New York: 5 Downtown Restaurants for Sundays (or Any Day of the Week) Brunching
Maybe it’s because I never get up early enough…. or maybe it’s because I spend too much time in my morning shower… I never have enough time to sit down and enjoy a real breakfast in the morning during weekdays before I rush to work. It’s such a pity, because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day– it’s delicious, it’s nourishing, and it’s extremely comforting. And maybe that’s why I always crave for a hearty fulfilling breakfast on the weekends!
On weekends, whether you like to call it breakfast or brunch, this is the most exciting meal in New York. A proper brunch includes not just a plate of unforgettably delicious food, it usually also includes some home brewed coffee or boozy cocktails, an iconic New York-y scene, and some awesome friends…. No brunching experience is complete with any of these elements missing. As much as I enjoy sleeping in on weekends, these brunching opportunities are quite some good motivators to get me wake up earlier in the morning.
In New York City, brunching seems to be a standard social activity on the weekends, and there are countless amazing brunch spots throughout the city in every neighborhood – some are known for the secret homemade Bloody Mary recipe, some for the sinful pancakes, and some for their blasting music with upbeat servers for your to forget your hangover. There are always some new trendy restaurants popping up that become the newest hard-to-get-in spot, and there are some iconic places that are just the staple New York scenes that everyone has to experience once. I have done my fair share of brunching in my 14 years in New York, and here are some of my favorites that never fails my expectation, and always satisfied the guests I bring as well:
(80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012)
This is one of the classics in New York, it oozes such a cool vibe that’s impossible to duplicate. Perfectly positioned on a Soho corner, this is the breakfast spot of the rich and famous. Even though Balthazar is a French Brasserie, it appears to be something different entirely once you walk in – it has all the New York hipness and the vibrant downtown energy, but also with a touch of Paris chic and a sense of indescribable elegance – it feels like its own little world, a hideaway for anyone who’s in on the secret. Balthazar always looks like a scene straight out of a movie, and it is actually not uncommon to spot a celebrity or two. If you like to have some perfectly done soft-boiled eggs or pain au chocolate with Café au lait in the morning as you take your time for people watching, this is the place to be!
2). Clinton Street Baking Company and Restaurant
(4 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002)
This is rated as one of the best brunching spots in New York by multiple medias, and it is indeed a place that will get your morning start gloriously. Clinton Street Bakery is known for its buttery and fluffy stacks of pancakes, it can be topped with wild main blueberry, banana walnut, or chocolate chunks, and they all come with a side of warm maple butter to go with every sinful bite. If you are not a pancake person, they also have a full selection of egg dishes that will satisfy your belly just as much as the famous pancakes. The wait for a table can be a little crazy during the weekends, but you will never regret it once you have a taste of the heavenly dishes!
(144 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003)
Veselka is one of the landmarks in the East Village neighborhood. Even though it is more of an Ukrainian diner, it serves up some mean American breakfast whenever you need a little comfort and boost of energy – form toasted bagels with smoked salmon, to three-egg omeletess with all your favorite fillings, they have it all. If you want to try something Ukrainian style, you can never go wrong with the pierogies or potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce. For the sweet tooth, the Blintzes (Ukrainian-style crepes) are filled with lightly sweeten farmers cheese – they’re creamy and light, and surprisingly fulfilling! Feel free to come in anytime of the day for some breakfast, they’re open 24 hours!
4). French Roast
(78 West 11th Street, New York, NY 10011)
French Roast is another New York staple — another French bistro style restaurant yet more casual but still has a good amount of charm to it. The menu includes all the bistro standards like crispy duck confit, mussels Provencales, and steak frites, but is definitely not limited to the French style. Some French-influenced American standards can be found on the menu, too — from Bacon, Egg & Gruyere Crepe, Asparagus & Brie Omelette to Croque Monsieur and Corque Madame – sometimes it gets a little hard to decide what to get! French Roast opens 24 hours, too… so if you crave for some breakfast at 3 o’clock in the morning, you know where to go!
(42 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014)
Chef Jody Williams envisioned Buvette as a place her West Village neighbors would hang out in all day, and that starts with breakfast. Now the restaurant is not just loved by the neighbors but all the New Yorkers. The iconic steamed eggs are light and airy, which are scrambled with the wand of an espresso machine, it’s incredibly flavorful without all the unwanted grease. If you want to have something on the sweeter side, the croissants are served with a dollops of butter and jam, and the waffles comes with fresh berries and a dust of powder sugar. Try the café au lait, too while you’re there – that will be the finishing touch of your perfect breakfast.
There are obviously a lot more amazing breakfast places in New York, but these are just the few that always kick start my morning with glorious happiness!! Try them over the weekends, or if you’re luckier to go during the week, you’ll get to avoid the crowd and enjoy the breakfast without the waiting lines!