Best Breakfast in NYC

March 20, 2018
·
by Zagat Staff

A guide to all the NYC spots worth getting out of bed for.

Russ & Daughters
Bagel · Lower East Side · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

A “New York classic” dating to 1914, this “incomparable” LES “temple of noshes” is a “smoked fish heaven” known for “sublime salmon” and a “zillion varieties of herring” , plus “proper bagels” , sandwiches and sweets, all courtesy of a “knowledgeable” counter crew; “oy vey” is it “small” , “crowded” and “pricey” , but for “old-world Jewish” fare, there’s “no comparison.”
The River Café
American · DUMBO · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

“Is there a more beautiful setting in NYC?” swoon fans of this Dumbo waterfront “classic” whose “romantic” dining room offers “unbeatable” views of Manhattan, as well as a fairy-lit “Garden of Eden” just outside; “elegant” prix fixe–only American cuisine and “exceptional” service complete the “high-end” experience – for which an “expensive” price tag is “to be expected.”
Rose Water
New American · Park Slope · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

An enduring Park Slope “favorite” , this “charming” New American offers a “beautiful representation of the seasons” via “excellent” locavore fare, including a “delicious” brunch; the “tight” environs are “worth squeezing into” , and there’s a “gorgeous” patio in the summertime.
Sullivan Street Bakery
Bakery · West 40s · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.9

The “outrageously good” bread ( “crusty” loaves, “worth-a-detour” olive rolls) tastes like it was “baked by angels” at Jim Lahey’s bakeries, where “top-notch” offerings also include “delicious” thin-crust pizza and Italian pastries; though mostly for grab-and-go, the Chelsea locale has seating and an expanded menu of light bites.
Locanda Verde
Italian · TriBeCa · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.2

“Energetic” is the word on chef Andrew Carmellini’s “grand-slam” TriBeCa Italian offering a “delectable” , all-day menu to a “swinging” clientele basking in its “trendiness factor” ; despite an “overcrowded” , somewhat “frantic” scene at prime times, reservations can still be “hard to get.”
il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
Italian · NoHo · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

“Unpretentious” but with a “pure NY vibe” , this Il Buco spin-off is a “go-to” for “simple yet refined” Italian-Med fare – “especially the pastas” and “ridiculously good” short ribs – in a “homey” NoHo setup with a front market area/coffee bar; communal seats and somewhat “pricey” tabs aside, it’s “comfortable” for just about “every occasion.”
High Street on Hudson
American · Meatpacking District · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

“They do everything right” at this Meatpacking District cafe (sequel to a Philly original), where the “stellar” lineup spans especially “heavenly” homemade breads and pastries, “great sandwiches” for a “casual lunch” and more “adventuresome” Americana for dinner; “cheerful” staffers heighten the “lively” neighborhood feel.
Norma's
Brunch · West 50s · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

“Lavish” breakfasts and brunches are the specialty of this Midtown American in the Parker Meridien, where the “memorable” morning fare arrives in “large, easily shareable” portions; no kidding, the tabs are “out of this world” (e.g. that $2,000 frittata) and it’s a “bit of a tourist factory” , but it's still a “highly recommended” experience.
Buvette
French · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

At this “charming” West Villager, Jody Williams’ “sublime” French small plates and “thoughtful” wine list will “transport you to Europe” – right down to the “tiny tables” ; since it’s “postage-stamp-sized” and doesn’t take reservations, it can be “difficult to snag a table” , but it’s “worth the wait – and the squeeze.”
La Pecora Bianca NoMad
Italian · Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.2

“Exciting” locavore spins “hit the target” at this all-day Flatiron Italian, where the “delicious” pastas and other “elevated” dishes arrive in an “airy” “country kitchen” setting; “innovative” cocktails boost the “lively” buzz, and the brunch is “not to be missed.”
Ruby's Cafe
Australian · Murray Hill
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

“Amazing” burgers and “delicious” Aussie-inspired dishes top the blackboard menu at these “trendy” yet “unpretentious” “hot spots” ; “tiny” digs mean you may have to cozy up to your mates at shared tables but never mind, most just “love the vibe.”
Balthazar
French · SoHo · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.1

