I have been exploring the New York area to seek some of the best brunch spots because let's face it: what else would I be doing during my winter break? So next time your extremely hung-over or just trying to impress your friends with a memorable Sunday brunch, take a look at my reviews of some of the ultimate must-try restaurants in New York.
1. Cafeteria / Chelsea
This 24-hour, trendy diner atmosphere attracts all types of customers: the night owls looking for late-night munchies all night long or the people-watchers looking for a chic scene. The food isn't too pricey, the waiters are very friendly and the mimosas were perfection.
The "Mac Attack": Smoked Gouda with bacon, Truffle Oil & Cheddar and Fontina.
Truffled Eggs: Soft scrambled, prosciutto, truffle oil, shaved parmesan and country bread.
They have a "build your own omelet" section on the menu with plenty of choices.
Green Eggs and Ham: Pesto and Goat cheese scrambled eggs, country ham steak and buttermilk biscuit.
2. The Smith / East Village, Lincoln Center & Midtown
This popular spot is a typical big American Bistro restaurant in three different locations throughout NYC. Reservations are key because it tends to get really crowded. The menu was intriguing and the ambiance was warm and friendly (the complimentary cocktails didn't hurt either).
This Mac + Cheese was definitely one of the best I have ever had.. highly recommend trying it.
Sicilian Baked Eggs: Artichokes, burrata, spinach, spicy tomato sauce and ciabatta.
Simple Scramble with home fries, apple smoked bacon and mixed greens.
They give a complimentary choice of a bloody Mary, Bellini, apple champagne cocktail, passion punch or fresh squeezed juice with most brunch menu items. We all obviously chose a bloody Mary.
3. Munday's / Huntington
This quaint restaurant is a real treasure in Huntington Village on Long Island. It is a very family-friendly spot where you can feel a homey, small-town vibe. The prices are great for the amount and quality of the food offered.
The omelets were cooked perfectly. We are so used to eating breakfast at diners in Long Island, so finding a restaurant where the egg omelets are not oversized or doused in oil and salt was satisfying.
We ordered a Banana Pancake with powdered sugar because we needed to balance our salty breakfast items with some sweetness and get a little taste of each.
4. Essex / Lower East Side
This energetic restaurant is the home to superb boozy brunches and happy hours. The inside decor is cool; it looks like an old warehouse with high ceilings, a balcony, and exposed brick and pipes. I came here with a bunch of girls for my friend's birthday and the waiters were all very accommodating. We especially enjoyed the oyster shooters.
Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon and hollandaise sauce.
6. The Diner / Meatpacking District
We randomly chose to eat here one morning when we walked by it's outdoor sidewalk seating and I am glad we decided to try it. This retro restaurant is open late, until 3 a.m., drawing in mostly lunchtime crowds and post-club partyers.
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict with home fries.
5. Penelope / Murray Hill
Beware: the wait will probably be long. However, this restaurant is cozy little brunch spot and its food is on point. It can get sort of loud since the tables are really close together, so I wouldn't recommend coming here if you're hung-over (I learned that the hard way).
Salmon wrapped Poached Eggs on toasted black bread with "green goddess" dressing.
7. Ai Fiori / Midtown West
Buffet? At a Michelin-starred restaurant? This sounded too good to be true, but it really was as excellent as you would expect from a Michael White restaurant. When you come for Sunday Brunch, you get live music, an unlimited buffet of tons of fresh-baked breads and pastries (including, chocolate croissants and muffins), smoked salmon, Italian meats, fruits, salads, yogurt parfaits, and an entire entrée of your choice. Located on the second floor of a hotel, with large windows overlooking the street, this is a really beautiful and spacious place with attentive service. If you like both quantity and quality, the Sunday brunch here can't be beat.
Lobster Benedict on an english muffin with spinach and béarnaise.
Spigola: Olive oil poached striped bass, baby fennel and clam vinaigrette.
White Label Burger: 8 oz. Prime burger, bacon marmalade, american cheese and a fried egg on top. It's a large burger that's tough to manage without getting your hands really dirty, mostly due to the runny egg oozing all over, but it's totally worth it.