If brunch was a religion, New York City would be its Mecca. That being said, no two brunches in Manhattan, or your circumstances for celebrating, are ever exactly alike.

If you're overwhelmed amidst the seemingly endless options of where to dine for everyone's favorite Sunday morning meal, I know the feeling. Born and raised in NYC, I've been to many brunches in my day, but I can assure you these are the best of the best. No matter what you're craving, keep in mind—any occasion is a valid excuse for brunch.

When You’re Trying To Be Healthy: By Chloe

Grace Jaeger

Cupcake War-winning, vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli has almost single-handedly put an end to the misconception that healthy food is inaccessible, one-dimensional, tasteless and boring.

By providing a 'fast food' style restaurant that is completely plant-based (but offers more variety than almost any other animal product-filled menu in the nation does), By Chloe has revolutionized what it means to eat well without sacrificing flavor and continues to change the minds of skeptics each and every day.

Still not convinced that a meatball parm can taste better without the meat, or that some of the best baked goods I've ever had didn't have any butter or milk in them? Check out By Chloe for yourself the next time you want to clean up your brunch game—you won't be disappointed.

For Your Birthday Brunch: Sadelle's 

vegetable, salad, tomato
Grace Jaeger

Your birthday should be the best day of the year, and because my favorite spot on this list is definitely Sadelle's, I beg you to make a reservation here (a few weeks in advance to be safe) the next time you are celebrating making it through another 12 months.

Everything about Sadelle's will make you smile; from the light, cheery space, to the waiters chanting, "Hot Bagels!" when a new batch is prepared, to the towers of fresh bagels, lox and spreads peaking out amongst the crowds on every table.

Not only do they have great bagels, but their babka, blintzes, sticky buns, and french toast simply can't be beat. Forget just brunching here for your own birthday—go for your mom's birthday, your dad's birthday, your second-cousin-once-removed's birthday. Any excuse you have, just GO.

For A Classy, 'Lunchy' Brunch: Sant Ambroeus 

salmon, salad
Grace Jaeger

Where else can you sip cappuccinos out of wine glasses? Sant Ambroeus, the Espresso Bar-Gelato Bar-Paninotecca-Pasticceria with three NYC locations is the perfect choice for the next time you want to enjoy some entertaining people-watching and feel fancy while you brunch.

My personal favorite is the Madison Avenue location—get there in time for the breakfast menu and choose between egg salad on triangular tea sandwiches, San Danielle Prosciutto and mozzarella on flaky focaccia, Pancakes alla Fruta Fresca, or their famous 'cornetti' (Italian croissants).  

When You’re On A Tight Budget: Good Enough To Eat

While no brunch in NYC is by any means ‘cheap,’  when you’re searching for the biggest bang for your buck, look no further than Good Enough to Eat. Situated on the cozy Upper West Side, Good Enough to Eat is known far and wide for its Sunday brunch lines, but don’t get scared away because the lines actually move pretty quickly. You won’t see pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs all for $13 at many places in NYC

For A Special Occasion: Norma's at Le Parker Meridien

In a city filled with extravagance, the most over the top (not to mention delicious) brunch can surely be found at Norma's at Le Parker Meridien. You might be familiar with Norma's from its appearances on Gossip Girl, or from its lobster frittata topped with 10oz of Sevruga Caviar that's priced at $1000, but either way, Norma's is clearly a meal that you can only attend if you are prepared to splurge like Nate Archibald.

That being said, for a special occasion, or for when you want to impress, I can assure you that Norma's will be a Brunch experience you will never forget.

When You Want To Kick It Old School: Veselka

A photo posted by @yourleans on

Started by Ukrainian refugees following WW2, cozy, authentic Veselka has been serving up authentic brunch specialties, 24 hours a day, since 1954.

Menu options range from Pierogi (filling options include Pptato, cheese, meat, spinach & cream cheese, sauerkraut & mushroom, arugula & goat cheese, and short rib) to Ukrainian meatballs, to Borscht to Challah french toast. All are equally enjoyable at 12 am as they are at 12 pm.

