The 10 Best Breakfasts in NYC

Categories: Our 10 Best

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Buvette via Facebook
Breakfast offerings from Buvette
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it too often becomes an afterthought, skipped altogether in lieu of a hurried borough-to-borough commute. New York may not be much of a breakfast town -- unless you count the hordes who queue for corner store coffee and a mediocre egg on a roll -- but the city has a lot more to offer than that much-hyped cocktail hour we call weekend brunch. And one could argue that pancakes taste just as good on Monday as they do after an hour-long wait on Saturday.

Here are the 10 best breakfasts in NYC, which range from shops where you can grab sandwiches to-go, bakery/coffee shop duos, and bistros where you can indulge longer mornings playing hooky.

City Bakery via Facebook
10. City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street
Open weekdays at 7:30 a.m.

This two-level cafe near Union Square is packed almost any time of the week, but crowds are thin early in the morning, which makes it easier to grab what you want. The place made its name on its enormous and unusual breakfast pastries -- the pretzel croissant, the cinnamon-y baker's muffin -- which share case space with standby muffins and other pastries. The staff behind the coffee bar will make up any single-origin invention you can come up with, and if you're willing to throw down the (admittedly steep) $7.50 for a mug of hot chocolate, you may join the ranks of those you can't stop raving about the stuff, even in the summer months.

Milk Bar via Facebook
9. Milk Bar, 620 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn
Open weekdays at 7:30 a.m.

Milk Bar occupies a nearly park-adjacent corner in Prospect Heights, and it catches morning sunlight from multiple directions. The small cafe serves a simple menu, which matches the minimalist wooden booths and peaceful decibel level. A number of offerings revolve around toast: Sweet fiends should opt for the syrupy strawberry compote; savory breakfast fans might go with the egg "toasties" with avocado and salsa or ham and Gruyere. Pair your a.m. meal to a cup of single origin coffee.

Ess-a-Bagel via Facebook
8. Ess-a-Bagel, 359 First Avenue and 831 Third Avenue
Open weekdays at 6:30 a.m.

"We don't toast," declares the team behind the spit-shield at this old school spot (the Midtown location is newer). The bagel-mongers wield loaded cream-cheese spreaders and apply the topping at alarming speeds -- they have to if they're going to contend with the line that forms during breakfast hours. During the morning rush, you'll watch a batch of doughy, shiny rounds come out of the oven and be tossed into baskets, only to be pointed at, sliced to order, topped with eggs and cheese or cream cheese and lox, and then wrapped and handed over to a hungry customer within minutes. Bagels aren't toasted here because it's unlikely they'll get cold enough to need it.

Location Info

City Bakery

3 W. 18th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Milk Bar

620 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music


359 First Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Pies 'N' Thighs

166 S. Fourth St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Restaurant


380 Lafayette St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Russ & Daughters Cafe

127 Orchard St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


211 Waverly Place, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Tom's Diner

782 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Restaurant


42 Grove St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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