Brunch is a quintessential millennial New Yorker thing to do. We can’t afford our loan payments, but you better believe we ain’t missin’ brunch. Neal and I have tried quite a few brunch places. Most brunches are good – they check off all the boxes. Others are great. Here’s a list of our 5 favorite brunch spots.
1. Jacob’s Pickles
Upper West Side
We were introduced to Jacob’s Pickles when a couple of our friends lived on the upper west side. It’s a fair trek from our apartment, but it is so good we make it at least once every other month, and definitely whenever we have friends in town!
Jacob’s Pickles sells “southern-accented comfort food.” Yeah, ya got that right. It’s known for its chicken and pancakes, biscuits and its huge portion sizes. As a vegetarian, I don’t go for the chicken and pancakes, though Neal has had it a million times and loves it. I go for, Number 1, the biscuits. Oh my goodness, the biscuits. They’re huge and served with a number of jams, honeys and butters. I personally love the marmalade, but it depends on the kind of biscuit! The original biscuits are great, but when they have the pumpkin ones around October, I am in heaven.
My Number 2 choice is the Steel Cut Organic Oatmeal. It is TO DIE FOR. I never have any room after I’ve eaten all the biscuits, so I often have these boxed up to eat later. They are just as good cold as they are warm (maybe even better!).
Pro Tip #1: The lines here can be out of control. Get to Jacob’s Pickles around 9:45am. There’s no line, and at 10am, they start serving alcohol (mimosas/blood marys/etc). I know it’s early for brunch, but I hate waiting in lines.
Pro Tip #2: If the line IS crazy because you didn’t follow my Pro Tip #1, head over to Maison Pickles just a block away. It’s owned by the same people and opened in the last couple years. Their brunch is similar and oh so good as well. I have found the line here is a bit quieter than at Jacob’s Pickles, so you might stand a chance at no wait.
2. Alice’s Tea Cup
Upper West or Upper East Side
Alice’s Tea Cup is such a gem. It’s an Alice in Wonderland-theme restaurant featuring teas, scones and so much more. Here you can get a pot of tea (I go for the Indian Chai every time) and a three-tiered breakfast! What do I mean? Welp, you get scones on one tier, yogurt with granola on another tier, and eggs on the third tier! It’s called the Mad Morning and it’s fantastic. There are a million delicious meals on the menu, but every time I come back to the Mad Morning. It’s more cost effective to share with someone, but you can get it solo.
Pro Tip #1: If you’re not feeling a whole sit down breakfast, grab a scone to go! They’re sooo good, especially the pumpkin caramel one!
Pro Tip #2: Speaking of scones to go, if you get there after 5pm, the scones are buy one get one free!
Pro Tip #3: The Alice’s Tea Cup location on the upper west is not too far from the Natural History Museum and there’s one not too far from the Met. Grab a scone before or after a day at the museum!
3. Le Barricou
Le Barricou is, as you may have guessed, a French-style restaurant. But, it has a distinctively Brooklyn feel. They’re known for their baked pancakes, and their French fare is delicious. They have several types of omelettes, benedicts and other egg dishes. I like their muesli as well.
The inside is a very comfortable sort of rustic feel. There are old pictures of people on the walls and antique-looking chandeliers. The booths are comfy, but they don’t have a lot of them. If you’re a large party, you may be seated in a bunch of smaller tables pushed together. Another great thing about Le Barricou is that it is an easy, 5 minute walk from the subway.
Pro Tip: You always have to build in the 40 minutes to bake the pancake, so I order as soon as I sit down. We always share one of these pancakes with the table as a sort of appetizer. If you get the timing right, it can work out perfectly.
4. Cafe Henri
Long Island City
No list would be complete without me giving some love to my home turf! Cafe Henri is a great French restaurant. I absolutely love their crepes. The savory and the sweet! I get the ratatouille savory crepe or build my own and the lemon sugar crepe. Together it is a little expensive, but so worth it. Their coffee here is also quite good. I personally don’t recommend the yogurt. It’s too sour for my tastes. Neal always gets the croque madam, and we often get the bread basket for a bit more of an authentic French experience.
If you are in the mood for Mexican-style breakfast instead, head to Cafe Henri’s sister restaurant Casa Enrique. Casa Enrique has a Michelin Star and some of the best huevos rancheros. You can also put the lunch in brunch and get the guac and chips. THEY ARE THE BEST.
5. The Grey Dog
The Grey Dog is a different kind of brunch. You go stand in line to order, then you sit and wait for your food. It seems odd, but the wait is worth it! The food is great, and if you end up being hungrier for lunch, their lunch options are awesome. They have 4 locations – West Village, Chelsea, Union Square and Nolita.
Next time you’re in NYC, try one of these great brunch places! If you’re in Brooklyn, you can combine it with some excellent street art viewing. If you’re in Queens, make it a brewery tour! There is endless exploring in NYC and you might as well make a day of it 🙂
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