Brunch is one of our favorite meals only because it starts late, happens on a weekend, and may include a little morning aperitif. The Upper West Side has some of the best spots for gathering the posse on a Saturday or Sunday before an afternoon in Central Park, or the American Museum of Natural History. The following Upper West Side brunch spots are sure to please your palettes. Let’s eat!
520 Columbus Avenue
How lucky are we that Chef Carrie Levin choose the Upper West Side for her hugely successful “traditional American cuisine”, opened in 1981. Levin’s training began in France, then continued in England before apprenticing at the Four Seasons. Highlights include the biscuits with strawberry butter, and the items named for NYC neighborhoods, like the Little Italy, and the Gramercy Park. That should elicit some interesting table discussion. Their extensive list of “extras” should fill any gap on your plate.
45 West 81st Street
Bottomless sangria. OK, got your attention, didn’t we? Brunch is served with a Cuban/Latin twist so expect entrees to include traditional ingredients of the culture, like Pico de Galle, avocados, salsa, and chipotle. Expect the “most amazing” rolls with passion fruit butter when seated, and then have fun choosing from eight sangria selections. But, as their menu advises (under “house rules”), to drink slowly as they pack a punch. Gotta try it!
201 West 79th Street
Here we have another top-notch chef with a coveted “3-star” review from the New York Times. And “best chef 2003” award from New York Magazine! The graduate from Culinary Institute of America has certainly made his mark, and how lucky is the UWS to have him. This neighborhood French spot has tasty food and a stunning interior. Rave reviews for its food, service and a not-too-bad wait time. The spicy lamb sausage scramble with tomatoes, onions and cream caught our eyes. Listed on the menu is “cure 81 ham,” which we found out means that it’s extra, extra lean, and cut in a spiral. The things we learn! Nice Matin is located in the Lucerne, one of the nicest hotels on the Upper West Side.
313 Amsterdam Avenue
One of my favorite Italian restaurants in Manhattan. It’s a cute and cozy spot with lots of rustic charm. Their espresso is strong but smooth, they make amazing egg-sandwiches and paninis, and their prices are extremely fair for the location. The owners are also extremely friendly and accommodating. I’ve been to Piccolo Cafe for every meal of the day!
509 Amsterdam Ave
The expansive brunch menu at Jacob’s Pickles offers moist biscuit sandwiches, both breakfast and lunch style, bakery items like their famous chicken and pancakes, and tempting sides including their buffalo mac and cheese. To wash it all down they’ve got a nice long beer list with great brews from around the country. And their lists of spirits and cocktails is impressive to say the least.
541 Amsterdam Ave
The famous Jewish deli puts you in the mind of an endearing Mom and Pop establishment. It’s fairly small with neutral colored walls. It almost reminds you of the 70’s. It’s a Jewish deli that is known for its smoked fish. If you’re not able to have a sit down and eat at the establishment, the humble deli offers online ordering (although they do not accept credit cards…which oddly is in line with their aged asthetic). So, if you have some cash on you, Barney Greengrass is a place you should definitely check out.
476 Amsterdam Avenue
Fred’s looks a lot like a pub that happens to serve brunch, well, because it is. It’s an adorable place to eat. They offer a happy hour to their customers that include both alcohol and appetizers! They do offer online ordering and they do accept credit cards! Fred’s is also a great bar to bring your dog!
Ella Kitchen & Bar
249 Columbus Ave
This Mediterranean restaurant specializes in small and shareable plates. Their brunch menu includes some yummy egg dishes like their Ronda Eggs: poached over grilled filone, with olive oil, tomato sauce, red peppers and fresh basil. Also choose between several omelettes and eggs benedicts, guacamole tartare, and a $21 bottomless brunch which includes bloody mary’s, mimosas, cavas and bellinis.