They say that the best blog posts are useful.
When we were in New York a couple of months ago, the thing I googled most frequently was ‘breakfast west village new york’ (because none of us bother with capitalisation or punctuation on google, do we.) And the internet was a great help to me so it seems only fair that I return the favour and help any future NYC visitors enjoy the same breakfasty splendour that we had.
There are many great things about NYC but my highlight was definitely breakfast. Partly because, as is tradition, it always came at the very start of the day when we had a whole seven hours or so of exploring ahead, and partly because the food was just so damn good. We were there five days, had five breakfasts and I would recommend every single one. They come to you now in chronological order, informed by the small travel diary I am now very pleased that I kept.
1. French Roast, 78 West 11th Street
The first day of a holiday is just marvellous, isn’t it. So much joy, so much hope, so much time ahead when you don’t have to have discussions about how you’re going to get back to the airport or whether either of you has kept a spare plastic bag aside to carry your worn socks home in. Our first morning took us to French Roast. This place is ideal for your first American brekkie with a choice of all the things you want to see on the menu – eggs, omelettes, fruit, pancakes – as well as the option to sit outside and watch Sixth Avenue fly by. In my jet lagged state I didn’t feel ready to stomach the full NY breakfast experience just yet so opted for the yogurt and fruit with a bonus drop of honey which was delicious, and my husband Leon had eggs Florentine (like he does absolutely everywhere that will sell them to him) and enjoyed it very much. All round a very cool, reasonably priced and friendly little joint. A very strong welcome to NYC.
2. Buvette, 42 Grove Street
If I knew I only had one day left on earth and the choice of just one last breakfast, I would have it here. Positioned on one of the many gorgeous tree-lined streets in this part of town sits Buvette, a petite but perfectly formed café bringing a beautiful touch of Paris to the village. If you go, try and get a seat at the counter where you can watch the magic happen (there are no reservations). I had the Belgian waffles which tasted all the better for having witnessed the mixture being poured onto the griddle and the doughy results plated up in front of me before being drizzled with berries and crème fraiche. They were so soft and so sweet that I had to hold back a tear when they were gone – which they were as soon as I’d stopped taking photographs of them. Leon had fried eggs, prosciutto and chorizo on toast and didn’t say a word until he’d eaten every last bite which is always a good sign. He also says the coffee was the best he’s ever had. So there. Go.
(I understand there is also a Buvette in Paris so will be on the next train out there).
3. Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street
On day three – which peaked at 32 degrees – in pursuit of some early morning sustenence, we stumbled upon this Franco-American café just off lovely Bleecker Street and sat at table in the window beneath the bright red awning to try and cool down. This place is wonderfully calm and relaxing and there are seats outside too. The highlight of our visit was our waiter who was able to predict just by listening to my English accent that when I ordered ‘eggs any style’ that I’d want them poached. “It’s a thing, right?” he said with a knowing smile before then doing an excellent impression of a British person saying the word ‘poached’. I guess you had to be there but it was VERY funny. And the food was excellent too. Whoever came up with the idea that breakfast should come with a side of garlic potatoes is a very clever person.
4. Hu Kitchen, 78 5th Avenue
This café is everything I thought New York would be. The food and drink is all supremely healthy – everything is entirely gluten free, unprocessed, clean – you feel like it’s the kind of place you’d love to be able to afford to eat in every day and just sit back and watch your skin glow. We both had a sausage, egg and kale open sandwich which was good and just very wholesome. Unlike almost every single other piece of gluten free bread I’ve eaten (which is a lot, by the way – when I’m not on holiday I keep myself as gluten free as I can in the interests of not being permanently bloated #hotstuff) this was actually really tasty. The fruit smoothies were splendid too. It’s a little on the pricey side compared to some of the other places we went but it very much feels like you’re paying for goodness so it’s definitely worth a try.
5. Café Cluny, 284 W 12th Street
If I knew that I only had two days left on earth and the choice of two last breakfasts, I’d have the first at Buvette and the second at Café Cluny. Our final hurrah in the West Village before getting on the plane back to London was here and WHAT a way to go. Another lovely café on another beautiful street, permanently populated by people walking the best dogs I have ever seen. This is how I shall remember New York. Go here and have the chili avocado on toast (which FYI comes gluten free and delicious as standard. How can we get some of this excellent bread delivered to London?) with a poached egg on top. I can also recommend the pancakes which were MASSIVE but Leon took them on and nobly ate every last piece. I was so proud of him.
I very much hope that this is useful and that it helps somebody someday have a lovely NYC breakfast. Save me a fork-full of waffle, won’t you.