New York needn’t be a non-stop shop ‘til you drop affair. Between yoga on Wednesdays, Zumba on Thursdays, gym on Fridays, book club, sculpting and music lessons, even New Yorkers manage to find time for a lazy morning munch and a stroll in the park.
No wonder brunch is the quintessential New York meal – with endless variety and the option of a morning cocktail (typically a Bloody Mary), it’s the perfect start. Plus if you’re on holiday, you can take advantage of the quieter weekday brunchtimes. Check out our selection of the scrummiest brunches – worth the flights to New York
alone – and all within walking distance from Central Park.
Best for not having toast: Popovers
Named after the US version of the British Yorkshire pudding, Popovers on the Upper Westside is a favourite of local residents for a family weekend brunch. The airy popovers come warm with strawberry butter. They also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and look out for the ‘eggstras’ ‘eggspeciales’ and ‘eggcetera’ on the menu – you’ll never believe someone could be so inventive with eggs.
Where to find them: 551 Amsterdam Avenue, between West 86th and 87th.
Best for literary charm: Alice’s Tea Cup
There are three Alice’s Tea Cups – so you’ll be set whichever side of the park you’re on. You don’t have to have kids to enjoy the Mad Morning Tea which comes on a three-tiered stand with eggs, scones and granola with yoghurt. They also have a wide selection of teas and cute crockery. The east side restaurants are close to the Alice in Wonderland sculptures in Central Park, great for climbing on and in my opinion the most charming of the bunch.
Where to find them: West 73rd St (past Columbus Avenue). East of the park: 156 East 64th St and 220 East 81st.
Best for social networking: Mermaid Inn
Most of New York’s eateries are on Twitter and Facebook these days, but if you check the Mermaid Inn’s Twitter or Facebook profiles on ‘social media Monday’ you’ll find a code to get 20% off your bill. As the name might suggest ‘Mermaid Benedict’ comes with the option of having lobster on top your English muffin, if that’s your thing. Lots of other locals swear they also have the best French toast in the city.
Where to find them: Amsterdam Avenue and West 88th.
Best for cyber-dating: Café Lalo
This patisserie’s decorated French windows were inviting enough for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan to choose it for a lively encounter in You’ve Got Mail. They serve traditional international brunches from all over the world and a selection of morning champagne cocktails. Follow Meg Ryan’s lead and take a copy of Pride and Prejudice to browse over your brunch – you never know who you might get talking to.
Where to find them: 201 West 83rd (just past Amsterdam Avenue).
Best for jam: Sarabeth’s
Sarabeth’s restaurants can be found west, east and south of the park, but they still retain the homely feel that the proprietors Levine created when they opened in their first location are well known for, using organic ingredients to create signature dishes. They’re especially well known for jam and fruit preserves, supplying the top end hotels and food retailers all over the city. Enjoy their brunches to mark a special occasion.
Where to find them:
South of the park: 40 Central Park South.
West of the park: 423 Amsterdam Avenue (between West 80th and 81st)
East of the park: 1295 Madison Avenue (between East 92nd and 93rd)