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NYC Best & Worst Brunches of 2015

It’s been another whirlwind year in the city that never sleeps. We’ve ate, drank, shopped, and sweated through 2015 and documented it all on Bitches Who Brunch.

We’ve traveled throughout the boroughs—and around the world for the matter—all in the name of brunch, and we’re thrilled to present our top picks of the year. Of course, we need to be a little Bitchy and brutally honest, so we’ve also summarized some of those restaurants that fell short of our expectations.

So without any further ado, presenting our best and worst brunches of 2015. Agree/disagree? Have any must-try brunches for us to review in the New Year? Please comment below; we’d love to hear from you!

For our Chicago Best & Worst, click here. For Washington, D.C., click here. Also, check back on Friday for the Best Brunch Bites of the Year.

The Best


Best Overall: Five Leaves

Everything about brunch at Five Leaves was outstanding. The family-friendly neighborhood and vibe was a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and everything we ate was memorable. Don’t sleep on the ricotta pancakes and mushroom toast. Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Best Fancypants Brunch: NoMad Hotel

There was no question that brunch at the NoMad Hotel deserves a golden ticket, or in this case, a Bitches Who Brunch A+. The food was exceptional, the service was fit for a queen, and the atmosphere inspired several items on Emily’s wedding registry. Expect to pay steep prices, but trust us that they are worth it. Flatiron, New York

Pig & Khao Brunch

Best Bottomless: Pig & Khao

Not only is the bottomless deal at Pig & Khao cheap and plentiful, but you’re treated to delicious Filipino cuisine by a Top Chef contestant. We loved the wide assortment of fresh mimosas to choose between and the “fill your own solo cup” Yuengling keg paired with a killer 90s rap soundtrack brought us back to college. Lower East Side, New York

Best Brunch Date: The Waverly Inn

Everything from The Waverly Inn’s location tucked away amongst the cobblestone streets in the West Village to the crackling fireplace that welcomed us upon entering the establishment oozed cozy romance. Photography is even forbidden (oops, sorry) if you really don’t want to kiss and tell. West Village, New York

The Stanton Social Brunch

Most Inventive: Stanton Social

Oreo pancakes, French onion soup dumplings, breakfast bruschetta…need we say more? We loved the eclectic small plates at Stanton Social, which were as tasty as they were creative. It has a trendy vibe perfect for sharing tapas and gossip with your girlfriends. Lower East Side, New York

Best Cheap Eats: Esperanto

Esperanto offers dependable Latin fare at a great price tag for downtown Manhattan; most brunch entrees are $10 with equally affordable drink specials. We appreciated the festive atmosphere and the easy accommodation for large parties. East Village, New York


Best Brunch for the Parents Visiting: Lady Mendl’s

Pinkies up for a quality afternoon tea at Lady Mendl’s. The combination of memorable service, a desirable atmosphere, and delectable finger sandwiches and pastries are perfect for a special occasion with loved ones. Gramercy, New York

Best Party Brunch: Lavo

We rarely recommend eating where you rage, but the brunch fare at Lavo was delicious, when we took a break from dancing and champagne showers. This is a guaranteed blast with your friends and a check off your New York bucket list. Midtown East, New York

Santina Brunch

Best Patio Brunch: Santina

The light flooded atmosphere, top notch cocktails, and inventive brunch dishes in one of our favorite NYC hoods make Santina a must try. Dress to impress because this is a brunch to see and be seen. Santina is a great place to go on a more special occasion with higher price tags. Meatpacking District, New York

Best Service: Cafe Select

Café Select is a surprisingly unpretentious SoHo café with a chic European feel. The service was warm, friendly, and attentive; which can be rare in this neck of the woods. Don’t be afraid of unfamiliar ingredients; we recommend trying the Swiss dishes for the full experience. SoHo, New York

Worth the Wait: Eggs

Egg tops the brunch “must try” lists and we understand why—we enjoyed a great meal that wasn’t extravagent or pricy and we’ll never forget those pancakes. Don’t be daunted by a long wait time, it’s worth it. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Lure Fishbar

