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Best Restaurants for Weekend Brunch in Albany, NY

When it comes to venues for private events, I understand that cocktail bars are fun for dressing up, and buffets let everyone eat until they can’t move, but those options pale in comparison to offering your guests a double-duty menu AND mimosas. 

friends eating at best brunch Albany

At “great personal sacrifice,” I took on the task of finding the best brunch in Albany, NY, to present you with a museum-worthy collection of curated culinary experiences that go above and beyond the brunch call of duty. 

And while it meant enduring a parade of French toast, breakfast burritos, and burgers, I’d do it all again for you, dear reader. 

From fancy finds with full bar service to hole-in-the-wall treasures with bottomless coffee pots that put Starbucks to shame, here are my top picks for the best brunch restaurants in Albany to host your friends and loved ones. 

Cafe Madison

1108 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12208
Phone: 518-935-1094
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Cafe Madison
Source: Cafe Madison

Cafe Madison is a quirky little brunch spot in the heart of the Pine Hills neighborhood, less than 10 minutes from the New York State Museum.

It’s one of my favorite places to fuel up on Oatmeal Pancakes with strawberries or a mouthwatering Mediterranean Omelette.

The Friday-Sunday brunch menu changes weekly, with recent offerings including a Cinco de Mayo special of Salsa Verde Chilaquiles.

It’s the perfect way to make a brunch birthday party or baby shower even more exciting because you won’t know what you’ll get until the week of your event!

Iron Gate Cafe

182 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210
Phone: 518-445-3555
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Iron Gate Cafe
Source: Iron Gate Cafe

When it comes to hosting adult-only events, it doesn’t get much better than Iron Gate.

The restaurant is housed in a repurposed 19th-century mansion, still boasting many of the bespoke touches the owner requested for his home, including the original stained glass and a beamed-ceiling conservatory. 

Their drink menu is massive, with custom brunch cocktails like the Nutty Irishman with hazelnut, Irish cream, whisky, and coffee to local brews, including Brooklyn Brewery and Yesfolk Kombucha.

That’s not to say that the food isn’t top-notch. I’m obsessed with the Sundown Benedict, with tender roasted sweet potato and pepper jack hollandaise.

The Cuckoo’s Nest

234 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203
Phone: 518-650-7215
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The Cuckoo's Nest
Source: The Cuckoo’s Nest

If you’re near Washington Park, The Cuckoo’s Nest serves up some of the best brunch in Albany, NY, with a healthy dose of Southern charm.

That keen sense of homestyle hospitality extends to private events. The restaurant is happy to accommodate your party with decor, custom culinary experiences, and a better-than-mama’s menu of rib-sticking deliciousness. 

One visit and you’ll start dreaming about their Chicken and Waffle Tower drizzled in hot honey or “The Dad,” a jumbo biscuit stacked high with fried chicken, sausage gravy, bacon, eggs, and cheese.

On Tuesday-Friday from 3-5 PM, you can also swing by for Happy Hour specials like $8 cocktails, $5 wines, $4 draft beers, and Southern-inspired small plates. 

The Olde English Pub

683 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207
Phone: 518-434-6533
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The Olde English Pub
Source: The Olde English Pub

The Olde English Pub has a special spot in my anglophile’s heart because it’s a quaint little slice of London in the Quackenbush House.

It has all the charm of a cozy English tavern, making it the perfect locale for a lowkey private event like a bachelor party. 

Regarding the brunch menu, it should be no surprise that they focus on classic Anglican fares like the Ploughman’s Plate, Full English Breakfast, and Sausage Rolls. And what’s brunch without libations?

As a bruncher who enjoys my morning cup of joe just as much as I enjoy a stiff drink, the Rise & Shine Albany– with locally made Albany Distilling Co vodka– is my go-to. 

Jack’s Diner

547 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206
Phone: 518-482-9807
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Jack’s Diner
Source: Jack’s Diner

This little quip might age me a bit. Still, I always dreamed of having a local spot that felt like Cheers Bar, so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the retro Jack’s Diner situated right outside of Bleecker Stadium during my hunt for the best brunch in Albany. 

From the minute you slide into one of their vintage booths and crack open a menu, you’ve whisked away on a nostalgia trip.

All the old-school diner favorites are abundant: fluffy golden waffles, Jack’s special 3-Egg Omelettes, and a 12-oz burger that’ll make you wonder where this little Empire State gem has been all your life. 


320 Northern Blvd, Albany, NY 12204
Phone: 518-463-6300
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Source; Risotto

Italian-inspired Risotto in the Loudonville neighborhood is tucked away near the Albany Memorial Campus and Wolfert’s Roost Country Club.

While they usually focus on tapas and burgers with a Mediterranean twist, they host brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM- 2 PM. 

When you visit, I implore you to try the Gyro Omelette, stuffed to capacity with gyro meat, provolone, tzatziki, and caramelized onions.

And when I’m not feeling up for bottomless mimosas or poinsettias, I know this chic little bistro has me covered with one of the best Bloody Marys in town.

