Welcome to the Brunch Directory - a complete list of nearly 300 restaurants to get brunch in NYC. You could memorize this list so you can tell people you have an encylopedic knowledge of brunch spots in the city. Or just use it to pick a place for your next midday feast.
We update this guide pretty frequently with new brunches around the city, so check back as soon as you’ve been to every place on the list (or maybe before that). Happy waffle eating.
east village & noho
If you’re looking for a quick East Village brunch experience, you should go to Smor and order some $9 toasts from the counter here. This Danish all-day cafe makes a bunch of different open-faced sandwiches with smoked fish and really good rye bread, all in a space filled with accent pillows and wood that could be described as “handsome.” Channel your inner (or outer) Scandinavian influencer and you’ll have found your new home.
A Lebanese brunch at Balade might consist of eggs with halloumi and olives, eggs with baba ghanoush, or eggs with dates, and all the dishes come with homemade bread, salad, and orange juice or coffee. It’s very affordable (nothing is over $16) and great for a relaxed brunch in a neighborhood where that’s a bit harder to find.
Veselka is open 24 hours a day, so you’ll probably see people who haven’t yet gone to sleep when you show up for brunch. There’s usually a wait, because everyone seems to be on the same page about Ukrainian comfort food.
If you want to get pasta for brunch, you can do that at Il Buco Alimentari. But you can also get a basket of pastries here, or a plate of porchetta and eggs. This place happens to be one of our favorite Italian spots in the city, and it’s perfect for brunch with a friend who recently got a raise and wants to humble-brag/celebrate it. Or any other special occasion brunch, really.
Uluh is a big Chinese restaurant in the East Village that specializes in fancy, high-grade teas that might involve things like ice cream or ceremonial grade matcha. To go with your tea, there’s a list of very good dim sum and large format dishes that you’ll probably want to overeat. We especially like the pork soup dumplings and the Peking duck with crispy skin. Just be aware that a meal here can get pretty expensive - especially because you’re going to want to try a lot. So save this for a special occasion brunch for people you want to impress, or just for someone who appreciates tea.
Virginia’s makes one of our favorite burgers in NYC. Even if you’re not a burger-at-brunch person, though, come to Virginia’s for a semi-upscale atmosphere and things like zucchini omelettes and whipped ricotta. They only serve brunch on Saturdays - and all bottles of wine are half-price.
If you wake up on a Sunday wanting Mediterranean food without the iPhone photoshoot environment that usually goes along with an order of shakshuka, Spiegel is where you should go. They have decent prices for the East Village, excellent coffee, and an overall relaxed feel for those of you who claim to be anti-brunch.
This coffee spot has a garden in the back and serves things like huevos rancheros and an avocado sandwich with a fried egg and pickled jalapeños. It’s comfortable, and has a bunch of healthy, vegetarian options. Also - you can get an entree, with coffee and a beer, a mimosa, or juice for $21.50.
You can think of Atla as a much more casual version of Cosmé. It’s from the same chef, but further downtown, and really more of a breakfast/lunch spot. While it might not be as impressive as Cosmé, it’s still a good place to go around brunch time and share some plates. We like the huevos rancheros, and the guacamole that comes with one giant chip should be on your table as well. Probably don’t come here for greasy hungover brunch (it isn’t super filling), but if you’re trying to be healthier, you’ll enjoy it.
We come to David’s Cafe pretty much exclusively for their great burger. It comes with two thin patties, American cheese, spicy mayo sauce, and lots of french fries on the side. If you’re not feeling a burger, they also have a menu of French-ish breakfast options like a croque monsieur and crab cake benedict.
The Smile is a subterranean establishment that serves simple, good food like waffles with whipped cream and a harissa chicken sandwich. They don’t take reservations for brunch, so we’d recommend getting here on the earlier side if you don’t want to wait for a table.
If you’re in the East Village and you want an uncomplicated brunch, come here. The menu at Post isn’t huge, and neither is the space. There’s a bar with some stools, a few seats in the window, and one table all the way in back. Don’t come with a group, but if you and a friend are looking to hang out with some biscuit sandwiches, it’s perfect - they do a few different kinds.
