Post Overview: Best places to grab brunch near Central Park
There is no better way to start your morning than with a walk 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 (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Layout of Central Park
Finding a spot to have brunch near Central Park won’t be an issue. There are so many fantastic restaurants just waiting for you to swing by. But to make the most of your time and to fully understand where you want to go you need to understand the layout.
Central Park is massive. The West side of the park is where you’ll find the American Museum of Natural History, Strawberry Fields and Sheep Meadow. Where the East side is home to the MET Museum, the Loeb House and the Wollman Rink.
Then there’s the North end that doesn’t get explored as much as it should and the South end that leads to the famous Fifth Avenue.
All this to say, before you can decide where you want to get brunch near Central Park, you need to figure out what your reasoning for visiting is. Create a plan of what you want to see and then choose a restaurant based on what makes the most sense.
If at all helpful, here are 15 Iconic Things to Do in Central Park!
Brunch Near Central Park
You can get the true essence of New Yorkers by just hanging out in Central Park.Andy Roddick
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. And as the name suggests, ordering pickles here is non-negotiable.
The atmosphere is lively and tables are all but guaranteed to fill up (especially on weekends). My best piece of advice? Plan ahead! If you know you want to grab brunch near Central Park on a certain day, do yourself the biggest favor and make reservations.
Further Reading: Here is a complete guide to 10+ Toothsome Upper West Side Brunch Spots (Worth the Wait).
Address: 509 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
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. The restaurant bustles with crowds regardless of the time of day! Try to snatch an outdoor table if you can, the people-watching opportunities are endless.
Expect to find all the classics like omelettes, 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.
Address: 1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
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.
And if you struggle finding a spot to sit, instead of having brunch near Central Park, take your order to-go and walk two blocks over and enjoy your meal in the park!
Address: 375 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Good Enough To Eat
Founded in 1981, Good Enough to Eat has become a staple of the neighborhood and a popular dining destination for folks looking to have brunch near Central Park.
Chef Carrie Levin made it her personal mission to create delicious, old-fashioned, cozy breakfast meals. Her commitment to using fresh ingredients and homestyle cooking has never wavered and each flavor-filled bite of the delicious pancakes is a testament to that.
Oatmeal, cornmeal, and whole wheat flour are used to make the pancakes. Real ingredients come together to form a hearty flapjack, and if you order them with walnuts and bananas, you’re basically eating healthy, right?
And let’s not forget to mention the delectable strawberry butter that put them on the map! There’s no excuse not to stop here if you’re looking for a fantastic brunch near Central Park.
Address: 520 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish
Before you attack me for considering a bagel, “brunch”, let me explain myself. Many visitors to New York City have a jam-packed itinerary. They’re cramming as much as they can into each day, and stopping by for a sit-down meal isn’t always an option.
Central Park is a great place to start your day and too iconic to be missed out on. That’s why grabbing a bagel (either before or after your stroll) is considered some of the best brunch near Central Park since the convenience is hard to argue.
A personal favorite of mine (and half of New York’s it feels like) is Zucker’s Bagels. The bagel shop is a block away from Strawberry Fields, a popular destination when exploring Central Park. Zucker’s also has an easy-to-use online mobile ordering system, so you can plan ahead and collect your bagels without the fuss of a line.
Further Reading: If you’re anything like me and like to have options, here are more satisfying bagel shops on the Upper West Side.
Address: 273 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023
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.
Further Reading: Need more options? Check out 15 Flavorful Brunch Spots in the Upper East Side (You’ll Keep Coming Back To).
Address: 1085 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128
Ask any local about their favorite cafes in New York City and the honest ones will mention Maman. Offering a whimsical and charming vibe, this 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.
I never miss an opportunity to order the quiche, chocolate croissant and their famous macadamia nut cookie. Plus, the coffee is always great (not to be underestimated at a bakery).
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.
Address: 1424 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028
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.
