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Are These NYC's Best Brunches? Speak Up Now and Win

By Zagat Staff
March 24, 2014

The 10 restaurants below were rated Gotham's best brunch spots in our last survey - do they still hold up, or are there newcomers who should make the list? Weigh in with your opinion by April 15, and you'll receive a copy of our 2015 NYC Restaurants Guide when it comes out this fall. Click here to get going.

And bonus points for you comedians out there - the five wittiest entries will receive a Nexus 7 tablet. Score!

  • Union Square Cafe

    Food: 27
    Decor: 23
    Service: 26

    "Still going strong", this Union Square "tent pole in Danny Meyer's restaurant empire" bases its "well-earned reputation" on "stellar", Greenmarket-fresh New American food served by "engaging" staffers in a "refined" setting made for "intimate conversation"; it's a "special-occasion" place with appropriately "costly" tabs, and though scoring a reservation can be tough, insiders advise "dining at the bar."

    21 E. 16th St.; 212-243-4020

  • Cafe Boulud

    Food: 27
    Decor: 24
    Service: 26

    Daniel Boulud's "mastery shows through" at this Upper East Side "oasis" of "refinement", where "perfectionist chef" Gavin Kaysen wows a "smartly dressed", "blue-blood" crowd with "exquisite French cuisine" set down by "discreet" servers who "make you feel special"; the "soothing" atmosphere is "perfect for conversation" so long as "you can afford the tab" – for tighter budgets, the "prix fixe lunch is a terrific bargain."

    20 E. 76th St.; 212-772-2600

  • Nougatine at Jean-Georges

    Food: 27
    Decor: 24
    Service: 26

    "Less formal" than Jean Georges, but "just as delicious", this "classy-casual" front-room alternative provides "perfectly prepared" New French food that puts a "lighter hit on the wallet"; it's best accessed for breakfast or after-work drinks and snacks, though that "marvelous" $32 prix fixe lunch may just be the "biggest bargain in the city."

    1 Central Park W.; 212-299-3900

  • Telepan

    Food: 26
    Decor: 22
    Service: 25

    Greenmarket cuisine "wizard" Bill Telepan oversees this "high-level" UWS New American, where "perfectionist" plates are served in a "soothing" townhouse setting by "first-rate" staffers; granted, it's "costly" (the $28 prix fixe lunch aside), but the "serious foodies" and "Lincoln Centric" types who love it "don't mind paying the price."

    72 W. 69th St.; 212-580-4300

  • Five Leaves

    Food: 26
    Decor: 22
    Service: 19

    A "must-try" "signature burger" and "excellent pancakes" star on the "fab" all-day New American menu at this "informal" Greenpoint bistro; its "casual", "nautical-themed" quarters get "packed", especially during weekend brunch, when the wait can be "tough" – though "friendly" service and "fair" prices compensate.

    18 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-383-5345

  • The River Cafe

    Food: 26
    Decor: 27
    Service: 26

    The "million-dollar views" of Lower Manhattan are "indispensable" at Buzzy O'Keeffe's "true NY classic" on the Dumbo waterfront, refurbished following Hurricane Sandy and still maintaining the "highest standards" via "glorious" New American cuisine from a "professional staff" in a "romantic" setting; granted, the prix fixe–only dinners are a "splurge", but then again, the dining here is truly "memorable."

    1 Water St., Brooklyn; 718-522-5200

  • Maialino

    Food: 26
    Decor: 23
    Service: 25

    Everything "comes together perfectly" at Danny Meyer's "busy" Gramercy Italian, a near-"flawless" take on a Roman trattoria with a "delicious" menu highlighted by a "heavenly" namesake roast suckling pig; its "genuine hospitality", "bright country setting" and attention to "detail" signal a restaurant "at the top of its game" – no wonder it's so "hard to get a reservation."

    2 Lexington Ave.; 212-777-2410

  • Photo by: Clay Williams


    Food: 26
    Decor: 19
    Service: 23

    "Definitely a winner", this "classic" SoHo seafooder continues to deliver with a "top-notch" team serving up "well-executed fish" ("any fresher and it would still be on the boat") and "oysters galore" from a "superior raw bar"; even given "high" prices, it stays "crowded and loud."

    210 Spring St.; 212-274-0505

  • Photo by: Clay Williams

    ABC Kitchen

    Food: 26
    Decor: 24
    Service: 23

    An "eco-friendly delight" from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this "refreshingly" "whimsical" American in the Flatiron's ABC Carpet & Home "continues to amaze" as chef Dan Kluger's "organic sourcing" and "farm-to-table approach" yield an "exquisite", "seasonal menu" presented by a "knowledgeable" staff; access to the "energized space" remains a "challenge", but "keep on trying" for a rez – it's "worth it."

    35 E. 18th St.; 212-475-5829

  • Rose Water

    Food: 25
    Decor: 20
    Service: 24

    Park Slope's own "locavore heaven", this way-"cozy" New American vet remains "consistently fabulous" with its "inventive", "seasonally driven" menu and service "like a finely oiled machine"; it's a "favorite" brunch pick, where the only thorn is "bumping elbows" in the "tight space."

    787 Union St., Brookyn; 718-783-3800


Places Mentioned


New American • West 60s

Food26 Decor22 Service25 Cost$73
Five Leaves

American • Greenpoint

Food26 Decor22 Service19 Cost$31
Union Square Cafe

Union Square

Food27 Decor23 Service26 Cost$72
Rose Water

American • Park Slope

Food25 Decor20 Service24 Cost$47
The River Café

American • DUMBO

Food26 Decor27 Service26 Cost$130
Cafe Boulud

French • East 70s

Food27 Decor24 Service26 Cost$82

Italian • Gramercy Park

Food26 Decor23 Service25 Cost$67

Seafood • SoHo

Food26 Decor19 Service23 Cost$62
Nougatine At Jean-Georges

French • West 60s

Food27 Decor24 Service26 Cost$68
ABC Kitchen


Food26 Decor24 Service23 Cost$59
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