Brunch is my favorite meal, so it should come as no surprise I’ve spent my life’s savings in search of the best brunch in the Upper East Side (UES).
Brunch is the best meal to meet with friends over, or to go on a first date (dinner? Overrated). Not to mention, brunch is the only valid excuse to have dessert AND booze for breakfast, void of judgement.
And in order to help my friends find the best restaurants to visit for brunch in the Upper East Side I’ve compiled this list. I hope you find it useful too, whether you’re a local like me or just visiting the neighborhood.
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.
Best Brunch in the Upper East Side
Hutch & Waldo
When it comes to Instagrammable brunch in the Upper East Side, 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!
Address: 247 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028
Sant Ambroeus serves the best brunch in the Upper East Side for those looking for a relaxed meal in a sophisticated setting. The food is as delicious as the place is charming, with white table cloths and velvet chairs.
If brunch was fashion, Sant Ambroeus would be business casual — laid back enough to not be pretentious and nice enough to meet the in-laws.
With four locations in the Upper East Side brunch has never been easier, just keep in mind if you’re meeting with friends the Madison Ave (near Central Park) location is the one you want.
The other locations are coffee bars and as such offer small bistro-style seating. Madison Ave on the other hand is a full-fledged restaurant with more than enough tables to host your friends.
If you’re a fan of hot chocolate you’re going to want to try Sant Ambroeus’ Cioccolate Calda. They describe it as “very rich and dense, somewhere on the continuum between a drink and a pudding” and having tried it, it’s even better than it sounds.
Address: 1000 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021
Bluestone Lane serves colorful and healthy brunch in the Upper East Side and has 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 right next to 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 brunch in the Upper East Side is worth the wait. I’m partial to the grain bowl, while my husband can’t resist the breakfast burger.
Address: 1085 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128
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 Upper East Side brunch destination, the ambience never disappoints. Locals fill the space with jovial chatter which makes the one of the best places to have brunch in the Upper East Side with friends.
The decorations are also inviting and add to the overall ambience of the cafe. For brunch you can’t afford to miss the crepe souffle, which is topped with a tasty passion fruit sauce.
Address: 1703 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128
Native New Yorker and TV host Michael Chernow founded Seamore’s in 2015 after noticing a need for fresh seafood in NYC. For a city surrounded by water most of the seafood was shipped in, and Seamores aimed to change that.
Most of the fish used at Seamore’s is caught on the East Coast 24-48 hours before it hits your plate. The sheer freshness is why I consider Seamore’s some of the best brunch in the Upper East Side.
From fish tacos to lobster benedict, you’d be surprised with the amount of seafood you can incorporate into brunch. If someone in your party isn’t fond of the ocean there’s no need to leave, there are traditional brunch dishes as well.
This is also one of the best joints for a boozy brunch in the Upper East Side. For $28 you can enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless mimosas, bellinis, bloody marys, aperol spritzes and margaritas, (just note you need to order an entree and the whole table needs to participate).
Something to note: Seamore’s only offers brunch on the weekends, we encourage reservations since this is a popular Upper East Side brunch destination.
Address: 1278 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021
Ask any local about their favorite brunch in the UES and the honest ones will mention Maman. Offering a whimsical and charming vibe, this is one of the best Upper East Side brunch spots to meet an old friend.
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).
Address: 1424 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028
B. Cafe is a Belgian restaurant serving delicious brunch in the Upper East Side. Located near Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the cafe is conveniently located for days out on the town.
The go-to at this delectable Upper East Side brunch restaurant has to be the Belgian waffle, made so airy and light it’s like eating a cloud. Another popular dish is the moules frites, which are mussels (delivered fresh daily) and B. Cafe’s signature hand peeled fries.
If you visit when the weather is nice consider being seated outside. B Cafe has a beautiful backyard with charming bistro sets and lights strung from the pergola, making it a perfect date spot.
Address: 240 E 75th St, New York, NY 10021
Looking for a boozy brunch in the Upper East Side? Maya has you covered with a 90 minute bottomless brunch offering a variety of bloody marys, mimosas and margaritas.
An added benefit of this UES brunch deal is that you can also choose to have bottomless food. That means you can enjoy a never ending supply of tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas.
The elevated Mexican restaurant is not like what you’ll find at a food truck either (not hating – I love food trucks).
Chef Richard Sandoval is an internationally renowned chef. He’s built his career on great Mexican dishes, but also on evolving it and pushing boundaries. Flavors are always new and that’s why I consider Maya one the best spots for brunch in the Upper East Side.
The whole table must participate in bottomless brunch at Maya, bottomless drinks and food is $59 per person, bottomless food only is $49. Weekends only.
