched in April 2015, the brunch program at George Mendes’s Portuguese tapas temple reprises the flavors of his home in toasts both sweet (a port-wine rendition with Vermont maple syrup and thick-cut country bacon) and savory (a wood-charred version slathered in avocado, black-eyed peas and sun gold tomatoes). Dinnertime salt-cod fritters are swapped for a bacalhau à brás—scrambled eggs flecked with flakes of cod and tossed with crispy potatoes, black olives and parsley—while the titular Lupulo Breakfast gives the classic full English an Iberian spin with piri-piri chicken sausage, two fried eggs and hash browns kicked with Portuguese spices. 

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

From the maverick mind that brought New York kung pao pastrami and salt-cod fried rice comes this gonzo dim-sum brunch, which launched on Christmas Day. In traditional Cantonese fashion, roving pushcarts make the rounds at Danny Bowien’s nouveau-Chinese banquet hall, stocked with small plates like tea-smoked eel rolls, Chongqing chicken wings and that famed pastrami, and servers mark your ticket as you collect plates. And don’t expect garden-variety mimosas here—MCF’s brunchtime boozing includes a do-it-yourself Baby Bottle Service with 375 milliliters of Christian Etienne champagne, carafes of orange and grapefruit juice, and fresh tangerines.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Inventive riffs on morning fare draw both locals and comfort-seeking travelers—unfortunately even Guy Fieri and the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives crew—to Donnie D’Alessio’s homey Astoria standby. Post up on the turquoise swivel stools or settle into the family-style communal tables to nosh on a whopping 11 jazzed-up varieties of poached-eggs Benedict, from a King Creole with fried tilapia and shrimp to a South by Southwest plate with a corn tamale and pulled pork. Equally adventurous are brioche sandwiches, with fillings like sweet-savory Cap’n Crunch–crusted chicken and deep-fried pork tenderloin.

 

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

It’s not exactly orthodox for the neighborhood ramen-ya to offer a 90-minute boozy brunch, but this counter from Ivan Orkin—a Jewish Japanophile from Long Island—has always been anything but traditional. On weekends, pair the chef’s steaming bowls of outré dashi-cheddar breakfast ramen or the more traditional shoyu or shio with free-flowing pours of Japanese-ified cocktails, like a Sake Bloody-tini, a spin-off of the classic with tomato-scented junmai sake, bulldog (tonkatsu) sauce, horseradish and house-brined pickles ($35, includes entrée). Want something tamer to tipple the day away? (Wimp.) Opt for draft pours of Kirin Ichiban or sake-splashed mimosas.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

This downtown Caribbean corner joint playing a reggae-and-dancehall soundtrack offers a brunch power hour for a mere 15 bucks with the purchase of any brunch entrée. Guzzle 60 minutes’ worth of island cocktails like the Bob Marley–nodding One Love bellini (champagne, passion-fruit puree) or a boisterous, soju-based Hotstepper (spicy Bloody Mary, Scotch bonnet pepper) while feasting on West Indian–inspired platters such as breakfast roti with soft-scrambled eggs and jerk pork sausage and Jamaican rancheros blanketing plantains and stew peas with over-easy eggs.

Photograph: Courtesy Pig & Khao

Keep the party vibes going with the hip-hop-fueled brunch from Leah Cohen, who dishes out culture-crossing Southeast Asian morning fare soaked up with all-you-can-drink Yuengling Lager and tropical mimosas during brunch (ends at 3:30pm; $15). Choose from the usual orange, or opt for mango, lychee or white peach to offset the gut-sticking Filipino Sizzling Sisig, featuring pork head chopped on a hot skillet with a whole egg, or the khao soi, a Thai chicken-noodle soup simmered with red curry and coconut milk.

