There is no better way to start your morning than walking through Central Park, but the exercise can work up an appetite. Luckily, you won’t be short of options – there are so many restaurants serving brunch near Central Park the hard part will be choosing just one. From flapjacks to French onion soup, you’ll find it all around Central Park.
And since I live two blocks from the park I’ve been your guinea pig for the past decade. I start every morning with a walk through the park and often indulge myself with a meal. I’ve written this article about the best brunch near Central Park using that first-hand experience!
But let’s cut the small talk and get to the good stuff, what do you say?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (10 Best Neighborhoods +3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Layout of Central Park
Choosing a brunch spot near Central Park is easy, but understanding the park’s layout is key. The West side features landmarks like the American Museum of Natural History, Strawberry Fields, and Sheep Meadow, while the East side houses the MET Museum, Loeb House, and Wollman Rink.
Then there’s the less-visited North end and the iconic Fifth Avenue in the South end. Create a plan of what you want to see and choose a restaurant based on what makes the most sense.
If at all helpful, here are 15 Iconic Things to Do in Central Park!
The Best Brunch Near Central Park
Table of Contents: Central Park Brunch Spots
Table of Contents: Where to Eat Near Central Park
- The Best Brunch Near Central Park
- Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Upper West Side
- Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Upper East Side
- Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Central Park South
- Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Central Park North
- Quick Recap of the Best Restaurants Near Central Park
- Best Places to Eat Near Central Park (Helpful Map)
Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Upper West Side
The Upper West Side (UWS) is brimming with fantastic restaurants for a wonderful meal. Fortunately, Jacob’s Pickles is a short walk away if you’re looking for a brunch restaurant near Central Park. It’s less than a 10 minute walk if you pop out at West 85th Street.
From the mastermind that started Maison Pickle, comes a more casual eatery that specializes in brunch fare. Swing by for traditional southern food (like fried chicken and waffles) and craft cocktails. Also worth noting, portion sizes are huge here, perfect for sharing!
Serving a plethora of traditional brunch fare, The Smith is a hot-spot for locals and tourists alike. The best part is knowing it’s less than a block away from the park, making it a natural stop for those looking to have brunch near Central Park.
Located on Broadway across from the Lincoln Center, the extensive brunch menu attracts folks from all corners of the city. As such, reservations are a necessity at this UWS brunch spot. Expect to find all the classics like omelets, avocado toast (I know, I know), french toast, etc. In short, if you’re craving a traditional American brunch near Central Park, look no further.
Daily Provisions was opened by Danny Meyer, the mastermind behind Shake Shack (which has a cult-like following in NYC, mind). This is a great spot to grab brunch near Central Park if you’re looking for an unfussy, quick meal.
Lines are inevitable, but the staff works like a well-oiled machine to provide the best service. The cafe itself is adorable and the casual ambience is often a necessity when you have busy day or simply don’t want the whole charade of a sit-down restaurant.
This cafe is famous for crullers, no doubt, but the true star of the show is the great breakfast sandwich menu, which makes this one of the best spots for brunch near Central Park. Two clear standouts are the BEC (bacon, egg and cheese) and the smoked salmon everything croissant.
Good Enough To Eat
Since 1981, Good Enough to Eat has been a beloved brunch spot near Central Park. Chef Carrie Levin’s dedication to crafting delicious, traditional breakfast dishes shines through in every bite of her signature pancakes. Made with oatmeal, cornmeal, and whole wheat flour, these hearty flapjacks are packed with real ingredients.
Opt for the walnut and banana topping for a healthy twist. Don’t miss out on their famous strawberry butter. It’s a must-stop for anyone seeking a fantastic brunch experience near Central Park.
Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish
Considering a bagel as “brunch” might raise eyebrows, but hear me out. In bustling NYC, time is precious for many visitors. Central Park is a must-visit, but sit-down meals can be impractical. Opt for a convenient bagel stop, like Zucker’s Bagels, located near Strawberry Fields. Their easy online ordering system lets you plan ahead, ensuring a quick grab-and-go experience without the hassle of waiting in line. It’s the perfect solution for those on a tight itinerary looking for brunch spots near Central Park.
Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Upper East Side
Bluestone Lane offers some of the most vibrant and healthy brunch options near Central Park, as well as some of the friendliest service in town. As such, this popular UES brunch spot is always full of people making lively chatter and sipping coffee (the coffee is worth the trip alone).
Not to mention Bluestone Lane is directly across the street from Central Park, so when the weather is nice make sure to get a seat outside and enjoy the views. Having to wait in line is practically guaranteed during the weekends, but the delicious Aussie cafe is worth the wait if you’re looking to have brunch near Central Park. I’m partial to the grain bowl, while my husband can’t resist the breakfast burger.