Bar Primi is an excellent place for a group of nearly any size, especially since you can make a reservation. So come with your crew and get down with some breakfast spaghetti with pancetta and a poached egg.
Coco & Cru serves Australian cafe food (toasts, eggs, and granola all day). You can file this away as an option in the area for a quick casual brunch with friends who care about how “cute” a restaurant is.
Hearth is an East Village go-to for upscale Italian, and has a bunch of kind-of-healthy options (but also pasta). Keep this one in mind for your next special occasion brunch.
An extremely reliable spot whose menu has something for everyone. Westville’s been doing the healthy thing since way before it was cool, but it’s their non-trendy (and very tasty) approach to it that makes this place so lovable.
When the weather’s nice, get a table outside and watch all the people reintroduce themselves to sunlight as they walk down Bowery. Here they serve dishes like nutella French toast and eggs benedict with a yuzu hollandaise. It’s a good place to bring your parents for a slightly upscale brunch.
This place gets Southern comfort food right. Biscuits, brisket, bacon and waffle benedicts? Check.
A big, impressive French bistro that’s a little upscale and always a great time. It’s somewhat expensive, but that price basically includes the excellent people watching.
A barn-in-the-city feel, with a broad menu (pizza, pastas, market veggies, eggs, sandwiches). Vic’s can be a little bland, but it’s a good backup spot in the Noho area, especially if you’re confronted with a two-hour wait at Lafayette a few steps away.
Loud music, a bottomless special, and passable Latin food. If you’re looking to embark on an afternoon of East Village day drinking, Cafe Cortadito is where you should start.
An East Village brunch mainstay with good Moroccan dishes and a big, cool crowd.
A fun Caribbean spot that’s somehow just as appropriate for your 7-year-old nephew as it is for your brunch cocktail shenanigans.
lower east side & chinatown
At surface level, Golden Diner in Two Bridges is a classic NYC diner. There’s a pastry display case on the counter, lacey white curtains, and metal stools fixed permanently to the floor. Unlike a classic diner, though the menu is very small - with approximately four options for breakfast and four options for lunch. But this isn’t your standard corner diner food - a meal here might involve a club sandwich with chicken katsu and purple cabbage, or avocado toast with turmeric and Thai basil. Even though you can’t make a reservation, and lines on the weekend can get long, know that the food is worth it.
Kopitiam is a counter-service Malaysian cafe that’s perfect for a last-minute brunch with one or two other people. They have a bunch of breakfast options available all day, like Malaysian-style French toast and nasi lemak (with fried anchovies, coconut rice, and a hard boiled egg). There’s also a selection of cakes and sweet rice balls that might change your stance on ordering brunch dessert, provided you were against it in the first place.
Long before the city’s other bagel establishments came along, Russ & Daughters was the original home of downtown Jewish appetizing. It has a cool retro/diner vibe, and smoked fish that will likely inspire you to Google “how to cold smoke a fish in your apartment.” It also has ridiculously long waits on weekends. So if you want to beat the rush, get there by 8:30am. We promise their bagel platters and white fish chowder are worth it.
If you’re planning brunch with a larger group of friends or family members, this dim sum spot above an old bank in Chinatown is a great option. Everyone can sit at a big round table, and all the dishes (ranging from steamed rice rolls and chicken feet to sweet buns that look like piglets) are relatively affordable.
The original Speedy Romeo is in Clinton Hill, but the one on the LES is great for brunch if you aren’t already near Clinton Hill. The pizzas are good, but you’d be better off getting their burger (which you can get at brunch, along with the rest of the lunch menu). Plus, there are two dining rooms, and tables large enough for your book club or whoever you force yourself to see at 11am on a Sunday.
During brunch, everything here is $15. This is some of our favorite Mexican food in the neighborhood (and the whole city, actually). Order the huevos rancheros or the chilaquiles, and you’ll probably understand why. The only thing you should know: La Contenta isn’t the best for big groups, since it’s about the size of a Little League dugout.
