IMAGE VIA FRIEDMAN’S RESTAURANT
Sunday brunch is an almost-holy ritual in the lives of New Yorkers. Over bottomless bloody marys, stuffed french toast, huevos rancheros, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, residents of the boroughs inhale late-AM fuel faster than they ingest the week’s latest gossip.
New Yorkers make a verb out of brunch harder than any other city, and some might say do it healthier too. Let this list stand as proof! Leave behind the donut and five-deep flapjack stack and, instead, get in on the eggs and artisan toast action at these healthy brunch spots in NYC.
When it comes to brunch, can you really go wrong at a place named for the king (or queen) of brunch items — the egg? (Obviously, a recurring theme on this list.) The answer will come as an obvious ‘no’ the second you bite into their Avo & Eggs, The Egg White Reformer Sandwich (served on whole grain toast), or Pepper Boy Egg Sandwich (served in a pepper). You get the point, and you seriously can’t go wrong with this egg-cellent (had to) NoLIta haven. And if you’re not in the mood for eggs, try out their almost-healthy Chia French Toast, which adds everybody’s favorite seed to the traditional toast. Brooklynites: be sure to check out the Williamsburg location, too!
All aboard the gluten-free buckwheat pancake and activated charcoal train, ’cause breakfast and lunch just got an upgrade. The Wild Son brings out the health-conscious Meatpacking District residents to their kitchen for healthy proteins, vegetables, greens, and grains. With friendly service, a bohemian vibe, and creative cocktails (kale margaritas, anyone?), The Wild Son is an all-day restaurant that allows for an anytime brunch.
This plant-filled eatery is a go-to first date spot for the city’s resident hipsters. While the cool-kid vibe can mean a longer wait, the concoctions made in their ‘vegetable slaughterhouse’ are totally worth it. Whether it’s avocado toast or a grain bowl topped with a sunny-side-up egg, The Butcher's Daughter brunch menu is always seasonal and totally ’grammable. And with three locations—NoLIta, West Village, and Williamsburg—there’s a spot your whole brunch crew can agree on. Not feelin’ solid food? No worries — this joint offers a killer juice bar (their best-seller is the Hangover Killer).
This West Village healthy brunch spot has outdoor seating and some great boozy deals for those who are more interested in wine in the morning than gossip. Start off with the Agave Guacamole appetizer (with red onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro) before enjoying their Energy Breakfast, Egg White Frittata, Herb Speckled Egg Scramble, or Quinoa Salad. Plus, for exactly $32.99 on the weekends, you can choose one entree plus two hours of unlimited wine, mimosas, or frozen margaritas (we think you’ll get your money’s worth).
In a sunlit space, Two Hands pairs simple, nutritious food with exceptional coffee. Hit up this Tribeca hot spot (and second outpost in NoLIta) for all your toast and bowl favorites. The avocado toast is beautiful, but for a slightly sweeter jam, there’s nothing like a ricotta hotcake with cashew ricotta, honeyed pecans, and fresh berries. Craving something a bit fruitier? Their mouth-watering acai bowl is gluten-free and will bring you back to life after a tough workout.
Alright, Brooklynites, it’s time to head on over to Bed-Stuy for a classic brunch that takes you out of the city craze. With a whole section of the menu dedicated to salads, like the Black Kale Salad with roasted peanut dressing and Beet Salad with Greek Yogurt Labneh, they keep it light. Plus, they’ve got a separate section for everyone’s favorite breakfast protein: eggs. Naturally, Peaches should be your go-to for an Egg White Scramble or Farmer’s Omelette. And come here with your pals who favor brunch with a little Southern flair because their kitchen slings delicious Smoked Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and Crab Cakes.
The epitome of Sunday brunch, Friedman’s Lunch is the ultimate weekend place to eat good food with good people. With a mostly gluten-free menu, this “mindful eating” joint, with six locations around the city, offers an Egg White Omelette, Avocado Mash, Housemade Granola, and whatever classic brunch meals your breakfast-loving healthy heart desires. Hit Friedman’s up with a big squad or settle in for a morning date. And don’t forget to check out their impressive booze menu if it’s one of those brunches.
