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Best Old School Fancy Sunday Brunch for a wonderful grandmother?

My 95 year old Italian grandmother (Think Joe Pesci's mom in Goodfellas but way older) is coming into Manhattan for her birthday.

This is a woman who grew up in a village in Italy without running water and now calls me up and wants to discuss whether or not men in New York actually wear skinny jeans like she reads in the newspaper. She's an amazing woman and I love her very much. I only mention this to lure you into putting some thought into your answers.

I want to take her out to Sunday Brunch at a very fancy but old school place. She won't enjoy anything modern or trendy.

I'm thinking the Waldorf or something like that. Please give me your suggestions. You'll be doing a good thing for a great lady!


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        1. re: Jane A.

          Unless her sole criteria is wanting to be in the company of other grandmothers, I can't recommend the Water Club. It is a mediocre, overpriced brunch. You'd think for the price, they would have a large, good selection of food but its shoehorned into a tiny space.

          I went to a great brunch a few years ago at the Essex House with my grandparents-in-law. You order an entree from the waiter and supplement with a cold buffet. Everything was very good.

    1. I would have said Cafe des artistes but it closed.
      I'm sure the water club is nice, but would she have heard of it?
      What about one of the places in Rockefeller center with a nice view?

      1. It's wonderful that you're having the opportunity to treat your 95-year-old grandmother to a birthday brunch. There really aren't too many old-school places left. I haven't been but, perhaps, the Oak Room at the Plaza?

          1. NOugatine is good , Petrossian is excellent, the Modern, Normas in the Parker Meridian or Sarabeths(although not old school, excellent ) The Regency
            Also thinking maybe the Boat House or Tavern on the GReen(clearly not for the food but the ambiance)

            1. You had a good first instinct to hit up Pear Alley Brunch at the Waldorf, but I'd suggest the Oak Room at the Plaza. Can you get more old-school fancy than the Plaza? Nope.

              Good luck!


              5 Replies
              1. re: Edwin E.

                Does anybody know if the Oak Room is going to be open on Christmas Day? We're thinking about staying at the Plaza or the Ritz and would really like to do Christmas Day brunch somewhere similar to the Oak Room.

                1. re: KateMW

                  On Christmas Day, the restaurants like the Oak Room that are open generally do Christmas Dinner at 3 different seatings - usually noon, 4 pm and 8 pm. Some do 4 seatings with 3 hours in between. I don't know any that have been doing brunch per se, although the Palm Court at the Plaza used to do a huge buffet no matter which day of the week Christmas fell on.

                  1. re: Jane A.

                    Thanks Jane A. Very helpful!

                    I've read all the past Christmas threads and everybody mentioned a list that opentable.com has. Does anybody know when they usually put that up? Early-mid November? Late October?

                    1. re: KateMW

                      In late October/early November, OpenTable provides listings for restaurants open on Thanksgiving. The Christmas/New Years listings come a short while after Thanksgiving, i.e., early December. Of course, the lists are not totally comprehensive since many restaurants do not participate on OpenTable.

                2. re: Edwin E.

                  Edwin E.,

                  Re: the Waldorf. That would be *Peacock* Alley. :)

                  Glad to see that you agree with my Oak Room suggestion above. ;)