Pig And Khao is where you go for rowdy brunch that will probably be followed by more rowdiness elsewhere, or at least a nap. And there’s a self-serve, all-you-can-drink deal on Narragansett for $16 (with a two-hour limit). Aside from that, you’ll get really good food like a green papaya salad and sizzling pork sisig. And if you come with someone who just wants French toast, they have that, too.
If you’ve never done a solo brunch, Davelle is a great place to start. This is a small Japanese restaurant on the LES with breakfast and lunch sets involving dishes like toast with red bean paste and fried chicken with rice. Because of the size, we wouldn’t recommend bringing more than one other person here - which will be hard, because you’re going to want to tell everyone you know about it.
Lalito is a Mexican/Latin-American restaurant in Chinatown that has their own specific way of doing things. For instance, their chicharones are vegan, but they also serve a lot of meat, and you won’t find anything too boring here. It’s a cool little place, and we like the food quite a bit. Stop by at brunch and try the chicharones. Or have a “normie breakfast” that’s pretty much what it sounds like (eggs, potatoes, toast).
The LES has two peak people-watching times: midnight and noon on weekends. Cafe Katja is a great spot to go for the latter. It’s a bright German/Austrian restaurant that feels a little like a tavern in Vienna, with a big bar, beer steins, huge portions of dishes like spaetzle and gulasch, and decorative wreaths on the wall. Come for some bratwursts, or wiener schnitzel that’s served with lingonberry jam on top and a pot of spicy mustard. Preferably if your body is still processing last night’s activities and you have some friends who feel similarly.
One of our favorite dim sum experiences. Jing Fong is bigger than most malls, and, like those malls, it has an escalator. You can choose from dim sum carts, as well as a full menu. Bring friends (lots of them) who want to eat something great without necessarily spending their weekly grocery budget.
Minnie’s is the kind of place where you could get a croque madame with Katz’s pastrami or something called a Blue Lagoon yogurt that has bee pollen in it. So if your friends are looking for somewhere with comfy throw pillows to rehash last night’s events that has plenty of options based on how healthy you’re trying to be, Minnie’s is the place.
“Good, thanks” is how you politely respond to strangers when they ask how you’re doing. It’s also the name of an Australian cafe on the LES where you can get a quick, somewhat-healthy brunch while staring at all the people waiting for tables at Russ & Daughters (which is right next door). A lot of their all-day options are required by law to be on the menu at every Australian coffee shop in the city - think grain bowls, mushroom toast, and smoothies - but there are also some slightly less expected dishes, like a really good plate of kimchi scrambled eggs with scallion labne. Also, they have vegemite.
JaJaJa’s “hearts of palm carnitas” and “coconut bacon” are not actually carnitas or bacon, but this vegan place is a good choice for a casual Mexican brunch on the Lower East Side - whether you eat animal products or not. They have a full bar, and the place is typically filled with people who feel very strongly about weekend brunch.
A classic NYC restaurant that everyone needs to experience, and brunch is a great time to do it. This spot is on its on alley, and the waffles and pancakes are great.
A tiny LES neighborhood spot that’s great for watching people sit outside on the sidewalk with tiny dogs in their laps while they try to sip a latte. The food is simple and fine, like toasts, granola, etc.
This dive bar/diner has a total mixed bag of a menu - like kebabs and also nachos. Come with a big group, order a ton of things, and you’ll be happy.
Notoriously horrendous wait times, truly incredible pancakes, and a cash-only policy at brunch. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
Made-to-order dim sum from a place that’s been at it since 1920. This is an experience from a different time, and a fun one at that. It’s smaller than some of the other dim sum spots on this guide, and you can count on a wait.
soho, nolita, tribeca
It’s possible you got a text from your friends who live in Chicago when the NYC Au Cheval opened, insisting that you go try the burger. If you want to eat there before 11pm one day, try going for brunch. It’s easier to get a table on the early side, and they do take some reservations a week in advance. You can still try the burger (which is actually a double cheeseburger and comes with an optional egg and, in our eyes, mandatory piece of thick-cut bacon), as well as a plate of chilaquiles that’s really more a plate of delicious nachos.