Best Ambiance:  Lure Fishbar

You can’t really top an ambiance that makes you feel like you’ve boarded a yacht headed for a destination vacation. Pristine, gleaming wooden interiors coupled with leather seating at Lure Fishbar transported us far, far away from the below-sidewalk level restaurant. Plus, the food was delicious to boot. SoHo, New York

Best Brunch with a View: Central Park Boathouse

We’re so glad the quality of Central Park Boathouse’s brunch matched the caliber of the beautiful ambiance. Eating brunch here in warmer months is a must for any New Yorker. Upper East Side, New York

two hands brunch

Most Instagrammable Brunch: Two Hands

This tiny cafe is a hipster, Instagram-loving haven, but the food was anything but overrated. Healthy, delicious, and reasonably priced dishes are the main reason to give Two Hands a try. Littly Italy, New York

Best Weekday Brunch: Jack’s Wife Freda

Jack’s Wife Freda is packed at opening time seven days a week due to its flavorful ethnic menu offerings and a simple yet chic café vibe. We recommend going during the week right as it opens to avoid an epic wait time. You won’t regret ordering the greek shakshuka and Mediterranean breakfast. SoHo, New York

Little Park Brunch

Best Presentation: Little Park

We were wowed by fresh, local produce presented beautifully in the most charming ambiance at Little Park. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Andrew Carmellini. Standout dishes included the poached eggs with heirloom grain porridge and broccoli egg white frittata. TriBeCa, New York

Best Newcomer: Wallflower

We gave Wallflower a warm welcome to the block. It’s is a little gem in the Village, with charming brunch offerings, courteous staff, and an idyllic atmosphere that will draw you back for a second meal. West Village, New York


Best Hotel Brunch: The Breslin

We were immediately charmed by the quirky atmosphere in the funky Ace Hotel even before we sampled April Bloomfield’s lovely British fare. As to be expected with a hotel restaurant, The Breslin errs on the pricier side, but the lamb burger is worth every penny. Flatiron, New York

Best Rooftop Brunch: Dream Downtown

Brunch at the Dream Downtown lent itself to one of our favorite days in the city this summer, and not just because the food and cocktails were top notch. The Beach offers you a guaranteed good time plus an egg sandwich. You can’t beat it! Meatpacking District, New York

Doma Brunch

Best Comfort Brunch: Doma na Rohu

Miss your grandma’s home cooking? Does your grandma happen to be Eastern European? You’ll feel right at home at Doma na Rohu, a cozy neighorbood spot with killer latkes and Hungaran eggs Benedict. West Village, New York

Best Brooklyn Brunch: Le Barricou

Great ambiance, awesome brunch food, a killer Bloody Mary all at an affordable price. Le Barricou is another strong competitor for our favorite pancakes; just note that you need to order them about 40 minutes in advance. We were surprised to learn that the spot had been there since 2006—eons for a New York restaurant. It’s not only stood the test of Williamsburg’s shifting hipster attentions but it’s also remained affordable. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Spirit of New York Brunch Cruise

Best Brunch for Tourists: Spirit of New York

The food itself on the Spirit of New York’s “Eat, Drink and B. Mary” Brunch Cruise may not be anything to write home about, but the Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary’s certainly are. The views are to die for, and the cruise is overall a really fun experience especially for visitors to the city. Chelsea Piers, New York

Best Mexican: Black Ant

We loved the playful take on Mexican fare at The Black Ant; creativity can often be lost on brunch menus. There are plenty of delicious bites on the menu, don’t be shy and order something unique like the grilled octopus on a bacon roll or the cricket tacos. East Village, New York

Best Italian Brunch: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

It didn’t take any photo doctoring to capture the beauty of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria’s brunch dishes. They were unique, delicious, and preserved true Italian cooking. Brunch here is an absolute treat. NoHo, New York

Golden Sand Dim Sum Brunch

Best Dim Sum: Golden Sand

Dim sum restaurants are a dime a dozen in Chinatown, but skip the lines at the overhyped tourist spots and brunch at Golden Sand Dim Sum. Come for an authentic dim sum meal that won’t break the bank; order anything with shrimp and you’re in for a treat.

