The weekends are made for brunching.
With the start of the fall season, we thought it was the right time to revisit our roundup of brilliant Philadelphia brunches. Especially since we’ve now organized our picks by neighborhood to make getting to a brunch table near you that much easier.
The quality of brunch means different things to different people, we know, so we have strived to finely curate a list of our top picks for brunch. So next time you’re looking for where to go for an awesome brunch in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, we hope you need only consult this list.
And as always, let us know your favorite neighborhood brunch spots in the comments below.
Note: Prices mentioned are accurate as of the published date, always check with the restaurant for the latest prices.
• a.kitchen: Rittenhouse Square neighborhood haunt a.kitchen dishes its sophisticated small plates for brunch, too. Start your weekend simply with fresh pastries or a Greek yogurt parfait, or dig into chorizo and mussels with braised eggs or a house–made English muffin sandwich with sausage, cheddar, fried egg and potatoes.
• Fitler Dining Room: Chef Robert Marzinsky’s Fitler Dining Room rollout of Sunday brunch service just may be the best incentive there is this fall to get out of bed earlier on Sunday mornings. Look for British and Jersey breakfasts, as well as refined morning standards.
• Village Whiskey: Iron Chef Jose Garces’ American comfort food tastes just as good for brunch as it does for dinner. The impressive whiskey menu at Village Whiskey plays second string to the hearty plates of biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, French toast and — of course — the always satisfying, massive burgers. But, remember what this speakeasy-style restaurant is known for (yup, cocktails) and don’t skip the bay-infused vodka Bloody Mary.
• The Corner Foodery: At The Corner Foodery, a made-in-Philly marriage between Midtown Village spot The Corner and stellar bottle shop The Foodery, brunch means a simple-yet-satisfying special: Kegs and Eggs. For just $5, score a breakfast sandwich and a nine-ounce Peroni beer.
• El Rey: Stephen Starr’s bustling Mexican diner, El Rey, dishes specialties from south of the boarder like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. Wash the chiles down with a tart margarita or a spicy Bloody Maria, made with tequila instead of vodka.
• Parc: Oui, monsieur, we will take another of those delicious bread baskets. Parc’s brunch menu just gets better after the freshly baked bread, with a perfect quiche Lorraine, chicken paillard, pommes frites and other French plates that pair perfectly with prime Rittenhouse Square people-watching from the abundant and much-coveted alfresco tables.
• Lacroix: Housed in the tony Rittenhouse Hotel, Lacroix serves a superb Sunday brunch prix-fixe menu ($69 per person) featuring appetizers, raw-bar specialties, a chef’s table hot buffet and wine pairings. This is a special-occasion brunch that surely will not disappoint. A decadent dessert table rounds out the offerings.
• Nineteen: The morning buffet at chic Nineteen (XIX) at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue begins with continental pastries, an extensive raw bar; continues with egg and waffle entrees; and includes mimosas and Bloody Marys along the way. The sweeping bird’s-eye city views elevate the whole experience.
• Metropolitan Cafe: Though a meal may be made solely of Metropolitan Bakery’s fantastic just-baked breads and pastries, at Metropolitan Cafe daily brunching options reach beyond baked goods with a modest menu spanning house-cured salmon to creative grilled cheese.
• Continental Midtown: Nighttime revelers keep the party going at The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar and its sibling The Continental Mid-town, with brioche French toast, bananas foster belgian waffles or a turkey club with caramelized apple mayo, all of which can be accompanied by a bacon-infused Bloody Mary. Take the elevator the rooftop for open-air dining.
• The Dandelion: Stephen Starr’s English-style pub in Rittenhouse Square is known for fish and chips, but the brunch menu is its hidden gem. Scotch pancakes, with gooey, glazed apples and cinnamon-tinged cream, are a sweet start to a weekend day. But once you get one of the Dandelion Pub’s signature cocktails in hand — like the Beer Flip, with chocolate stout, marmalade and a whole egg — you may not want to do anything at all.