Photograph: Francesco Tonelli

Okay, so most of us wake up and gorge to avoid being healthy, but sometimes even a bruncher wants a wholesome meal—or at least to stock up on the freshest ingredients. Enter megawatt chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. While he’s fixing to open his vegetable-forward ABCV later this spring, his stylish Flatiron stalwart has long been a standard-bearer for elevated, plant-based cooking. Though the extensive brunch menu does include a hefty cheeseburger and buttermilk pancakes, more calorie-conscious diners have ample choice in sections such as market-table small plates (portobello with celery leaves; kabocha squash toast), whole-wheat pizzas (spinach-goat-cheese; mushroom-parmesan-egg) and brunch mains (spinach-ricotta omelette; smoked-salmon plate).

Photograph: Courtesy Colonie

17. Colonie

Chef-gardener Andrew Whitcomb retools hearty morning classics with an array of locally sourced ingredients at his exposed-brick–fitted Brooklyn Heights dining room. Pasture-raised eggs—think a step above “cage free” or “free range”—are purchased from Rock Ridge Farms in Andover, New Jersey; grains and grits come from Castle Valley Mills in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and potatoes and veggies are sourced from Sparrow Arc Farm in Copake, New York. While offerings rotate regularly, seek out permanent favorites like a garden-fresh duck hash, with a poached egg laid over red potatoes and roasted onion puree, or cured steelhead trout, spread on potato rosti with dill crème fraîche and trout roe.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

18. Dimes

At this bright Lower East Side shop, Instagram-ready, SoCal-inspired fare stays true to the health-centric ethos from which it was born. Eat clean with frozen bowls of blended acai and bright-pink pitahaya bedecked in superfoods such as bee pollen, sunflower seeds and hemp. Veggie-focused savory dishes are similarly guilt-free, like a winter hash, tossing black rice with a sunny-side up egg, butternut squash and chili-slicked brussels sprouts, and a quinoa plate with stewed chickpeas, Broccolini and pickled mushrooms.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

19. Timna

The growing demand for chef-driven clean eating has brought inherently hearty Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine back into the spotlight, a movement led in part by Nir Mesika’s rustic, plant-bedecked East Village charmer. The Israeli chef’s weekend menu nods to his family’s home cooking as well as native street foods such as shakshuka, a stew of tomatoes and peppers, simmered all night, with tahini and poached eggs, and hummus masabacha, a chunkier variation of the traditional chickpea spread with hand-mashed preserved lemon and smoked eggplant.

Photograph: Courtesy Agave

20. Agave

This popular West Village eatery serves a two-hour bottomless brunch until 4pm. The $29.95 brunch menu gets you an egg entrée and your choice of all-you-can-drink margaritas, Bloody Marys, mimosas or sangria. Although they take reservations, be sure to book at least a week in advance as tables fill up quickly. Tables sitting down after 2pm will have their drinks cut off promptly at 4pm, unfortunately for New Yorkers who like to get their money’s worth.

Photograph: Jonathan Aprea

21. Aita

Nestled in a quiet corner of Clinton Hill, Aita is a respite for neighborhood denizens looking to catch up in cozy environs, snuggling up against fellow brunchers at the restaurant’s long window benches or bar. Dotting the primarily Italian menu are frittatas and spaghetti, as well as more intriguing options—eggs Benedict with home fries, english muffins, smoked canadian bacon and bernaise sauce, for instance. Some staples dazzle outright: The blueberry buttermilk pancakes with ricotta lemon cream are lovely to look at, and even better to eat.

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

The main menu at this Williamsburg gastropub changes daily, but luckily for all you indecisive diners out there, its Tumblr gets updated every morning. The brunch menu does not vary as often: Expect a frittata with seasonal fixins, a gut-busting egg sandwich with homemade fries, plus some picks straight outta left field. For a real eye-opener, try the Cowboy Coffee, a bracing mix of bourbon, iced coffee, Borghetti and cream.

Photograph: Dmitriy Mirochnik

Deep in the sleepy Staten Island enclave of Grant City, this usually pulsating lounge forgoes the DJ during brunch time for flatscreens playing cartoons (on request). Grab a booth at an arched window and dig into the avocado breakfast burrito, sweet-corn omelette or sunny-side-egg-topped chicken schnitzel. Tear the kids away from the restaurant’s stash of crayons by offering them a PB&J-and-banana sandwich.

