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Where can I find brunch that's not comically overpriced?!

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Seriously, when did restaurants get the nerve to charge $18 for pancakes and $15 for cheap prosecco and tropicana?

Where can I get together with a few friends for Sunday brunch/lunch without A) spending $50 a head, B) having to wait an hour, or C) ending up with terrible food? I'd happily go to old haunts like Westville or Grey Dog, but I'm afraid they'll be madhouses.

I'd like to spend no more than $25-$30 a person, including 1 drink. It definitely does not need to be 'traditional' brunch, but we need some breakfast-y options. Somewhere that includes coffee or a cocktail would also be great, but not necessary. Preferred location is Union Square / Gramercy / Murray Hill / Chelsea, but would go a little bit further if necessary.

There have to be some places left that don't totally price gouge at brunch - thanks your your help!

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  1. chinatown

    1. Very, very similar thread here:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912398

      1. Public's brunch prix fixe includes a cocktail and is delicious.

        1. Peels, the Smile, Cafe Gitane, - all reasonably priced and solid (the first 2 take reservations).

          I'd recommend Prune and Cafe Habana but they might be very crowded.

          I also love ippudo for a weekend lunch/brunch but you have to plan around the potential wait.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Barcelonian

            Thanks, all.

            Something like The Smile is exactly what I'm looking for, but I wish it was farther uptown. Is there anything similar between 14th and 34th streets? We're staying on 28th and 2nd and will be leaving to head back to Boston right after lunch... so somewhere walking distance is ideal.

            1. re: nyc_to_ma

              Riverpark
              http://www.riverparknyc.com/Default.htm

              1. re: nyc_to_ma

                The Breslin?

                1. re: loratliff

                  Will the Breslin be crazy busy for 4-5 people at noon-ish on a Sunday?

                  1. re: nyc_to_ma

                    No, brunch isn't as crazy there as it once was (or as people make it out to be). Noon especially so—most people haven't gotten up yet. ;) There might be a wait, but I doubt it will be an hour+.

            2. Walkers in TriBeCa , old school NY

              1. $15 for tropicana? You must be having brunch in the same hotels that Ispe stays at.

                1. As for The Hill of Murray just walk down 3rd Ave starting at 39th St. There are a number of places serving decent reasonable brunches.

                  1. I was just having this same conversation last Sunday. The going rate for eggs benedict is now up to $16. The places with $13 pancakes or french toast were serving them only barely bigger than small plate servings, like a side dish. Checking pictures on Yelp, few of te $16-24 egg breakfasts look all that nice.

                    1. Westville in chelsea is good for brunch, the e village locations gets really busy.

                      Friend of a farmer off irving st near union sq is very good and I've never had issues with crazy wait times.
                      http://friendofafarmerny.com/brunch.php

                      Nearby pierre lotti gives you a free mimosa with brunch, prices are really reasonable- but its a distant second to friend of farmer.
                      http://pierrelotiwinebar.com/union-sq...