Balthazar is one of our favorite French bistros in the city. Actually, Balthazar is one of everyone’s favorite French bistros in the city - which means it’s usually pretty crowded at brunch. It’s not quite formal, but it’s nice enough to bring your parents or have a special occasion meal. Make sure to get the basket of pastries - it costs the same as around eight gallons of gas, but it’s way better than gas (plus, you don’t even drive).
This is a fun place to get a little rowdy with your friends and share plates of modern Indian food for brunch. With the exception of the bacon and cheddar fried egg pizza, their brunch is basically the dinner menu with eggs on top. If it’s nice out, sit on the sidewalk.
This is an all-day cafe in Soho that’s also a fancy furniture store where you can buy a $2,000 throw rug or elegant ceramic vase. The French cafe food at La Mercerie is expensive but excellent, making it a nice choice for a meal with your family or someone you’re trying to impress with smoked salmon blinis. Make a reservation or prepare to wait for a bit.
West-Bourne is a casual all-day cafe in Soho that works nicely for a laid-back, kind-of-healthy meal at either 9am or 4pm, because their menu is essentially all brunch food like grain bowls and “Bay Cities Cauli.” They also have beer, wine, and their own kombucha. Because of course they have their own kombucha.
Shuka is one of the more useful spots in Soho, and works well for a relatively last-minute brunch with your college roommates or parents who promise they can wait until 12:30pm to eat on a Saturday. Get cinnamon rolls or ricotta fritters or beet hummus for the table, as well as Mediterranean food like chicken shawarma and a grilled lamb sandwich.
When you get brunch at Le Coucou, you can have an omelette or some avocado toast, or you can go full-French with a veal terrine and lobster salad. This is downtown fine dining, but it’s more relaxed than the places you’ll find in Midtown. It’s also slightly cheaper, a la carte, and a little more fun. And the food is excellent. Take your parents or bring some friends - it should be fine for either, just be sure to make a reservation.
Epistrophy is one of the most useful restaurants in Nolita: it’s laid-back but still “cute,” it’s reasonably priced, and waits are never too long. One other reason? Their brunch - a mixture of egg dishes and panini all under $15.
When we come here at night, there’s usually something weird going down. And we mean that in a good way. This is a little neighborhood restaurant/bar in Tribeca, and it has a sort of truck-stop vibe. Brunch will be on the heavier side, so come here if you’re eating off a hangover. The food is solid, the vibes are laid-back, and on Sundays in the summer there might be an outdoor pool party that may or may not involve an open fire hydrant.
If you’re dying to wait for your brunch, Ruby’s has you covered. That’s because the food is good, affordable Australian/American stuff like a quinoa bowl, avocado toast, and a burger with beet and pineapple. Just be aware that there’s usually a crowd and you might not have the most legroom at your table. If none of those things concerns you, perfect.
Getting brunch at Balthazar these days might feel like a trip to Disney World (for all the wrong reasons), but now you can go to Augustine instead. It’s one of the restaurants in the bottom of the Beekman Hotel, and it’s a bistro from the same owner. The concept is similar: European food, banquettes, and a slightly upscale atmosphere. Bring your parents. Or your grandparents. And see if anyone will buy you a seafood tower.
This “diner” looks like the sort of place you’d find in the capital city from The Hunger Games. It’s sleek and spacious, and it isn’t really a diner. It’s clearly inspired by diners of the past, however, and that makes it a good place to grab breakfast (or brunch). Get the egg sandwich. Or, if you’re feeling reckless, go for a burger. The brunch menu isn’t huge, but this place doesn’t get too crowded.
Mother’s Ruin is a bar. So why do they serve brunch every day? We have no answer for you - but if you’re in Soho before 5pm and you’re craving biscuits and gravy, this is the place. Brunch here is fun and filling, and they also make really good cocktails - it is a bar, after all. There aren’t many tables, but bar/counter seating works just fine (especially if you’re alone).
The original Two Hands is a cafe on Mott Street, but the one in Tribeca is more of a restaurant. (The menu is larger, and there’s a full bar.) The service here is still easy-going, though. For what it’s worth, there’s also a kids menu at brunch.
