Cafe Fiorello Is One Of 3 UWS Restaurants That Made OpenTable’s National Brunch List. The Key? Pancakes.

We talked to Michael Vitanza, general manager of Cafe Fiorello, about his restaurant’s secret to brunch success. Cafe Fiorello was joined by the newly opened Tavern on the Green and Café Luxembourg on the prestigious OpenTable ranking of best brunch places in the nation.

| 15 May 2023 | 04:56

OpenTable has released its “100 Most Popular Brunch Spots in America: 2023 Edition’’ list, and lo and behold: three restaurants on the Upper West Side have made the cut. Cafe Fiorello, Tavern on the Green, and Café Luxembourg are all located between W. 62nd St. and W. 70th St., a square of Manhattan that will surely enter the pantheon of delicious noontime bites. We spoke to Michael Vitanza, the managing director of Cafe Fiorello, to get his take on how his spot has earned its esteemed slot on the list.

In short, Vitazna says, it’s all about the pancakes. “Our pancakes are very, very special. They just make people smile, and it’s just beyond what people expect from pancakes.” He made sure to cite other popular dishes, such as the smoked salmon bagel board and the artichoke frittata; he also wants diners to know that “the sausages are homemade.”

Vitanza couldn’t help but circle back to the pancakes, though, musing that “the pancakes really stand out. I think that when you talk to people about brunch, they really are thinking about those decadent and indulgent items. Something that you treat yourself to on a hangover on a Saturday that, you know, you’ll trade in the calories for the amount of pleasure it gives you.”

For good measure, Vitanza concluded that “they’re big, fat, and fluffy. The technique we use makes the edges very crispy. That’s it. It’s heaven on a plate.”

Tavern on the Green and Café Luxembourg did not return calls by presstime. Tavern on the Green’s web site says its brunch also includes pancakes (of the potato variety), not to mention extravagant offerings such as organic Scottish salmon, a smoked bacon and scrambled egg pizza, and honey-roasted figs with goat cheese.

Café Luxembourg’s brunch menu includes hefty and rich items ranging from steak tartare to a purple sticky rice bowl, not to mention a “Classic New York salmon plate”–morsels made perfect for sharing whilst lounging around during a humid early afternoon.