They have an impressive food menu full of delicious breakfast dishes like scrambled eggs, burritos, and smoothies. If you order the avocado toast (my go-to) they are generous with the avocado, and in this expensive city that’s a win!
Further Reading: Coffee is just as important as food, here are 8+ Satisfying Cafes in the Upper East Side worth checking out.
Address: 247 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028
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.
Address: 1703 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128
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.
Long gone are the days when gluten free treats felt like a punishment. Indeed, this delightful gluten-free bakery in New York City puts those distant memories to shame. 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.
Address: 1260 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10128
Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Central Park South
Sarabeth’s first opened up shop in 1983 in the Upper East Side, quickly garnering favor with the locals. You’ll be hard pressed to find a list of the best brunch spots near Central Park that doesn’t feature Sarabeth’s.
Over the last few years Sarabeth’s has cemented itself as one of the best brunch spots in all of New York City. The homestyle cooking is hearty and wholesome making it hard to leave even after you’ve finished your meal.
The menu is full of breakfast classics and the only trouble you’ll have is choosing what to order. The smoked salmon benedict tops any other brunch spot in the neighborhood, and the lemon & riccotta pancakes are fluffy and moist.
And as one of the larger brunch restaurants near Central Park, Sarabeth’s is always ready to host you and your friends. There’s no need to shy away whether you’re with a group or just a partner.
Address: 40 Central Park S Located in: 40 West 59th
One of the best restaurants for brunch near Central Park is Carnegie Diner & Cafe because it was a spot created for the people. The atmosphere is cozy and feels home-y and the red booths add to the old school diner charm.
The restaurant is the kind of place where there is food for all different kinds of hunger and needs. The menu is extensive and while all the dishes are tasty, I personally think Carnegie Diner & Cafe has perfected breakfast plates.
If you pop out of the park onto West 59th Street, the diner is a short two minute walk away. And since it’s conveniently located at the southern most end of the park, it’s a natural stopping point after you’ve concluded your walk through the park.
Address: 205 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
There’s no shortage of great treats to be had in New York City, especially when it’s chilly out and thankfully calories don’t count on vacation or so I’m told.
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: 225 E 60th St, New York, NY, 10022
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!).
Or you can keep walking south towards adorable cafes and restaurants. 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.
Address: 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019
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. Even if you swing by for just a pastry and a cup of coffee.
Address: 922 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Brunch Spots Near Central Park | Central Park North
Mila Cafe (UWS)
Dining at Mila Cafe feels like dining at a friends house. And what better place to grab brunch near Central Park then at your trusty pals 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.
Address: 694 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025
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.
The service is always exceptional and you will leave feeling satiated and content. There are plenty of tables both inside and outside so the wait is never long if you’re looking to have brunch near Central Park.
Address: 990 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025
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.
And on more than one occasion their buffalo wings and brews have been a tasty post-workout treat. Come to think of it, Cafe Amrita is the kind of joint where friends in a sitcom come to hangout, regardless of the day or time.
Address: 301 W 110th St, New York, NY 10026
Maxwell’s Central Park
If you find your stomach growling after a morning stroll around the north end of Central Park, Maxwell’s Central Park makes some of the best brunch in Harlem.
The menu consists of breakfast classics, but the home-run is their weekend bottomless brunch option. With the purchase of an entree, you’ll enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, bellinis or pilsners for only $25.
But if you’re looking for a family friendly brunch restaurant near Central Park don’t immediately write off Maxwell’s Central Park. They have a kids menu but don’t worry, they check ID.
The one and only caveat to Maxwell’s Central Park is the service, which can be unpredictable. I’ve yet to experience any rude employees, but at times the service can be slow.
Address: 1325 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
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.
Address: 169 E 106th St, New York, NY 10029
Effy’s Kitchen (UES)
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.
Address: 1567 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029
Quick recap of the best restaurants near Central Park
- Effy’s Kitchen
- La Fonda
- Maxwell’s Central Park
- 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
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.