Same goes for the original location. This Nolita-bordering-Chinatown cafe is a brunch and lunch mainstay, and perfect for something casual.
Brunch is a great time to hit Locanda Verde. Mainly because you can actually score a table, but their bakery is excellent and it’s a nice place to throw back some eggs and some drinks on a sunny Sunday.
Go to Black Seed if you want a quick brunch that you can take elsewhere. They make signature sandwiches to order, with ingredients like beet-cured salmon and tobiko cream cheese. You can eat at one of their tables, or you can take your bagel on a walk through Nolita. There might be a line, but it moves pretty quickly, and, if it’s a good bagel you’re after, it’s worth it.
Raoul’s is a classic NYC restaurant. It’s definitely more of a nighttime place, but if the idea of bright decor, avocado toasts, and overpriced eggs makes you want to die, Raoul’s brunch is for you. It’s dark, it’s a little sexy, and most importantly, they serve their otherwise-hard-to-get burger.
Such a simple cafe with such unreasonable waits for a table. If you can get in, you’ll enjoy Middle Eastern influenced brunch dishes (like shakshuka) that were pretty much made to be photographed.
A solid spot for American comfort food and maybe some oysters. And maybe a stiff drink while you’re at it. As long as you’re OK spending a bit, you’ll probably be able to find something you like.
You can expect a not-insignificant wait at brunch here, but good Cuban sandwiches and eggs await.
This is a restaurant from the people behind The Dutch and Locanda Verde. Little Park is similar but more vegetable-focused.
This is a hardcore Tribeca brunch situation. Come for above-average pancakes and even better people watching. Also, it’s very close to the Whitney.
Sadelle’s is where you go for a deluxe brunch that involves things like towers of bagels and smoked fish, and servers wearing white lab coats. This Jewish deli food is both flashy and genuinely great, and you can count on there being a line (we’d suggest making a reservation).
Pretty good tacos, and a very pleasant fake Mexican courtyard to enjoy them in.
Egg Shop gives the people what they want, which is apparently eggs. Have them many different ways - on a sandwich, in a bowl, you name it. What a world.
As long as you don’t come to Estela expecting to be nice and comfy, you’ll have a great time with the creative food and full brunch cocktail list.
west village & greenwich village
Like with the dinner menu at The Loyal, their brunch does not cater to the indecisive - the options range from olive oil pancakes to a lobster frittata and a mushroom carbonara. The sundae set & candy shop is also available, and it seems somehow more appropriate during the day. Brunch here is a fun way to experience most of The Loyal’s highlights without as long of a wait.
La Contenta Oeste is the larger second location of one of our favorite spots on the Lower East Side. Which actually isn’t that impressive of a statement, considering the fact that a luxury steam room would be larger than the first La Contenta. In any case, this West Village outpost is reliably good for things like chilaquiles, crab potato hash, and Mexican omelettes. And they have a bunch of brunch cocktails if you’re looking for that sort of thing.
If you’re looking for something on the nicer side that’s still not ultra-fancy, Bistro Pierre Lapin, on a quiet street in the West Village, is a good option. They serve slightly upscale French food, with brunch sandwiches and egg dishes that are mostly under $20, and lunchier options closer to the $30 range.
Brunch spots are to the West Village what people in creepy Elmo costumes are to Times Square: they’re everywhere, and they’re going to take your money. Fairfax is an upscale but comfortable spot owned by the same people behind a few other West Village establishments like Fedora and Joseph Leonard, and they have a great Cuban sandwich. Nothing on the menu is more than $17, and the space feels a little like you’re sitting in an interior designer’s living room.
If you’re making plans for a last-minute big group brunch in the West Village, this is a good choice because there are usually reservations available. Old Rose’s menu has things like olive oil cakes, egg sandwiches, and pizza. We like the clam and vodka ones the best.
Loring Place is to By Chloe as Anthropologie is to Urban Outfitters. In other words, this is the grown-up version of everything you think of as “on trend.” White brick walls, a succulent on every table, and a gray, white, and orange color palette. The space is big enough that you won’t be sitting on top of your neighbors, and the best dishes involve a seasonal vegetable.
