You have to wait out the long line at least once for this classic Murray Hill brunch haven.Tips:
- Put your name down! They will hold a table for you.
- Offer to sit at the bar and you have a good chance of eating sooner.
- Nutella French toast
- $15 brunch special includes entree + cocktail
Penelope is one of those restaurants that has a reputation for excellence based on fact. The cute, suburban-coffee-shop-looking exterior is a peek into the cozy, modestly sized restaurant, with a small bar and a to-go station. The hour or so wait for a table makes the first bite when you finally sit down even more delicious! Food:
Classic brunch food and drink, with a couple of seasonal specialties (try the apple cider mimosa!). The Nutella French toast is the classic dish and a common favorite - rightfully so. But I have never been disappointed at Penelope with the egg sandwiches, omelets, and sweets.Atmosphere:
While cute and cozy, the interior somehow reminds me of the dining hall at camp. Maybe it is the open space layout of tables in a row, or the wooden flooring, but it adds a little something to the ambiance of the meal. The service can be a bit slow, as the restaurant is constantly packed, but otherwise the atmosphere is pleasant and perfect for brunchtime.Penelope: 159 Lexington Avenue at 30th street, 212.481.3800Saturday & Sunday brunch: 8:00AM to 4:00PM
Penny egg sandwich on a (too greasy, still delicious) croissant with bacon and pesto ($9)
Farmers market egg white omelet with crispy potato bites (part of $15 brunch special)
Beautiful restaurant, great service, and tasty brunch.Tips:
- Don't waste time looking for parking, they offer validation for a lot down the block
- Opt for the Balthazar bread basket to start
- The croissant French toast is delicious
- Steer clear of the frittata
Regarded as one of the nicest restaurants in Hoboken, Amanda's lives up to its reputation. With a very New England feel in the layout and decor, the large restaurant with multiple dining rooms actually has a very cozy feel. Food:
The meal started off with a tiny, spherical roll (really, the smallest roll I've seen) - which was fresh and delicious. But, the table next to us had ordered the Balthazar bread basket which was definitely the way to go. $8 for croissants, mini scones and danishes could almost be a meal in itself.
- French toast - Made on croissants with seasonal fruit compote of mostly blueberries on top. The croissant was a unique touch to make this classic dish extra special, fluffy and flakey.
- Frittata - The frittata with eggplant, mozzarella and tomato was really just an omelet with cheese poured on top. It wasn't nice to look at and wasn't the tastiest brunch I've had. The eggs were too buttery/greasy, and there was way too much cheese pooling on the top. Even after scraping of the excess cheese, I could barely taste the eggplant or tomato. Definitely a disappointment in an otherwise lovely brunch. The potatoes it came with were very good.
- Both entrees came with a good amount of fresh fruit (watch out, the grapes have pits), instead of just a fruit garnish, which was a great addition.
Again, a beautiful restaurant where the waiters and customers were dressed on the more formal side. The layout with multiple rooms reminded me of a B&B, full of character. The restaurant is great for couples, adult families, or a group of friends getting together to catch up.Amanda's Restaurant: 908 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ, 201.
Croissant French toast ($12)
Sad little roll
Loving the bartender's bowtie
Pretty decorate plates
You know you've made it when you have a clock with your name on it
$19 brunch in one of NYC's busiest parks.Tips:
- Snap a photo of a bird in Bryant Park, then check-in on Foursquare to receive a FREE dessert (otherwise $9.50)!
Bryant Park, situated between tourist-filled Times Square and businessmen & women-filled midtown office buildings, is a haven for anyone looking for a bit of greenery in the concrete jungle. Whether you want to relax, go holiday shopping, ice skating, or juggling, the park has it all. I had never been to Bryant Park Grill, the beautiful and pricey restaurant in Bryant Park, so when I happened to be in the neighborhood last weekend, I decided to check out their brunch menu.Food:
When you sit down, you are greeted with a large bread basket with fresh rolls. Note: the rolls that look like they have blueberries or raisins are actually filled with olives (ew for me)! But the plain rolls are divine.
- Classic Eggs Benedict - With Canadian bacon, chive hollandaise sauce and roasted fingerling potatoes. Overall very good, liked the thinly sliced meat that was used. Also, the potatoes were nicely seasoned and very tasty.
