Look, we love brunch in NYC as much as the next mimosa drinkers, but there’s something special about breakfast. Maybe it’s the sheer breadth of comforting options—from stacks of pancakes to hangover-curing breakfast sandwiches to the best bagels you’ll find anywhere. If you’re looking for serious a.m. fuel, turn to these restaurants for the best breakfast NYC has to offer.
Best breakfast in NYC
At her latest, the tiny Gallic-themed Buvette, Jody Williams has just enough space to feed a neighborhood following. As at Gottino (which still operates a few blocks away without her), the approach is small but exacting. She’s filled every nook with old picnic baskets, teapots and silver trays, among other vintage ephemera. Breakfast standouts include a walnut-cranberry toast smeared with honey butter and pure bee pollen.
Reason to get out of bed: Cr’Q Madame with classic ham, Gruyère and a sunny-side-up egg
Clinton St. Baking Company
If you grabbed brunch at Clinton St. Bakery and didn’t order the stack of fluffy blueberry pancakes, did you really even go? At least, that’s how sought-after the dish is among the early-morning (and breakfast-for-dinner) crowd. Chef Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman, who co-own the Lower East Side hot spot, offer their iconic brunch items—think egg sandwiches and latke eggs Benedict—that New Yorkers line up for every weekend. Even on those mornings when it seems impossible to get out of bed, the duo beckons us to the Time Out Market for breakfast delights (and hangover cures).
Reason to get out of bed: Some of New York’s most fluffy pancakes.
Russ & Daughters
Lower East Side
Russ & Daughters has been serving lox, herring and other specialty foods since 1914, and its Super Heebster of horseradish dill cream cheese, wasabi-flavored roe and sublime whitefish-salmon salad form a holy trinity with an unholy name.
Reason to get out of bed: Classic bagel and lox sandwich
Sunday in Brooklyn
Contrary to what the name might suggest, Sunday in Brooklyn is open for brunch and dinner every day of the week. The rustic three-story space boasts an outdoor patio, marketplace, private dining room and rooftop garden. The breakfast menu includes both lighter bites, like warm oatmeal with goat milk butter and charred avocaado toast with wheatgrass, and heartier fare, like an egg-sausage sandwich with potatoes, cheddar and gojuchang aioli.
Reason to get out of bed: Hazelnut maple praline malted pancakes
Mi Noodle Bar
A Gramercy noodle bar.
Venue says Home of New York’s first 6lbs Pho challenge! Authentic Southeast Asian cuisine in the heart of Gramercy, NYC!
Jack’s Wife Freda
Keith McNally protégé Dean Jankelowitz (Schiller’s, Pastis, Balthazar) is behind this morning-to-evening café. The 40-seat restaurant—sporting dark-green leather banquettes, brass railings and marble counters—serves homey fare. In the morning, find Stumptown coffee, homemade croissants and full breakfast plates.
Reason to get out of bed: Green shakshuka with two baked eggs in a green tomatillo and challah toast
El Rey Luncheonette
Lower East Side
Chef Gerardo Gonzalez serves dishes inspired by the California coast at this Lower East Side eatery, having transformed the former El Rey café-bar into a modern lunch counter. In the 15-seat space—featuring communal tables, globe lambs and a multiwood bar—find breakfast dishes offered through the late afternoon, including garden-variety chia-seed pudding jazzed up with coconut ash and berries and an avocado del sur with flatbread and chimichurri eggs.
Reason to get out of bed: Bull’s blood beets with leeks, chili lime sunflower seeds and shaved egg
A sit-down offshoot of Yuji Haraguchi’s Kinfolk Studios and Whole Foods counters, the chestnut-walled restaurant specializes in ichi ju san sai—a traditional Japanese meal of one soup and three side dishes—for breakfast and lunch, with options like broccoli rabe shiraae (tofu-and-sesame-dressed salad), roasted Spanish mackerel and miso soup with ramp stalks.
