The 15 Essential Breakfast Spots in NYC
Whether you think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or you just fall victim to the panic-ridden urgency of it all (“They stop serving Egg McMuffins in 10 minutes!”), one thing remains certain: breakfast is delicious.
And since you can’t always make the best decisions when you’re hungry -- or in the morning at all for that matter -- we went ahead and made them for you by rounding up the 15 finest breakfast spots in NYC.
If we could describe this place with a Pepé Le Pew accent, we would -- it deserves it. The French bistro romances you hard with breakfast items like espresso-steamed eggs with prosciutto, waffles, and buttery croissants. Oui, oui!
Some (most?) trendy SoHo breakfast spots aren’t worth the hype and/or want to make you claw your own eyes out. Don’t let that keep you from Jack’s Wife Freda: the Mediterranean-meets-Jewish fare like rosewater waffles with Lebanese yogurt and duck prosciutto/egg-pressed sandwich are so good you can block out all the douchiness around you.
For those days when you want something cheap, satisfying, and fast (so, um, pretty much every day), swing by Spoon. Their chocolate croissants, scones, and even the ham, egg & cheese breakfast burrito are all under $3, and can be eaten as you walk/sprint to the office.
Whoever said having perogies for breakfast is a terrible idea has clearly never had perogies for breakfast. But if it was you, remember, those doughy pillows of heaven are just a warmup for giant plates of Ukrainian-style blintzes anyway.
You can’t help but think of works like “incredible” and edible” when you hear the word “egg” (thanks, American Egg Board!). Luckily, this Williamsburg joint lives up to all the jingle-hype by way of pork sausage biscuits and a gravy and duck hash. And eggs, too, probably.
Every time I walk into Tompkins on a Saturday, I look around and think, “Wow, everyone in this line is so hungover, yet still willing to endure this massive line for a bagel” -- myself included. That’s a true testament to how good this place is. Whether it’s the French toast bagel with cream cheese, or a chicken sausage, egg, and cheese, your day will vastly improve after you inhale all of the warm, bready goodness.
When you see people in the movies having breakfast in NYC, it probably looks like this. While that can sometimes be a big fat red flag, Lafayette is the exception. Your lemon pancakes, salmon Benedict and brie omelet will come with a great side of people watching, however -- especially if you opt for al fresco seating.
One of the few reasons you’ll voluntarily go to Murray Hill, Penelope has been doing breakfast right for more than a decade by keeping it classic and seasonal -- which is probably why you should go get the “Punkin’ Waffles” with cranberries and baked cinnamon apples right now.
Riddle time: what do you get when you hand-roll circular dough, soak it in honey-boiled water, throw it in a wood-fired oven, then top it with things like maple-baked ham, fried eggs, and horseradish cream cheese? The bagels here, and a killer Instagram shot.
If you’re Jewish, prepare to nosh your face off with truly excellent versions of everything your grandma pretended she was good at cooking like knishes, matzoh ball soup, and pastrami-cured salmon. If you’re not Jewish, still prepare to nosh your face off (just know that nosh means eat).
There's something just so incredibly bad-ass about this place, and not just because it made a cameo on Californication. The no-fuss diner is also the ultimate spot to grab a stool solo and down plates of banana pancakes covered in bacon so tasty you’ll want to write a love letter to it.
This is your ultimate “I just want a killer bacon, egg & cheese, with none of the bullshit” stop. They take those bagel sandwiches up a notch with, you guessed it, “spreads” like pimento cheese, black bean chipotle hummus, and wasabi tobiko.
Granted the wait at this place is so notoriously long there’s actually a section on the website called “About the Wait,” but these are inarguably the best pancakes in the city. They switch up the actual cakes pretty regularly, but serve them all with their own homemade maple butter.
Breakfast at NoMad is best done in two very different circumstances: for business meeting purposes, or solo. Whichever the situation, the crab Benedict or chicken and egg hash will undoubtedly make it go smoothly.
If NYC was the Wild West, this would be the saloon you would mosey up to for some of the best Southern-style breakfast plates (with a side of booze) this side of the Mason-Dixon line. The only difficult decision you’ll have here, aside from what to pick on the jukebox, is whether to go for the Virginia country breakfast (cheddar grits, buttermilk biscuit, Virginia ham-covered eggs) or eggs Tulum (a kick-ass breakfast burrito).
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Liz Newman is a freelance writer for Thrillist and wishes breakfast for dinner was a required option at every eatery. Follow her as she tries to get this passed through Congress on Twitter and Instagram at @lizn813.