- Mushroom & Cheese Omelet - Shitake mushroom & cheddar cheese omelet with a side of grilled portobello mushrooms and roasted peppers. This omelet had a wonderful taste, but as you can see in the photo below, the mushrooms and cheese were dropped on one side of the omelet, so the majority of the omelet was plain egg. I always prefer ingredients to be mixed in with the eggs, but if they aren't, they should at least be even throughout the dish.
You can't beat the backdrop of Bryant Park, especially if you are in the outdoor patio garden or rooftop garden. (Reservations recommended if you want to eat in the dining room). Service was good, the wait staff was friendly and accommodating. Overall a good experience, but unless you take advantage of the free dessert (Foursquare special), I think the value doesn't quite match up to the $19 price of the entrees.Bryant Park Grill:
25 West 40th Street, 212.840.6500Brunch served Saturdays & Sundays from 11:30AM to 3:30PM
Mushroom and cheddar omelet
Awkward ingredient distribution in the omelet
Bread basket - note: those are NOT blueberries.. they are olives
Beautiful indoor area that makes you feel like you're outside
Unbeatable $12.95 brunch special in a quaint French bistro.Tips:
- The French toast is incredible!
- $12.95 brunch special includes one drink
- The restaurant is small and gets packed so make a reservation if you can
Le Parisien is a neighborhood gem in the heart of Murray Hill. A small, quaint bistro with delicious food and rustic French decor, you feel like you're no longer in Manhattan as you take advantage of the unbeatable brunch special. For just $12.95 you will get an entree and a drink (mimosa, OJ, coffee, or sangria)! Chef Johnathan Masse, who comes from the Waverly Inn, does a great job bringing a comfort-food flare to this French bistro.Food/Drink:
While everyone loved their brunch, the French toast was the clear winner! The food came out in a timely manner, and our coffees were refilled almost before we knew we were out.
- French toast - With warm vanilla maple syrup, thinly sliced bananas and apple compote. This was sooo yummy! The apple compote tasted like apricot to me, and it was such a unique taste that went perfectly with the dish. Loved how the bananas were sliced very thin so that they don't overpower when you take a bite. This leads to the question... do the French really make the best French toast?...
- Omelets - Both the herbs & roasted veggies omelet and the ham & cheese omelet were bit hits. The spinach was particularly tasty in the herbs & roasted veggies omelet, but the egg wasn't cooked evenly throughout the omelet. The ham & cheese omelet came with gruyere which added a flavor you don't normally get in this basic type of omelet.
- Poached eggs with salmon - On an English muffin with hollandaise sauce. We loved the crisp muffins and the eggs that tasted farm-fresh. The eggs were cooked to perfection and the hollandaise sauce was well-balanced. Also enjoyed the crispy French fries and salad that came with the dish.
- Eggs benedict - With Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce - gets two thumbs up.
Except for the unsightly, tiny restroom that is basically in the kitchen, I can't say anything negative about the atmosphere here. It was a bit loud and only as people cleared out did we notice music playing in the background. While the restaurant itself is small, it doesn't seem cramped. Instead, it actually has an intimate, romantic feel, and would be great for a day date.Le Parisien
: 163 East 33rd street, 212.889.5489
Fluffy French toast
Poached eggs with salmon gravlax
So much OJ!
You can't beat a $13 brunch special that includes one of many food choices and a cocktail!Tips:
- This is the place to go if you don't feel like waiting for a table at other neighborhood eateries
- Check out the decor - "cavatappo" means "corkscrew" and there is a large collection of unique corkscrews lining the walls
My mom recently moved to the neighborhood and has enjoyed lunches and dinners at Cavatappo, so she said I needed to come check it out for brunch some time. So, I do as my momma says! I'm used to a packed house at 1PM on a Saturday, but there were only a few other customers in this residential neighborhood restaurant while we were there. We enjoyed the un-rushed brunch, the unique corkscrew decor, and the affordable brunch special!Food/Drink:
Overall, the food and drinks were good, but nothing was overly spectacular. This seems like it would be a good neighborhood spot for a quick meal any time of day where you can get a solid meal at a good price.
- French toast - The French toast comes as three thin slices with a bowl of fresh fruit. The taste was nice but we didn't love the choice of bread and could probably have used a few more slices since they were so thin.
- Eggs benedict - A solid benny.