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Harlem staple Amy Ruth’s is a true soul-food institution. The cheery, laid-back eatery serves dishes named for famous figures, many of whom have stopped by over the years. Try the Rev. Al Sharpton—crunchy fried chicken and waffles—though there’s a whole variety of something-and-waffle options featuring less traditional ingredients, such as catfish and ribs. Sides like mac and cheese, collard greens and candied yams are top-notch too.

Photograph: Courtesy Beso

25. Beso

Though Beso is billed as a Spanish tapas bar, the menu at this sexy little spot goes far beyond Iberia (through Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico, for starters), making up for a lack of focus with big flavors and conviviality. The three-course brunch is just $25 per person. With options like baked scrambled eggs with spinach, bacon and cheese, the price is a steal. Choose the soup of the day or a salad and go straight for a fruity-sweet glass of tequila-spiked sangria. And even if you’re stuffed, make room for dessert, like the tres leches cake or complimentary fluffy sopapillas.

Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

Since launching in late 2008 on Carroll Gardens’ busy Court Street and elbowing its way to the front of the pack (winning Time Out’s 2009 Readers’ Choice Award for Best New Brooklyn Restaurant), Doug Crowell and Ryan Angulo’s comfort foodery has become an essential. For brunch, sample the short rib hash along with several killer variations on the Bloody Mary, one garnished with antipasti from nearby Caputo’s. If you try to beat the rush, you’ll still have to compete for ear space with the young families and kids of the neighborhood, but the din is worth it.

Photograph: Laura Gallant

Pancakes. There are, of course, other delights to be found at this cute Cobble Hill café on Smith Street—the pretty French-American decor makes it the perfect spot for leafing through the Sunday papers with your one and only, and there are magazines galore to choose from. Plus, the service is good, and the french fries are excellent. But really, Luluc’s pancakes are the jewel in its brunch crown: soft and super fluffy on the inside, just a little bit crispy on the outside and 100 percent delicious.

Photograph: Danielle Occchiogrosso

28. Catfish

Serving classic New Orleans dishes, Catfish is a true Crown Heights gem. At this cozy hideaway, you can savor bona fide Southern dishes like shrimp and grits. Enjoy a strong spring cocktail on the outdoor patio, like the Lady Laveu, a refreshing, flavorful mix of absinthe, St. Germain and lemonade. But be warned—alcohol isn’t served until noon on Sundays. Until then, there’s no shortage of delectable eats.

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

Nestled next to the High Line, Cookshop is perfect for alfresco dining. The seasonal, locally sourced dishes and array of fresh, piquant cocktails—many of which contain bitters or muddled fruits—are not to be missed. For a decadent brunch, try the French toast, served with almonds, poached blood orange, tangerines and cinnamon pastry cream. Appetizers include beignets with spiced pear compote and smoked arctic char with crème fraîche and pumpernickel toast. Many dishes are grilled, rotisseried or prepared in a wood-burning oven, in a wide-ranging display of sophisticated food craftsmanship.

Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Two words: Breakfast. Sandwiches. A bacon-egg-and-cheese on a roll is a Saturday late-morning standby, but the righteous brunchtime subs at this beloved Carroll Gardens market-café are a welcome upgrade from that bodega classic. We’re talking Balthazar ciabatta loaded with scrambled eggs, salty Cabot cheddar and arugula, or a Taylor pork roll with American cheese on a Martin’s potato bun, delivered straight to the cozy dining room. And a New York brunch isn’t complete without bagels: Served on weekends, here they’re hand-rolled by Park Slope’s Bagel Hole and jacked with Acme whitefish, Samaki organic lox and Ben’s cream cheese.