Reason to get out of bed: Ichi ju Sansai meal
Upper West Side
Despite decor that Jewish mothers might call “schmutzy,” this legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch. Enormous egg platters come with the usual choice of smoked fish (such as sturgeon or Nova Scotia salmon). Prices are high but portions are large—and that goes for the sandwiches, too. Or try the less costly dishes: matzo-ball soup, creamy egg salad or noodle pudding served in a glass jar.
Reason to get out of bed: Smoked fish platters
Not only is the iconic Balthazar still trendy, but the kitchen rarely makes a false step. Even at breakfast, the place is perennially packed with rail-thin lookers dressed to the nines. But the bread is great, the food is good, and the service is surprisingly friendly. The full English-breakfast plate—piled high with eggs, bacon, sausage and fried bread—is one of the best in town, and sweet tooths won’t be disappointed by gut-busting sour cream–hazelnut waffles crowned with a dollop of warm berries. Don’t hate the patrons because they’re beautiful; just join them.
Reason to get out of bed: Roasted pepper and caramelized onion quiche
Since debuting Torrisi Italian Specialties in ’09, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick have gone from relative unknowns to restaurant moguls. Which brings us to theirsunny entry in the trio’s ever-growing domain: Santina, a glass-enclosed jewel box of a restaurant tucked neatly beneath the High Line. Though billed as “coastal Italian”—the place is named for Carbone’s Sicilian grandmother—the vibrant set-piece room reads more South Beach than southern Italy. Get the day off to a good start with an aromatic truffle egg salad and iced coffee.
Reason to get out of bed: Italian chickpea pancakes
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At this SoCal-inspired café, the lineup can change weekly. Expect colorful plates with equal parts Japanese, South American and Mediterranean influences like a bonito-chili–spiced black-rice bowl loaded with sweet potato and eggplant, and braised chicken in stick-to-your-ribs apricot couscous. In the early hours, start your day with love toast made with housemade tahini, raspberry, mint and honey or Encino man with sweet potatoe, za’atar, bacon, escarole, sunny side egg and alfalfa sprouts.
Reason to get out of bed: Huevo kathmandu with spiced chickpeas, fried egg, date relish, spinach, green chutney and corn tortilla
Not much changes at the perfect pre–Brooklyn Museum eatery, Tom’s: The lemon-ricotta pancakes slathered in a medley of butters are still heavenly, cherry-lime rickeys maintain an old-soda-shoppe allure, and on weekend mornings, a line of hungry diners of all ages—munching on cookies and orange slices proffered by friendly staff—stretches around the block. Get here early for a timely eggs-and-coffee fix.
Reason to get out of bed: Lemon-ricotta pancakes
Haute French vet Andrew Carmellini—who many moons ago executed classics under Gray Kunz at Lespinasse—has had no trouble hatching venues that diners flock to, perhaps taking a page from his other old boss, Daniel Boulud, one of the city’s savviest CEO chefs. Everything in Lafayette glows: the blue-flamed rotisserie and wood oven, the soft lamps and candles, and the gently backlit bar. A breakfast menu tricks out simple standards like oatmeal nestling fruit stewed in cognac, and omelettes folded with robiolina, roasted cauliflower and an onion fondue. Pair the grub with coffees ranging from Stumptown’s dark “Hair Bender” to a nitro cold brew.
Reason to get out of bed: Smoked salmon Benedict on brioche with sauce choron
The NoMad’s luxurious setting, flawless service, and preponderance of foie gras and truffles call to mind an haute cuisine titan like Jean-Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Boulud. But with its fashionable crowd and cool, voluptuous vibe—the decor is by hot Parisian designer Jacques Garcia—there are clearly some young Turks behind the wheel. That elegance is reflected even in the most quotidian breakfast dishes—from an egg sandwich bookending duck sausage and cheddar in a housemade English muffin and French toast with maple-glazed bananas and walnuts.
