When your head is spinning after a night out, the last thing you want to do is negotiate a queue winding around the block to get a croissant. Rather than making a beeline for one of New York’s Insta-famous and constantly packed brunch spots, head to one of these restaurants for something more low-key (and that most likely has better food, anyway).

Hangry? Expect swift service (and great food) at these NYC breakfast spots

Hole in the Wall

This new Australian restaurant’s soaring glass windows make its aesthetics a far cry from its name, yet it maintains an under-the-radar feeling (for now). Unlike visiting its Downtown Aussie counterparts such as Two Hands and Bluestone Lane, coming to Hole in the Wall won’t entail an hour-long wait for an açai bowl. It’s also a standout in the area, considering that Murray Hill doesn’t have brunch spots jostling for space like the streets of Nolita do. With plants trickling down sky-high concrete walls and a cool industrial vibe, this place is a sure bet for impressing your friends when you drag them above 30th Street on a Sunday. The buttery chilli scrambled eggs on sourdough toast, pulled pork benedict and three-cheese melt on levain from Balthazar make it completely worth the trek.

Golden Diner

A chic take on a classic NYC diner, Golden Diner is brought to the Lower East Side by Samuel Yoo of the Momofuku group. The menu is wide-ranging, including diner basics including eggs any style with fries and toast, and more creative dishes such as the Chinatown egg-and-cheese sandwich, which is served on a sesame scallion milk bun with a hashbrown. Unexpected twists on other American classics also make appearances – try the kale and parmesan biscuits with gravy or the popular chicken katsu club. One of the best parts about this spot is that, unlike traditional diners where you likely have no idea where your food is coming from, Yoo’s menu features a list of the farms and nearby producers with which it works.

Extra Virgin

A cosy brick-lined West Village haven with a terrace that’s great for people-watching in the summer months, Extra Virgin has all the makings of the perfect brunch spot without the heaving queues of Sant Ambroeus (which is, luckily, right next door to absorb crowds). The menu is loaded with hearty brunch options such as baked eggs with grilled bread and huevos rancheros with tortillas, ideal for those looking to offset the one-too-many drinks enjoyed the previous night. Sweet tooth? Opt for the French toast with caramelised banana or buttermilk-oatmeal pancakes – the organic granola with fresh berries and orange-blossom honey is also divine if you’re in the market for something slightly healthier. Should your brunch hour be drifting slightly later into the afternoon, opt for the ahi tuna tartare or the pistachio-crusted goat cheese salad (one of our favourites on the menu). We’re also giving you fair warning: you might have a difficult time saying no to the side of fries served with gorgonzola fondue.


With the feeling of a countryside café, Penelope sits comfortably on the corner of 30th and Lexington, which essentially feels just as far from the NYC weekend crowds as Westchester. The baby-blue awning and interiors are suitably soothing for the morning after, and you can settle in at a corner table without worrying about bumping into five people you know. The baked goods here are to die for, so order the warm buttermilk biscuits or Ms. P’s cinnamon-and-pecan sticky bun to share as a side before diving into the main menu. Unlike most other brunch spots, there’s also a prix fixe menu that includes a dish and either a brunch cocktail (white peach bellini and soju bloody mary, we’re looking at you) or bottomless Kobrick coffee and juice. Pro tip: Dover Street Market is just around the corner, so use the time you didn’t have to spend queueing up to check out its latest streetwear.

Café Select

Right on Lafayette Street, Café Select is at the tail end of a string of brunch spots that seem to have endless wait times all day long. Despite its hyper-central location, delicious fare and popularity, there always seems to be a table available when you stop by here. With fairy lights suspended from the ceiling, this cosy Swiss-style restaurant sets the scene for a winter meal when sitting on a terrace is out of the question. For brunch, try one of the Alpine dishes such as muesli pancakes with macerated berries and vanilla sweet butter, schnitzel and Norwegian rösti topped with smoked salmon and fresh dill cream. The brunch cocktails would feel equally at home in a mountaintop cabin, with the Swiss bloody mary, Hugo 13 and Crans Montana topping our list.


For such a tiny space, Mudspot has quite an extensive menu. Tucked away in the East Village, this modest restaurant (which is slightly more spacious in the summertime thanks to its back patio) is the weekend home of Downtown 20-somethings who are fed up of the packed SoHo brunch spots – and the concept of brunch in general – and just want a decently affordable meal within steps of their Avenue A apartment. There are loads of eggs-any-way options, as well as breakfast burritos with cowboy chipotle sauce and jalapeño-egg sandwiches on five-grain toast. If you’re here later in the day, opt for the ‘big soup’ with a grilled cheese sandwich, and settle down for a catchup with your pals.

Il Buco Alimentari

Il Buco Alimentari is a NoHo staple in which it’s easy to drop in without having to worry about a reservation. This sister restaurant to nearby Il Buco is a great last-minute option thanks to its long, communal-style tables that invite large groups to swoop in on short notice. It serves a fabulous Italian brunch with menu items such eggs al forno on focaccia and torta pasqualina with Tuscan kale and parmigiano. In addition to making you feel as if you’re in a nonna’s kitchen (which makes nursing a hangover far more manageable), the restaurant is committed to sustainability and makes all of its bread and salumi in house.

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