Photograph: Courtesy Talfoto

For a chill dining experience filled with burritos, tacos and fantastic huevos rancheros, visit this Long Island City restaurant and comedy theater, which houses two stages and a separate dining area. At each table you’ll start with a complimentary order of tortilla chips and homemade salsa. Check out the patio or the downstairs bar and performance space, which hosts a variety of acts. The kitchen serves all kinds of savory Tex-Mex standbys, but for a twist, try the “yoga” burrito (avocado and fresh goat cheese) or the seafood burrito (fried shrimp or fish with wasabi sauce).

Photograph: Bradley Hawks

32. DiWine

This dinner-focused spot opens its doors to the daytime crowd for a weekends-only $15 prix fixe. Coffee plus one cocktail is included with each entrée—choose from hearty favorites such as banana-bread French toast or the Breakfast Lox pizza—or upgrade to bottomless booze for just $17 more. Even if you’re recovering from late-night shenanigans, the atmosphere has the perfect amount of bustle without being annoying. Sit near the entrance for a front-row seat to the live-music duo, performing soulful acoustic covers of Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson and Jewel.

Photograph: Courtesy Dizzy's

Expect this neighborhood favorite, conveniently located one block from Prospect Park, to be packed to capacity any time the sun’s shining. Its classic brunch foods—hearty omelettes, enormous waffles, a mouth-watering take on eggs Benedict with chorizo and ancho-lime hollandaise sauce—are worth the wait, and the minimuffins handed to waiting diners should keep even the hungriest customer going until a table opens up. One word of advice: If you’re dining outside, sit as far from the little kiddy ride in the corner as you can, unless you want “It’s a Small World” to play relentlessly in your head all afternoon.

Photograph: Courtesy Edward's

A short stroll from the Chambers St subway stop, Edward’s is a sunny, relaxed Tribeca eatery that feels, due to strategically placed mirrors, refreshingly large and airy. In keeping with the French-American bistro decor, the brunch menu has a robust range of stomach-filling goodies, from buttermilk pancakes to crab-cake sandwiches and chilaquiles. Edward’s gets bonus points for its well-stocked bar and numerous group-friendly seating arrangements.

Photograph: Courtesy Egg

35. Egg

This Southern-accented breakfast and lunch abode has no parallel in Billyburg or beyond—which means you can expect a bit of a wait to get seated. Once you do get in, perch on chairs at a paper-covered table (crayons are provided), wake up at a leisurely speed to the occasional old-time folk music on the sound system, and scarf down a cheap meal that may include eggs Rothko (a slice of brioche with a hole in the middle that accommodates an easy-cooked egg, all of which is covered with sharp cheddar) or a terrific country-ham biscuit sandwich. If you must have dessert at breakfast, finish with a bowl of caramelized grapefruit and mint.

Photograph: Courtesy Brian Merriam

Come for the huevos rancheros (and the biscuits and the cheese grits), stay for the Bloody Marys. Okay, stay for three or four Bloody Marys: Enid’s has one of the best around, garnished with an olive, cornichon, celery and a mothereffing caper berry. Though there’s often a crowd, the staff kindly provides free coffee while you wait—and McCarren Park is right around the corner, so once you’ve got a good buzz going, you can decamp for the grass and catch up on some sleepy time in the sun. (Random eye-candy bonus: cute bartenders!)

Photograph: Jonny Valiant

Brunch at this hip Greenpoint joint features pastries from Nolita’s Ceci Cela and entrées like spiced chia pudding with pears, ricotta pancakes with fruit and maple syrup, and a Moroccan scramble with merguez sausage, spiced chickpeas and avocado. To get into full weekend mode, sip on a kir royale or Tiny’s Drink (tequila, green chartreuse, lime, honey and lavender) as you soak up the sweet, bustling ambience.

Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

Focusing on fresh, local ingredients, rustic-chic Flatbush Farm offers savory dishes like the duck confit waffle and the soft scrambled eggs with ricotta toast and mushroom confit. If you’re a lover of all things porcine, don’t miss the incredible crispy smoked bacon. Enjoy seasonal ales and cocktails as you soak up the warm weather in the outdoor garden patio.

