I could see the line for Tom’s Restaurant halfway down the block. Walking through Brooklyn in the Prospect Heights neighborhood that Sunday morning, my brother and I were in search of a hearty brunch, and he promised Tom’s was the local favorite in this area.
He wasn’t wrong.
Having spent so much time wandering the many neighborhoods that make up the city’s most populous borough, I’ve fallen in love with the food in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, ethnic diversity, its wild art scene, the impressive architectural heritage, and its personality. But if you’re looking for great places to have a weekend brunch, you’ll have a hard time deciding which excellent restaurant to choose from in Brooklyn.
When in doubt, ask the locals. To find the 11 best places for brunch in Brooklyn, New York, I turned to my brother and his friends for their top recommendations and favorite places to unwind for the weekend.
1. Tom’s Restaurant
Tom’s Restaurant has been a staple of this quirky little Brooklyn neighborhood since 1936, and my brother Walter takes all his guests to eat here at least once. Serving breakfast all day long, it’s one of those “locals-favorite” places that gains a loyal following to the point that people have put their lives on the line to protect their neighborhood diner.
“Lines form outside the restaurant on weekends during brunch because of their ridiculous amount of brunch items including 16 different types of pancakes,” Walter said. “During the riots in the ‘60s, customers formed a human chain around the restaurant to protect their beloved spot.”
If you’re a pancake nut, then you can choose from all kinds of flavors, including banana walnut, chocolate chip, pumpkin walnut, apple walnut, cranberry, lemon ricotta, mango walnut, cinnamon, and even more!
Pro Tip: Get in line early on the weekend to beat the crowds. When you are done, walk literally a block or two away to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which are next door to each other. You can purchase discounted passes to tour both on the same day.
2. Botte Di Vino
Walter’s new favorite brunch spot is a relative newcomer to the Park Slope neighborhood, but it’s one that Walter tells everyone about. Botte di Vino is an Italian restaurant that not only has the best spaghetti carbonara that Walt “has ever tasted,” it also has a killer brunch menu at a killer deal.
For less than $30, diners can enjoy unlimited mimosa, prosecco, and bellinis with their brunch, which includes such items as a Nutella crepe, a chicken parmesan sandwich, eggs Benedict, or six different omelets to choose from.
“What was nice about the chicken parm sandwich is that it was made from two very thin slices of chicken breaded so lightly,” Walter says. “You know how sometimes when you get a chicken parm sandwich and there’s just way too much tomato sauce? Botte di Vino puts tomato sauce on lightly so you get all the flavors of the French bread, the chicken, and the tomato sauce together.”
My brother’s friends Jesse Edward Rosbrow and his fiancé Stacy Kaufman — who are residents of Park Slope, Brooklyn, and formerly of Carroll Gardens — said one of their favorite places for a hearty and tasty brunch is the Israeli restaurant Miriam.
The restaurant that launched Chef Rafael Hasid’s gastro journey in New York, Miriam has been one of Park Slope’s local favorites since 2005. The brunch menu includes such offerings as the Jerusalem Breakfast, which includes a bagel, two eggs, avocado salad, fresh tomatoes, pickles, and tahini; or an Israeli Breakfast with two eggs, Labneh cheese, home fries, Israeli salad and pita, and classics like omelets and eggs Benedict.
“For brunch, they are the place to be. They have an incredible Shakshuka that’s just swimming in this gorgeous spicy tomato sauce,” said Stacy. “It comes with like this nice, soft, fresh pita and a little dish of really good homemade hummus. It’s just absolutely glorious.”
What started out as an art installation has morphed into Bricolage, a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant that has a French influence. Bringing out the best of both Vietnamese cuisine and French flavors, the brunch menu here has such mouthwatering dishes as pork belly hash, five-spice fried chicken and waffles, coconut milk French toast, and a variety of banh mi sandwiches.
“They make a phenomenal crepe that is also gluten-free that is full of julienned vegetables and comes with some kind of sauce that’s so good,” said Stacy.
5. Frankies 457 Spuntino
Rosbrow and his fiancé love Frankies 457 Spuntino so much, they asked the little restaurant and brunch spot to cater their wedding.
“They’re always packed for brunch because they do a really good brunch,” said Jesse. “You can get anything off of their regular menu, but they have a few brunch things added. They have an amazing B.L.T. It’s something that they’re known for.”
Other items that make this little hot spot popular are its crostinis, coming with toppings like chickpea and guanciale, crimini mushrooms, truffle oil, ricotta, and honey. Classic Italian dishes like spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter and sage or pappardelle with lamb ragu are also popular items.
6. Clover Club
Another local favorite for Rosbrow is The Clover Club, a high-end mixology restaurant that shines with curated cocktails and brunch specials. Some of Rosbrow’s favorites include the duck scrapple made with duck confit and cornmeal hash, the huevos rancheros, the fried chicken biscuit, and the sweet and spicy shrimp and grits.
“It’s a fancy cocktail place that actually has good food,” he said. “But they have a giant menu full of cocktails there. A corpse reviver is always a great brunch drink.”
Other brunch cocktails that get high marks include the Clover Mimosa, made with champagne, bitter strawberry, and freshly squeezed orange juice, or the Afternoon Buzz, a lovely cocktail made from hazelnut-infused bourbon, coffee liqueur, milk, and vanilla.
7. Buttermilk Channel
One of Walter’s favorite Carroll Gardens brunch spots is Buttermilk Channel, which offers the norm of eggs, pork chops, cheddar waffles, a fried chicken sandwich, and pecan pie French toast.
“My favorite is the short-rib hash,” Walter says. “They also have good mixed drinks. Jay-Z and Beyonce have dined here.”
8. French Louie
A favorite go-to spot for Walter and his wife, French Louie is a pretty little French-style bistro tucked along tree-lined streets in Brooklyn Heights. Along with classic brunch cocktails like an espresso martini and a corpse reviver no.2, the intimate eatery also has delicious brunch dishes like a croque madame, a trout po’boy, and creme brulee French toast.
“I love their Double Patty Burger Royal,” said Walter. “My only complaint is that they do not offer their anchovy fries during brunch. Yep… fried and breaded anchovies that you eat like French fries. It’s delicious!”
Greenpoint & Williamsburg
9. Five Leaves
The trendy Greenpoint gem Five Leaves is renowned for having “the best ricotta pancakes,” as well as traditional brunch eggs and burgers. Located near a park bordering Williamsburg and Greenpoint, this spot comes recommended by Pablo Luengas, another one of Walt’s friends.
Start out with the watermelon gazpacho before moving on to hearty dishes like the house-cured Norwegian salmon or the Moroccan scramble made with chickpeas, spicy sausage, avocado, and grilled sourdough.
Located in both Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Bakeri is a warm Scandinavian-owned bakery offering a variety of pastries and exceptional breakfast dishes like homemade granola, smoked whitefish on sourdough rye, and eggs provencal.
“Try their matcha latte. It’s amazing too,” said Pablo.
11. Cafe Mogador
Cafe Mogador’s original location in New York City’s East Village still exists, but the Williamsburg location is also popular with its Moroccan-inspired cuisine.
Popular dishes include Moroccan eggs; the Middle Eastern breakfast made with two eggs, hummus, tabouli, Arabic salad, and za’atar pita; and halloumi eggs made of two poached eggs, roasted tomato, halloumi cheese, green salad, and za’atar pita.