New York has no shortage of breakfast options, from cafes to carts to diners to bagel stores and bakeries. But sometimes you want a little polish with your eggs, a little dose of decadence with your coffee. Herewith, our five favorite spots for an oh-so-elegant morning repast. By Jessica Allen.
Located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, inside the Time Warner Center, Asiate offers an elegant breakfast with a bonus: outstanding views of lower Central Park and Midtown. To compete with what you can see outside the windows, the decor has to be pretty special; here it includes a wall made of 1300 bottles of wine and a light, bright sculpture designed to mimic trees in winter. In addition to American standbys, you can get a terrific Japanese breakfast (pictured), which comes with miso soup, roasted salmon, and pickled veggies.
Modeled on a Parisian bistro, Balthazar is run by noted restaurateur Keith McNally, and is as beloved with locals as it is sought out by tourists. If you feel as if you’ve been here before, it’s because McNally’s concept, including its signature golden light and mirrors, has been copied many times. But this Soho institution is the original. Start your meal with a big bowl (no joke) of cappuccino or cafe au lait, then nosh on one of the restaurant’s famed pastries, such as a pain au chocolat. Conclude with an egg dish, perhaps the eggs benedict.
Cafe Sabarsky is attached to the Neue Galerie, dedicated to 20th-century Austrian and German art and design, and certainly plenty of weary souls come to rest after getting their fill of Klimt and Schiele. But the restaurant, modeled on the cafes of Vienna, draws crowds in its own right, thanks to its amazing old-world atmosphere. Wood paneling, brass lights, newspapers perfectly balanced on long sticks (rather than ink-stained and folded), uniformed servers, upholstered banquettes, and thick tablecloths are some of the stately touches.
The hungry hordes lined up around the block when an outpost of Maison Kayser, the famous French bakery, opened near the Flatiron Building in November 2013, and haven’t really dissipated in the months since. So, you’ll have to take your elegance with a side of hustle and bustle. Nevertheless, this restaurant merits a spot on this list for its Parisian charms: you’re sitting in Manhattan, but you might as well be on the Champs-Élysées. You probably don’t need us to tell you how great the croissants are, but we will anyway: so so so great!
Just how upscale is Norma’s, a restaurant located in the Le Parker Meridien hotel? Very upscale. Indeed, the word “upscale” appears on the breakfast menu, as in “Norma’s Upscale Breakfast.” Among its most popular dishes are the Crunchy French Toast (pictured), covered with a warm caramel sauce; the Irresistible Banana-Macadamia Nut Flap Jacks; and the Donut Even Go There French Toast, packed with cheesecake and rolled in coconut, topped with vanilla ice cream and an orange drizzle. We gained five pounds just writing about it all.