While we are having snowpocalypse outside aka Jonas1NYC0 aka VACATIONRUINER (I’m only just a tiny bit bitter that our flight / vacay to the Virgin Islands got canceled…can you tell?), I am sitting inside the warmth and comfort of my own home dreaming of brunch. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that I love to eat good food. I have a hashtag (#JoyceEats) so I can keep track! I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a serious foodie, because given the choice between clothes/tech and food I’d still choose the former, but I would go to great lengths for delicious mouthwatering food. I used to be really into Yelp, to the point that I’m now actually a Yelp Elite for the 6th year. For those who aren’t familiar with Yelp Elite, it’s basically a squad for people who love eating and write lots of Yelp reviews. I guess that is a testament to how much I love to eat, write about what I’m eating, and of course, photograph what I’m eating.
I have a list on my Yelp page called “New York Fattening.” This was a list I started in 2012 when I lived in NYC for 6 months while interning at NBC, and I came across it recently in its sad outdated form. Now that I’ve been here for a little over 6 months, I wanted to share with you guys some of my favorite mouthwatering eats from Manhattan. Truth be told, I started typing out this list and then I had so many favorites that I needed to break it down further. That’s how this blogpost became the BRUNCH edit (don’t worry, ramen, cupcake, desserts, and special occasion dinner’s to follow soon). This post is heavy on restaurants in East/West Village because that’s my ‘hood and besides, a lot of good food is downtown. I’d love to hear some of your recommendations too!
This is my favorite meal. I also have a list for it on Yelp here. Please don’t judge me on how enthusiastically I wrote about food…Anyways, here’s my top 5 so far. Scratch that, I love brunch too much, make that a top 10:
1. Westville (East Village, West Village, Midtown): I LOVE this place for brunch because it uses fresh high quality ingredients and everything I eat makes me feel healthier. Most of their brunch options come with a side salad so you don’t feel too bad ordering dessert (delectable cakes and pies) with brunch 😉
2. Clinton Street Baking Company: This is the place you’ll see tons of tourists and the wait can be extremely long, like 2 hours long if you come around brunch time on the weekends. The wait is worth it though! The blueberry pancakes are so amazingly fluffy (their secret ingredient is using meringue in the cakes!) and the rest of their menu options are delicious too. If you are bored while waiting, visit the cute cat cafe next door to kill time and play with adorable adoptable kittens/cats.
Outfit deets: BP striped crewneck (old, similar here), faux fur vest (old, similar here)
3. Locanda Verde (Tribeca): A classic brunch spot at this Robert de Niro owned joint in Tribeca. My favorite dish I get every time is the sheep’s milk ricotta with honey as a starter. For entrees I like their baked eggs or soft scrambled eggs with prosciutto served on top of a crostini. A good double date brunch spot.
4. Jack’s Wife Freda (West Village, Soho): The wait is so long and dare I say, not worth standing around for 2 hours. Come early for brunch and I think you’ll find this cozy spot a great place to catch up with girlfriends over mimosas. I loved the baked eggs and the rose waffle below. Plus their sugar packets are adorable.
5. Cafe Orlin (East Village): Hearty and solid Mediterranean brunch right in our neighborhood. Arrive before 11 AM and the wait won’t be too bad. I like the Eggs Blackstone here and the latkes. There is a cute outdoor patio that you can sit in during the summer, a nice spot to get some air and sun (because you have SPF50 on already, of course).
6. C&B (East Village): This place is a no frills brunch spot that does eggs RIGHT. Their egg sandwiches and egg bowls are to die for. The poached egg bowls can be done with meat (think delicious salty gravy with slow cooked pork or chicken) or veg (kale salad or mushrooms). Limited seating inside on benches, so you might have to wait a little bit to sit down.
7. Hearth (East Village): This is my husband’s favorite brunch spot in the city! Hearth is the parent restaurant that spawned 50 paces and also Brodo, the to-go soup bar where you order hot steaming cups of broth from a window. The food here is made with higher quality ingredients and creative flavors. Highly recommend their mushroom ricotta toast as an app and if you’re a soup gal, their brodo Hearth broth with egg for brunch.
Outfit deets: Burberry scarf, Pleione top (XS)
8. MUD: I don’t drink coffee from anywhere EXCEPT at MUD. Maybe it’s the heavy cream or the sugar, I don’t know, but this stuff is addictive. They are a cash only kind of hippy free love brunch spot that has a boozy brunch special for < $20 on the weekends, which includes coffee, mimosa or other juice, and an entree. I love their avocado toast and their huevos rancheros. They also have a really nice outdoor patio in the back with lots of natural lighting for good photos 😉
9. Jane (West Village): Best french toast in the city, hands down. Thick slices of bread dipped in egg and vanilla and coated with powdered sugar…my mouth is watering just looking at this picture! This is still #1 on my hubby’s “Must Try” brunch list.
10. Norma’s (Midtown): Norma’s is an upscale, fancy brunch place in Le Parker Meridien in Midtown and though it’s a branch of the same restaurant in the Parker Palm Springs, the menu is totally different. I like the Waz-Za waffle depicted below, which is a decadent crispy waffle topped with bruleed bananas, yogurt, and fruit. Be warned though, a glass of OJ here is $9 so the prices are quite steep.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as I’ve been thinking of more and more brunch spots as I’m typing this out. I may have to do a part II later on!
Please let me know what are YOUR favorite NYC brunch spots. I have at least 2.5 more years here and my belly intends to make the most of it!