Slideshow: 9 Breakfasts and Brunches We Loved in 2011

Minetta Tavern
Minetta Tavern
Minetta Tavern is one of those restaurants that is virtually impossible to get into for dinner at a regular time—but brunch is a piece of cake. And the shirred eggs, duck hash, and excellent cocktails give you more than a few reasons to go.

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Untitled
Untitled
Danny Meyer's newest venture, a cafe for the Whitney called Untitled, takes the coffee shop of the '60s as its inspiration but manages to incorporate what's best about most of Meyer's operations: locally sourced, seasonally fresh fare, prepared by talented hands (Executive Chef Chris Bradley, formerly of Gramercy Tavern) and offered at reasonable prices. Breakfast sandwiches and pancakes are equally delicious.

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The Spotted Pig
The Spotted Pig
For a weekend day's kickoff meal, we usually want (or, well, need) something fatty and salty and gut-satisfyingly delicious, and that's just the kind of food the Spotted Pig excels at. Eggs poached or fried (or poached, then fried) dominate the rest of the brunch dishes, but the sweeter items are mighty fine, too.

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Bluebird Sky
Bluebird Sky
This cozy cafe, tucked away in a narrow but lovely Chinatown space, serves crazy-good egg sandwiches and delicious omelets too.

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The Brindle Room
The Brindle Room
In what they call "Wonder City Coffee & Donut Bar," the Brindle Room serves incredible doughnuts and good, strong coffee to wash it down. (Yes, it's a one-note breakfast, but awesome enough to deserve a mention!) The doughnuts are extremely crisp on the outside, with a soft, slightly dense interior. But the focus here is really on the glazes and toppings. They have quite a hit of salt, which works especially well in the gooey caramel glazed version—think donut crossed with sticky toffee pudding.

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Peels
Peels
Between awesome pastry chef Shuna Lydon and the restaurant's tendency toward delicious gut-sticking Southern-accented fare, there's a lot to love in the mornings at Peels both sweet and savory.

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The Smile
The Smile
Much of the clientele seems to stop-in simply to take away coffee and a pastry. The beans are from Rockland County-based Plowshares, and a cup is a worthy-enough reason to stop in. But the breakfast menu is worth sitting down for: ham, Gruyere, and egg sandwich; stewed fruit with Greek yogurt; delicious housemade almond butter.

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