We're the first to tell you about the bevy of fantastic brunch places in this fair metropolis, but nailing one down in the exact neighborhood you live/slept in last night is a little trickier. So when three-hour breakfast Downtown is in order, head to any one of these 11 options in the East and West Villages. Lauded pancakes and DIY Bloodys included.
The Definitive Guide to Brunch in Downtown NYC
Most laid-back: Cafe Mogador
101 St Marks Pl
To be honest, brunch can be pretty effing insufferable -- overpriced, boring menus -- but this lil’ Moroccan standby is anything but. The menu of Middle Eastern- and Moroccan-influenced egg dishes and healthy labne are refreshingly simple and cheap.
Best eggs: Jeffrey's Grocery
172 Waverly Pl
Because it’s part of the impressive Little Wisco mini-empire -- which includes Bar Sardine, Montmartre, and Perla -- count on that crab biscuit Benedict with poached eggs, lobster hollandaise, sautéed spinach, and roasted sweet potatoes & squash to be well above average. Not to mention, it’s one of the best brunches in all of NYC, according to Andrea Pappas, the editor of BrunchCritic.com. Gal really knows brunch.
Best pancakes: Clinton St. Baking Co.
4 Clinton St
Haters may say waiting 2.5 hours for blueberry pancakes is unnecessary, but there’s a line for a reason, my friend. Even if you want something else, order a round of pancakes for the table. They’re that damn delicious.
Best brunch date: Buvette
42 Grove St
The ambiance will make you feel like you’re in France, and you know what happens in France: love. So freely feed all your Tinder dates espresso-steamed eggs with freshly sliced prosciutto and shaved Parmesan.
Best pancake bites: Edi & the Wolf
102 Avenue C
Forego traditional American flapjacks in favor of Austrian cinnamon sugar-caramelized pancake bites with grapefruit. Called Kaiserschmarrn, it's named for Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria who was quite fond of the sweet shredded dough.
Longest line: Prune
54 E 1st St
Maybe that 28-person deep line is because of the Dutch-style pancakes, or perhaps it’s thanks to the handmade lamb sausages with Malpeque oysters on the half shell, or maybe it’s simply due to the 10 Bloody Mary options many consider to be the best in the city. No matter -- come at opening time and then laugh at all those waiting suckers on your way out.
Best cocktails: The Wayland
700 E 9th St
If your idea of brunch includes 12 watered-down mimosas, then top-notch cocktails like The Moxie -- mezcal, fresh pineapple, chipotle-infused agave nectar, lemon, and chili salt -- or the Smoked and Roasted -- bourbon, Cynar, chipotle-infused agave nectar, bitters & mezcal rinse -- will turn you off bottomless brunches for good. Plus the food is equally fantastic.
Best donuts: Brindle Room
277 E 10th St
It’s hard for a little mashed potato cake donut to get the spotlight when it’s constantly being overshadowed by the deckle-dappled Steakhouse burger, but these slightly salty glazed beauties are definitely dark horses (?).
Best prix fixe: Feast
102 3rd Ave
The $29 prix fixe includes a mimosa, a Bellini, a "Beery Mary," fresh-squeezed OJ, and bottomless drip coffee -- plus three shared plates (baked goods, yogurt, and canapés) to start, and an entree. We suggest the puff pastry with scrambled eggs and wild mushrooms.
Best Bloody Mary: Saxon + Parole
For those not crippled by too many options, wood-laden Saxon + Parole offers up one of the best Bloodys in the city with a huge DIY station stocked with 35 ingredients and garnishes, including -- but certainly not limited to -- pickle juice, olive brine, hot sauce, three types of peppercorns (because two is never enough), and horseradish.
Best biscuits: Waverly Inn
16 Bank St
The warm, buttery, flaky, crispy-crusted biscuits with honey butter are as rich as the celebrity you’re probably sitting next to. A basket of ‘em are complimentary with both brunch and dinner, which is kind of irrelevant if you’ve knowingly come to a restaurant that offers $65 truffle mac and cheese.
Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
1. Cafe Mogador101 Saint Marks Pl, New York
2. Jeffrey's Grocery172 Waverly Pl, New York
3. Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant4 Clinton St, New York
4. Buvette42 Grove St, New York
5. Edi & The Wolf102 Ave C, New York
6. Prune54 E 1st St, New York
7. The Wayland700 E 9th St, New York
8. Brindle Room277 E 10th St, New York
9. Feast102 3rd Ave, New York
10. Saxon + Parole316 Bowery, New York
11. The Waverly Inn16 Bank St, New York
This casual, family-owned Moroccan/Mediterranean cafe is perpetually packed on the weekends with the East Village brunch crowd, but it's seriously worth the wait. Since 1987, Cafe Mogador has offered a number of traditional menu items -- such as lamb tagine with a spicy green chermoula sauce and couscous -- alongside elegant cocktails and an impressive wine list.
Jeffrey’s Grocery is a seafood-centric West Village restaurant known for its a) oyster bar and b) brunch. Fish makes its way into most of the dishes, like the poached shrimp omelette and fried clam roll on the brunch menu, and the lobster spaghetti at dinner. There are plenty of turf options too, like the raclette burger.
With an experienced husband and wife team at the helm of this restaurant doling out simple yet delicious morning eats, it's not a surprise that Clinton St. Baking continuously receives accolades (as well as long weekend lines). A rotating pancake menu; a diverse breakfast, lunch, and beer selection; and a variety of freshly baked goods have put this Lower East Side spot on the brunching map.
This charming West Village spot (with a second location in Paris’ 9th arrondissement) offers a number of classic dishes like croque-monsieur and coq au vin alongside some great French wines, but its known primarily for its standout brunch -- namely, espresso wand-steamed scrambled eggs topped with prosciutto and shaved Parmesan.
The barn-style interior of Edi & The Wolf captures the causal feel of an Austrian wine-tavern. With its quirky, industrial-chic secret patio and a menu of braised short ribs, wiener schnitzel, and goat cheese ravioli, this Lower East Side joint is unlike any other. Try the Austrian cinnamon sugar-caramelized pancake bites with grapefruit, or get a four-course prix fixe with options like English pea dip (with flatbread crisps and ricotta salata), roasted lamb (with mint jus and potatoes).
Warning: you're going to be a bit cramped. Prune's turned into one of the most influential restaurants with food like Spatchcocked Pigeon and Roasted Marrow Bones. Don't miss brunch here either because the Bloody Marys rock. From classic to Chicago Matchbox, they've got every flavor you've ever wanted.
From a duo that spent many years bartending, cooking, and consulting in the restaurant business, The Wayland is a live-music cocktail bar in the heart of Alphabet City that aces the neighborhood watering hole game. Connected to the bar is a kitchen that specializes in small plates like raw (or fried) oysters, pork belly BLTs, and fried mashed potatoes. The cocktails reflect a DIY approach, with hours of prep work just to produce house-made radish, spiced apple, and key lime-flavored bitters.
This East Village gastropub specializes in some of New York's favorite things: American comfort food, small plates, and weekend brunch. While regulars love the Brindle Room for its decadently simple Steakhouse Burger (topped with American cheese and caramelized onions), the specials menu is not to be overlooked.
Welcome to Feast, home of taxidermied grit like Tommy the Bobcat, and tasting-menu "regional American" banquets supplied by former Veritas chefs and the owner of uptown's Savoy Bakery.
Saxon + Parole is a stylish restaurant on the Bowery whose decor and clientele look straight out of a Ralph Lauren ad. The seafood tower and charcuterie board appetizers define the surf and turf cuisine, as do the separate menu sections dedicated to land, sea, and steak. The standout is the signature burger, topped with melted Havarti cheese, maple bacon, a fried egg, and a bone marrow béarnaise sauce. A vintage wood-paneled bar in the front is well-stocked with whisky and usually packed with groups of thirty-somethings waiting for their table.
Tucked into the ground floors of two adjoining townhouses, the Waverly Inn will make you feel like you’ve been invited to dine in a cozy, secret club. The menu features American classics alongside contemporary seasonal dishes, and even though the food is notable, the real reason you go to the Waverly Inn is for the scene. Co-owned by Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, it's routinely packed with a mix of celebrities and the who's who of New York's social landscape. The main room's red booths, fireplaces, and low lighting make for a comfortable hangout, and the indoor/outdoor garden is a West Village gem.