Depending on your previous night’s activities, your morning refueling might call for a bowl of oatmeal cooked with almond milk or a full Irish breakfast piled high with blood sausage and rashers. Though it’s harder than ever to carve out time for a proper morning meal in this city, ambitious breakfast menus keep popping up around town at buzzy places like Mission Cantina, Santina, and Ivan Ramen(ina). If you can afford at least a semi-leisurely start, you can partake of breakfast offerings that range from quickly grabbed sandwiches to luxurious sit-down feasts, and reflect this metropolis’s multitude of cultures and the diversity of its residents. With that in mind, here are our eleven best breakfasts in NYC.
11. Sariling Atin (89-12 Queens Boulevard, Queens; 718-397-1200)
Breakfast at this unassuming Elmhurst Filipino restaurant is a communal affair: Everyone orders at the buffet and takes whatever seats are available in the modest dining room behind the cafeteria’s front grocery area. Crispy pata — deep-fried pork trotter — comes piled high next to garlicky fried rice called sinangag. With splashes of sweet and sour, Pinoy cuisine is a guaranteed roller coaster for groggy taste buds. Served from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
10. Taqueria Tehuitzingo (578 Ninth Avenue, 212-707-3916)
Now that this beloved Hell’s Kitchen underdog has moved to a more central location on 42nd Street, the small space clogs up during prime hours, but mornings are still relatively sleepy. Breakfast tacos, like eggs with ham or two different kinds of chorizo, cost a modest $7 for three. Hangover gut-bombs like chilaquiles — a mess of tortilla chips doused in salsa — or burritos filled with eggs, guacamole, and queso fresco, will sate heavier appetites. Served from 8 a.m. to midnight
9. Lincoln Station (409 Lincoln Place, Brooklyn; 718-399-2211)
Veteran Brooklyn restaurateurs Emiliano Coppa and chef Anna Klinger helped put Park Slope on the map sixteen years ago with their Northern Italian gem al di la. The duo’s youngest effort (after Slope wine den Bar Carvo) is a cheery Crown Heights café dressed up in exposed brick. Klinger puts an emphasis on quality ingredients, whether that means sourcing local produce or braising and roasting meats in-house for exemplary lunchtime sandwiches. That attention to detail translates to the breakfast menu, where burnished ham and cheese croissants and a gleefully bloated egg sandwich hold court. Served on warm and spongy ciabatta, the wobbly, fried over-easy egg joins crunchy bacon and salsa picante for one messy morning treat. Served from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
8. Tea & Sympathy (108 Greenwich Avenue, 212-989-9735)
While there are fancier places to try a traditional English breakfast (where eggs join a crowded plate heaped with back bacon, sausages, grilled tomato, and beans), this cozy, kitschy canteen operated by British expats offers a hearty rendition that adheres to tradition. An extra dollar yields a side plate of griddled black pudding, completing the porky trinity. Called the “Full Monty,” it anchors a breakfast menu that includes a range of sweet and savory home cooking, from scones with clotted cream to Welsh rarebit and bangers ‘n’ mash. Served from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
7. Amy Ruth’s (113 West 116th Street, 212-280-8779)
Ruling late-night Harlem with a greasy fist since 1998, this convivial soul-food restaurant serves an indulgent crowd late into the night during the week and 24 hours on weekends. Whether you need to soften a hangover or just enjoy a midday nap, a plate of fried chicken or pork sausage over hefty, sweet waffles will set you up for success. The kitchen also does the neighborhood fried-fish tradition proud with crisp fillets of catfish and whiting with eggs. Want to have your cake and eat it too? Free slices are available for birthday boys and girls — a sweet taste of uptown hospitality. Served from 11 a.m. on Mondays, and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday; 24 hours on weekends.
6. Black Seed Bagels (170 Elizabeth Street, 212-730-1950)
Catch them freshly baked, and the honey-sweetened Montreal-style bagels honed in Matt Kliegman and Noah Bernamoff’s flagship Nolita shop are among the finest in the city. The heavily seeded rounds have burnished crusts and spongy interiors, and they make beautifully messy breakfast sandwiches when stacked with eggs and avocado, bacon, or ham. Appetizing selections stray from standard nova, with beet-cured salmon and smoked rainbow trout; match them to spreads like wasabi tobiko or fiery horseradish cream cheese. There are plenty of bagel shops with more history, but Black Seed has us excited about the future. Served from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5. Big Wong King (67 Mott Street, 212-964-0540)
Patrons love this aging Chinatown favorite for its cheap roast duck and pork and tremendous wonton soup with juicy dumplings sporting paper-thin skins — both of which are available as soon as the kitchen opens at 8:30 a.m. Giant baton-like crullers come savory or sweet and help pad your waistline without padding your wallet. And as if lacquered Chinese meats weren’t decadent enough, try rolling your protein in floppy rice crepes or dropping it into viscous congee for a nourishing, filling breakfast. Served from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
4. Egg (109 North 3rd Street, Brooklyn; 718-302-5151)
Owner George Weld and chef Evan Hanczor literally just wrote the book on daytime eating with their recently released Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For, a cookbook culled from years of pumping Williamsburg with a steady supply of omelets and other egg dishes, biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, and duck leg hash. The Egg team also goes the extra mile for breakfast meat offerings, putting out plates of country ham, candied bacon, and homemade scrapple to pair with your over-easies. Served all day, Hanczor’s pancake and french toast game is also on point, making Egg a destination for American breakfast classicists. Served from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and starting at 8 a.m. on weekends.
3. Il Buco Alimentari (53 Great Jones Street, 212-837-2622)
The casual sibling to upscale Italian restaurant Il Buco around the corner, Alimentari offers a standout rustic Italian breakfast, including egg-topped avocado toast and a beastly sandwich of eggs and thinly sliced porchetta. Showcasing the kitchen and market’s incredible products, the bread basket comes with goat’s-milk butter, and fruit-studded focaccia gets spread with house-made ricotta. End your meal with airy cream or fruit-filled bombolone doughnuts, or take one to go for savoring later in the day. Served from 7 a.m. until noon, Monday through Friday.
2. Nha Minh (485 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-387-7848)
Fred Hua oversees the culinary side of this East Williamsburg art gallery and café, which serves “chef’s choice” bowls layered with grains, vegetables, soy eggs, and proteins (everything from grilled fish to beef bacon) and the occasional knock-your-pants-off pho special. Fried eggs with toast on an aioli-spiked breakfast sandwich are easy to love, but the benefit to having a single menu for the whole operation means that you can also rouse yourself in style, and order a chicken liver banh mi sandwich or a smoked trout melt brimming with muenster cheese, pickled red cabbage, and dijon mustard. Served from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
1. Dimes (49 Canal Street, 212-925-1300)
With a recent move to roomier digs down the street, Dimes the restaurant (the former location will be turned into a market and to-go shop) now has access to a full kitchen and a larger (albeit still petite, at 35 seats) dining room. Co-owners Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner have taken advantage of the location, carving out a bright and breezy hideaway on the edges of Canal Street where a good-looking crowd satiates their appetites with refreshing breakfast bowls made from healthy ingredients like açaí, chia, goji berries, and bee pollen. Scrambled eggs fill tacos or top sliced ciabatta, paired with mango salsa and tomatillos or pickled jalapenos, respectively, and both receive generous helpings of cheddar cheese, avocado, and house-made hot sauce. While you won’t find bagels and lox, Dimes’ pickled-salmon plate with cucumber and ricotta will satisfy New Yorkers looking for a less involved appetizing experience. Served from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 11, 2015