Photograph: Jael Marschner

This farmer has many friends, so get there early (say, before 11am) on weekends to avoid standing in line. Rustic as an L.L. Bean catalog styled by Grant Wood, the eatery has a square-jawed directness that comes through in simple ingredients, relative affordability and straightforward dish names (the basket of assorted freshly baked breads really should be rechristened the basket of “Omigod, the zucchini bread!”). Still, the homestead has a touch of whimsy: Rumor has it that every time someone orders the Farmers’ Market Omelette, a waiter sprints three blocks to the Union Square Greenmarket to buy fresh eggs, spinach, mushrooms and cheese.

Photograph: Courtesy Jack's Wife Freda

Israeli-born Maya Jankelowitz met her South African husband, Dean, while working at Balthazar, and the patrons at their charming, sunlit Soho nook look like holdovers from that late-breakfast bastion—i.e., tiny-waisted ladies who brunch, and the men who love them. But the Jankelowitzes’ café offers Jewish-tinged bites as warm and comforting as anything your bubbe ever made you: rosewater waffles with Lebanese yogurt and honey, and the hard-to-pronounce but easy-to-eat green shakshouka (eggs baked in a chili- and cumin-spiced tomato sauce). With one (or three) refreshing cantaloupe mimosas, chowing down next to hoards of lithe brunch ladies ain’t so bad after all. In fact, it’s pretty damn great.

Photograph: Courtesy La Superior

Delectable two-bite tacos—available anytime—are the main draw at this Mexico City–style Williamsburg staple, but the brunch menu is every bit as crucial. Spring for sauce-drenchedchilaquiles (green or red), huevos toluqueños (scrambled eggs with chorizo and soupycharro beans) or egg-stuffed enfrijoladas (described on the menu as “brunch’s version of enchiladas”). Any of these options pair exceedingly well with La Superior’s signature beverage, the spicy-sweet marvel that is the tamarind margarita.

Photograph: Noah Devereaux

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for brunch at Gowanus’ go-to seafood haunt. Indulge in the delectable, super soft lemon-and-ricotta pancakes, hot-sauce-spiked chicken and waffles, smoked-whitefish omelettes and more. The New England decor, lack of lines out the door and friendly staff make for a decidedly laid-back and stress-free experience—especially for a spot that does brunch this damn good. And best of all? There’s nary a hippie in sight.

Photograph: Michael Rudin

A museum morning followed by weekend brunch simply screams New York. Especially when that brunch comes courtesy of husband-and-wife eccentrics Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, who run this funky daytime cafeteria inside Long Island City’s MoMA PS1. The digs are cheekily familiar—fashioned after a schoolhouse, they boast decorative chalkboards, old class photos and cubbyhole desks—but the midmorning offerings are brash, bold and daily-changing. Take that picky-eating, pancake-ordering brunch friend and teach ’em the golden M. Wells rule: Eat first, ask questions later.

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

A peaceful respite from Soho’s shopping-bag-toting hordes, this light-filled Nolita bar feels especially welcoming during daylight hours, when it’s scarcely populated and gives off a friendly neighborhood vibe. Its cheap but filling dishes—try the chicken and waffles, or the biscuits and gravy—leave you cash to spare for expertly crafted, seasonal cocktails. The daily special of tequila, lime and blood-orange jam is eye-openingly tart.

Photograph: Courtesy Poco

45. Poco

This bottomless-booze brunch spot in the East Village is well known, and for good reason. The atmosphere is fun (and by that we mean it can get a little wild) and the food is good. For $30, patrons get an hour and a half of Bloody Marys, mimosas or sangria. Menu favorites include thick-cut French toast with fresh berries, the Poco Benedict and a truffle mushroom omelette. Be prepared for a long wait during peak hours, and bring cash!

