I’ve realized this past month that I’ve been opting for weekday breakfast plans and weekend brunch plans over dinner plans, and could not be happier about this shift. It’s a sneaky way to save money, push yourself to cook dinner at home more frequently, and see the full design work of a space in the sunshine of daytime. Here are a few of the spots that I hit up this month in NYC.
L’Estudio – This tiny cafe on the lower east side is a charmer for a coffee pit stop or a full brunch. Everything about this spot screams “artisanal,” from the inventive and quirky plays on breakfast classics to the homemade ceramics and decor accents. I loved the deconstructed avo toast bowl, complete with the loveliest toasted bread and pumpkin seed spread.
Okonomi – One of the more unique dining experiences that I’ve had since I lived here in NYC happened at Okonomi. This spot is Okonomi by day, serving a traditional Japanese breakfast, and Yuji Ramen by night, serving (you guessed it) ramen. The breakfast is a multi-course, almost tapas-style experience with miso soup, fish, rice, and a few small bites of assorted fresh vegetables and pickles. Get the side of the fermented tofu too, and prepare to be amazed by the quality and simplicity of the ingredients.
De Maria – My new favorite restaurant in NYC this month for any and all meals, period. Breezing past the crowded street corner when Butcher’s Daughter hoards await an overpriced avo toast, it felt so good to head to De Maria and for it to feel spot-on with the decorating (I want to move in), and also have delicious and healthy food options that still feel fun and fresh. Get the fire dragon bowl.
Pasquale Jones – I tend to think that the folks behind Charlie Bird can do no wrong, and after dining at their most recently opened establishment and sampling its pizza, I was able to confirm my suspicions. Both the white clam and the burrata pies were to die for, and the selection of side veggies were lovely as well.
Miss Paradis – This airy, open space in Nolita feels highly designed, and draws a fun and eclectic crowd. Miss Paradis is another one of those spots that bills itself as a healthier alternative to the burger-gobbling hungover brunch crowds. You won’t find a cheesy Western omelette on this menu, but you will find a lovely poached egg, roasted veggie, and polenta dish, as well as a classic avocado toast.
Chobani Cafe – A cafe devoted entirely to Greek yogurt? Sign me up. From breakfast creations (I like the Blueberry Power Creation) to the most amazing red lentil soup to Turkish simits (similar to a bagel), nothing I have ever ordered at the yogurt mecca has ever disappointed, whether sweet or savory.
Cafe Clover – I wanted to love Cafe Clover so badly, but for both dinner and brunch, I found that the food fell flat. The ambiance is incredible, the outdoor seating is bang-on, and the idea of this healthy-ish establishment is great in theory, but the food has always been just so-so. I would recommend skipping Cafe Clover in favor or De Maria or L’Estudio for a better brunch experience.