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The Best Brunch In Manhattan?

What are the best economical, mid-range, and high-end brunches in Manhattan?

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  1. The best brunch restaurant in Manhattan: (a) is within 2 blocks of wherever you live; (b) does not entail waiting longer than it takes to scan the front page of the newspaper; (c) does not include "your choice" of screwdriver/bloody mary/bellini in the price; (d) hires waitstaff who do not take it as a personal affront if you are still sleepy/hung over/both; (e) has tables big enough for you to actually read the paper you were scanning while you waited, if it should happen that the rest of your party is similarly still sleepy/hung over/both. The food? Eh . . . it's eggs or pancakes, or sandwiches. Anything fancier and you're asking for trouble.

    2 Replies
    1. re: olfashiond

      These are particularly good points.
      Especially in Manhattan, which is pretty much the land of hungover/ hungry people in need of eggs and similar things.

      I would add that
      (f) the waitstaff are friendly and efficient, and keep pouring the coffee.

      1. re: theannerska

        And (h) supply LOTS of water IMMEDIATELY. Normally I try not to be impatient with wait staff. But when I go to brunch, more often than not, I am HUNGOVER and need my fluids!

    2. i enjoyed brunch at the mud house in the east village, stingy lulu's was good but i think it closed. I have heard great things about prune.

      1. The buffet brunch at The Plaza Hotel (not cheap) is like being on the best cruise ship (though I've never been on a cruise).

        1. I may be mistaken, but I think the Plaza Hotel doesn't exist anymore, it's being converted to condos. My husband and I were looking for somewhere that served a buffet style brunch on par with the one the Plaza used to provide. (We'd like to go for our anniversary). So far I've been unable to find a restaurant or hotel in Manhattan that provides such a brunch (Aquavit does provide a buffet brunch, but it's a limited offering of food.)

          Does anyone have any suggestions (price is not an issue here, as this is for a special occassion)?

          3 Replies
          1. re: djcohen

            Scroll down on the Manhattan board, and you will find a thread about brunch. I posted a fairly lengthy post about Cafe Botanica (in the Essex House).Went last Sunday and it was a fabulous Sunday brunch buffet(loads of variety, including an entree cooked to order)in a just gorgeous room.
            It's $65.00 per person, but it was wonderful and I strongly recommend it.It also includes champaign.

            1. re: djcohen

              No, you're correct. The Plaza is being turned into condos and was dismantled earlier this year.

              1. re: djcohen

                Tribeca Grand Hotel has a Sunday brunch buffet for $40.00 per person. However, they only do the buffet from Septmber through May. Summer is only a la carte.


              2. I've moved from the NY area, but Norma's used to be a special brunch place. It's in one of the hotels, but I can't remember which one. I also always enjoyed brunch at Balthazar in SoHo. The food and people watching were both above average. :-)

                2 Replies
                1. re: zuriga1

                  Norma's is in the Parker Meridien Hotel in midtown. It's not buffet-style but it's fun and the portions are massive.

                  Cafe Botanica at the Essex House would be more on par with what the Plaza used to offer.

                  1. re: JennS

                    I love Norma's! It's hard to get in, especially on weekends. A sleeper place that has good solid brunch (until 3 pm on weekends!) is Wallse in the West Village.

                2. Yes, Prune is really good -- but you've got to get there well before ten to net a wait-free table. Once in, everything's very well done, the inventive bloody mary menu is fun, and it's much more affordable than at dinner! I far prefer it to Clinton St. Baking Co., which has similar hype and wait.

                  Although, for my money, eggs and novie at Barney Greengrass with a toasted bagel is still the ultimate NYC brunch!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sadie

                    agree - Barney Greengrass is unique experience, the best.

                  2. For the sheer gluttony of it I love Ulysses on Stone street. Around 20 bucks for a buffet with oysters, shrimp, clams plus all the other stuff carving station eggs,... and a free bloody, Guinness or mimosa

                    1. I like Jane on Houston and Public in SoHo

                      1. what about dim sum in chinatown? tons of places to choose from - and also much more bang for your buck compared to 12 dollar eggs...

                        1. Lovely Day in SOHO. Love that place.
                          Sunburnt Cow - 15$ brunch with drinks included.

                          1. I like the Water Club buffet. It's about $50 or so but it's the only meal you'll need all day and the view is fantastic.

                              1. High End: Norma's (Le Parker Meridien, 57th and 6th??)...Sarabeths (92nd & madison)... Atlantic Grill (3rd & 77th)
                                Mid Range: Blue Ribbon Bakery (west village. somewhere) - Alice's Tea Cup (cute place, very girly... several locations)
                                Econ: Around the Clock Diner (East village, off St. Marks and 2nd i think?)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: christinaemcc

                                  Around the Clock is on Stuyvesant St. between 3rd Av. and 9th St. [sic].

                                  What do you like there?

                                2. Artisianal. About $25 for a beverage, appetizer and entree. Best hot chocolate in NY-hands down. Book ahead.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: eve

                                    five points and norma's are absolutely the best IMHO

                                    1. re: marlie202

                                      I have found Sara Beth's east and west side so different as to be different restaurants. I have had breakfast often at both and the west side restaurant seems to reflect the very worst of west side dining: quantity vs. cost. If you order, for instance, the market breakfast at both, you get entirely different ingredients: the east side, all sorts of light fresh veggies; on the west side, heavy sometimes unidentifiable ingredients. I have done this at least half a dozen times at each restaurant, so it is no artifact.

                                      1. re: mdavis

                                        Sara Beth sold the east side location a few years ago and only is affiliated with the one on the west side.

                                      1. re: jsilver227

                                        I would recommend CookShop down in Chelsea... some of the best brunch food in the city (just make a reservation since it gets busy) and it is a little pricey but the food is excellent. I also like Half King which is nearby and really like their vegy chili and the price is good and includes a drink.

                                        1. re: jsilver227

                                          Isn't it hard to get into Shopsin's for brunch? They have so few tables. I've always wanted to try it but wonder if we would get a table. There are only two of us. I wouldn't dare bring in a party of 5 if you know what I mean:-)

                                        2. Best brunch I had was at Macondo on W. Houston. YUMMO!!!!

                                          157 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                          1. Do note that this thread is four years old and some places mentioned have closed whereas others aren't mentioned because they didn't exist yet.

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