The Malt House is a pub in Greenwich Village, and their brunch food is pretty decent. They also have TVs for your sports-viewing pleasure, and a bottomless brunch deal where you get two hours of unlimited drinks for $20 (as long as also get an entree).
Primarily, this place is a bar. Although it’s a well-designed bar with very nice booths, and they do serve a full lunch, brunch, and dinner menu. So feel free to eat a casual meal here. The food is a step up from whatever they serve at the pub near your house, although it does tend to get crowded.
Boucherie is a huge restaurant in the West Village with an old-school French menu. Which means that you can come here for brunch and have some duck confit - although they also have a croque madame and other egg dishes. Boucherie is a little pricey, but it’s good for when you need a somewhat impressive place last-minute. Your parents would probably like it, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating.
If you generally like all-day cafes, you’ll really like Banter. It’s a coffee shop in Greenwich Village where you can sit and order a meal from someone with an Australian accent. They do things like eggs, chia yogurt bowls, and smashed sweet potato on toast. The space is small (but attractive), and it gets pretty busy. If you don’t want to wait for a table here, get some brunch on a weekday. They’ll have the same menu.
Cafe Clover puts quinoa in their pancakes, and both chia and hemp seeds will probably make an appearance at brunch. The food is fun, modern, and better looking than whatever you throw together at the Whole Foods salad bar. Cafe Clover also has a patio, and the inside is spacious and bright.
What do the French call French toast? Not just toast, if that’s what you were thinking. They call it pain perdu, and A.O.C. serves it along with everything else you’d expect on a standard brunch menu. The real selling point, however, is the patio. There’s room for large parties, and you can’t see it from the street, so it’s a nice little escape from the dirty puddle you stepped in on your way there.
For being such a popular spot, Dante never gets too crowded at brunch, and the drink list is deep. Try a Garibaldi, a highball made with Campari and OJ squeezed to order. For brunch, they have Italian-influenced classics like a steak and eggs panini, but we stick to the almond milk pancakes.
High Street On Hudson does a lot of things well, but it does breakfast foods - specifically breakfast sandwiches - best. If a next-level Egg McMuffin kind of creation isn’t your scene, they also do some excellent lighter options.
Quality Eats is a cool, casual neighborhood steakhouse that looks and feels nothing like a steakhouse. Brunch here includes everything from coconut quinoa to a “large format” cinnamon roll to steak and eggs - it’s a great time to try this place in all its weekend morning glory.
Hudson Clearwater’s menu reads like the Greatest Hits Of Brunch Foods: brioche french toast, eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, plus healthy options and cocktails. This is a back-pocket West Village move, especially if you have a picky eater with you, and especially during the summer when the back patio is open for business.
Does brunch exist in a world without eggs and dairy? As By Chloe proves, the answer is yes. And it involves pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and hash browns.
Sometimes you want a drunk brunch but don’t want to feel like you just time-warped to your first year of college. Agave’s bottomless situation feels a little more upscale in both food and atmosphere.
The West Village location of Jack’s Wife Freda has all the charm of the original, only it’s on Carmine Street.
Sotto 13′s food is probably on the better end of the boozy brunch spectrum, and it’s designed to be shared with a group. Just know that drinks are not unlimited, so the party stays in check. Maybe that’s for the best, anyway.
A place to enjoy many things, from oysters to sandwiches to eggs and bacon. Jeffrey’s Grocery is somewhere we’d eat any time of day - maybe just a few times a year, though (it’s a bit expensive).
Claudette is a very pleasant restaurant, especially during the day. But it might be more style than substance. It’ll do just fine for a pricey brunch with your friends, but set your expectations to “pretty good.”
Home to possibly the most latte photographs in NYC, thanks to lots of natural light and white walls and tables. But to think that Bluestone is just a place where people take pictures is a mistake. The breakfast/brunch food here is excellent, including many gluten-free options.
The Mediterranean-inspired menu here is simple, delicious, and very reasonably priced.