- Vegetable omelet - We enjoyed the assortment of veggies that included eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, squash, and more. Definitely a unique variety of veggies that you don't find on every menu. Also liked that it came with a salad and potatoes for a complete meal.
- Cocktails - The bloody Marys were a bit weak, but the mimosas were delicious with freshly squeezed OJ
Love the decor at this restaurant! The front wine bar area is cozy with two large tables and a wall of wine bottles (would love to come back one evening for a drink!). The restaurant area is painted red and has dozens of unique-looking corkscrews hanging on the walls. My favorite was the horn (see photo below)!Cavatappo:
1712 First Avenue, 212.987.9260
Sat & Sun: 11AM - 4PM
French toast - topped w/ strawberries & powdered sugar, served w/ a side fruit salad
Eggs benedict - two poached eggs on an English muffin w/ Canadian bacon, topped w/ hollandaise sauce
Vegetable omelet - two egg omelet w/ eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, squash, zucchini, & onions
Evolution of corkscrews
Soulful, southern-inspired restaurant in Chelsea with innovative menu.Tips:
- Splurge for a cocktail - try the Tipsy Parson itself!
- The bar has plenty of room to eat comfortably
- Get a Billy's cupcake after brunch right down the block!
The cute little red bench and trees outside the entrance were so inviting, just right there in the middle of a busy NYC street. (First sign of an NYC gem.) I brunched at Tipsy Parson with my southern friend Allyson who was excited and 'pleasantly surprised' to see how "Southern" the restaurant really was - from the decor to the menu. To the non-southerner's eye, the restaurant is overall a cute place that allows you to relax and enjoy your company and your meal. Food/Drink:
A unique menu with offerings that you probably won't see elsewhere. Tipsy Parson puts a southern spin on brunch classics with the freshest of ingredients, and the cocktails are just as unique!Food
- Catfish Po' Boy - Not the most 'brunch' thing on the menu, but it's not every day you see a po' boy in Manhattan. The catfish was cooked very well and the sandwich was really good. Not the best po' boy in the world, but still flavorful and very good. THe coleslaw was delicious - mayonnaise-based like they make it in the south so it was really tasty!
- The Farmstand - Described as "nothing I have ever seen before," this dish turns a veggie omelet inside out into a fresh vegetable salad with a poached egg on top. It was delicious and extremely fresh; filling yet light.
- Mushroom Toast - Another example of the unique menu, the mushroom toast came out as a ricotta/herb spread on a piece of freshly toasted bread with scrambled eggs and fresh chopped mushrooms on top. The mix of flavors was incredible - even for someone who isn't usually a huge ricotta fan!
- Tipsy Palmer - Allyson flipped out when my drink came in a mason jar! It was very cute with the fresh mint leaves sticking out the top of the jar, but it was also extremely tasty. You can choose to have your drink made with sweet tea vodka or sweet tea bourbon (bourbon for me!), and it comes out tasting like iced tea with a little bit of a kick - not too sweet either which was nice.
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Smash - This is a great cocktail if you want something a bit stronger that still has a bitter sweetness to it. Don't be fooled by its deceptive light pink hue, this baby does the trick!
We looooved the pillow-lined window seats and the decor, like the books (and book wallpaper) and little decorations that had that southern charm that we love! There are two rooms here, the front room has a large bar with seating and some tables, and a back room with many more tables (including a large communal table). The service was very good, even at the bar, and the overall atmosphere was low-key and very pleasant.Tipsy Parson:
156 Ninth Avenue, 212.620.4545
Catfish Po' Boy ($15)
The Farmstand ($16)
Mushroom Toast ($16)
Tipsy Palmer ($13) firefly sweet tea bourbon (or firefly sweet tea vodka if you prefer), iced tea, lemon, fresh mint
Strawberry-Rhubarb Smash ($13) brooklyn gin, strawberry-rhubarb puree, thyme syrup, lemon, rhubarb bitters
Front seating area
Back dining area
170 Waverly Place, 646.429.8383
This must-visit restaurant has the brunch trifecta: great food, service and ambiance.
- Go for a savory dish (you get a sweet surprise at the end of the meal)
- It's loud, so don't plan on having any deep convos
- Brussels sprouts!
