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)
A casual way to spend the morning with a good cup of coffee - alone or with friends.Tips:
- Sit in the front room for a casual coffee or go to the back room for more of a restaurant experience
The relaxing coffee shop + restaurant is a great place to swing by if you happen to be walking around the East Village shops and Tompkin's Square Park. With a local vibe, a solid cup of coffee and a patient staff, this is a great place to go to work on your computer, read a book or enjoy a bite with a group.Food:
We all enjoyed our meals, particularly the egg scrambles (no omelets here). They come with a choice of fresh ingredients and bread to make a sandwich or eat separately. The French toast was a tiny portion, our only real complaint.Atmosphere:
The definition of neighborhoody, Cafe Pick Me Up has regulars who swing by for coffee and to work on their laptops all the time. Comfortable for the regulars as well as those who come less frequently, this restaurant is very low-key with good food and service as well. Some of the seats in the back room are not so comfortable (little stools to sit on), and the restaurant is a little beat up looking, but the food and atmosphere make up for that.Cafe Pick Me Up: 145 Avenue A, 212.673.7231
Egg scramble sandwich with prosciutto
Egg scramble sandwich with fresh mozzarella and mushrooms
Pizza for brunch works at Pulino's on the Lower East Side.Tips:
- Get a brunch pizza (funghi & eggs or spinaci are delicious options)
- Check out the bathroom!
Whoever created the song "pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime..." knew what they were talking about. Who said pizza is reserved for lunch or dinner when it makes a perfectly acceptable and delicious brunch meal?! Pulino's specializes in brunch pizza creations that are de-lish!Food:
The brunch menu covers all bases - from traditional eggs and granola dishes to a variety of pizza options. I would definitely recommend the pizza, here are some highlights:
- Funghi & eggs pizza: Topped with eggs, mushrooms, pancetta, mascarpone + grana - probably my favorite of the pizzas, almost like eating a thin omelet on delicious pizza crust!
- Spinaci pizza: With eggs, spinach, mozzarella, mascarpone + grana, a great vegetarian option.
- Pancetta affumicata: Covered in eggs, bacon, crème fraîche + caramelized onions - definitely the most flavorful with a smokey, sweet and savory blend.
Loved the whiskey bottle-lined walls throughout the restaurant (where did they get all those bottles... and who drank them?) The LES restaurant has a lofty feel with high ceilings, yet also feels a bit like an old school diner with white tiles and booths against the walls. Great service and overall very good atmosphere.Pulino's:
282 Bowery, 212.226.1996Saturday & Sunday brunch: 10:00AM - 4:30PM
Funghi & eggs pizza: eggs, mushrooms, pancetta, mascarpone + grana
Spinaci pizza: eggs, spinach, mozzarella, mascarpone + grana
Pancetta affumicata: eggs, bacon, crème fraîche + caramelized onions
Pork special (topped with red pepper flakes)
Walls lined with whiskey
Take a trip to France by way of brunch on the UWS with a number of gluten-free options. Tips:
- Come early or make a reservation to guarantee a table
- If it's nice weather, sit outside to truly combine France with the UWS
- Huge gluten-free menu
- Located at the corner of 79th and Amsterdam - making it the perfect location for starting a Sunday afternoon UWS adventure
Nice Matin is a French bistro with a prime spot on Amsterdam Avenue. The restaurant has a full brunch menu that is straight from France with a little New York flair - showing that Nice Matin understands what New Yorkers are looking for on Sunday mornings.
- Although a participating restaurant, Nice Matin does not have a separate gluten-free brunch menu (they DO have a separate gluten-free lunch and dinner menu) and does not indicate the gluten-free options on the their brunch menu so make sure to tell your waiter that you are gluten-free. Your waiter will be able to point out what can be prepared gluten-free.
Nice Matin's menu covers brunch and lunch thoroughly. Gluten-Free Brunch
A majority of the egg dishes are gluten-free and several of the entrees are with some slight tweaking. The pommes frites are NOT gluten-free but the side of potatoes can be prepared gluten-free. Gluten-Free bread is available.
- Scrambled egg whites with one yolk - peppers, scallions and sliced tomatoes. The eggs were very moist, a little loose, but not runny. The peppers and scallions made the dish flavorful and added a nice kick. The tomatoes made for a nice presentation. I really enjoyed the flavors of this dish, but the eggs were undercooked for me. I prefer my eggs to be moist, but firm. The peppers may be overpowering for some.
- Side of potatoes - The potatoes had a nice texture and just the right amount of flavor. They complemented the scrambled eggs whites nicely.
