The Best Brunch Spots on the Upper East Side
Your Lower Manhattan friends might drag you to their neck of the woods every weekend, but what they don’t know is that uptowners are well versed in the art of brunch. Any Saturday or Sunday morning you’ll find locals out and about with their puppies/toddlers/gym bags and an appetite for poached eggs, monkey bread and a cocktail or three. Here’s where to go when dining east of the park.
The East Pole
This neighborhood favorite serves farm-to-table seasonal cuisine that always seems to hit the spot. Settle into a cozy leather booth in the nautical-inspired space and kick off the meal with the Scotch eggs and a Bloody Maria—with jalapeño-infused tequila—or a fresh berry and almond smoothie. Then tuck into wholesome meals like avocado toast with a spicy house-made hot sauce, lemon ricotta waffles and fresh pappardelle with wild boar ragù. And an order of chunky home fries with black garlic for the table is a must. 133 East 65th St.; theeastpole.com
The Jones Wood Foundry
Take a trip across the pond at this U.K.-inspired spot, where bulldogs and Union Jacks adorn the walls. The brunch menu includes imports like fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding with Stilton dip and a full English breakfast. And in an untraditional but welcome twist, many items can be made vegan. The best part? You’ll often find expat Brits cheering on their “football” teams at the massive bar. 401 East 76th St.; joneswoodfoundry.com
The Mark Restaurant
Eggs and caviar, black truffle pizza and a grilled tuna burger? Count us in. This decadent menu comes from famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who handles the restaurant inside the chic Mark Hotel. It’s pretty much the epitome of a dreamy Upper East Side brunch, complete with Prosecco cocktails and iced matcha. Don your favorite designer handbag and get ready to be stuffed full of all the fancy stuff. It’ll cost you, but it’s worth every penny. 25 East 77th St.; themarkrestaurant.com
Set next to a neo-Gothic-style church, this casual café exudes major European vibes on Museum Mile. The comprehensive coffee and tea list includes everything from a classic cappuccino to an iced milo (malted chocolate with whole milk and vanilla ice cream) and even something for the kiddos: a caffeine-free “bambicino.” The menu skews healthy, with fun offerings like a toast bar (including gluten-free breads), coconut quinoa and oat porridge, and a veggie-filled rainbow bowl. 1085 Fifth Ave.; bluestonelane.com
Come for the monkey bread, stay for the drinks. The savory, fluffy bread can be enjoyed straight out of the skillet with a side of bacon butter or as part of a next-level BEC. The rest of the menu is just as enticing, with dishes like tater tot chilaquiles and short-rib hash, and drinks like the on-tap Nitro Negroni or the Hemingway (Prosecco, grapefruit and rum). The sunny atmosphere and boisterous vibe make this an ideal place to stop in with a group of friends. That way, you can get the monkey bread and the tater tots. 1496 Second Ave.; qualityeats.com
If you’re looking for downtown character above 59th Street, this is your spot. The Penrose, owned by the same folks as Wilfie & Nell and the Wren, offers an extensive drink menu with innovative cocktails like a spiked horchata and a pink-peppercorn and hibiscus Margarita, plus a few zero-proof mocktails. Pair your beverage with comforting entrées such as fried chicken and waffles, a mushroom and goat cheese omelet, and a massive burger. Don’t miss the ultimate starter: French toast sticks you dip into brown-butter maple syrup. 1590 Second Ave.; penrosebar.com
This famed morning haunt is the place to see and be seen munching on eggs Florentine or an egg-white frittata any day of the week. Weekend brunch takes things up a notch, with a selection of sparkling wine half bottles (including a splurgy $110 Krug Grande Cuvée), crab rolls, chicken paillard and chocolate-chip pancakes. If you’re really feeling the Sunday Funday mood, opt for the Power Breakfast Martini, made with gin, Cointreau, marmalade and sparkling clementine San Pellegrino. This spot is steps away from Madison Avenue shopping, so be aware that tipsy post brunch purchases can happen. 540 Park Ave.; loewshotels.com
*This article originally appeared in PureWow.com.