Did Sex and the City “make” brunch happen? Or did it just publicize the intimate morning-after convos that ladies have been having since the dawn of time? It’s a chicken-and-egg thing in which only one thing is for certain: brunch has changed our lives forever. Or, at least, for the moment. It’s that inescapable tradition that overtakes your entire Sunday—forcing you to get out of bed and into the sunshine. And we’re grateful for that.
But, chances are, if you’re an avid brunch-goer, you’ve had your fair share of hardships: staring longingly at the bagel shop across the street whilst waiting over an hour for a semi-decent egg dish; ordering a mimosa that’s 5% cheap champagne, 95% orange juice, and 100% disappointment; or perhaps sitting in an uncomfortable silence because each soccer mom at the table next to you won’t stop screaming at their children.
We’ve been there. We’ve done that. But it’s all of these trial-and-error morning that have made this guide happen...because for every overpriced plate of eggs benedict, there’s an incredible hidden breakfast gem. After hitting up (almost) brunch hotspot in NYC, we’ve picked our favorites below. So this weekend, pop an Ibuprofen, put on some sunnies, and start checking places off this this list. You won’t regret getting out of bed, we promise.
Calle Ocho (45 W 81st Street)
This joint, set in the Excelsior Hotel, fuses together the best of Spanish and Latin cuisine. We’re talking Cuban style burgers, goat cheese country omelettes, sweet corn crepes, and lots of Manchego cheese. But the best part of Calle Ocho is, hands down, their sangria bar. They offer eight variations of red and white sangria—full of fresh soaked fruit, liquor, and brandy, of course—that you will literally dream about for weeks after. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? As long as you order an entreé, waiters will continue to pervade you with all the libations your heart desires for up to three hours. And you thought uptown was overrated...
Glasserie (95 Commercial Street, Brooklyn)
Set in the converted Greenpoint Glass Works building, this eatery offers different affordable artisan food each season. We can’t stress how fresh everything is—the bread has made so many “Best in NYC” lists. And, hey, if it’s good enough for Wes Anderson and the cast of Grand Budapest Hotel, it’s good enough for us.
Freemans (End of Freeman Alley, Off Rivington between The Bowery and Chrystie)
Walk down a LES alley and you shall find...more taxidermied animals than you can imagine, five cheese macaroni, oatmeal-cinnamon pancakes with roasted apple compote, buttermilk biscuits, and a mean French 75. The wait during prime-time brunch hours is quite long, but it’s definitely worth it. Trust us.
Vamos! Tacos & Tequila (348 First Avenue)
As we mentioned before, good vibes are the key to a good brunch. And in our experience, anything involving tacos and tequila wards off all bad spirits. Chow down on the Maria Elena French Toast, a Mexican variation of the brunch staple with strawberries and vanilla cream, under the rainbow ceilings or out on the patio. Get the most out of brunch by ordering five $5 frozen margaritas or sangrias. If you do, the restaurant will pay for your meal (which ranges from $15-20 anyway). Well, what are you waiting for? Vamos!
Allswell (124 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn)
What’s better than brunch on a Sunday morning? Brunch every morning! So if you’re looking for a mid-week spot to brighten your day, head over to Allswell, started by Spotted Pig alum Nate Smith. Its menu changes throughout the week, but expect good, old-fashioned savory food. As for cocktails, our favorite is the Tempest Fugit, made with green Chartreuse, thyme, and prosecco.
James (605 Carlton Ave, Brooklyn)
If you’re anything like us, you swoon over a good bloody mary. And we’ve done much swooning at james, where they make the freshest bloody in town. If that’s not your thing, sip on a Providence Punch—made with Earl Grey infused El Dorado rum, lemon, black walnut bitters, and sparkling wine—while chowing down on lemon ricotta pancakes and pulled pork cheddar scones.
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