Best Brunch Downtown in NYC

October 25, 2016
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by Zagat Staff

Here are the top-rated New York restaurants for brunch in downtown Manhattan.

ABC Kitchen
Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “hip” Flatiron “winner” “still delivers” with “original” , “all-around delicious” American cooking ordered from a “sophisticated” farm-to-table menu; a “stylish” , “airy” space further justifies the “spendy” tabs – and the “challenge to get a reservation.”
Clinton St. Baking Company
Breakfast · Lower East Side · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.9

“Bring War and Peace” to pass the time in the brunch line at this LES bakery/cafe, which repays “daunting” waits with homespun Americana “made with love” (especially those “divine pancakes” ); a recent expansion may relieve the daytime crowds, though insiders hint “dinner is just as good.”
Estela
NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

You “can’t go wrong” at this NoLita “hot spot” from Ignacio Mattos, where the “beautifully executed” American menu includes “highly original” Med-influenced share plates; the “small” , “loud” space is “less than thrilling” and bills do “run up” , but scoring reservations is still a “challenge.”
Freemans
American · Lower East Side · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.1 · Service 3.9

“Hidden” down a Lower East Side alley, this “homey” American feels like a “hunting-lodge wonderland” with its “curiosity-cabinet” decor ( “embrace the taxidermy” ); “hearty” cooking, “killer” cocktails and an “especially great” brunch are all popular with the “cool kids” who keep it “totally fun” (and “crowded” ).
Jack's Wife Freda
SoHo · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.9

“Simple but delicious” American fare gets a “modern” and often “Mediterranean spin” at these “well-priced” bistros, making them a “pretty-people” favorite; they’re especially “sceney” at brunch ( “if you can get in, you've made it in life” ) when the “cozy” digs fill up fast.
Prune
East Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.3

An “innovator that’s stood the test of time” , chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s East Village “standout” serves a “perfectly curated” menu of “exceptional” New American dishes in “unfailingly professional” style; the only drawbacks are a “toooo small” room with seating “on top of your neighbors” and long lines for the “fabulous brunch.”
Russ & Daughters
Lower East Side · $$
Food 4.6 · 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.”
Russ & Daughters Cafe
Lower East Side · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

Sit-down spin-offs of the LES appetizing store, these “modern” riffs on a “classic Jewish deli” serve “top-shelf” smoked fish and other “real-deal” “old-world” eats; the “spiffy” digs are often “busy” (expect waits, especially at brunch), and the certified kosher location at the Jewish Museum adds a take-out counter.
Sadelle's
Brunch · 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.
The Smile
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.