What a year, Bitches! The end of the year always unearths a mood of self-reflection, and we can’t help but happily think back on all the great brunches we’ve had this year—each tasty meal a small victory in a year full of rather less-than-victorious-feeling moments. But from delectable Dutch babies to tater tots that knock your socks off, the best bites of 2017 hit a flavor for every mood and then some and are reason enough to smile and indulge.
No matter where you live in the city, we’ve got a bite or two nearby that you can’t afford to miss. Keep reading for the most exciting things we ate the past year, and don’t forget to check out our list of the best (and worst) brunches of 2017 either.
Best Spring Rolls
Thank goodness our server at this Vietnamese restaurant on St. Marks recommended these spring rolls, or else we’d never have known the goodness that comes from wrapping them in lettuce, dunking them in nuoc cham sauce, and chowing down. We were overjoyed by the combination of textures, temperatures, and flavors (pork and crab). 119 St. Mark’s Place, New York, NY.
Sunday in Brooklyn
Just. Look. At. These. Pancakes. Served with a slice of brown butter on top, these flapjacks were fluffy and scoured in a slightly sweet, malted sauce, rather than your typical syrup. This dish was interesting, but in the best way. If you go to brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn and skip out on trying these pancakes, these Bitches will be very disappointed in you. 348 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, NY.
Best Brunch Burger (Tie)
This burger, made with Pat LaFrieda beef, American cheese, and a sesame seed bun, was simple but absolutely delicious. It was juicy, cheesy, and flavorful—everything a burger should be, and it’s definitely one of our favorite burgers in all of Manhattan. 190 W. 4th St., New York, NY
Mel’s Burger Bar
You can’t go to Mel’s Burger Bar and not get an awesome burger. This version, the Back Yarder, seems somewhat traditional but comes with an extra-special touch of crunch we loved. Think a beef patty topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mayo, and—get this—crushed potato chips. 1450 2nd Ave., New York, NY.
Hibiscus mimosas are a step away from the norm, and that’s precisely why we love them so much. They’re a light and flavorful start to any brunch date—and you can get them bottomless. Cheers! 140 W 13th St., New York, NY.
Best Brunch Pasta
This breakfast carbonara, an incredibly indulgent combination of spaghetti, pecorino cream cheese, bacon chips, scallion, and a fried egg, was just the kind of gooey, cheesy dish that’s perfect to soak up a mimosa (or five) and tasted great to boot. It’ll even charm the pants off people who say they don’t do carbonara. (I should know; I used to be one.) 1600 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY.
You’ll really taste the Creole influence in this rendition of the classic eggs Benny. Two poached eggs are nestled atop thinly sliced sausage patties and buttery biscuits then drenched in spicy Italian and andouille sausage gravy. This dish packs a spicy punch, and we dig it. 33 Greenwich Ave., New York, NY.
Best Acai Bowl
Açai bowls are one of our favorite food groups, and by CHLOE. serves their gigantic purple-based smoothie bowl with granola, banana, apple, blueberries, goji berries, chia seeds, coconut, and raw almond butter. Some people may think this is way too many toppings, but all of the textures rise to the forefront for a crunchy, juicy, delicious combination. 240 Lafayette St., New York, NY.
Best Avocado Toast
Citizens of Chelsea
This avocado toast was one for the books. We appreciated the elevated touches like the sprinkle of feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, and pickled onions, which all offered this healthy starter a bit more substance. And imagine our pleasant surprise when we tasted the beet purée under the toast and actually enjoyed its hint of sweetness. 401 W 25th St., New York, NY.
Best Bloody Mary
Talk about a top-notch Bloody Mary. Between the spicy house mix, complete with the perfect amount of horseradish and a dill pickle spear, we could have easily downed a few rounds of this cocktail alone and not even made it to entrées. In fact, that’s not such a bad idea. 18 Spring St., New York, NY.
