Brunch in New York isn’t just the meal that marries breakfast and lunch, it’s a sacred ritual performed each weekend by thousands of the city’s local inhabitants. But don’t expect brunch in New York to be like any other ordinary brunch, this is the land of ‘bottomless brunch’ or ‘drunch’ as some might call it, drunk brunch that is.
Start off with a strong coffee before tucking into some of the best brunch spots in town, as thoroughly researched on the ground by yours truly.
1. Flinders Lane
162 Avenue A (between E 10th and E 11th Streets) We’re going to kick off this list with a soft launch into the NYC brunch scene by introducing you to an expat’s favourite home away from home. The Aussie owned Flinder’s Lane is a cute little East Village restaurant serving up the finest ‘Big Brekkie’ complete with a soothing flat white.
120 Hudson Street or 73 Gansevoort Street I’ve got three words for you: Southern comfort food. Get the buttery buttermilk biscuits (not biscuits in the Aussie sense, these are more like scones in North America) and cheddar grits for some seriously comfy food of the South.
3. Cafe Orlin
41 St Marks Place (between 1st and 2nd Avenue) An East Village institution, this is where the locals come when they’re too hungover to travel more than five blocks (not avenues, blocks) and can’t stand anything but the best American/Middle Eastern brunch in New York.
4. Butcher’s Daughter
19 Kenmare Street (between Elizabeth Street and Bowery) This is the brunch that New York’s vegan population flocks to. Think avo toast, cold-pressed juice, elixir shots and soaked organic muesli. It’s also very popular with the fashion industry so make sure you look the part.
5. Egg Shop
151 Elizabeth Street (between Kenmare and Broome streets) Just around the corner from Butcher’s Daughter is the equally trendy neighbourhood brunch spot, Egg Shop. You can get your eggs every which way in this cute little cafe but I’d recommend the light and clean ‘Spandex’ option, so you know you can fit into your spandex afterwards. You might even spot a model or two loitering on the outside bench with their de rigeur french bulldog.
6. Jack’s Wife Freda
224 Lafayette Street (between Spring and Kenmare streets) This is THE hot brunch spot where you will most likely be rubbing shoulders with some sort of well-known actor/director/editor/artist/DJ etc. How is it that all the best brunch restaurants seem to be an American/Mediterranean mix, I don’t know but I think it’s got something to do with the to die for haloumi cheese and Jack’s Wife Freda is no exception.
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7. Poco NYC
33 Avenue B (at E 2nd Street) When people talk about ‘bottomless brunch’ this is the restaurant they’re thinking of. One of the best unlimited mimosa/bloody mary brunch deals in the city. Just don’t plan too much for afterwards, because no one has ever achieved anything after a Poco brunch.
8. Norma’s at the Parker Meridien
119 West 57th Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenues) This is your go-to fancy uptown brunch option, read: expensive. But worth it for the large portions that will last you all day and the out-of-this-world pancakes.
49 Canal Street (between Orchard and Ludlow streets) This is another cool Lower East Side eatery that started getting a lot of buzz last year. It’s understandable where the buzz comes from with its top notch acai bowls, spiced quinoa bowl and monster breakfast sandwiches.
10. Cafe Mogador
101 St. Marks Place (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) Hands down the absolute best brunch you will get anywhere in the world. Yep, not just in Manhattan or America, the world. That’s how good this Middle Eastern restaurant is. Also don’t order anything but the haloumi eggs, it’s the best thing on the menu. The sister restaurant in Williamsburg is even better because of its greenhouse back garden.
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11. The Rabbithole
352 Bedford Avenue (between South 3rd and 4th streets), Brooklyn This restaurant doubles as the perfect brunch in both summer and winter, it’s cosy and intimate on the inside but in summer the backyard can’t be beat. The herbed potatoes that come with the eggs benedict are also the best I’ve ever had.
12. Five Leaves
18 Bedford Avenue (at Lorimer Street), Brooklyn Forming a fabulous Aussie sandwich to this NYC brunch list is the Australian owned Five Leaves located in Greenpoint. Be warned though, this place fills out fast on the weekend and the wait times to get in can be long. Grab a flat white at the little coffee side window and wait in the nearby picturesque McCarren Park.