Best Drag Brunch: The Haus of Mimosa at KTCHN

The Haus of Mimosa at KTCHN was hilarious and engaging, the food was delicious, and the mimosas were perfect. This a fun option for a bachelorette party or out-of-town guests with an open mind. Hell’s Kitchen, New York

Best Bar Food: Greenwich Street Tavern

Greenwich Street Tavern had surprisingly good food for a neighborhood bar; we particularly enjoyed the lobster Benny and salmon omelette. Bring your Bros Who Brunch and skip the long lines at neighboring TriBeCa locales. TriBeCa, New York


Best Bloody Mary Bar: Saxon + Parole

Brunch at Saxon + Parole is solid, and a definite must try for Bloody Mary lovers. The expansive DIY Bloody bar features at least thirty DIY embellishments from hot sauce to pickle juice. NoHo, New York

Best Reason to Get on the Subway: Alice’s Arbor

We were at first intimidated about the trek to Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy, but were delighted when presented by fresh, farm-to-table food with tons of healthy and more decadent menu options at Alice’s Arbor. Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

The Worst

Worst Overall Brunch: Gansevoort Park Avenue

The food and cocktails weren’t bad at the Gansevoort Park Avenue, but the party brunch was lacking its party. It should be remarketed as something else so people don’t visit during normal brunch hours under the false pretense of a clubby environment. Gramercy, New York

The Brooklyn Star Brunch

Worst Reason to Get on the Subway: Atwood Kitchen

We were initially impressed by the rustic-chic ambiance at Atwood Kitchen, but were disappointed by lackluster brunch cuisine. It’s nothing to go out of your way for, especially to Midtown on a weekend. Midtown East, New York

Worst Wait: The Brooklyn Star

The Brooklyn Star featured a dreamy brunch menu filled with decadent comfort food, but we don’t necessarily think it warrants the frantic scramble for a table right at 12 p.m. There was a line down the block and a mad dash to the hostess stand as soon as the doors unlocked. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Worst Letdown: Hamilton’s Soda Fountain & Luncheonette

Hamilton’s Soda Fountain & Luncheonette is an adorable 50’s-style diner in a fantastic West Village location, but the food was nothing special, especially compared to the award-winning restaurants in the neighborhood. West Village, New York

Worst Service: Pardon My French

We really wanted to love Pardon My French for its tasty bites and cheap bottomless deal, but couldn’t get over the abysmal service. Bottomless wasn’t even worth it since our drinks were rarely refilled and it took 45 minutes to receive our check. One important caveat to make about the service is that Pardon My French authentically staffs the restaurant with native Frenchmen so this laissez-faire attitude towards service is a cultural difference. But still…we wanted another mimosa. East Village, New York


Most Forgettable: Blenheim

We didn’t have many complaints about our food at Blenheim, but both felt it was only slightly above average. The atmosphere was special, but in a saturated brunch market, nothing we ordered will return to the forefront of our memories. West Village, New York

Least Flavorful: Taboon

Taboon is a beautiful neighborhood spot with interesting, authentic Mediterranean brunch options, but we weren’t particularly blown away by any of our entrees. We expected bold ethnic flavors, but our tastebuds were disappointed by most of the main brunch courses. Hell’s Kitchen, New York

Dirty French

Most Overhyped: Dirty French

Dirty French has the backing of big-name restauranteurs in a trendy hotel, but we didn’t think the steep price tags warrented mediocre entrees and long wait times during peak hours. Lower East Side, New York

Most Overrated: The Coffee Shop

Overall, our collective description of our brunch at The Coffee Shop was “standard,” which is disappointing since the restaurant is iconic in the area. The menu was straightforward, and a step up from your neighborhood diner. You won’t be blown away, but you’ll leave caffeinated and satiated.

Worst Basic Brunch: Eatery

Eatery is a classic Hell’s Kitchen diner, with an interesting menu, but average execution. Also, packed with basic bitches. Hell’s Kitchen, New York

The Bitches

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