In New York City, brunch isn’t just a meal — it’s a way of life. Come the weekend, New Yorkers will line up around the block for a chance to eat at the newest brunch place in New York. I’ll be the first to admit that I am the most indecisive person when it comes to brunch. With so many options in so many neighborhoods, how on earth do you decide where to go? Today, I’ll be sharing a post by Margaret, a fellow New Yorker, about her favorite brunch places in lower Manhattan.
Having lived in downtown Manhattan for the past year, I’ve spent many weekends catching up with friends over brunch. I’ve made it my goal to try a new place every time, so I’ve gotten to experience a variety of cuisines and discover my favorites! If you’re a first time visitor or new to the city, you can’t go wrong with brunch in Manhattan. Keep reading for the best brunch in lower Manhattan.
Jack’s Wife Freda
Hands down my favorite brunch spot in NYC. Jack’s Wife Freda is a cozy little Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant with two locations: one in SoHo, and the other in West Village. They only accept reservations for parties of six or more, so if you’re going with a few friends, be sure to get there EARLY or else the wait will be long (at least 40 minutes).
This is the only restaurant I’ve been to where I want every. single. item. on the menu. I love going to Jack’s Wife Freda with a group of friends because we can all order different things and split them so that everyone gets to sample everything! My favorite items? The rosewater waffle, Madame Freda, grapefruit and yogurt, and green shakshuka. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!
Walk into Maman and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Southern France. Believe me when I say that the decor here is on point! The simple details give Maman its special touch. Maman has a few locations in NYC but my favorite is the Tribeca location. This Manhattan brunch place has a cafe section when you first walk in (with SUPER comfy couches) and a restaurant area towards the back. The chocolate chip cookie is apparently one of Oprah’s favorites and the lavender hot chocolate is amazing. If you’re sitting down for a meal, be sure to try the Maman’s “rabbit hole,” waffles, and truffle croque “maman.”
This West Village Parisian cafe is just so charming! They have a small brunch selection, but a good one. If there’s one item from the menu you need to order, it’s the croque monsieur. I’ve never had one quite like it. Their Belgian waffles are delicious as well. Try sitting at the bar for a cool experience: you can see them making your food!
If you want something a little heartier, head down the street from Buvette to its Italian sister restaurant, Via Carota. I’ve only ever had their pasta, and it was perfect for those days when you’re craving a little something more. I’d definitely go back to try the other pasta dishes! You can never have too much pasta, right? The other items on the menu all look delicious as well.
Citizens of Chelsea
Craving something healthy? Check out Citizens of Chelsea, an Australian cafe in… you guessed it… Chelsea. While they don’t take reservations, you can put your name down when you walk in, and you can track your wait time on your phone. The wait time can be long at times but the line moves pretty fast. I honestly don’t think that you can go wrong with any item on the menu (the beetroot hummus toast I heard is very popular), but can I personally vouch for the duck benny, belgian waffle, and salmon eggs. Plus, this place is an Instagrammer’s dream!
Editor’s note: As a native New Yorker, I had to add some brunch places in lower Manhattan to this list as there’s some classics that my mom and I both love. I’ve included a few more brunch options below. (Can you ever have enough brunch?)
Sarabeth’s pancakes are famous for a reason. Be sure to get the lemon and ricotta cheese pancakes, which are my mom’s favorite dish at Sarabeth’s. Their eggs are also excellent although I’d also encourage you to try out their baked goods as their muffins are so good. Sarabeth’s has several locations for brunch in Manhattan, including one in Tribeca and Chelsea Market.
Russ & Daughters
The Hattie Platter of our traditional appetizing classics: Gaspe Nova, whitefish, kippered (baked) salmon, sable, and a basket of our very own bagels, bialys, shissel rye bread, pumpernickel, and challah, all served with cream cheese to schmear, of course! #AppetizingSince1914 #russanddaughters #russanddaughtersbagelsandbakery
For all of you craving Jewish classics or just lots of lox, Russ & Daughters is worth a stop off for that quintessential New York Jewish meal. There’s nothing like a good New York bagel with all kinds of delicious stuff inside to start off your weekend properly. Consider getting the chocolate babka as well as the latkes.
Are pierogis brunch? Veselka is a Ukrainian institution on the Lower East Side and brunch is a great chance to visit here if you haven’t been yet. They have a brunch menu, which includes the truly unique Salmon Latka Eggs Benedict and mimosas. Enough said.
Have you had brunch in lower Manhattan before? If so, what are your favorite spots and things to order?
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