- Don't be deterred by the wait outside, the service is efficient so tables turn over at a good rate
I had first heard about Joseph Leonard as a great dinner spot, but, of course, I had to check out the brunch menu. Nestled on the corner of Waverly and Stonewall Place/Christopher Street (a little confusing to find to be honest), is the white-washed walls of Joseph Leonard. Overall, this was truly one of my all-time favorite brunch experiences in NYC, so read on to see why!Food/Drink: The succinct menu
lists more wine/beverage options than food options, but the food menu is delicately prepared to offer a full - and delicious - meal with each order. There is also a daily brunch special to consider (when I went, the special was a cheesesteak benedict... if I wasn't set on the omelet this would have been a no-brainer!)Drinks:
There is a selection of interesting bloodies if that's your poison, including the "Bloody Caesar"
which mixes vodka, clamato, sriracha, deep-friend bacon-wrapped brussels sprout (OMG!), radish-stuffed olive, and oyster. If you're not that hard core (I'm certainly not), try the cold brew iced coffee
which is strong, not watered down. Unfortunately, with the iced coffee there are no free refills!Food:De-licious!
Really. So fresh, filling and flavorful. Regardless of what you order, you MUST get a side of the brussels sprouts with sriracha
(unless your dish comes with it, even so, you will probably want more). The brussels come shredded up with mystery sriracha seasoning that gives a little kick.
- Omelet au courgette ($13): Omelet with thinly sliced zucchini, parmesan sprinkled on top, alongside a small fresh green salad and toasted brioche. Simple omelet with so much flavor! The parmesan is an unexpected and unbelievable accent that brings the whole dish together.
- Egg sandwich with brussels sprouts ($12): A twist on a classic egg & cheese, this sandwich is on a fresh croissant (that doesn't flake off into a million pieces when you take a bite). A layer of fresh, fluffy eggs and a layer of manchego cheese (optional bacon for $2) come inside the croissant, alongside a generous portion of the famous brussels sprouts.
- Sweet ending surprise: After our delicious brunch, I told my friend that I really wanted something sweet to cap the meal. Usually at least someone at the table orders a sweet brunch item, but today there were only two of us, and we both opted for eggs. No joke, two minutes later the bill came, sitting beneath two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! If the brussels and the service didn't win me over, these two little sweet surprises did the trick. What a nice touch!
The restaurant itself is small, but they make good use of the bi-level layout. There is a bar in the center that you can sit at to enjoy your meal, but there are also tables on the main level and then on the 'upper' level (just a few steps up that peer into the kitchen). The service is great - patient, friendly, helpful - and the overall atmosphere is trendy, and upscale without a hint of pretentiousness. The one drawback is that the restaurant is extremely loud! So don't go planning on having a deep, long conversation.
170 Waverly Place, 646.429.8383
Opens for brunch Saturday and Sunday at 10:30AM
Omelet au courgette ($13)
Egg sandwich with brussels sprouts ($12)
Brussels sprouts from heaven
Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to sweeten the bill
We love you too, Joseph Leonard!
Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Lower bar and restaurant area
The upper bar, kitchen, and chalk board with the special brunch of the day: cheesesteak benedict
249 Park Avenue South, 212.254.5858, Sat & Sun brunch: 10AM - 5PM
| |Bottom line:
Dependable French food 24 hours a day with a small, yet scrumptious, brunch offeringTips:
- If you're looking for brunch fare during the week, L'express offers a daily breakfast menu that is very similar (and a bit cheaper)
- Open 24 hours
- Certified "Green" by Green Business Bureau
About: L'express is a Lyonnaise "bouchon" that has a French countryside vibe and a 24-hour crowd. Living in the neighborhood, I see people congregating outside all the time, a sure sign of a post-delicious meal "what should we do now that our bellies are full?" conversation.
Food/Drink: A combination of Northern and Southern French fare, L'express has a varied menu with daily selections of sausage, charcuterie and cheese. The brunch menu is pretty classic with a variety of egg dishes, sandwiches, and a few griddle options like French toast and pancakes. While not the most diverse or unique menu, they certainly know how to make the most of a traditional brunch dish.
The two eggs 'any way' dish was perfect. The eggs were so light and fluffy that they looked like an extra egg was thrown in there. A slight buttery taste, but not overwhelming at all. The potatoes were good, average potatoes. The bacon was too greasy and fatty for my taste, but somehow I ate it anyway (the curse of bacon)!
I'd definitely recommend splurging on a chocolate croissant as dessert. It comes out warm so the chocolate is melty goodness, and the pastry isn't dry and flakey.