Best Brunch Sandwiches
High Street on Hudson
You know what? Brunch doesn’t always need to be about sausage and bacon and meat galore. Sometimes veggies take center stage for and deliver, like the Forager sandwich at High Street on Hudson. King oyster mushrooms top braised kale, a fried farm egg, young Swiss cheese, and a black trumpet mayonnaise, and they’re all slathered on poppyseed bun for an earthy, savory, and absolutely delicious combination. 637 Hudson St, New York, NY
Real talk: This ricotta toast was our favorite part of the meal at Little Prince. Think chewy country bread topped with a delicious ricotta spread, EVOO, salt, pepper, and a swirl of sweet, sweet blueberry goodness. As a matter of fact, if someone wants to send us a platter of this ASAP, by all means… 199 Prince St., New York, NY
5 Napkin Burger
These Angus chili and egg nachos were the best kind of surprise. Since when did breakfast nachos become a thing? Who knows, but thank goodness. The flavorful mix of scrambled eggs, cheese, guacamole, crema, and jalapeños atop tortilla chips was crispy and fun—like eating junk food for breakfast. 150 E 14th St., New York, NY
Best Vegetable Dish
This wood-grilled broccoli received serious praise from Lindsay. The orange, pistachios, and mint bring vitality and color to this bright and flavorful dish. 21 W. 8th St., New York, NY
Best Brunch Pizza
Highly recommended by the Old Rose team, the vodka pizza is a simple pie topped with burrata and basil. The real treat is the pizza crust. 113 Jane St., New York, NY
Best Baked Eggs
These hearty baked eggs are served the most adorable scalloped piece of cookware and are deserving of high praise. The baking dish is overflowing with San Marzano tomatoes, ricotta, and Calabrian chilies—aka everything you want in a tasty, flavorful baked egg dish. 31 Great Jones St., New York, NY
Best Spicy Bite
Our server warned us that the jalapeño poppers were hot, and boy was she right. Despite the spice, this dish was still a tasty one that we’ll definitely order again. They were perfectly cheesy, and the breading was good enough to eat on its own. 681 Washington Ave., New York, NY
Best Huevos Rancheros
Lighter than typical Tex-Mex versions, the Huevos Rancheros from Cosme comes with refried black beans, mushrooms, and queso fresco. It’s a really special dish that’s much more authentic than anything we’ve had in the past. 35 E 21st St., New York, NY
Best Brunch Appetizer
Made with scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, cornmeal, and Chipotle sauce, these BEC bites are a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich rolled up into bite-size balls. There’s the perfect amount of every ingredient in each bite and we haven’t seen such a fun appetizer anywhere else. 30-09 34th St., New York, NY
Best Cocktail Design
Rose & Basil
A simple yet impactful design, Rose & Basil’s use of roses in their cocktails had us chatting for weeks. The scent of the flower in the drink mixes with the nose of your wine or cocktail and makes for a pretty and memorable experience. 104 E 7th St., New York, NY
Best Tater Tots
Talk about delicious tots—this loaded versi0n comes with cheddar, cheese curds, chives, bacon, and chipotle crema. They’re delicious and made with the perfect amount of cheese and bacon. Feel free to devour an entire bowl. 29-12 23rd Ave., , New York, NY
Best Lobster Roll
The Bitches say: A. Gilligan’s is the perfect NYC escape when you aren’t actually able to escape the city. A summer staple, Gilligan’s version of a classic lobster roll consist of gigantic chunks of juicy lobster lightly doused in lemon, parsley, scallion, and mayo stuffed into a buttery bun. 310 West Broadway, New York, NY
Best Chicken & Waffles
While We Were Young
This “healthy” version of the Southern classic did not disappoint. A huge hunk of moist buttermilk fried chicken topped this towering brunch dish. The meat practically fell apart at the touch of a utensil, which made it a breeze to bite into with the kale waffle. It’s often hard to get both chicken and waffle on your fork, but While We Were Young’s version was foolproof. 183 W 10th St., New York, NY
Garlic butter, pecorino cheese, and toasted bread (because “dipping is fun,” as the menu noted) make this oyster dish one for the books. It’s decadent and full of flavor, and the oysters were perfectly grilled. 79 Clinton St., New York, NY
This corned beef has is salty in the best way, and each bite piled high with crispy corned beef, bite-size potatoes, and yolk from the poached eggs is perfection. 647 E. 11th Street, New York, NY
Best Mac and Cheese
The Return of the Mac—macaroni smothered with white cheddar, gruyere, smoked gouda, and bacon—is a no-brainer. This absolutely delicious dish is extra cheesy, and the bacon tops things off perfectly. 33-01 31st Ave., New York, NY
Best French Toast
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, this cornmeal-crusted French toast is the perfect option for those looking for a not-so-sweet indulgence. 151 Mulberry St., New York, NY
Best Poached Eggs
Made with roasted red pepper Hollandaise, scallions, chickpeas, pearl onions, and challah, this is basically Balaboosta’s take on an Eggs Benedict, only way better. 214 Mulberry St., New York, NY
Regardless of your raclette selection, rack melted Alpine cheeses are scraped tableside in a dramatic, and Instagram-worthy, presentation. The warm cheese is comforting and sinfully delicious, particularly when drizzled over the potato wedges, and it’s probably one of the best and most memorable cheese we’ve had in a long time. 511 E 12th St., New York, NY
Best Brunch Dessert
Loosie’s bite-sized version of beignets are injected with Nutella and definitely deserve five stars. Served with a side of homemade whipped cream, these little puffs of heaven are a must-order. 93 S 6th St, Brooklyn, NY
Best Shrimp n Grits
The tomato cuisiné and curry korma additions bumped this classic brunch dish up a notch, and by the end of the meal, we were basically scraping the bowl clean. 91 S 6th St., New York, NY
Best Dutch Baby
Don’t sleep on the Dutch Baby! Served in a piping hot cast iron skillet and topped with fresh whipped cream and berries, butter, and maple syrup, this pancake was fluffy on top, with a bit of a crust on the bottom from the cast iron. These two textures, combined with the juices of the fresh berries, made for the sweetest, most delicious bite. 117 Perry St., New York, NY
Best Hot Sauce
The Spotted Dog
The chef’s housemade hot sauce is a secret concoction that included fish sauce and who knows what else to deliver a kick in the mouth, in the best way, and we can’t get enough. 1154 1st Avenue, New York, NY