Address: 1191 1st Ave, New York, NY 10065
EJ’s Luncheonette makes some of the best brunch in the Upper East Side thanks to their straightforward home-style breakfasts. Nothing on the menu is fancy, and quite frankly doesn’t need to be.
The loving customer base EJ’s has built is thanks to their comfort food. Expect brunch classics like waffles, french toast, omelets and breakfast burritos.
Perhaps the most famous dish at this UES brunch spot is the chocolate chip pancakes. EJ’s seemingly pours a bag of chocolate chips over hot pancakes which melt creating a gooey syrup I like to call heaven.
EJ’s Luncheonette is also one of the best spots for brunch in the Upper East Side thanks to it’s old school aesthetic. Made to resemble the luncheonettes of the 1930’s and 1940’s, eating here feels like time traveling!
Something to note: EJ’s Luncheonette is CASH-ONLY.
Address: 1271 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021
If 90 minutes isn’t long enough for your boozy brunch Sojourn is here to give you what you need. On the weekends Sojourn hosts a two hour bottomless brunch in the Upper East Side for only $30!
Pair a few of those drinks with any dish and it’ll taste even better. Even if you’re sober though – the food at Sojourn is worth the visit.
The Hangover Cure is a dish made with chorizo hash, swiss chard, poached eggs, hollandaise and spicy avocado sauce that’s great whether you drank the night before or not.
Something to note: if you’re after the best brunch in the Upper East Side make sure you’re visiting Sojourn and not Sojourn Social, which is their sister location that is more of a bar.
Address: 244 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075
Who would’ve thought that an old-school bar would also be one of the best brunch spots in the Upper East Side? That’s exactly what the Penrose is, and not only is the food delicious but the setting is perfect for a date.
The rustic-vibe in the bar is cozy and during the brunch hour the whole joint is bright and welcoming. Pair your meal with a breakfast cocktail from the bar and make the most of your visit.
As far as food goes, the Penrose has created the greatest thing since slice bread: pumpkin spice latte french toast sticks. Made with brioche and pumpkin spice latte syrup – the appetizer alone cements the Penrose as some of the best brunch in the Upper East Side.
Address: 1590 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Who’s Jac W.?
Who’s Jac W.? (yes, that’s the correct name) is a labor of love meant to provide the Upper East Side (generally a quiet neighborhood), with the type of lively hangout usually found in the Lower East Side.
I’d say they’re doing just fine, every time I visit lose track of time! From the groups of friends catching up to the couples on dates, Who’s Jac W.? has a homey vibe.
Who’s Jac W.? also serves some of the best brunch in the Upper East Side, complimented by their delectable drinks. The biscuits and gravy are made with chorizo which gives it the perfect amount of kick to start my day.
Not to mention the staff is some of the friendliest you’ll experience while having brunch in the Upper East Side, and it’s not uncommon for the owner to be working alongside his team.
Address: 1626 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
The East Pole
Located in an assuming brownstone, The East Pole is a low-key joint serving some of the best brunch in the UES. If it wasn’t for the tables outside you wouldn’t immediately know it’s a restaurant.
Focusing on the farm-to-table approach the menu is straightforward and seasonal. You’ll get a fresh meal every time and can stop by for multiple visits since the menu is constantly rotating.
Head chef Joseph Capozzi calls it “elegant home cooking” and hey, that’s good enough for me. I don’t always need my brunch to be a fancy dish celebrating a special occasion, sometimes I just want a delicious and simple meal.
The East Pole only serves brunch on the weekends, so be sure to pencil in your Upper East Side brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Address: 133 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065
Steakhouse brunch in the Upper East Side? Where do I sign up? Odds are I’m not going to be ordering a filet mignon at 10AM, but the meat that comes with my brunch still has that steakhouse quality.
Quality Eats takes a modern approach to steakhouses in that it’s bright, welcoming and lively as opposed to the dimly lit status quo we’re used to.
As far as brunch is concerned, the Upper East Side restaurant serves dishes like the short rib hash, eggs & steak du jour, and Asian steak salad to satisfy any carnivore tooth.
I’ll be the first to say the menu is on the smaller side, but I have yet to try a dish I didn’t like at Quality Eats. If you’re visiting with friends be sure to get the monkey bread. It’s a fluffy bread served in a cast iron pan meant to be pulled apart and shared.
Address: 1496 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075
Upper East Side Best Brunch (Post Overview)
In summary, here’s a quick overview of the best brunch in the Upper East Side.
- Sant Ambroeus
- Hutch & Waldo
- Bluestone Lane
- Cafe d’Alsace
- B. Cafe
- EJ’s Luncheonette
- The Penrose
- Who’s Jac W.?
- The East Pole
- Quality Eats
Map of the Best Brunch UES (Post Summary)
There you have it folks, our list of the best brunch in the Upper East Side. Hope you found it helpful.