The gluten bruncher can choose from gluten heavy dishes like orange-buttermilk french toast, croque monsieur - black forest ham and melted gruyere, croque madam with a fried egg, a fried egg tartine - grilled sourdough with aioli, ripe tomatoes, pancetta, romaine and two fried eggs, and a number of entrees from steak to chicken to fish.
- Crisp Belgian waffle - with strawberries, whipped cream & maple syrup. Although this gluten-free bruncher cannot eat it, she was told that the waffle was excellent - full of flavor, great texture, and very filling.
Nice Matin's decor is Parisian with a mixture of booths and tables. It has a nice vibe that hums with the noise of diners, but does not overwhelm. Nice Matin:
201 West 79th Street, 212.873.6423Saturday brunch: 10:30AM - 3:30PMSunday brunch: 10:30AM - 3:00PM
Gluten-free egg white scramble
Gluten-free brunch potatoes
A Southern-inspired brunch spot on the UWS with a variety of biscuits, pickles and beer to complete your meal.Tips:
- Try the communal table for a neighborly feel
- Maximum 6 cards can be split at a table
- Bloody Mary BLT!
- Choose from 25 microbrews on tap to take home in a growler
Jacob's Pickles is definitely a unique UWS establishment. With a Southern-influenced menu, a focus on pickles, and a passion for beer, this restaurant stands out, especially when it comes to brunch. Food/Drink:
The food and drinks at Jacob's Pickles are overall very good. The homemade biscuits are soft and have a variety of uses from a side order to biscuit sandwiches to biscuit French toast. I tend to prefer biscuits that have a bit more crunch on the outside, but these had a very nice flavor as well. There are pickles for everyone here. From traditional pickles to fried pickles to pickled veggies and even eggs, there are a variety of ways to enjoy Jacob's Pickles a la carte.Some favorite dishes:
- Veggie cheese omelet - asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, aged Vermont cheddar, and home fries ($13). A delicious omelet filled with fresh veggies mixed right in and cooked well-done. The home fries are spiced and come with a few grilled peppers that give a little kick to the dish.
- Bacon, egg and cheese biscuit - two organic fried eggs, aged Vermont cheddar, and niman ranch bacon ($11). You can't go wrong with a bacon, egg and cheese - especially when it comes on a biscuit. While the biscuit itself was hard to keep together, the taste was great. I liked the crumbly cheese that melted on the sandwich but also stayed a bit crumbly for a unique texture. The bacon was crispy and overall a tasty sandwich!
I really like the atmosphere in Jacob's Pickles. Aside from being packed (like most UWS restaurants during brunch time), the simple wooden and brick decor mixed with the communal table up front gave a welcoming feel as soon as you walk in. There is a back dining room as well as some tables in the front if you prefer to sit at your own table, and the backdrop to the bar is filled with dozens of bottles of one of my favorites - Tito's Handmade Vodka. The service wasn't the best, primarily because it was very crowded and the restaurant seemed understaffed, so we weren't visited very often and the waiter kept forgetting to bring over what we asked for (milk for the coffee, sugar for the coffee, etc.). But he acknowledged the craziness of the day and apologized which was actually very nice. Jacob's Pickles: 509 Amsterdam between 84th and 85th, 212.470.5566
Bacon, egg and cheese on a biscuit (maybe slightly inappropriate looking...)
Biscuit French toast
Bacon bloody Mary
So much Tito's Handmade Vodka!
The interior of Jacob's Pickles
You can't go wrong with Mexican for brunch at this BR Guest Hospitality chain.Tips:
- There are multiple locations throughout the city, all with similar if not identical menus
- Get a free drink with your meal - even if it isn't on the brunch menu
Dos Caminos is one of those restaurants that you know will be good, regardless of which one you go to or what time of day. Part of the BR Guest Hospitality family, Dos Caminos is subject to high standards in food and atmosphere. While the restaurant is generally thought of as a lunch, dinner or cocktail spot, don't rule it out for brunch - they have a great special and a delicious Mexican-inspired brunch menu.Food/Drink: Overall the food was very good, albeit a bit greasy. Definitely not an every weekend type of brunch, but worth the occasional splurge. (Or just order healthier than we did!). Also, we loved the drink special - a free frozen prickly pear or traditional margarita, or classic brunch cocktail, plus coffee or tea - with your entree.
