The Best Brunch Spots in NYC and San Francisco

best brunch spots in nyc

Brunch. Its’s like a long awaited trip to a steamy tropical island in the middle of February: a necessary indulgence. It’s is the pick-me-up after a long night of reckless affairs, or the gossip session you’ve been dying to have after a week with the cranky boss and the pissy other-half. Ah, yes brunch is that guilty pleasure we seek on a Sunday afternoon when we can’t bear to look at the massive pile of laundry, or the refrigerator that hasn’t been excavated in, well, who knows when.

It’s the one thing we can look forward to before preparing for the wretched work week and the only thing that will persuade us to ride the subway or Muni on the weekend. And what would brunch be without the fair-trade coffee, organic huevos rancheros and artisan yeast donuts so many of us savor during those hours of mindless chatting and laughter?

We know that the food is just as important as the laid-back, chic, yet homey setting that a brunch spot should have, so we’ve put together a few of the best places in NYC and San Francisco that are serving up some of the freshest and delectably comforting dishes, perfect for catching up with friends on a lazy afternoon.

New York City:


135A North 5th St (at Bedford St) Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718) 302-5151

Here, it’s all abou the Eggs Rothko, an easy-cooked egg snuggled in a think slice of buttery brioche and smothered with silky Grafton cheddar. This southern-style dish is served with broiled tomatoes, just like mom would make, and a side of meat or seasonal vegetables. It’s Egg’s homey atmosphere, fresh local ingredients and complimentary buttermilk biscuits that make it shine among all other brunch spots in NYC.


54 E 1st St (between First and Second Aves) East Village (212) 677-6221

Hurdling through this tiny restaurant is completely worth the squeeze after one taste of their buttered-scrambled eggs with spicy stewed chickpeas, preserved lemons and warm flatbread. If this dish sounds too adventurous, try the Huevos Rancheros — you’ll never again want them anywhere else. Space is limited, so be prepared to wait during prime brunch hours.

Buttermilk Channel

524 Court St (at Huntington St) Boerum Hill to Red Hook, Brooklyn (718) 852-8490

Gourmet comfort food is the name of the game at this cozy spot in Carroll Gardens. Chef Ryan Angulo’s house-cured bacon, house-ground beef and house-made pickles and charcuterie, speak to the lovin’ that’s infused into the food that’s found here. And you can’t come to Buttermilk Channel without ordering the fluffy, cloud-like buttermilk pancakes — these babies hit the spot washed down with a warm cup of their shade grown, organic, fair trade Gimme! coffee.


 San Francisco:

Foreign Cinema

2534 Mission Street, between 21st & 22nd Streets,  San Francisco (415) 648-7600

Arguably one of the best brunch spots in the Bay Area, Foreign Cinema combines a funky setting (the walled patio projects classic films) with cuisine good enough for the discerning palette’s of Tinseltown. The menu is inventive and fresh, offering dishes like a Pilsner and apple omelet with fontina, black truffle, créme fraiche and crispy Yukon Gold potatoes. The Fruit “Pop Tart” filled with homemade strawberry or apple-pear preserves is a house speciality and a must-order. If you’re into oysters, the selection is quite good here.


1299 18th Street  San Francisco, (415) 821-7569

One of the newest hot spots to hit the brunch scene, Plow’s old country home ambience makes it a fabulous place to relax and wind down over a delicious meal. Owners, Joel Bleskacek and Maxine Siu, work with local farms and purveyors to source seasonal and organic ingredients that give each dish a certain “WOW” factor.  If you’re a newcomer to Plow, try the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and Chicken Tinga — you won’t be disappointed.


Universal Cafe

2814 19th St. (at Bryant Street), San Francisco, (415) 821-4608

House-made ginger lemonade; chocolate-filled doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and chocolate marble cream; french toast with apple-butterscotch compote and chantilly cream…need we say more? We don’t think it’s necessary, but you should know that most ingredients are sourced from environmentally sustainable farms and ranches, and the restaurant’s chef, Leslie Carr Avalos, selects the finest products from local markets with a trained eye — she spent years learning how to perfectly cultivate and harvest organic fruits and vegetables on her family farm in the rural Hudson Valley of New York.



What’s your favorite brunch spot?


 Photo by: flckr/madlyinlovewithlife


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The Culture-ist