A West Village classic, on the best West Village street. Extra Virgin is always crowded for a reason. That reason is french fries with gorgonzola fondue.
Ever seen that old greasy spoon diner on 8th Avenue with the Coca Cola logos on its sign? That’s La Bonbonniere, and it’s an eggs-and-pancakes institution.
A very small restaurant that attracts a very large crowd, this place is best for solo outings or brunch with one other person.
Chalait is a cafe where you can eat things on top of toast and drink things with matcha in them. It’s possible that’s a dream come true for you, or that it’s just useful for everyday life. Both are equally acceptable.
People who like attractive furniture and nice clothes will probably feel at home in Rosemary’s. This restaurant has the aesthetic down, and the food is better at brunch than it is for dinner.
Elephant & Castle is a simple West Village restaurant that’s probably best known for serving French toast topped with eggs benedict and apples. All of their dishes are under $20, and there’s a dedicated “burger station” section of the menu.
Is the food at Buvette excellent? Yes. Is it the most absurdly cute cafe in the city? Probably. It’s almost always insanely crowded here, and the service can be hit or miss.
One of the few BYOB spots in NYC. Tartine is a solid place to have an omelette with your own bottle of champagne. Unfortunately, there are only about five tables where you can do so. Prepare to wait in line.
meatpacking district & chelsea
Santina is an Italian restaurant in Meatpacking with floor-to-ceiling windows, chandeliers, and colorful decor - all of which makes you feel a bit like you’re on a Mediterranean cruise. The food is both slightly pricey and slightly healthy - stuff like sunchoke salads, chickpea pancakes, and frittatas. It’s also all gluten-free. Come here after your visitors make you wake up early on a Saturday to walk the Highline or go to the Whitney.
RH Rooftop is a good choice if you’re looking to have an upscale brunch (inside or outside). It feels like a sceney Meatpacking spot, because it is. One perk: while you wait for your table, you can wander through the furniture store with a drink, sitting on expensive couches while pretending that you’re touring MTV around your crib.
The Commons is a counter-service coffee shop in Chelsea where you can get a casual, quick brunch. Unlike some all-day cafes, this place actually has its own brunch-specific menu with bagels, a tortilla hash, and some nice brunch cocktails. Use this on a day when you’re already late for your post-eating plans, but refuse to eat a banana and/or leftover piece of pizza from last night.
If you’re familiar with the original Seamore’s in Nolita, you’ll know what to expect here. It’s a bright space with some outdoor seating, and they do a lot of affordable seafood. So if your ideal brunch includes fish tacos or a breakfast burrito with shrimp, come here. Just be aware that it will probably be crowded and that most people will be taking pictures of their food. And for those of you who don’t like seafood, there are a few non-fish options like a burger and avocado toast.
This place is retro-motel-themed, although aside from a few brass desk lamps and a vintage phone in the bathroom, it mostly just looks like the sort place where you’d want to bring a date. Or, if you’re alone, you can sit at the big bar in the middle. The food is American, it’s pretty solid, and if you put their burger in front of us, we’d eat it ten times out of ten. For brunch, expect things like kale eggs benedict, PB&J French toast, and the aforementioned burger.
The original Empire Diner was an actual diner. But that place closed a little while back, and, since then, a few different people have tried to do something different with the space. We happen to like it in its current form. They do breakfast until 4pm every day, and the food is what you’d expect to find at a somewhat upscale American spot in Chelsea these days - granola, avocado toast, biscuit sandwiches, etc. This place isn’t super fancy, but you should probably at least wear some real (non-sweat) pants here. If you passed out in pants last night, those will do.
These days, every other coffee shop seems to be Australian, and they all have avocado toast. Citizens of Chelsea included. Come here when you need a quick, possibly healthy brunch in Chelsea.
If don’t usually hang out in the Meatpacking District, but you have to get brunch there, The Wild Son is for you. They have some interesting breakfast sandwiches, a few salads, and several kinds of pancakes (one of which is gluten-free). This narrow little restaurant by the Hudson was opened by the same folks behind The Wayland, so expect good cocktails and a similarly laid-back setting.