Atmosphere: I love the atmosphere at Dos Caminos, which has a more trendy, upscale vibe than that of a traditional Mexican establishment. Whether you are seated at the bar, in the front room or the large back dining room, you can take advantage of the interesting decor (including metallic hanging lanterns with different cutout patterns) and solid service.Dos Caminos Park:
- El Mexicano Burger - ground beef (8oz) with jalepeno chili elleno, guacamole, and roasted tomato mayonnaise. A fantastic beef burger with an obvious Mexican influence. Filling and tasty - and comes with fries. ($13)
- Smoked Chili Fries - Not a huge fan of cheese fries, but liked the chili spice on top - gave the fries a nice kick.
- Breakfast Quesadilla - handmade thick tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, chopped up bacon and chihuahua cheese. Very good but very greasy. Could only finish half the plate - but it was a delicious half. ($14)
- Mimosa & Screwdriver - chilled and delicious, pretty standard brunch drinks
373 Park Avenue South, 212.294.1000
Spicy cheesy fries
Rice and beans came with the meal
Deli meets Brunch with plenty of Gluten-Free options.
- Take a pre or post brunch stroll on the Highline or on the cobble stone streets of the Meatpacking District.
Friedman's Lunch offers their brunch patrons the option of classic deli fair or traditional brunch dishes. The variety on restaurant's menu may cause the best brunch problem of them all - difficulty in choosing one's meal. Food:
Gluten-free dishes at Friedman's are marked with a dot. When it comes to dots on the brunch menu, the menu has a lot of them making the gluten-free choices almost as numerous as those available to gluten diners.
On the deli end of the menu, gluten-free brunchers can choose from Two Bean Turkey Chili, Tomato Soup, a B.E.L.T. (bacon, over easy eggs, lettuce, tomato), a Burger, or a Grilled Pastrami Reuben. Friedman's has gluten-free bread so no worries about the Reuben or Burger missing their carbohydrate.
On the brunch end, there are gluten-free pancakes and a number of egg dishes from the basic 'two eggs any style' to 'make your own omelet' to an 'egg white scramble' (which this bruncher enjoyed) that comes with market veggies, avocado, potato hash, and like all the egg dishes, with gluten-free toast.
*When ordering gluten-free, make sure to tell your waiter or waitress that you are gluten-free.*Atmosphere:
- Egg White Scramble: The egg whites are perfectly scrambled with spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, and onion, and are garnished with slices of avocado, which compliments the flavors of this dish perfectly.
- Potato Hash: The hash is light and unlike other hashes, is not overpowered by onions or peppers. The gluten-free toast rounded out this meal perfectly.
- Turkey Reuben: My fellow bruncher substituted turkey for pastrami and brunched on a gluten-free Grilled Turkey Reuben with a side of potato hash, which was delicious.
Friedman's Lunch takes the best of Chelsea Market and brings it inside this sleek, modern, fun restaurant.
Chelsea Market - 75 Ninth Avenue (212) 929-7100
Egg white scramble with potato hash
Grilled turkey reuben with potato hash
A fun, unique brunch experience - especially when friends visit NYC for the first time.Tips:
- Seasonal brunching only: Sundays April 8 - Oct 28, 2012.
- $68 (after taxes/fees) gets you a full buffet of breakfast and lunch food and one free drink.
- Expect a touristy crowd.
Of all the brunch options in NYC, brunch on a boat never really came to mind. But why not? What better way to see the skyline and get up close and personal with Lady Liberty than cruising the Hudson while sipping mimosas! My good friend Chioke recently went on the World Yacht brunch cruise and shared his experience with me.Food:
The brunch package includes all-you-can-eat and one beverage. The food was buffet style, with a mix of breakfast and lunch food items (from baked goods, fresh fruit and salads, to breakfast dishes, lunch dishes and desserts). The food wasn't spectacular, but none of us had anything negative to say about it. Atmosphere:
Best part for me was the music - having a piano playing gently in the background while getting breakfast is always a welcome change. Worst part, the linty cloth napkins on my black dress pants.
The overall atmosphere on the boat was nice - the dress code was business casual and the waiters were very nice and polite. The boat, as to be expected, was filled with tourists and their families.
Was it worth the price...? I probably won't do it again. It was fun, but if I have friends in town I would probably do brunch somewhere in the city and do a sightseeing cruise separately.
Also to note, the cruise doesn't go around Manhattan - just from Pier 81 to the Statue of Liberty and turn back, so you don't get to see the full downtown Manhattan 'cruise' experience.World Yacht Brunch Cruise:
Pier 81 on West 41st StreetBrunch cruises available Sundays early April through end of October
Special thanks to our friend Chioke for documenting his experience so we can share it on BrunchUponATime!
View of downtown Manhattan from the cruise
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