Breakfast in New York

Breakfast in New York

Looking for breakfast in New York? Most local New Yorkers eat breakfast on the go, between the subway and the office. There are countless carts where lots of different types of food are sold. Going for coffee? Always order your coffee without milk! Otherwise, you’ll be served a cup with low-fat milk, which is very watery and renders your coffee tasteless. When ordering from one of these carts, beware that they can be quite impatient, they hate it when customers take too long to order. I think it’s much nicer to eat in a diner if you have the time. New York diners can be found all over the city and I recommend eating at one at least once during your trip, for the ultimate American experience.

Breakfast in Diners

Breakfast in diners is cheap: You can get two eggs, toast, potatoes, bacon, coffee, and juice for around $10. Tipping is important when eating in a diner, I recommend that you give about twice the amount of the tax (found on the receipt). A normal tip is about 15% to 20% of the total bill, before tax. Check your receipt to make sure that the tip has been included.

Eric’s Tip: “This is how a real New Yorker orders breakfast: “Two eggs sunny side up, white toast, bacon, coffee and a small OJ”. Sunnyside up is a fried egg. At diners, you always just pay for one cup of coffee. Then you get unlimited refills, however, with tea you just get more hot water, so make sure you keep your teabag.”

Breakfast in New York - Healthy Breakfast Breakfast in New York - Pancake Breakfast

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

If you’re looking for something unique, go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway and 51st Street (near Times Square). The special feature of this restaurant is that all of the waiting staff sing. Which also makes for a free Broadway show! Most of the waiters and waitresses leave after just a few months in order to perform in real musicals in New York, so this diner is just a stepping stone for them.

The best time to arrive at Ellen’s is around 08:00 in the morning. After that, it will be very busy. They usually start singing around 08:00. Breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner is more expensive than your regular diner.

Breakfast in New York - Ellens Stardust Breakfast in New York - Ellens Stardust Inside

Westway Diner

Westway Diner was established in 1988 and is open daily from 8:00 to 21:00. It’s a typical diner: the food is simple and served very quickly. You really have to know what you want before you order as the waiting staff are always in a rush. Don’t order a la carte at this place, go for a ‘menu’ that includes coffee and orange juice instead, it’s much cheaper. You can only order these menus between Monday and Friday though.

Breakfast in New York - Westway Diner Breakfast in New York - Westway Diner sunny side up

Hector’s Cafe & Diner

Hector’s Cafe & Diner (1949) is one of the last real ‘old school’ diners in New York. It’s an oasis in the hip and touristic Meatpacking District. Hector’s is raw, ugly and cheap. Something that’s hard to find in Meatpacking these days. Martin Scorsese used Hector’s as a set for Taxi Driver and they’ve also filmed at Hector’s for the TV series Law & Order. Go visit Hector’s to feel like the meat processors, drug addicts and dealers that claimed this area for ages. Choose Hector’s instead of the nearby Bubby’s, because Hector’s hasn’t been created for tourists. Or actually, don’t go to Hector’s! Let Hector’s remain the raw diamond of the city.

Breakfast in New York - Hector's in Meatpacking Breakfast in New York - Hector's Interior

La Bonbonniere

This West Village diner is, contrary to what the name might suggest, truly New York. In accordance with American custom, you can have breakfast here cheaply and quickly. There are a few tables outside, so you can take a seat there when the weather is nice. But there is also plenty of room inside to enjoy the tasty pancakes, burgers and sandwiches that are on the menu.

Breakfast in New York - La Bonbonniere Breakfast in New York - La Bonbonniere Breakfast


For an American breakfast or brunch, head over to Bubby’s in TriBeCa. The photogenic restaurant has been here since 1990 and is well-known in the city. Using fresh products, Bubby’s wants to make you feel at home. For example, you can order one of their pancake specials, and if you are in the mood for it, the Mimosa Flight, which includes small glasses of all their mimosa flavours.

Breakfast in New York - Bubby's Breakfast in New York - Bubby's Inside

Tom’s Restaurant

Tom’s Restaurant is a family-owned diner that has been open since the 1940s and is located in Morningside Heights. A lot of locals come to dine here, and here and there you’ll spot a Seinfeld fan as it was the diner that was featured in the show. That’s also pretty much the only reason I like to go to this diner. Order one of the classic menu items, especially the sausages are good here.

Breakfast in New York - Tom's Restaurant

Breakfast at Food Carts

In the morning, many food carts can be seen on the streets. They are everywhere, especially at busy intersections, subway stations and near offices. Many of the food carts have been in the same place for years, so New Yorkers have their go-to carts for breakfast or coffee. Getting breakfast here ‘on the go’ in the morning is very New York, and it’s cheap too.

There are two types of carts: those with and those without a griddle. Coffee and tea are available in the carts without a griddle, but there is also a wide range of bagels, croissants, muffins, cakes, and fruit. In addition to the aforementioned things, if a cart has a griddle, you can also order hot sandwiches. Like an “Egg on A Roll”, with the option of adding cheese and bacon. This normally costs $2 to $3, with a coffee costing between $1.50 and $2.

Breakfast in New York - Food Cart Breakfast in New York - Street Food

La Parisienne

La Parisienne is a cosy restaurant in the French style. It’s located in the Financial District and therefore a great spot to have breakfast when you stay in Lower Manhattan. They open daily at 8:00, so you can start your day with for example avocado toast, a croissant or yoghurt. You can also come here for a lovely Parisian lunch or happy hour.

Buvette in Greenwich Village

Are you looking for a nice place in Greenwich Village? Then go to Buvette. A small, bustling, Parisian-style bistro. The staff works hard and has a passion for good food and French wine. I often order an espresso with a croissant and sit at the bar. In the tiny kitchen, they prepare typical French dishes. This bistro is a fine spot for a tasty breakfast or brunch. Choose waffles, toast with various toppings, a ham and cheese sandwich or a salad with freshly squeezed juice on the side. If you prefer to sit outside, there is also a little garden. Buvette is open from early in the morning until late at night.

Eric’s Tip: “This is a nice bistro for breakfast or brunch. But note: it’s small and often busy too. Since you can’t make reservations, you might have to wait before you’ll get a spot. If you’re there anyway, do visit the toilet to test the deliciously scented hand soap!”

Breakfast in New York - Buvette Breakfast in New York - Food at Buvette

Gemma at the Bowery Hotel

In East Village, Lower Manhattan you can find the Bowery Hotel with its Italian restaurant: Gemma. Even though celebrity sightings are commonplace at Gemma, you can still eat breakfast here for a relatively low price. Start off your day with the ‘two eggs any style’ and for a few extra bucks, you can even add bacon. If you have more of a sweet tooth, go for the pancakes or French toast.

Breakfast in New York - Gemma Breakfast in New York - Breakfast at Gemma

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