Soulvaki GR: Souvlaki GR, located in both Midtown and the Lower East Side, will transport you out of New York City and into the Greek islands. Dining here is like taking a quick trip to Mykonos! It’s an adorable small restaurant with white painted walls, cobblestone floors, bright blue pops of color in the furniture, and small white lights dangling from the ceiling above you. You’ll find all of your classic Greek items but starting with a bottle of wine and the three-dip sampler of hummus, spicy feta, and tzatziki is the way to go. We actually stuffed down so much pita and dips that we weren't totally hungry to order much else. We did end up ordering a Greek salad, Souvlaki fries, and Kalamaki skewers, which were all delicious! We love it here because it’s healthy, they take reservations, and it’s super reasonably priced, so it’s a great place to go with friends when you’re not trying to spend a lot of money! Not only do you feel like you’ve escaped into another country but the quiet, date-like vibes really set the mood to start your weekend off right!
Left Bank: Left Bank, located in the West Village, has just launched a new brunch menu and we had to share it with all of you! The restaurant was not too busy on a Saturday afternoon, so it’s a great place to keep on the list if you have a bigger group, want a quieter spot to dine, or need a last minute reservation. There are big banquet windows with natural light and a ton of booths, which also made it nice and cozy for a cold day. The highlight of the meal for us was definitely the shaved brussel sprout salad. I know what you’re all thinking – a SALAD is what you’re recommending for brunch? BUT the shaved brussel sprouts, hazelnuts, pecorino, olive oil, and lemon made such a great combination, we are still craving it! (*note to self: check if Postmates will bring this to me*) We also enjoyed the Smoked Salmon & Whitefish Benedict, which was served on potato latkes..YUM! The Dutch Baby pancakes topped with apples, pears, lemon, butter, and maple syrup was also really delicious. These are NOT your typical pancakes: it’s 1 “pancake” served in a hot skillet and takes about 20 minutes to make, so we basically used it as dessert and got this after enjoying our salad and eggs. It tastes more like french toast, but it was super delicious and very photogenic! You can definitely skip out on the Irish Oatmeal, which we ordered because the description of the “apple goodness” accompaniment caught our attention. It wasn’t nearly as good as the rest of the dishes we tried! We haven’t been yet, but this is also a great happy hour spot with a $25 drink, appetizer, and pasta deal on weekdays from 5–7pm.
Gagosian Gallery: Gagosian Gallery, located on W 24th street, has a Tom Wesselmann Still Life exhibit that’s totally worth your 21-minute walk from brunch. Across the (huge!) gallery lies still life paintings that come to life in giant form. Each large-scale work comprises multiple canvases, both hanging and standing, and are shaped according to the outline of the objects that they represent. The works include a ton of everyday objects from oranges, sunglasses, and lipstick to shoes, flowers, and picture frames. It’s especially cool to see the artist’s original still life sketches on paper and then walk to the next room as they come alive in 3D. The exhibit will run until February 24th, so there’s only 23 more days to get your Instagram in of this! Trust us, you don’t want to miss it!
Rossopmodoro: You can't get more authentically Italian than Rossopomodoro. The rustic atmosphere from their wooden tables, to the impressive wine selection, and of course their excellent food really transports you to the heart of Italy. If you love classic pizza and pasta dishes, this Saturday night recommendation is for you! We got the Margherita pizza, Spicy Sausage pizza, and Cacio e Pepe. The crust was especially amazing with really great flavor and just the right amount of crisp. They even have gluten-free crusts that tasted just as good as the others! Everything is clearly handmade (this restaurant comes from the same owners of Eataly!) and the prices are really reasonable for the quality of food (plus their impeccable service!). If you’re willing to ask, they will also make your pizzas in different shapes upon request like a butterfly or, for us, an Italian flag!
Kubeh: Kubeh is just what the doctor ordered for your Sunday morning brunch regimen. The best way to describe the menu is Middle Eastern comfort food. It’s a mix of traditional cuisine found in Kurdish, Israeli, and Syrian cultures that's been eaten for generations, but is relatively hard to find throughout most of America. Kubeh hopes to change that with their delicious dumplings, mezes, spreads, and various wonderful main dishes! The menu is expansive (always a plus!), so don’t be overwhelmed with the options. Everything is easy to share and we ordered at least 6-7 dishes for 3 people so you’ll really get to try a bunch of different things! You’ll notice some familiar items like avocado toast, waffles, and Shakshuka; but we would recommend branching out and trying some of their specialties! The spreads, including the Hummus, Labneh, and Muhammara were one of my favorite parts of the meal. The Muhammara (which is completely gluten free and vegan!) is a spread made from red pepper, walnuts, and pomegranate blended into absolute perfection. The cauliflower and eggplant with lemon, parsley, and sea salt was also super delicious. We left full but not guilty, since everything is made with such healthy ingredients. Just wait though, your Sunday-Funday is just beginning!
II Laboratorio Del Gelato: Good thing you didn’t just have a super sweet brunch, because only a 7-minute walk away is Il Laboratorio Del Gelato’s newest location on University Place! After 15 years on the Lower East Side, they finally have a Greenwich Village location for us to go to! It may look familiar since the owner mimicked the original store with bright white décor and a rotating menu of 48 flavors (yes, 48!!). The new location also includes gelato sandwiches, which are assembled to order and the dairy free sorbets that you know and love. We always stick to classic flavors when we come here, but each and every time we are equally as impressed with the rich tastiness and smooth consistency of their gelato. Strawberry, Chocolate Chip, and Graham Cracker are our go-to staples, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can add some Cucumber, Cheddar Cheese, or Birthday Cake Red Velvet scoops to your order as well.
Soul Annex: Have you ever said to yourself, “I need to stretch more”? If yes, you’re not alone. It’s always important to work out and get that heart rate up, but it’s equally as important to stretch and loosen your muscles to prevent injuries and to fully unwind. Walk on over from dessert (a short 12-minutes) to Soul Annex, the newest studio brought to you by our beloved Soulcycle family. Le Stretch (offered throughout the week and 4pm on Sundays) is New York City’s first workout completely dedicated to stretching the body’s tight spots with the use of their signature ball (basically a smaller foam roller!). We weren’t sure about an entire hour of a hip-hop playlist and mat stretching but this was seriously the best way to end the weekend. It may sound like the laziest workout you will ever do, but Le Stretch helps reduce pain and reinvigorate the body and mind for the week ahead. The studio is small but funky with neon colored lights in front and mirrored lockers in the back. When you enter the class you will find everything you need to loosen up including a dimly lit room full of candles. Don’t be afraid to yell “ow!!!!” when you realize you’ve found a spot on your neck that has been aching you from sitting at your computer all day – everyone in the class feels your pain! Pro Tip: Make sure to sign up as a first timer and you’ll get your first 2 classes for the price of 1! Time to get stretching!