62 years later, one thing is just as clear—New Yorkers' love for Veselka transcends generations and will continue to for years to come.

When You Want to Feel Trendy: Two Hands and Bluestone Lane 

egg, bacon, avocado
Grace Jaeger

If you have an Instagram, it's not unreasonable for me to guess that you have probably seen a photo or two from Two Hands on your feed within the past year. Two Hands started out as a small, Australian run coffee shop in Little Italy, and quickly made a name for itself in the Big Apple as the unspoken, OG king, of the avo-toast Insta.

Following their restaurant's rise to fame, the owners of Two Hands opened up a second restaurant. This establishment, Two Hands Restaurant & Bar, sets itself apart from the former by being full service and open all day—however, my heart still belongs to Two Hands #1, as it will forever be known to me as the original spot for a 'trendy brunch downtown.'

salad, spinach, cheese
Grace Jaeger

Bluestone Lane, like Two Hands, is an Aussie avocado toast tycoon that started small and quickly spread throughout the city. Now, with eight coffee shops and three cafes all around New York state, it is safe to say they must be doing something right.

My favorite way to enjoy Bluestone's eats (specifically their 'Brekkie Board'—which allows you to sample the famous 'Avocado Smash' and the 'Collective Granola' at once) is at their Upper East Side venue. It had its breathtaking interior design featured in Architectural Digest and is not only located across from the Central Park Reservoir, but also happens to be sandwiched between both the Guggenheim Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

When You Want a Good Food Instagram: Buvette

A photo posted by y_abe (@y_abe) on

Serving up Nutella crepes, fresh prosciutto or smoked salmon with fluffy eggs (steamed to a cloud-like consistency using an espresso machine and plated on fresh baked and oiled bread), and the Belgian Waffle Sandwich (with sunny-side egg, Gruyère, bacon and maple syrup), Buvette is practically begging you to come take your next Instagram.

The catch? Buvette is not the quaint, hole -in-the-wall, Parisian-style cafe it seems to be at first glance—a line can be found coming through their doors during brunch hours on any day of the week. Nevertheless, this place is so good that the owner of the West Village hot-spot opened up a second Buvette in Paris—and if the French approve, it must be worth the wait.

When You’re Craving A Bagel: Black Seed Bagels 

egg, bread, garlic
Lindsay Paulen

While technically these bagels aren’t bred to be like the classic bagels that NYC is famous for, Black Seed simply can’t be beat. According to the owner in an interview with NY Mag, Black Seed’s aim is “to capture the best of Montreal and New York bagels—a little sweet, a little salty; dense and chewy, but equally light and airy; heavily seeded but firm and just a little waxy.”

They offer customizable bagels with a plethora of spreads and toppings as well as their recommended signature combo sandwiches, such as ricotta, apple & honey; two eggs, cheese & Mile End bacon and tobiko Spread, salmon & butter lettuce.

When You Don’t Want To Wait On Line: Coco & Cru

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If you’re a fan of Two Hands, but not as much a fan of their lines, Coco & Cru, an Australian cafe in NoHo, is a great new option. As aesthetically pleasing as Two Hands and featuring their own avocado toast that’s certainly up to par, Coco & Cru is sure to be attracting a similar crowd to our old favorite very soon.

Currently, because it’s only three months old, Coco & Cru seems to be still flying relatively under the brunch radar, so beat the rush and check out this spot next Sunday before all of NYC does too. 

For a Non-Traditional Brunch: 12 Chairs

Lindsay Paulen

12 Chairs successfully creates an unpretentious, unique brunch experience that you will find rivaled at few other places in NYC. With options ranging from authentic Israeli Shakshuka, to challah french toast, to incredible Sabich sandwiches (pitas stuffed with fried eggplant, tahini & more), no matter what you end up ordering, your brunch at 12 Chairs is guaranteed to be different and delicious.