Love the bottomless iced coffee - you don't get that everywhere for some reason.
Depending on the time you come in, you will see casual and more dressed up brunchers. The restaurant itself is pretty casual, but you may want to step it up a bit for the crowds!
There are always beautiful fresh flowers on the bar and throughout the restaurant, and on numerous occasions I've seen the florist(?) come and delicately arrange the bouquet... it's an art!
The service is good, a little slow even on quieter days, but maybe that's the European flair. Along those lines, you will not be rushed to finish your meal and pay your bill, so take your time and relax.L'express:
249 Park Avenue South, 212.254.5858
Sat & Sun (and holidays) brunch: 10AM - 5PM
| || |Bottom Line:
If you've never had a popover, there's no where better to start - plus great omelette options at this UWS stapleTips:
- Most meals come with a popover so ask before you order a whole basket
- No reservations - so go early to put your name down on the list
If you are asking "What is a popover?" I have two things to say. 1) It is a light, airy, fluffy, eggy hollow croissant-meets-Yorkshire pudding roll. 2) Go to Popover Cafe asap! Fun fact: these delicacies get their name because while in the oven, the egg batter bubbles up and "pops" over the muffin tin that they bake in.Food/Drink:
Regardless of what you order at Popover Cafe, make sure you get a popover (or a basket of three). Their popovers come with a variety of butter options - strawberry is the classic but they also have unsweetened apple butter, unsalted butter, and even strawberry preserves available upon request. Catering well to their
key Upper West Side customers, many of the dishes are made with healthier ingredients - when possible. For example, the coconut almond crusted French toast is made with egg whites and skim milk. (Almost makes you feel good about eating something so sweet.) For a restaurant that is such a staple in Manhattan, it only makes sense that their "Special Omelette" is so true to the city. This three-egg omelette mixes smoked Norwegian salmon, cream cheese and chives - the basic ingredients found on a classic New York bagel sandwich. And, it comes with a popover! Another favorite is The Real New Yorker omelette with horseradish, cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and diced tomato - eggs with a kick!Atmosphere:
Casual and low-key. Popular but not trendy or sceney. Popover Cafe is one of those NY institutions that people swarm to - neighbors, NYers and tourists alike. It has kind of a homey, cozy feel, perhaps due to its foundation back in the early 80s when most of the neighborhood was completely different - it's a bit like going to Grandma's house that is comfortable and hasn't changed in years!Popover Cafe:
551 Amsterdam Avenue (between 87th and 86th), 212.595.8555
Coconut almond crusted challah French toast with banana ($11.95)
Special scramble with cream cheese, chives and lox ($13.95)
The famous popover, complete with variety of butters. This one came with the omelette, but you can get a popover for $2.95 or three for $7.75
| || |Bottom Line:
A low-key Flatiron staple with classic brunch menu offerings.Tips:
- This is the earliest-starting brunch I know of, starting at 8am, so come early and then you can hit up another brunch spot for lunch brunch!
Inside this quaint restaurant, you will feel like you are at a family-owned cafe somewhere out in the country. The mismatched coffee cups and salt/pepper shakers give it a Grandma's house feel, and the comfort food (biscuits are amazing) definitely adds to the cozy dynamic. Food:
The $12 make-you-own omelette option is always reliable. I recommend gruyere and mushrooms, but you can mix and match your favorite ingredients. Omelettes come with a light, buttery biscuit instead of traditional toast - sooo good! The potatoes are cut into little cubes which have a nice crispy skin. The brioche French toast is another must-have, drawing attention to all nearby tables. This dish is huge and looks like a big slice of birthday cake.Drink:
Brunch includes a small OJ or cranberry juice, and cocktails are about $6 each.Atmosphere:
Very casual and homey, this restaurant caters to locals at all life stages who are looking for a good bite to eat in a relaxing, quaint environment. The place settings are different at each table (coffee cups, salt and pepper shakers) which makes for a homey feel.Bluebell Cafe:
293 third avenue (between 23rd and 22nd streets), 646.649.2389Brunch: 8AM - 4PM
Two eggs any style, with lotsa bacon
Brioche French toast
Can you spot Mr. Met?
A peek at the quaint surroundings at this Flatiron staple.
A railing on the left separates the brunchers from the line of hungry people waiting for a table.
Cute, homey table settings