Lost & Found Bar & Kitchen

942 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207
Phone: 518-694-0670
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Lost & Found Bar & Kitchen
Source: Lost & Found Bar & Kitchen

Lost & Found Bar & Kitchen in Albany’s Warehouse District serves brunch on Sundays from 11 AM- 3 PM, but you’ll definitely want to make a reservation early in the week to snag a seat on their lush little patio.

They have some absolute bangers on the menu, like PBJ French Toast with an airy peanut butter mousse and housemade raspberry jam or the crispy confit Pork Hash.

Lost & Found also has a full-service bar with weekly specials, like the Slushie OTD, a grown-up version of a childhood favorite with rum, housemade strawberry simple syrup, and fresh lime. 

Dan’s Place Two

494 Washington Ave #1230, Albany, NY 12203
Phone: 518-463-9102
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Dan's Place Two
Source: Dan’s Place Two

In my experience, you can find some of the best brunch in Albany at the most unassuming places, and Dan’s Place Two is no exception.

It’s a cute and cozy spot to grab brunch and a cup of coffee with your partner before wandering through the Albany Institute of History & Art or Washington Park.

The menu matches the Americana vibe with tasty hot sandwiches and classic breakfast plates for a great price.

I don’t know anywhere else in Albany where you can get a short stack for less than $5 or a burger for less than $10, but Dan’s manages to delight my taste buds and wallet every time I visit. 

Uncommon Grounds Bagels & Coffee

1235 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203
Phone: (518) 453-5649
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Uncommon Grounds Bagels & Coffee
Source: Uncommon Grounds Bagels & Coffee

Uncommon Grounds set up shop on Western Ave, near the hustle and bustle of The University of Albany’s campus, serving some of the absolute best coffee in Albany and perhaps in the entire state.

Their attention to detail when it comes to sourcing and small-batch roasting their beans is a level of dedication I aspire to, and you can taste their passion in every sip. 

When I’m browsing the shops around University Plaza, I get embarrassingly excited about stopping by for a White Mocha and a chewy Cinnamon Raisin bagel with a schmear of Honey Walnut cream cheese– both made in-house, naturally. 

Mr. Bumbles Cafe

263 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY 12208
Phone: 518-818-0622
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Mr. Bumbles Cafe
Source: Mr. Bumbles Cafe

With a name as adorable as Mr. Bumbles Cafe, you already know you’re in for a treat before you step foot in the door.

Located a couple of blocks from the Russell Sage College campy and Opalka Gallery, Bumbles looks like a crayon drawing come to life, with bright colors on almost every wall and an eclectic mix of equally vivid seating. 

Their brunch options are tasty and fresh. I’m a fan of the Supreme Avocado toast served on Italian white bread with a side of house-made honey chipotle vinaigrette.

You won’t find a booze menu at Bumbles, but they mix up a mean fruit smoothie if you’re craving something cold and refreshing. 

Umana Yana

240 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210
Phone: 518-915-1699
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Umana Yana
Source: Umana Yana

Just a short walk from the historic New York State Capitol building is Umana Yana, an eclectic eatery with a culturally diverse brunch menu.

This Afro-Caribbean and Asian Caribbean kitchen is the brainchild of Guyanese founder Dale Davidson, who chose the name for its meaning– “meeting place for the people”– in the Wai Wai language. 

If you’ve never tried Caribbean fusion food, you’re in for a real treat. Umana Yana is like a culinary tour of regional specialties like Red Curry Fish Tacos, Biscuits with Spiced Honey & Sorrel Jam, and some genuinely life-changing Cassava Puffs with tamarind ginger slaw and mango chutney. 

The Local 217 Taproom & Kitchen

12 1/2 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12210
Phone: 518-462-0050
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The Local 217 Taproom & Kitchen
Source: The Local 217 Taproom & Kitchen

The Local 217 Taproom & Kitchen brings together cheap eats, exceptional craft beers, and a rich, rustic atmosphere that’ll make your private event feel particularly fancy.

It’s tucked away in the Delaware Avenue neighborhood and boasts a Tuscan-style patio for your party to mingle while they enjoy the festivities.

As far as brunch fare goes, it’s the Cheeseboard Grilled Cheese for me. Try to get through this description without your mouth watering: thick-cut, garlic-buttered sourdough bread with Tallegio and Gruyere cheese, strawberry jam, and capers.

They also have a full-service bar with a solid craft beer selection, including fun picks like Sloop Juice and Bell’s Christmas Ale. 

The Breakfast Spot

66 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206
Phone: 518-449-2160
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The Breakfast Spot
Source: The Breakfast Spot

Boasting the slogan “Open Really Early,” The Breakfast Spot is just what a weary bruncher who stumbled out of their apartment in pajama pants and a hoodie needs to quiet the consequences of the previous night.

When you walk in, the comforting sight of a hot grill top greets you, with a line cook ready to throw down on the best bacon and eggs you’ve ever had.

Nestled between McQuade Park and Townsend Park, this brunch blessing doesn’t put on airs about what they have to offer. Do you want an order of Sausage and Peppers? You got it.

What about eggs with bacon? No problem. How about a cup of coffee for less than a dollar? Say no more. 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.