Photograph: Courtesy Prime Meats

Our favorite couple of Franks (Falcinelli and Castronovo, of Frankies 457 Spuntino) dish out hearty fare in this rustic Court Street dining room. From brioche French toast and a Gruyère omelette with fries to their trademark Angus burger on a sesame roll, the portions are generous enough to hold you up after one too many aquavit-based Bloody Marys.

Photograph: Donald Yip

Expect this trendy spot to be packed during peak brunch hours, as patrons wait for excellent coffee, craft beers and hangover-helper classics. With offerings such as Gouda grilled cheese and Ranchers’ Eggs, carnivores won’t even realize the menu is completely vegetarian. Early risers may drop in as early as 9am, while late sleepers can brunch until 4:45pm.

Photograph: Liz Clayman

Pizza for brunch is always a good idea…especially when it’s served at the Michelin-starred pizza joint favored by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The venerable Bushwick institution offers many of its artisanal pies during brunch, and you always have the option of topping your order with an egg. Plus, Roberta’s has stellar seasonal greens, plucked from its own rooftop garden; a fancy bacon-egg-and-cheese on croissant; and a life-changing sticky bun. Sure, you won’t sit down right away, but the wait is substantially shorter than at dinner—and you can always while away the time with drinks in the adjacent bar.

Photograph: Salvation Taco

April Bloomfield knows a thing or two about curing hangovers—we’ve been taking morning-after solace from the Dutch Baby at her Spotted Pig for years. At Salvation Taco, her South of the Border outfit in midtown’s Pod 39 hotel—a Crayola-bright, watermelon-print den of tacos and tortas—Bloomfield dishes out the booze-sopping brunch eats you need when you’ve had one too many tequilas the night before. That means kimchi-and-pork-belly posole, steak-and-egg burritos and, yes, a spicy-as-hell Bloody Mary. And if your hangover is particularly debilitating—we’ve been there—the canteen graciously offers brunch to go, so you can refuel with roasted-poblano biscuits in the warm confines of your bed-sheet cocoon.

Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

There’s something for every palate at any of Sarabeth’s five NYC locations: The swanky restaurant’s extensive brunch menu features standout savory dishes such as lobster rolls alongside scrummy sweet fare like lemon-and-ricotta pancakes. We recommend ordering a basket of Sarabeth’s signature fresh scones and muffins, served with homemade jams, and if you’ve always wanted to have afternoon tea, stop by from 4 to 5pm on Saturday or Sunday. Take heed that Sundays get crazy busy (this is an Oprah fave, after all), so you’ll want to make reservations.

Photograph: Laura Gallant

So you took the N train to the famous Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, caroused all night and went home with an attractive Astorian (is there any other kind?). Now it’s morning, and you need a perfectly balanced prosciutto-and-Brie omelette in a quiet, wood-paneled pub. Head to the humble but mighty Sparrow, just across the street from the beer garden. Its low-rent gray awning belies its foodie status, but your new Astoria friend will know it. The lookers all do.

Photograph: Christopher Griffith

Fresh local ingredients are a priority at this Flatiron eatery, where the menu boasts eggs Spaniard (pan tomate, Manchego, bacon, pico de gallo), buttermilk pancakes with whipped cream and Vermont blueberry syrup, and kid-friendly bites like PB&J or eggs and shoe-string fries. Freshly squeezed juices (orange, grapefruit) round out the welcoming country-house experience.

Photograph: Courtesy Square Diner

This utterly unironic throwback to traditional diners, sitting neatly in the middle of an otherwise thoroughly modernized Tribeca, is the perfect escape into a simpler time. The menu is exactly what you’d expect—omelettes, hot sandwiches, French toast, bagels—and if you stick with the classics (like the Lumberjack Breakfast or one of the 27 varieties of burger on offer), you’ll leave a satisfied customer. Especially if you also order an egg cream.