Offering a whimsical and charming vibe, Maman is one of the best spots to grab brunch near Central Park with friends. Originally started as a French bakery and cafe in SoHo, Maman quickly became renowned for perfectly executed baked goods. But what really put them on the map was Oprah listing their nutty chocolate chip cookie as one of her favorite things.
Along with all the tantalizing treats, Maman offers a food menu with very satisfying portions. Standouts are the Papa’s Bowl and the omelette (which you are able to customize). It’s an adorable spot to meet for brunch near Central Park that will inevitably fill up your camera roll.
Hutch & Waldo
When it comes to Instagrammable brunch near Central Park, Hutch + Waldo might just take the cake. Founded in 2016, this cafe strives to recreate the easy-going coastal vibes of Australia, where the owners are from.
Serving great coffee in one of the cutest cafes in NYC, this joint fills up with locals during the busy brunch hour. Everything is sourced locally and only seasonal produce is used at this Upper East Side brunch spot, so rest assured you’re enjoying a hearty meal.
Further Reading: Coffee is just as important as food, here are 8+ Satisfying Cafes in the Upper East Side worth checking out.
Cafe d’Alsace hails from an area in France named Alsace. The region has been both part of Germany and France so the cuisine is a mixture of both cultures, and third generation chef Philippe Roussel really works some magic in the kitchen. As a popular brunch destination near Central Park, the ambience never disappoints.
Locals fill the space with jovial chatter which makes this an easy stopping point if you have a small group. As far as the food goes you can’t afford to miss the crepe souffle, which is topped with a tasty passion fruit sauce. That and the shakshuka make the 15 minute walk from the park well worth the trek.
Noglu is a gluten-free bakery in the Upper East Side that opened in 2015 by French pastry chef, Frédérique Jules. Focusing on organic and local ingredients, this is the perfect spot to get a mid-day pick me up if you’re searching for brunch near Central Park.
The bakery serves breakfast and lunch fare daily from 9am to 2pm with dishes like egg sandwiches, breakfast plates and so much more. The entire menu is gluten-free so folks with dietary restrictions have a place to enjoy brunch near Central Park without a worry in mind. The tarts and muffins are especially good but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Further Reading: If your sweet tooth gets the best of you, don’t worry! Here are 10 Delicious Upper East Side Bakeries to check out while in the neighborhood.
Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Central Park South
Since 1983, Sarabeth’s in the Upper East Side has been a local favorite, securing its place among the best brunch spots near Central Park. Known for hearty homestyle cooking, it’s become a staple in New York City.
The menu offers breakfast classics, with standout dishes like the smoked salmon benedict and fluffy lemon & ricotta pancakes. As one of the larger brunch venues near Central Park, Sarabeth’s welcomes groups and individuals alike, making it an easy place to swing by.
Carnegie Diner & Cafe, one of the top brunch spots near Central Park, offers a cozy, homey atmosphere with classic red booths. Catering to various appetites, their extensive menu excels in breakfast plates. Just a two-minute walk from West 59th Street, it’s a convenient stop at the park’s southern end after your stroll.
If you’re visiting NYC with kids one of the most memorable places to grab brunch near Central Park is at Serendipity 3. The delectable Frrrozen Hot Chocolate (not a typo) is a treat that will have your littles grinning ear to ear. A little tip I learned while having my niece visit, start your morning here. Then use a walk through Central Park as a way to burn off the sugar rush and let your kiddo run wild while you wobble behind them.
In full transparency the food at Serendipity 3 isn’t going to blow your mind, but the interior and experience makes for a really fun time. It feels like you’re dining in an antique candy shop and again, the frozen hot chocolate is all your kids will be talking about for the next few weeks!
Address: 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019
Good to know: Variety of options, convenient spot to rest legs and use the restroom
If you’re okay with a non-traditional brunch near Central Park, one of my favorite places to eat after walking through the park is in Columbus Circle. Full of shops, food carts and even an underground market, you won’t go hungry exploring the area.
There is a Whole Foods located inside the Shops at Columbus Circle with a hot-bar that makes for a delicious meal. Offering plenty of seating, it’s a great place to rest your feet (and use the restroom!). Regardless of where you choose to eat, you can find a satisfying place to have brunch near Central Park within a short 10 minute walk after exiting the park.
There are Serafina’s sprinkled all across Manhattan, dotting a map like a starry night. Cafe Serafina is an extension of the Serafina restaurants, but meant to be a more casual eatery. You’ll find the closest location on 7th Avenue, less than a block from Central Park.
Like cafes in Italy, Cafe Serafina serves hearty, casual meals and is one of the best restaurants near Central Park. The menu consists of all day breakfast, paninis, salads, pizzas and salads. The cafe is a great pit-stop to load up on some carbohydrates after a morning exploring the park.
Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Central Park North
Mila Cafe (UWS)
Address: 694 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025
Good to know: Friendly staff, laid-back vibe, affordable options
Dining at Mila Cafe feels like dining at a friend’s house. And what better place to grab brunch near Central Park than at your trusty pal’s place? The interior of the cafe isn’t flashy or modern (which seems to be difficult to find these days) instead it’s a place you know the effort is geared towards the food more so than its appearance.
Mila Cafe also seems to be one of the more affordable spots to grab brunch near Central Park. The only drawback is it’s a cash only establishment, but if you plan accordingly you’ll be able to enjoy a hearty meal. The bacon, egg and cheese sandwich along with the French toast are reasons alone I keep find myself “aimlessly” wandering up North to 94th Street.
Crepes on Columbus (UWS)
Raise your hand if you are guilty of choosing sweets over savory foods for breakfast. Luckily, at Crepes on Columbus, you don’t have to pick just one option, but boy, oh boy, does it feel good knowing you can order a warm Nutella-filled crepe at 9am judgment-free!
The small French restaurant offers a plethora of breakfast dishes like bagels, croissants and of course, crepes to enjoy. Being only two blocks away from the Central Park, it’s a great place to stop if you find yourself exploring the northwestern corner of the park.
Cafe Amrita (UWS)
Founded with the intention of being a neighborhood hangout, Cafe Amrita is a welcoming restaurant where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or even dinner and some drinks. It’s one of the best restaurants near Central Park, parked right outside the northwest corner near the Frederick Douglas statue. The chai tea latte is exceptional and the perfect companion for a stroll around the Harlem Meer.
La Fonda (UES)
In the heart of Spanish Harlem is a Puerto Rican restaurant making some of the best brunch near Central Park. Although only available on the weekends, La Fonda’s brunch warrants some recognition. It toes the line between traditional, American brunch classics with Puerto Rican flavors masterfully.
Take the hangover cure burger for example. It’s made with pernil, which is a roasted pig shoulder popular in Latin American cuisine and puts on the most American of dishes. You’ll of course enjoy other Puerto-Rican culinary staples like empanadas, octopus salad and mofongos. So if you’re in search of the best brunch near Central Park with a little bit of sazón (seasoning) La Fonda is the place for you.
Effy’s Kitchen (UES)
Address: 1567 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029
Good to know: Hearty meals, popular for weekend brunch
One of the biggest benefits to exploring the more northern regions of Central Park is that those spots tend to be overlooked by tourist. You’re more likely to find quiet pockets of peace up north along with a lot less crowds.
Which also means the restaurants in the areas aren’t as heavily trafficked and waits are almost nonexistent. As such, one of the best restaurants to grab brunch near Central Park is Effy’s Kitchen. Located on East 100th St. and Lexington Ave, Effy’s is a Mediterranean restaurant that has mastered the art of pancakes.
Of course there are many other plates to choose from (Effy’s Breakfast comes with practically everything) the pancakes are the clear winner for me. Loaded with fresh fruit and topped with powder sugar, the buttermilk pancakes make me weak in the knees! There are a few locations peppered around the city, in order to enjoy the closest brunch near Central Park make sure you’re GPS’ing Effy’s Kitchen and not the cafe.
Quick Recap of the Best Restaurants Near Central Park
- Effy’s Kitchen
- La Fonda
- Cafe Amrita
- Crepes on Columbus
- Mila Cafe
- Cafe Serefina
- Columbus Circle
- Serendipity 3
- Carnegie Diner
- Cafe d’Alsace
- Hutch & Waldo
- Bluestone Lane
- Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish
- Good Enough to Eat
- Daily Provisions
- The Smith
- Jacob’s Pickles
Further Reading for Cafes Near Central Park
Cafes on the Upper West Side: 10 Charming Upper West Side Cafes (Local’s Guide)
Brunch on the Upper East Side: 15 Flavorful Brunch Spots in the Upper East Side (You’ll Keep Coming Back To)
Best Bakeries on the Upper West Side: 12 Delicious Upper West Side Bakeries
Upper East Side Bakeries: 10 Delicious Upper East Side Bakeries (You Can’t Help But Love)
Iconic Spots in NYC Everyone Needs to Try
Best Pizza in NYC: 15 Best Pizza Joints in New York City
Iconic Restaurants in NYC: 10 Iconic New York City Restaurants Every Local Needs to Try
Mouthwatering Bagels in NYC: 15 BEST Bagels in New York City
Unbelievable Brunch Spots in NYC: 18 Prime Brunch Spots in New York City Worth the (Inevitable) Wait
Best Places to Eat Near Central Park (Helpful Map)
And there you have it folks, the best spots for brunch near Central Park according to New York Simply. As always, don’t hesitate to let us know if we missed anything.