We’ve already provided you with our top picks for New Year’s Day Brunch specials. Here’s a look at our all-time favorite spots for the long, lazy, indulgent weekend-afternoon meal chased with café latte or a Bloody Mary – a great tradition of New York City life. By Valerie Stivers.
187 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Take the water taxi to Pier 6 (location of the city’s best playground; check schedules) in the a.m., then walk 10 minutes down Columbia Street for the gooey, eggy, cheesy goodness that is Mexican brunch at Alma. More plusses: an outdoor roof deck with spectacular views of lower Manhattan and the big boats in New York harbor, and margaritas.
80 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
Restaurateur Keith McNally’s first cult property is many things: divine French bakery, web-industry hotspot, former celebrity hangout, but first and foremost it’s a pitch-perfect French bistro with a brunch menu that includes brioche French toast and caramelized onion-and-goat cheese tart. The juice is fresh-squeezed, the latte comes in bowls, and shopping along Broadway or in Soho and Nolita is just steps away.
28 Eighth Ave
New York, NY 10014
This old-school greasy spoon in the West Village is emblematic of a certain kind of casual, un-precious hash slinging that feels particularly New York. The eggs with home-fries and toast are cheap and basic, the owner’s cat curls around the chair legs, and the big plate glass window is great for spotting off-duty celebrities like Tim Robbins.
Clinton Street Baking Company
4 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10022
The slightly Southern-fried menu at this youthful Lower East Side hot spot offers a free-range, organic take on all the classic brunch dishes: blueberry or banana walnut pancakes, buttermilk biscuit sandwich, eggs benedict, truffle-fried eggs with asparagus. Prices are reasonable and, conveniently, the same menu is served for breakfast on weekdays, without the lines.
The Coffee Shop
29 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
The aspiring models who work the floor here are only half the draw at this big, high-turnover brunch place that’s also a pretty good 24-hour restaurant in central Union Square. New Yorkers of all types wait in line for sidewalk seating and affordable American Nouvelle dishes like Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine (spinach), Eggs Norway (smoked salmon), strip steak & eggs, overstuffed omelets, and California wraps.
377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY
The restaurant in the new Greenwich hotel in Tribeca (owned by Robert DeNiro) has the city’s hottest brunch at the moment. The chef is emerging Italian star Andrew Carmellini, and pastry chef Karen DeMasco has a following of her own. Dishes come out on wooden planks, or in little terrines, and the big, lofty room is pleasantly buzzy and happening.
51 East 1st St
New York, NY 10003
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton is one of the people who brought Alice Waters’s fresh, seasonal, simple style to NYC, and her tiny East Village restaurant is still a foodie mecca for all meals, but most especially brunch. Fans of the Bloody Mary will have their minds blown by the vodka bottles frozen into blocks of olive- or celery- ice melting slowly on the bar. Arrive a bit before the restaurant opens at 10a.m and you’re likely to get a table with ease.
Sarabeth’s Central Park South
40 Central Park South New York, NY 10019
This grand dame’s Central Park location guarantees high prices, but if you’re at a loss in midtown or near the park, Sarabeth’s is a highly reputable breakfast destination with a quirky menu and a specialty in “sweet breakfasts” like lemon-ricotta pancakes and pumpkin waffles. To get the heaping American-brunch experience, order plenty of sides.