I remember my first semester in NYC without a meal plan. I would get out of class of 10:45 a.m., hungry, but not ready for lunch food yet. I remember thinking, "Wow, I wish there was an online guide for where to get breakfast near NYU." After three semesters of trying nearly every establishment that sells eggs within a few minutes walk of Washington Square Park, I have made the guide myself.
Astor Plate Café
Astor Plate, located in the center of Astor Place, is a delicious, affordable spot for breakfast to-go on the way to class or work. I was pleasantly surprised by this little kiosk. An egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich was only $4.75 without tax, plus it was freshly cooked and a great size! I’ve found that other bagel restaurants around the city charge $2.50 or $3 to add avocado, so I was so excited about Astor Plate’s prices. Definitely try their sandwiches with two fried eggs, and a cup of MUD Mocha or Maple MUD for a sweet, caffeinated finishing touch. When the weather is nice, I love to carve out a few minutes to eat my breakfast at one of the outdoor tables on Astor Place. Even when it’s cold, the kiosk has heat lamps to keep you warm while you’re waiting in line. Another reason I love Astor Plate is that they serve breakfast all day—so when you’re craving eggs after your 12:30 class, you can still pop over.
Banter is an Australian brunch spot on Sullivan Street and W Houston. While it can get crowded on the weekends, it is a great place to spend a weekday morning. It is quiet enough during the week to go alone and get some reading done, but its comforting vibe is also inviting for conversations with friends. When I visited, I ordered the golden folded eggs with sourdough toast. The smooth eggs paired well with the prosciutto, peas, and smashed avocado. While the dish was $15 (on the pricey side for a weekday breakfast), it was filling and delicious. If you’re looking to spend less, try one of their wellness drinks with a side of eggs or banana bread.
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
When Brooklyn Bagel opened on East 8th Street during my junior year at NYU, it filled a breakfast niche I never knew I was missing. NYC is full of classic bagel cafés, with dozens of types of cream cheeses, BEC sandwiches, and fresh fish. It wasn’t until 2018 that we got one close enough to grab your favorite bagel between classes. I quickly became a Brooklyn Bagel regular, and I still visit at least once a week for a classic egg and cheese sandwich.
Little Atlas Café
Little Atlas Café is perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast at any time of day. That’s right – they are a breakfast-all-day joint, so even if you’re craving eggs at 3 p.m., you can get your fix at Little Atlas. I love their egg and cheese sandwiches, omelets, and egg wraps. Their coffee is also tasty and affordable. Plus, its convenient location allows you to eat in any campus building. I sometimes even take my bagel to class in the Stern building next-door.
OatMeals on W. 3rd Street is my go-to breakfast place when I’m craving a healthy dose of nostalgia. My mom would make oatmeal on cold winter mornings and insist that I call it “porridge.” At home, my most adventurous oatmeal topping was brown sugar. OatMeals opened my mind to a new world of potential oatmeal flavors. My first time, I tried the Croque Madame, which features a poached egg, ham, cheese, and nutmeg on top of the warm oats. It was a new experience for me to try a savory oatmeal, and I was instantly hooked. On my second visit, I went back to the sweet side, ordering classic oatmeal with Nutella. The staff is friendly and will give you recommendations, which is helpful with such an extensive menu. I would recommend visiting with a friend who appreciates sharing because it is so hard to choose between the sweet and savory custom bowls. The space is small, so maybe consider taking your oatmeal back to campus to eat in the park or the library.
Rosemary’s on Greenwich Avenue is a lovely dinner spot, but I prefer to visit for weekday breakfast, when their beautiful dining space is quiet and filled with natural light. Rosemary’s is best for a morning when you have some time between classes to relax and savor an Italian breakfast. I ordered a cup of coffee and the Napoletano, which features scrambled eggs with tomato and burrata. The breakfast entrees range from $12-$16. If you want to enjoy the bright and soothing restaurant space with a lighter and more affordable meal, I would recommend one of their pastries. They are much better than the dry pastries I typically find at NYC coffee shops.
I’ve been taking coffee breaks at The Bean’s multiple locations throughout the East Village for years now. I especially recommend visiting in the morning, when you can grab a table by the windows and enjoy the natural light. A smoothie bowl from The Bean is perfect when I’m craving a sweet breakfast, but can’t (or shouldn’t) eat a plate of blueberry pancakes. They also have quiches, breakfast burritos, and bagels with cream cheese if you’re looking for a more affordable snack.
The Grey Dog
The Grey Dog is one of those restaurants that seems to welcome me with a warm embrace. Their Carmine Street and University Place locations are within a five-minute walk from campus. The space is almost always crowded and a bit noisy, but it can be a welcome break from the sometimes somber NYU halls. It’s another breakfast all-day spot, so you can shamelessly eat an omelet at 3 p.m. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here, but my favorite is the Upstate Omelette with mushrooms, kale, butternut squash, and goat cheese. Served with toast and salad, you can make it into a colorful sandwich.
The Coffee Carts Outside Of Stern
If a convenient and low-cost breakfast is what you’re looking for, you can’t beat the coffee carts. I’m sad that I didn’t discover the magic of a $1 cup of coffee just steps from the library until my sophomore year. This may be a controversial opinion, but I think coffee cart coffee and breakfast is better than Starbucks. Plus, getting breakfast from a cart on the sidewalk is a quintessential NYC experience. Your friends at state schools don’t get their coffee in the classic blue Greek-themed cup. Think about that.