This Australian-style cafe is a must for a booze-free brunch (though they have wine, beer, and cocktails, too). There’s a big cold-pressed juice menu and several trendy caffeinated drinks like matcha, beet, and golden lattes to sip on with your breakfast bowl. Plus, the servers are super friendly, so you never feel rushed out of any of their five NYC-area cafes (or countless coffee shops). That may be partly why weekend brunch lines get a little crazy. Fitt tip: order the avocado toast to share. It’s massive.
With an atmosphere that is cool in the way your hometown hangout spot is chill, this Upper West Side brunch spot lives up to its name. Everything is made from scratch, which means the Protein Special Omelette, Vegan Tofu Scramble, and Steel Cut Oatmeal with bananas and raisins will have you drooling into your bloody mary. But health nuts beware: they serve strawberry butter with literally everything, which means it’s going to take some self-discipline not smear it onto your side order of whole grain toast. For a breakfast with the right mix of savory and sweet, lick your lips and head on over.
Known for their $15 endless mimosas deal, Sunday brunch at this Midtown staple is a little boozy and a lot sophisticated. For example, Sex And The City fans will recognize the gorgeous French venue as the spot where Carrie Bradshaw got recruited to walk in the Dolce & Gabbana show (impress your friends with that fun fact). With a $34 buffet option complete with a Carving Station, Ceviche, Chilled Asparagus Salad, and Egg White Omelet, you won’t have to worry about saying no to dessert because you simply won’t have room.
Order up! We’ll have 10 orders of the Bowl of Beets and another 10 of the Vegetable Frittata (not an exaggeration because these dishes are the best). Known as the most welcoming restaurant on the Upper West Side, Community is all about nurturing the neighborhood feel, which makes it a family-favorite. Plus, there are a few less healthy options—like Pancakes and Brioche French Toast—that’ll ensure your gluten-tolerant relatives will be as pleased with their meal as you are with yours. Oh, and did we mention there’s outdoor seating on nice days?
The menu at this popular NYC Israeli establishment is stacked with so many mouth-watering egg dishes, it’s hard to go wrong. From Green Shakshuka to the Mediterranean breakfast, you’re spoiled for choice, and the tabbouleh that comes on the side will fill you right up if the eggs don’t first. And for the more adventurous, the non-alcoholic mint lemonade or cantaloupe mimosa are a pretty awesome way of waking up your taste buds. Post up at any of their three locations in SoHo, the West Village, or Chelsea.
Raising their own chickens and farming their own produce in the nearby Hudson Valley, this Chelsea spot takes local sourcing to the next level. Here, healthy is far from boring: watch your Egg White Omelette get prepared in the open kitchen, indulge in Whole Wheat Waffles with berry marmalade, or keep it all-vegan with the Vegan Avocado Tartine. Just blocks away from the High Line, getting some easy post-meal exercise is as easy as it is rewarding.
Along with creative homemade hummus options paired with soft boiled egg, eggplant, or parsley, you can fill up on fresh Middle Eastern mezze platters, salads showcasing shaved Brussels sprouts, chopped kale, and fennel, and a savory onion stuffed with rice, raisins, pine nuts, kale, and spinach. Oh, then it’s finished off with a drizzle of date honey. Hungry now? This Brooklyn market could bring out the veggie-lover in anybody, and with a menu decorated with only healthy items, you have no choice but to order green.
This West Village haunt is one of the few places in the city that clearly notes which dishes are Whole30-, paleo-, or keto-approved. Needless to say, it’s the place to go when you’re trying to accommodate everyone’s eating plan. And with a menu full of smoothies, breakfast bowls, salads, and “TV Dinner”-style healthy comfort foods, it’s definitely a spot to hit up more than once. Bonus: If you’re a Queer Eye fan, you’ll recognize the new owner!
**Updated by Maddie Flager, February 2019