• Russet: The freshest ingredients come together at one of Philly’s favorite farm-to-table BYOBs. Russet provides a lovely brunch for locavores every weekend. The menu is ever-changing to keep up with the freshest ingredients, but look for tasty updates on classics like pancakes, omelets and other brunch standbys.
• Cafe L’Aube: Crepe craving? Located in Fairmount and Rittenhouse Square, the cozy French Cafe L’Aube offers breakfast and lunch (i.e. brunch) seven days a week. L’Aube serves its own micro-batch roasted L’Aube Torrefaction coffee and has free wireless. What’s not to love?
• Square 1682: Brunch at Hotel Palomar’s recently renovated Square 1682 means locally sourced, sophisticated American fare with excellent cocktails to boot.
• Day By Day: A Philadelphia catering institution since 1981, Day by Day at 21st and Sansom Streets also serves a mean brunch to a dedicated local following Fridays through Sundays. The stuffed challah French toast is seriously good (even though it’s not the size of your head, as at Sabrina’s — which may be a good thing), and make sure you order at least one thing from the specials menu.
• Farm To City Farmers’ Markets: In 2013, Farm to City rolls out 18 farmers’ markets around town, including the always-bustling year-round Rittenhouse Square market every Saturday. Plenty of brunch-appropriate goods abound — from fresh breads to lovely lemonade and more.
Midtown Village and Washington Square
• Talula’s Daily: Mere steps from Talula’s Garden, the first joint venture from restaurateurs Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr, Talula’s Daily brings the same high quality of fare diners have come to associate with the moniker “Talula,” but in a far more accessible way. For brunch, sip La Colombe coffee, munch frittatas, quiche, freshly baked quick breads, scones and croissants or grab a yogurt parfait or house granola.
• Strangelove’s: Midtown Village gets another spot to quaff morning and night in Strangelove’s, a microbrew lover’s fantasy, where 18 tap lines and two cask-conditioned ales complement chef Paul Martin’s Southern-touched menu. For brunch, go for shrimp and grits, poached eggs with chaurice sausage or duck and sausage gumbo.
• The Corner: With a brunch menu that begins with foie gras doughnuts, diners should prepare for casual decadence at The Corner. The 13th Street restaurant serves a pretty big brunch menu that hits all the high notes — from omelets and a breakfast burrito to stuffed French toast and crab cake eggs Benedict.
• Talula’s Garden: Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy’s Washington Square spot offers elegant plates starring local ingredients during its Sunday brunch, like seared scallops and farro salad with market veggies and an omelet with local Kennett Square mushrooms. And for those who prefer garden views (which are aplenty) with a splash of liquor, there are cocktails like The Optimist featuring citrus vodka, sweet tea, huckleberry and lemon.
• El Vez: Stephen Starr’s Mexican spot in Midtown Village has a Mexi-style Sunday brunch. Pair your crab and corn omelet, breakfast burrito or steak and egg chilaquiles with a blood orange mimosa — the a.m. take on the super-popular blood orange margarita.
• Garces Trading Co.: If you haven’t tried Jose Garces‘ GTC for brunch, you haven’t tried it at all. The Saturday and Sunday brunch menu is a bite right out of the Mediterranean with cheese, charcuterie, eggs, sandwiches and so much more. The $28 prix-fixe menu option includes your choice of one main, one side, and one dessert plus unlimited Garces Trading Company Coffee. And did we mention it’s one of the best brunches in America? Done and done.
• Varga Bar: Chef Evan Turney’s spot in Washington Square West offers creative, kicked-up American food by night, and equally compelling brunch dishes by weekend day. And with a knowledgeable bar staff to guide you through the more than a dozen beers on tap, there’s no way you’ll go thirsty during a meal here.
• Jones: Stephen Starr’s take on the The Brady Bunch living room delivers on the brunch front in a way that would make Carol proud. You must order the shareable monkey bread, served gooey and hot, followed by any of the delicious egg dishes (spinach and feta omelet with tater tots, smoked salmon Benedict). And don’t forget the brunch cocktails.