Photograph: Courtesy Sweet Chick

The downside: Sweet Chick lies on that crowded patch of Bedford Avenue typically overrun by tourists who want to see where Hannah and the rest of the Girls live (people, they’re in Greenpoint!). The upside: The food is worth the hassle. Sumptuous treats like chicken and waffles (they even have a vegetarian version) and steak and eggs more than make up for what the space lacks in personality. Brunch here means you won’t be eating much for the rest of the day—no, you’ll be splayed out on your bed, rubbing your belly with a smile on your face. (That sounded less weird in our head.)

Photograph: Courtesy Taqueria de los Muertos

This Prospect Heights Mexican favorite is floating in a sea of nearby brunch options: The famous line at Tom’s is a block away, and trendy eateries have taken over this stretch of Washington Avenue over the past few years—supplementing the more established foodie zone two blocks away on Franklin. Still, it’s surprising just how often you’ll find this brightly painted, sugar-skull–bedecked spot completely empty on a Sunday afternoon. The savory breakfast burritos—stuffed with eggs, rice, beans, mushrooms, peppers, queso blanco, sour cream and salsa roja—are massive enough to feed two starving adults, and the Mexican French toast, filled with Mexican chocolate and served with caramelized bananas and dulce de leche, is even more decadent than it sounds. Brunch comes with your choice of a spicy chipotle Bloody Mary or a tropical mimosa, plus the standard coffee and juice. Given that you probably won’t eat till the next day, it’s really quite a bargain.

Photograph: Courtesy Three of Cups

You might’ve missed this low-key pizzeria turned brunch hangout, but not for long. Short wait times, excellent food and service, and the best bottomless brunch deal around make this one of the top spots in the city. Brunch ($16.95) comes with coffee or tea and two complimentary mimosas or Bloody Marys, but for an extra $8 you can stretch your boozy morning/afternoon into a two-hour drink-a-thon. Bottomless-brunch enthusiasts will be flocking to this East Village gem.

Photograph: Laura Gallant

57. Tom’s

There’s a lot of new competition on Washington Avenue, which sits on the border of recently trendy Prospect Heights and newly trendy Crown Heights, but no one else draws loyal customers quite like beloved Brooklyn institution Tom’s—as evidenced by the line spilling out of the place and around the corner every weekend. Queuing up is a pleasure, though, with friendly staffers handing out complimentary coffee, cookies and (most famously) orange slices to hungry waiting patrons. Once inside, you’ll find an old-school diner lined with wood paneling, tightly packed Formica tables and all manner of items hanging on the walls—plastic flowers, photos of local celebrities, framed newspaper clippings, etc. The joint is best known for its variety of griddled offerings, including fresh strawberry and banana-nut pancakes, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of the comforting breakfast options. Fun fact: There’s a signed copy of the lyrics to Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” here, but it’s most likely a fake; the lifelong Manhattanite wrote the song about the other famous Tom’s, in Morningside Heights.

Photograph: Courtesy Tosca Cafe

Some purists swear that all-you-can-eat brunch is the only way to do the midmorning meal; their case is made at this always-busy Italian restaurant in the Bronx. The spread ($29.95 per person, children under 12 $12.95) features an omelette station, Italian bread French toast and a variety of pastas, plus bottomless pours of classic brunch drinks (Bellinis, champagne, mimosas, Bloody Marys).

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

59. Veselka

A late-night meal at East Village institution Veselka (translation: “rainbow”) is a rite of passage for NYU students, artists, club kids and all sorts of other downtown creatures. But the brunch fare at this classic Ukrainian diner is worth waking up (relatively) early for. Pillow-light blintzes served with sweetened sour cream and seasonal compote are a refreshing alternative to standard-issue pancakes. Those seeking something more savory can tuck into the kale eggs Benedict; a Slavic twist on the brunch classic, they’re served on a bed of the leafy green, with potato pancakes instead of English muffins. If you’re looking to take the edge off your hangover or start day-drinking, order a prosecco mimosa or fruit-filled sangria. Pro tip: Order a side of kielbasa with your breakfast food. You’ll never want to return to plain old sausage or bacon.

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