It’s been quite the year, 2016. We’re going to avoid any discussions about the polarizing politics and the unrest that frequented our city. Because all of that sucked. What didn’t suck was brunch, where we could put the turmoil aside, share our woes over a Benny and a Bloody, and pretend the world outside our Instagrammable hotspot of the week wasn’t becoming a scary place.
Allow us to put our heads in that proverbial sand and share our favorites of 2016, where we found glimmers of hope and peace in trends like bagel towers, avocado toast twists, and gluten-free menus.
Best Overall Brunch
For a really amazing place to bring someone special, snag yourself a reservation at La Sirena ASAP. This will quickly become your new “go-to” when your friends ask you what your favorite brunch of the city is.
Best Executed Brunch
There’s a reason Estela is on the 50 Best Restaurants list, and they haven’t given any less attention to their brunch. Their unique, shareable items will last in your memory, especially that epic egg sandwich.
Best Brooklyn Brunch (Tie)
A delicious, low key, Mediterranean-style brunch in the heart of Williamsburg.
Allswell serves up a can’t-miss brunch, and proves that simple ingredients can go a long way. This Williamsburg spot should be on every Bitch’s bucket list.
Best Ethnic Brunch
We’re ecstatic that one of our favorite dinner spots now serves brunch. We weren’t disappointed by the creative, flavorful Indian fare and lively ambiance in the East Village.
Best Brunch For Groups
We don’t usually find Italian brunches particularly exciting, but Bar Primi delivered an original, delicious and very filling meal that was perfect for our large group.
Best New Jersey Brunch
We were hesitant to brunch at such a widely-known restaurant chain, but Del Frisco’s far exceeded expectations. The staff was friendly and the brunch was innovative and delicious.
Best Healthy Brunch (Tie)
It’s hard to find healthy food that’s also this satisfying, and Ellary’s Greens checked all the brunch boxes for us. It could have been slightly livelier, but it was a 100 degree day in August. More raw chocolate pudding for us!
The Wild Son
The Wild Son offers aesthetically pleasing, health-focused fare with a small, solid menu but several faux pas. Mainly, very minimal gluten-free options, and that it ran out of its token nitro coffee before brunch service began.
Best French Brunch
Le Coq Rico
Le Coq Rico serves authentic French fare with perfectly-cooked meats and a refreshingly different brunch menu. Don’t miss the desserts.
Best Cafe Brunch
Delightful decor, decadent pastries, and family-inspired French classics will greet you warmly at Maman’s Greenpoint outpost. It’s so lovely in there, you may decide to stick around in the cafe’s swing chairs all day.
Best Brooklyn Patio Brunch
For a well-executed and robust brunch menu that will leave you plagued with order indecision, and a gem of an outdoor patio to post up in warm weather days, head to Williamsburg before people find out about this place!
Most Creative Brunch
Llama Inn really delivered, showing us what an inventive Peruvian brunch tastes like. Everything we tried was memorable and full of flavor, and we left feeling very refreshed.
Best Experiential Brunch
North River Lobster Co
We loved the fresh seafood and brunch with a view. This is a unique dining experience that’s equal parts memorable and fun.
Best Brunch Refresh
Just like its Perla 1.0 predecessor, Perla Cafe is a gem of a restaurant that’s not to be missed in the West Village. Expect modernized Italian food coupled with comforting classics, and a sunny, daytime vibe.
Best Birthday Brunch
We started 2016 by setting a really high brunch benchmark. Quality Eats is low key but perfect.
Most Worth the Wait
If you’re looking for a spot in Queens, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to go to Queens Comfort. The food is spectacular, the atmosphere is fun, the prices are low, and it’s BYOB. Just don’t forget to bring cash and go early on weekends to avoid the long wait!
Best Place to Bring Out-of-Towners
The Sadelle’s menu paid homage to its diner roots, with elevated classics sprinkled in with some fancier specialties. The bagels were top notch, even by New York standards, and an important staple in all of our dishes.
Most Underrated Brunch
We loved the creativity, and more importantly the delicious execution of this Jewish-Japanese cuisine for brunch. It’s a unique twist on brunch classics perfect for those breaking out of the monotony of your typical eggs Benny or veggie omelets.
Best Bottomless Brunch (Tie)
SoCo offers outstanding service, and even better brunch fare that is definitely worth the trip to Clinton Hill. The mac & cheese and sweet potato pancakes cannot be missed!
Cow + Clover
Well-executed American brunch fare, seasonal ingredients, and a decent bottomless deal in a spacious prime Williamsburg location.
Best Reason to Get on a Subway for Brunch
Solomon + Kuff
Awesome Caribbean vibes, great cocktails, and flavorful, inventive brunch fare in West Harlem. A welcome addition to this up and coming neighborhood!
Best Brunch with the Bros
Everything we tried at this upscale gastropub was delicious, high quality, and thoughtfully unique.
Best Weekday Brunch (Tie)
A charming neighborhood option on Bedford with outdoor seating and killer homemade pastries. Great for outdoor seating and weekday brunching.
