So you’ve scored that great hotel in the Big Apple, but your rate is room-only. Perhaps you can’t face another breakfast buffet or would rather try out what New York has to offer. With thousands of places to eat you’re spoiled for choice, but we’re here to help. Here are 6 of the best places to chow down at brekkie time – each offering a different angle and a unique experience so take your pick. In New York for a week? Rejoice – you can try ’em all!
When it’s time to try a real American breakfast – The Cupping Room Cafe
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Lauren Manning
A cosy and friendly place, the Cupping Room Cafe in SoHo is a great place to indulge in pancakes, bacon, fruit (to ease your conscience) and syrup – that classic American breakfast you see them eating in the movies. Portions are huge (well, this is the USA) and prices are very reasonable. Chance are you won’t need lunch even if you eat early here, but brunch is also on the menu for late risers. Somewhat funky and eclectic decoration adds to the appeal but this is an unpretentious and comfy place to pass a few hours.
359 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013 Subway to Canal Street, Spring Street or Prince Street
When you want to impress (and be impressed) – Balthazar
Image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide
You could almost feel like you’ve left New York for Paris, so authentic is this upscale establishment. It’s popular too – so to be safe reserve your table. If you’re eating alone it’s worth just turning up; staff are very helpful in finding solo diners a space. Balthazar has an extensive breakfast and brunch menu but I can vouch for the simplicity of going straight for the Eggs Benedict – perfection on a plate and a nice little hangover cure if accompanied by a Bloody Mary. Prices are less than you’d think and service is top-notch; attentive waiters dart from table to table refilling ice water to stop guests dehydrating. You may want to have some change in your pocket if visiing the bathroom – they have attendants down there. Not one of the best aspects of New York restaurants, but such is life. They won’t hassle you for a tip either but you may find it awkward if unprepared.
80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 Subway to Spring Street or Prince Street
When you’ve got a sweet tooth – Amy’s Bread
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Jazz Guy
Part of the New York breakfast scene since 1992 and now boasting two additional branches after the success of the bakery in Hell’s Kitchen, Amy’s Bread is THE place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth. As well as untold delights such as brioches, pastries, cakes and cookies you can taste some of the best bread in town including Amy’s legendary sourdough. This branch seats just twelve and there’s no reservations (or table service, as it happens) but it’s also a great place to stock up for a picnic.
Three locations: Hell’s Kitchen – 672 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10036 Subway to 49 or 50 Street See website for other locations
When it’s New York’s best bagel you’re after – Ess-a-bagel
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Zagat Buzz
Consistently voted the best in New York, the hand-rolled bagels on offer at this place may come as a revelation compared to the dry, mass-produced version sold in bakeries elsewhere. With a range of toppings wide enough to ensure that you’ll find something to tempt you and iced coffees to form the perfect accompaniment, Ess-a-bagel provides you with perhaps the most genuine NY breakfast experience – you’ll certainly see more locals rushing around chomping on a bagel than sitting at a table enjoying a leisurely breakfast. Queues can be long during the morning rush hour but they offer an express checkout if you’re content with plain bagels and cream cheese. In any case the service is quick and it’s worth the wait.
Two locations: 359 First Avenue, New York, NY 10010 Subway to 1 Avenue See website for other location
When you’re after the Cuban experience – Cafe Habana
Image (c) Cafe Habana
Another veritable New York institution, it’s hard to believe that Cafe Habana has only in fact been open since 1997. For a different breakfast than what you might be used to, start with a cafe con leche before piling into eggs with chorizo or one of the other spicy dishes on the menu. Perhaps a side order of plantain to complete the tropical flavour? The seating area is small and tables are close together making it a sociable place to start the day. If you stay longer (or your constitution is up to it in the morning) then make sure you order the signature dish – Mexican style corn on the cob with cheese, lime and chili powder…
Two locations: 17 Prince Street, New York, NY 10036 Subway to Broadway – Lafayette St, Spring Street, Bowery or 2 Avenue See website for other location
When it absolutely, positively has to be Ukrainian – Veselka
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) wEnDy
Sometime the urge to go Ukrainian for breakfast gets the better of the best of us. Or perhaps the urge to do something a little different? Veselka is for you. Since serving its first guests in 1954, Veselka never looked back. Eggs and pancakes are the main items on the breakfast menu, both given a Ukrainian spin and the place itself is a delight, echoing to the sounds of Russian conversation. Prices are fair and you may feel like lingering until you feel ready to take on the Borscht – which has a reputation that stretches far beyond the city limits.
Two locations: 144 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 Subway to Astor Place See website for other location