Keith McNally’s “legendary” SoHo brasserie “still delivers the goods” with its “magnifique” French fare ( “blissful” breakfast, “oh such wonderful” breads) and atmosphere straight out of “Belle Époque Paris” ; it’s “always buzzing” with “locals and tourists alike” , plus a “celebrity or two” , meaning the “tight quarters” can be a “madhouse” – but that’s part of what makes it “a New York classic.”
Little Park
American · TriBeCa · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.2

“Another hit” from chef Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde, The Dutch), this all-day TriBeCa American delivers a “beautifully conceived” seasonal menu with “veg-centric” twists in “classy” contemporary digs; it’ll “cost you a pretty penny” , but the “Condé Nast chic” clientele confirms “there’s a good reason.”
Lafayette
French · NoHo · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.1

A “gorgeous” , “expansive” space with “plenty of room to breathe” lures “beautiful people” to this “bustling” all-day NoHo cafe that’s a showcase for Andrew Carmellini’s “hearty” French cooking; insiders say it “shines best at breakfast” , though the front bakery is a “great pit stop” for “delicious bread” and “delectable” pastries any time.
The Smile
American · NoHo · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“Cozy and intimate” , this all-day NoHo cafe brings in a “hip” crowd for “delicious” Mediterranean-influenced fare at “reasonable prices” ; “warm lighting” and “charming decor” make it equally “comfortable” for “breakfast meetings” or a “date” , and brunch is “fun” too.
Egg
American · Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.8

Known for “one of the best brunches in town” , this Williamsburg daytimer packs 'em in for “very good” , “simple” Southern dishes made with ingredients from its own upstate farm; there are “lengthy” waits on weekends, but given the “hip” crowd, at least there's good “people-watching.”
Sweet Chick
American · Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Quirky” takes on Southern staples – think “creative chicken ’n’ waffle combos” – and “seasonal” cocktails make these “droolworthy” eateries “excellent places to indulge” ; they get “jam-packed” at prime times, but “friendly” staffers help keep the feel “fun.”
Cafe Mogador Williamsburg
Moroccan · Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.8 · Service 3.9

“Everything is delicious” at these “popular” Moroccan “standbys” that are especially known for their “unbeatable” brunches; “tight seating” and “long waits” are part of the deal, but “gentle prices” help, and Williamsburg's “cute indoor garden” is especially “charming.”
Sadelle's
Bakery · SoHo · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.3 · Service 3.9

The Torrisi crew has “rocked the brunch world” with this SoHo “scene” , an “ode” to “classic” Jewish appetizing appreciated for its “lux” towers of house-cured smoked fish, “fresh-from-the-oven” bagels, “to-die-for” sticky buns and more; the “airy space” becomes candlelit and “less crowded” at dinner, when the menu switches to seafood and European specialties.
Community Food & Juice
American · Morningside Heights · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.6 · Service 3.7

“Beloved by its own community” , this “buzzy” Morningside Heights New American is a “healthy” haven in “Columbialand” for “nourishing” eats with “locavore-ish” leanings; exuding “good vibes” all day, it's “wildly popular” for brunch, when there's “always a line.”
The Odeon
French · TriBeCa · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

“Historical hipness” clings to this “sexy-smart” TriBeCa bistro that’s enjoying something of a rebirth with the renaissance of the Financial District; “solid” Franco-American fare, a “vibrant” mood and the addition of breakfast service are reasons why it “seems fresher” than ever to its perpetually “cool crowd.”
White Gold Butchers
West 70s · $$$

From chef April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman comes this whole-animal butcher shop and American restaurant on the Upper West Side, offering decisively meaty courses and seasonal plates, as well as an afternoon hot-dog happy hour. There’s table service at night, but counter space and black banquettes provide seating options all day.
Daily Provisions
Cafe · Gramercy Park · $

The bakery/cafe gets the Danny Meyer treatment at this Gramercy spot serving coffee, pastries and breakfast sandwiches and gougères in the morning, leading into lunchtime sandwiches and salads, and then rotisserie chicken starting at 3 PM. The compact space, accented with deep blue inside and out, also offers a few beers and wines, plus kombucha on tap, while loaves of bread are an all-day draw.
abcV
Vegetarian · Flatiron · $$

Jean-Georges Vongerichten goes vegan at his latest venture with ABC Carpet & Home, serving plates based on market veggies, noodles and grains, plus items like dosas and pancakes for breakfast. Banquettes made with handwoven Andean textiles lend warmth to the light-hued space, where there’s also a standing central bar for cold-pressed juices, tonics and kombucha, along with cocktails and biodynamic wines.