Sooner or later, you’re going to have to eat brunch on the Upper East Side. Whether you live here, or you’re getting your annual dose of culture at the museums, or you’re having a meal with your grandparents - the struggle to avoid overpriced, mediocre eggs is real.
That’s where we come in. Whether you look forward to your Saturday mimosas all week, or you just need a reasonable spot to nurse your hangover, this guide to the best Upper East Side brunch has you covered.
Gotta hand it to the Penrose people for offering exactly what the young people of the Upper East Side needed before anyone else came close. High up on its list of accomplishments? A great brunch setup: solid food, strong cocktails, and just the right amount of party time vibes. If the agenda for your Saturday is day drinking, this is a good spot to kick it off.
B. Cafe - East
They might not get many creativity points for their name, but B. Cafe is quietly one of the best brunch spots around. The menu is long, and vaguely Belgian - the waffles and fries are standouts here. Add in the fact that they have a covered back patio and a great beer selection, and B. Cafe is a power UES brunch move.
There are many great diners in this town, but Viand will always be our favorite. It feels like home from the minute you walk in - and sometimes that’s all you need. That, and an excellent club sandwich, which you can also find here. The next time you want brunch foods without a brunch scene, come here.
Amali tends to get overlooked. Probably because if you’re going to spend a lot on a meal, your first choice probably isn’t to do it on the Upper East Side. But if you’re in the market for a step up from your usual brunch in this area - and/or you’re with someone else who’s paying - consider Amali. The brunch menu includes everything from shakshuka to a lamb burger to several pasta options.
If you’re the kind of person who thinks the photo of your avocado toast is just as important as the avocado toast itself, you don’t need us to tell you about Bluestone Lane. It was only a matter of time before this mini empire made its way to the Upper East Side. If you’ve somehow avoided this place on Instagram, know that in addition to taking a nice picture, the food here is actually pretty great. This location also happens to be connected to a church, in a very cool and unusual setting.
Really good for Mexican food, even better for its patio situation. If you wake up with the urge for tacos and margaritas - and it’s nice outside - Toloache is an excellent plan.
One of the best Upper East Side brunch outside options: Uva’s back garden. It’s lovely, and so is the comfort Italian food. We appreciate any excuse to eat pasta in the middle of the day.
The Upper East Side - actually, all of New York - could use more restaurants like Jones Wood Foundry, a place that’s just as good for brunch and as it is for avoiding brunch people. They serve excellent British pub food, there’s a usually-empty patio, and there are TVs if you’re also hoping to catch a “football” game.
If your ideal brunch is a burger, it doesn’t get better than JG Melon. When in doubt, this is the move.
We’re not sure anyone wants to eat mussels at 11am, but the good news is there are plenty of other options on the Flex Mussels brunch menu - like their sleeper hit pancakes. The space is also deceptively giant, so use this place for your big group needs.
Longtime Upper East Side staple, if you live here you probably don’t need us to tell you that EAT Cafe is around. But here’s a reminder that the bagel tower will impress the kind of out of town visitor who doesn’t know what “schmear” means.
Want brunch foods, but don’t want to “have brunch”? Irving Farm is here to feed you eggs and bagels and healthy-ish options in a minimal, low-key space. If you want a Bluestone Lane vibe without the Bluestone Lane circus, this is your move.