Brunch is probably the most alluring meal of the week. Perhaps it’s because our society has managed to conflate the word with movie stars wearing big sunglasses, hanging out on flower covered balconies in sunny Los Angeles. Maybe it’s because brunch is a quintessential city experience, a step up from Sunday breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. I would argue, however, that brunch earned its reputation because it encapsulates all we want at the weekend: a long meal catching up with friends.
In New York, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to brunch; however, given the meal’s popularity, there are quite a few duds out there. Sad, but true, many restaurants are all too eager to draw in hunger crowds only to feed them sub-par eggs and lukewarm pancakes. Don’t even get me started on poor mimosas and bellinis. Luckily, if you’re willing to look, you’ll find that the good brunches outweigh the bad ones. From those hidden gems, to those well-known-for-a-good-reason haunts, it’s relatively easy to find a brilliant brunch in New York City. Just bring some company for a long wait and you have your perfect Sunday plans.
Public – Despite being a Michelin starred restaurant, Public is down-to-earth and cheap. You’ll find all the old brunch stand-bys on the menu, but each with their own twist. There’s Turkish Eggs, yogurt with poached eggs and spicy butter; the quinoa hashbrowns; the venison burger and the coconut pancakes. The drinks are also a step up from what you’ll find in other New York brunch locales. It’s a good idea to get there early as it does fill up quickly, but the space is big enough to accommodate the crowds.
Milk Bar – Nope, we’re not talking about the Momofuku bakery of the same name. This little cafe in Prospect Heights has the perfect formula for a perfect brunch: great coffee, a variety of cheap egg dishes and a couple fancier sweet options. There’s rarely a wait for a table, but it’s always hopping. Bonus? They’ll add avocado to pretty much everything.
Freemans – Not only do you feel completely New York and cool knowing that Freemans is at the end of Freeman Alley, the food here is also fantastic. Traditional brunch food in a hunting lodge setting, there’s no real reason to ever leave. No matter what dish you choose, a side-order of kale is pretty much mandatory. Big enough to accommodate even large-party brunches.
Tartine Cafe – This little French restaurant is a bit different from some other flashy New York eateries, but a lovely reminder of a calm, European haven. The meals are simple with a slight French twist and the decor is a pleasant mish-mosh of New English meets French countryside.
Your Kitchen – Although brunch out is an exciting experience, brunch at home can be equally, if not more, relaxing. The process of sitting around with some friends, whipping up some pancakes, eggs or yogurt bowls can be a welcome change from battling the masses for a table at the local must-try foodie haven. The internet is littered with fantastic food and drink recipes. I also love the idea of having a little pot-luck or choosing a specific cookbook to try for your gathering.
What is your favorite brunch spot? Ideal brunch food?