Leisurely, delicious brunch is a quintessential New York City experience. In a city known for pricey food fare, there are wonderful mid-morning menus that won’t break the bank. If you’re looking to indulge, here are some of NYC’s best budget-friendly brunch offerings.
Agozar, East Village – Forget the costly brunch booze add-ons. At Agozar, you’ll spend $28 for an entree plus a mimosa, bloody mary and sangria open bar at your disposal. And this isn’t just any sangria – this East Village eatery uses a signature made-from-scratch recipe. Expect an energetic space with upbeat Latin tunes, brightly-colored artwork and a culturally diverse menu with everything from a Mexican omelet with spicy salsa, jalapenos and guacamole to Cuban beef hash with yuca and avocado to Spanish breakfast tapas.
The Writing Room, Upper East Side – Those seeking a storied New York experience that won’t break the bank, The Writing Room offers a $17.03 Brunch Special: “1703” paying homage to the legendary celebrity haunt Elaine’s that resided at this address – 1703 Second Avenue. The deal includes a kitchen-crafted brunch entree — such as buttermilk waffles topped with gooey maple syrup, cured salmon with herb-whipped cream cheese, and eggs benedict served with a buttery homemade biscuit — with a libation. If you’ve got a little extra cash, add on their $25 Champagne bottle service to sip a sparkling Cremant de Loire which you can mix with orange juice and peach puree for a refreshing brunch cocktail. The venue’s ambiance is worth the trip with its zinc bar, plush leather banquets, brick walls and fireplace surrounded by shelves of paperback and hardcover books
Blind Pig, Gramercy – Whether you’re looking to go all out with your booze brunch or just lightly imbibe, Blind Pig has a deal for you. On weekends you can order off a $12 brunch menu, with items like flavorful breakfast sliders topped with maple syrup and sausage, 3-egg omelets with your choice of fillings, and peanut butter and jelly French toast. The best part – all entrees include a complimentary mimosa or bloody mary. For those seeking a brunch buzz, $25 gets you unlimited drinks as well as an entree. It’s a tasty, social and relaxed experience, perfect for catching up with friends. Note: If there is a big game or event, they sometimes don’t offer brunch specials, so call ahead to check.
Harry’s Italian Pizza Bar, Financial District/ Battery Park City/Rockefeller Center – Harry’s serves up an $18.95 brunch special, which includes unlimited mimosas and bloody marys. New Yorkers love their bread, and you can enjoy lots of it with dishes like a white pie pizette topped with zucchini and soppressata; warm pressed pancetta, egg and cheese paninis; and for something decadent, chocolate Nutella-infused French toast. For those on a diet, they have salads as well. This venue is it’s not just cheap…it’s really good. Bonus: Drinks are served in pitchers, so need need to wait for refills.
Aged Steakhouse, Forrest Hills – Steak houses are known for fine wines and expensive entrees. At Aged Steakhouse the opposite is true — especially during brunch. Mid-day weekends $15.95 gets you unlimited Champagne paired with dishes like a steak and eggs; croissant French toast; a 100% Angus beef burger with egg, onions and steak fries; and our personal favorite, the “Ultimate Sourdough Club” featuring roast chicken, bacon, smoked turkey, beefsteak tomatoes, romaine, aged white cheddar and spicy aioli. Lots of wood accents and oak chairs create a rustic setting.
Garage Restaurant & Cafe, West Village – For a budget-friendly jazz brunch experience, Garage is it. $16.95 gets you an entree, a brunch drink and live music. And for only $6 more, that brunch drink becomes an open bar. The menu takes classic breakfast dishes and gives them an innovative twist, with some recommended entrees being the vanilla bean soaked French toast with homemade cinnamon apple compote, a crab and lobster cake Benedict drenched in tumeric hollandaise sauce, and the chicken quesadilla gowned in a homemade red pepper pesto. The outdoor terrace is perfect for an ambient meal on a sunny day.
Hummus Kitchen, Hell’s Kitchen / Upper East Side / Upper West Side / Murray Hill – Focused on healthy Mediterranean cuisine — specifically a variety of organic chickpea hummuses — served in a homey atmosphere, this will be a brunch venue you return to often. While $16 gets you a brunch entree, a variety of small plates, and Turkish coffee or tea, an additional $7 allows you to imbibe with unlimited mimosas and sangrias. Outdoor seating is an option, and the menu has plenty of offerings for vegans. The experience begins with nibbles of basmati-stuffed grape leafs drizzled with a fruit-inspired mint tahini, fried cauliflower topped with lemon juice and tahini, and grilled eggplant under tahini, scallion and silan, among other apps. From there, choose from entrees like hummus infused with Mediterranean vegetables and topped with an egg, Israeli steak and eggs, and smoked salmon with Mediterranean chopped salad.
Don’t Drink? Try Awadh, Upper West Side – For those who like to start their day with something spicy, this new eatery, named after the ancient Hindu region, offers sophisticated Indian cuisine and a budget-friendly multi-course brunch. The restaurant focuses on dum pukht Awadhi cooking, which involves slow cooking sealed food over a low flame. Owner and Chef Gaurav Anand fell in love with the local cuisine when visiting Lucknow, located in the heart of the Awadh Region, and went there to learn from local chefs. For $16, diners can enjoy an “unlimited” 3-course brunch menu, their unique take on the typical open bar booze brunches popular in NYC. You’ll get two appetizers, two entrees, a dal of the day with yogurt, rice and naan bread, and dessert. For an appetizer you may savor cheese paneer or saffron chicken kebab, and typical entrees include sauteed okra and curry okfta dumplings, goat masala and chicken (like spongy milk balls) soaked in rose syrup. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 12pm – 3pm.
This is a guest post by Jessica Festa, a native New Yorker, NYC tour guide and writer. Jessica is Author and Editor of websites Jessie On a Journey and Epicure & Culture, and a contributor to many publications including Huffington Post, Sherman’s Travel, Gadling, and AOL Travel.
What’s you favorite Brunch in NYC? Have we missed your go-to brunch spot? Tell us in the comments below.