Reason to get out of bed: Chia seed pudding with coconut and citrus
Long Island City
This Long Island City restaurant serves market-driven casual fare for breakfast and lunch, and sells its house-made sauces, jams and pickles in a small retail area.
Reason to get out of bed: Warm egg salad with bacon and gruyere
The reopening of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe made headlines on every site in the foodie-verse and damn near caused a Resy meltdown. But Union Square Hospitality Group wasn’t quite done—next door to that downtown dining room sits this small café sister issuing out Joe Coffee and house-baked breads (caraway rye, a house miche) and pastries courtesy of head baker Justin Rosengarten. Chef Carmen Quagliata expands those offerings to include breakfast gougères (eggs with ham and spinach) and sides like shaved Brussels sprouts with guanciale.
Reason to get out of bed: Crullers in cinnamon-sugar, maple or original glaze.
Black Seed Bagels
Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman—the brains behind those cult-inducing Manhattan-meets-Montreal bagels—unleashed this larger 1,500-square-foot East Village expansion in the former home of century-old Italian bakery De Robertis. Inside, head baker Dianna Daoheung rolls out honey-boiled rounds topped with Black Seed standbys (tobiko cream cheese, beet lox), as well as exclusive new sandwiches.
Reason to get out of bed: House beet lox
Lower East Side
It’s been a year for desserts: Wowfulls and DŌ gave you throwback treats like cotton candy Pop Rocks ice cream and raw cookie-dough scoops. Now a new bakery from Ry Stephen of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in L.A., San Francisco and Seoul takes it one step further with far-out sweets like a charcoal-meringue–stuffed squid-ink brioche and a torched-meringue–topped Cruffin filled with coconut-lime curd.
Reason to get out of bed: NYC (New York Croissant), a buttery everything-bagel croissant packed with cream cheese, capers and chunks of lox
Sullivan St Bakery
Having developed a following of carb-loving devotees with his Hell’s Kitchen flagship, acclaimed dough puncher Jim Lahey brought his superlative loaves to Chelsea with this wood-laden spin-off in July 2012. Swing by before the lunch rush for one of the poached-egg bowls (European salted butter, delicata squash), Greek yogurt and of course the fresco al forno assorted spread of daily-baked breads.
Reason to get out of bed: Prosciutto and buffalo panini
Charming Sarabeth’s serves a homestyle breakfast, with little-house-in-the-woods menu items to match: Kids can try the Baby Bear—porridge with milk and honey—while parents nosh on the Goldie Lox, a plate of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Reason to get out of bed: Scrambled egg stuffed popover with scallions and cream cheese
An heir to the Pick a Bagel empire is expanding outside his doughy roots to open a “healthy-ish” Mediterranean all-day café named after his grandmother. Danny Nusbaum, who ran a similar concept with the now-shuttered Tilda All Day, has hired chef Ryan Whyte (Craftbar, Public) to serve house-made breakfast pastries and Levant lunch options like smoked-trout sandwiches and horseradish salmon gravlax among ’60s-inspired decor. In addition to the fare, Nusbaum crafted a multiroasting coffee program that brews Brooklyn and Portland beans.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best breakfast in NYC
- 1.1 Buvette
- 1.2 Clinton St. Baking Company
- 1.3 Russ & Daughters
- 1.4 Sunday in Brooklyn
- 1.5 Mi Noodle Bar
- 1.6 Jack’s Wife Freda
- 1.7 El Rey Luncheonette
- 1.8 Okonomi
- 1.9 Barney Greengrass
- 1.10 Balthazar
- 1.11 Santina
- 1.12 Dimes
- 1.13 Tom’s Restaurant
- 1.14 Lafayette
- 1.15 The NoMad
- 1.16 LIC Market
- 1.17 Daily Provisions
- 1.18 Black Seed Bagels
- 1.19 Supermoon Bakehouse
- 1.20 Sullivan St Bakery
- 1.21 Sarabeth’s
- 1.22 Golda