Coco + Cru
This brunch newcomer is a welcome addition to the healthy cafe scene. Great for a breakfast meeting or a quick weekday brunch.
Best Neighborhood Brunch
A gem in the heart of Saint Marks. They just need to expand the cocktail list with the acquisition of a liquor license. Please.
Most Instagrammable Brunch
Simple, but well prepared breakfast dishes in one of the most Instagrammable cafes in the city. Perfect for a post-spin bite and coffee with your basic Bitches.
Best Seafood Brunch
We loved the unique brunch items with a relatively healthy focus, only giving it a notch down for being slightly overpriced.
Best NYC Patio Brunch
The Standard East Village
The lunch is nearly perfect—as The Standard should be. Only the service was a bit slow.
Best Place to Take Your Parents
Untitled at the Whitney
Brunch at Untitled was an absolute dream. The food is superb, and we loved the contemporary vibe. However, we would have appreciated a bit larger portions and fewer servers.
Best Gluten-Free Brunch
For a light week-day breakfast or a healthy weekend brunch with killer espresso drinks, Bluestone Lane is the place for you. There’s a plethora of gluten-free options for health-conscious diners who don’t want to sacrifice flavor for health.
Best Brunch with a View
It’s true what they say–Rainbow Room serves one of the best brunches in the city. While it may be best saved for a special occasion, brunching at Rainbow Room is an iconic experience that truly cannot be missed.
Best Low Key Brunch
The Grey Dog
Low key, unpretentious good eats at a fair price for the scene-y Nolita neighborhood.
Best Hotel Brunch
David Burke Fabrick
David Burke Fabrick delivers a delicious and inventive brunch with a well-rounded menu in an industrial, yet cozy setting in the Archer New York. A couple small tweaks could make this one of the best hotel brunches in town.
Best Live Music
Solid laid-back party brunch, with the focus on booze with a side of bagels.
Best Comfort Brunch
Good Enough to Eat
Good Enough to Eat serves quality comfort food and offers a variety of options that will please everyone in your group. Everything we had was tasty, but the pancakes were on another level!
Best Rooftop Brunch
Although the location isn’t ideal, it’s a good solution if you’re in the heart of Midtown. Go for the view, enjoy the pizza, and drink man-mosas to your heart’s content.
Best Party Brunch
House of Yes
Fantastic cocktails, a worldly menu, and an incredibly fun venue for brunch. Perfect for birthday brunches or a festive group get-together, day or night.
Best Hangover Brunch
The food was tasty, messy, and hit the spot. The Bloody Marys were spot on and the waiters attentive. The music was a tad loud to have a nice, brunch conversation, but it is a football bar so that’s to be expected.
Best Fancypants Brunch
Amazing, but exclusive. Save it for a special occasion, and then wear your best. (And bring your appetite.)
Hill and Dale
We wanted to love this charming restaurant with a great bottomless deal, but a two hour wait time for (mediocre) food is unacceptable.
Most Overpriced Brunch
Balthazar was a little stuffy and tired for our taste, although the service was on point and the quiche was delicious. Next time, we’d just grab a coffee and a housemade pastry in the bakery next door to still pay homage to this classic New York restaurant.
Most Tacky Brunch
The food was disappointing and we couldn’t get over the packet of Philadelphia cream cheese presented on our plate. Fish Bar is a beautiful boat with unparalleled views of the city, but we wish the brunch presentation was as high end as the vessel.
Worst Seafood Brunch
Theo’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
The brunch menu at Theo’s has potential, but they definitely need to go back to the drawing board. The delicious appetizer, desserts, and cocktails couldn’t make up for my inedible entree.
Atmosphere gets an “A+” but this buffet brunch is impersonal, and the service totally sucked. It’s really unfortunate because Gallow Green has serious rooftop potential and good food to boot, but I would only bring friends back for a drink to avoid another experience like this.
Most Consistently Bad Brunch
While the cocktails, appetizers, and desserts at Bustan were enjoyable, the brunch entrees were below average, lacking in flavor, and left us less than impressed.
Most Unremarkable Brunch
Above average, authentic Mexican fare in a lively, intimate LES locale. We enjoyed the creativity on the brunch menu, but yearned for a touch more flavor.
Biggest Letdown Brunch
This is a brunch newcomer with a menu offering a blend of fun items and standard classics with potential. We’ll come back for a re-review when they iron out some newcomer brunch kinks, as some dishes missed their mark.
Most Basic Brunch
Brunch wasn’t worth our time or money. If anything, grab a coffee and a Balthazar-sourced pastry for a killer Instagram shot, but only if you’re not in a rush.
Most Deceiving Brunch
Jue Lan Club
This was a pretend dim sum brunch, which didn’t deliver anything warm and left us confused. The space and the menu have so much potential, but they need a food and service overhaul.
Most Overrated Brunch
The Butchers Daughter
It’s unfortunate that The Butcher’s Daughter spent so much time perfecting their uber-cool space and clean eats theme, and gave little attention to the execution in the kitchen. The menu is robust and sounds great on paper, but the food needs a lot of work.