THE BEST BRUNCH IN DOWNTOWN NEW YORK
Sometimes you’re after a stellar room, other times it’s all about the mimosas, and occasionally you’re just in the mood for a heaping plate of eggs Benedict — that’s okay, brunch is all about you. http://grb.st/1MWvfVC
- •ABC KitchenFor: Standards with a green-market bent. Jean Georges’s sustainability-minded venture is conveniently located in the ABC Home store, so once you’re done with your scrambled eggs with hot-sauce butter, you can go browsing for Scandinavian chandeliers and trendy Ganesh statuettes.
- •BuvetteFor: Excellent steamed eggs, and a meal alone at the bar. The small dining room is always full, and the wait is often longer than you’d like, though the lovely street makes it more tolerable than most. But this is one place where the steamed eggs, made in an espresso machine, are actually different and good enough to justify the meal.
- •Birds & BubblesFor: A southern-themed, Champagne-soaked morning. This exceptional fried-chicken-centric restaurant, which has ushered in yet another moment in this seemingly endless comfort-food boom, is the place to go for a southern-themed midday feast in Manhattan.
- •Cherche MidiFor: McNally-style bistro classics. Heavy-steel doors, soft yellow walls, and a classic mosaic floor decorate this French brassiere on the Bowery, exactingly executed in the time-honored Keith McNally mold. It feels like a Vegas version of McNally’s best restaurants, but that doesn’t mean the bistro cooking isn’t supremely well-done.
- •DimesFor: A morning meal that will actually refresh you. This sunny, health-minded brunch destination and hipster hangout makes the most of macrobiotic eating with nori wraps, pitaya bowls, and black-sesame matcha buns. The new, larger location also boasts a cocktail menu (perhaps a wheatgrass margarita to start the day?).
- •EstelaFor: The most culinarily daring brunch in town, and a quieter meal at one of the city's most popular restaurants. A small-plates-and-wine hot spot from chef Ignacio Mattos, this bar-restaurant serves what New York restaurant critic Adam Platt calls "the ultimate in brunchtime dining." Everything is delicious, from the egg, avocado, and pancetta sandwich to trademark Mattos dishes like burrata with salsa verde.
- •Empellón TaqueriaFor: A waffle worth ordering, and the best brunch tacos around. At this hip, casually elegant, and always buzzing restaurant, former pastry wizard Alex Stupak serves a high-concept but, more important, absolutely delicious menu built around tacos.
- •Il Buco Alimentari & VineriaFor: Italian-accented eggs and sandwiches. Scene-y and, with its brick walls and long communal tables, painstakingly rusticated, this Great Jones Street restaurant-market-café trades in house-baked breads, La Colombe coffee, and a devotion to ingredient-forward cooking. The busy brunch can come with straight-Italian dishes, like roasted gnocchi, or just Italian-inflected classics, like a crispy cod panini with Calabrian chilies or a waffle with fresh strawberries and mascarpone.
- •Le PhilosopheFor: When you need a refined, rich French start to your weekend. Ignore the gray signage, half-covered windows, and the seemingly outdated menu cooked up in a hastily remodeled kitchen, because the food here is unexpectedly accomplished. The menu is unabashedly rich, especially during brunch, when you’ll find dishes like crêpes with roasted foie gras and chocolate, duck hash with fried duck egg, and seafood salad with butter-poached lobster.
- •MaialinoFor: When you want to start your day off with top-notch service. At Danny Meyer's Roman trattoria in the Gramercy Park Hotel, gaze out over Gramercy Park and watch men slice bread and meat. For brunch, Nick Anderer infuses American classics with an Italian lilt, serving sandwiches stuffed with roast pork and fried egg and some of New York's best sticky buns.
- •Num WahFor: When you want dim sum from a city institution. Thought to be the oldest dim-sum parlor in New York, this faithfully revitalized, family-operated tea and snack house is a New York institution. The red-and-white-checkered tablecloths and signage are totally retro, but the service isn’t. In keeping with modern Hong Kong style, the restaurant dispenses with the carts and serves its excellent “original” egg rolls, steamed spare ribs, and rice rolls to order.
- •Russ & DaughtersFor: A modern take on appetizing, the classic weekend ritual. At the second establishment from appetizing's first family, fourth-generation operators Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper have created a shrine to Eastern European cuisine and downtown Jewish food culture.
- •Shopsin'sFor: When you want to remember you're in New York City. The menu at Kenny Shopsin’s eccentric diner inside Essex Street Market is puzzlingly long and the service remains gruff, to say the least, but it's worth it for wildly delicious dishes like Blisters on My Sisters and the towering “Castles”: three patented hamburger sliders topped with scrambled eggs and cheese.
- •SantinaFor: A light and breezy meal that won't dull the senses. Housed in a glass box underneath the High Line, this sunny coastal Italian restaurant from the Torrisi team favors seafood over meat and a lighter Mediterranean approach. The same holds true, mostly, during brunch, when you'll find Italianate riffs on standards like panettone French toast and a standout fish sandwich.
- •UplandFor: When you want to pretend you're in California. Even the spaghetti gets a fried egg at this Cal-Ital restaurant from Justin Smillie, where the morning-meals wizard brings his vegetable-forward approach to brunch service. There are pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches alongside the usually belly-hugging suspects on this egg-heavy menu.
- •VeselkaFor: When you're in the mood for potato pancakes. Downtown’s favorite 24-hour Ukrainian diner, long a destination for pierogi and borscht, doesn’t miss a beat with brunch, serving an abbreviated menu to bleary-eyed locals. Nothing is going to surprise you, but then soft-scrambled eggs with ramp butter wouldn’t feel right with this old-school, mid-century aesthetic.