• Kanella: Take a mini vacation to the Greek isle of Cyprus at this Washington Square BYOB, where the brunch menu features flavorful goodies like crepes stuffed with manouri cheese and drizzled with carob syrup; eggs stewed in tomato and pepper with grilled bread; and ground lamb flatbreads with pistachios. Kanella serves brunch Friday through Sunday.
• Mixto: Every day feels like Sunday at Mixto, a Cuban/Columbian hotspot on Pine Street’s Antique Row. The daily breakfast offerings include Argentinean steak and eggs, frittata Colombiana and tostadas rancheras. Bonus: sunny outdoor seating in the warm months.
• Amis: Brunch at Amis is a little under the radar, but that’s actually a good thing. The Sunday brunch menu transports you to Italy with perfect pastas and other fare: baked pecorino with almond honey, salumi misti and house-made polenta scrapple. Also, don’t sleep on the Cannonball.
• Smokin’ Betty’s: Sister restaurant to Devil’s Alley in Rittenhouse, Smokin’ Betty’s in Washington Square West has a solid weekend brunch that changes with the seasons. The menu is sparing, which makes it easy to order, and the drinks; oh, the drinks. Whatever the seasonal sangria is, order it. And don’t forget they’ve got a whole second floor, with bright and airy windows and comfy booths.
• Valanni: Valanni has Saturday and Sunday brunch, and the offerings are unbeatable. Think caramelized apple and strawberry cream french toast; and the “Valanni Hangover,” two eggs any style, pancakes, chorizo or bacon and roasted potatoes accompanied by a virgin Bloody Mary.
Many, many more brunch picks, below.
Northern Liberties and Fishtown
• Jerry’s Bar: Northern Liberties newcomer Jerry’s Bar brings a touch of sophistication to all of its new American plates. Serving brunch on both Saturday and Sunday, our pick is definitely for the Sunday jazz brunch.
• Kraftwork: Fishtown beer bar Kraftwork cranks out a mean brunch with a dedicated following on both Saturdays and Sundays. Build your own omelet, enjoy brioche French toast or go for one of the tempting brunch specials.
• Cedar Point Kitchen: Fishtown Southern comfort foodery Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen welcomes the neighborhood to Saturday and Sunday brunch that aims to please crowds and fill bellies. Food scene alums Shannon Dougherty and Liz Petersen came up with the relaxed brunch-through-late-night concept, where beet ravioli, red flannel hash, okra fritters and fried chicken and waffles star.
• Mugshot Diner: Fishtown’s 24/7 diner serves up an extensive menu (all-day breakfast!) morning, noon and night. For brunch, go for the diner favorites like omelets, french toast, pancakes and milkshakes.
• Standard Tap: The burgers, fried smelts and chalkboard omelet specials at Northern Liberties’ Standard Tap can chase any hangover away, though a pint of local microbrewed beer won’t hurt, either. Take it outside, too, on the second-floor patio.
• Bar Ferdinand: This popular Northern Liberties spot has brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays, with a good deal of outdoor seating for sunny days. The menu offers decadent Spanish dishes like an open-faced grilled chorizo sandwich paired with a fried egg, spinach and pine nuts and churros loaded with chocolate. You can also get in on the awesome brunch special, $3 a glass for mimosas or Bloody Marys.
• Silk City: It may look like a typical diner on the outside, but inside Silk City serves up anything but standard brunch fare. And what better to go with smothered chicken and waffles, cider-braised pork belly hash or shrimp and grits than one of the specialty lunch cocktails (the options change weekly) or a beer from the 35+ option suds list?
• Frankford Hall: Nothing says brunch like $3 Bloodies or Rattlers. During Sunday brunch, the eye-openers are just $3 until 2 p.m. at Fishtown beer garden Frankford Hall, where the adult beverages pair well with a handful of breakfast items — including fluffy pancakes and a tasty egg sandwich with German sausage and Gruyere. When the weather is fine, the alfresco courtyard is an ideal spot to sip away the afternoon.
• Johnny Brenda’s: Aside from its strong local beer program and awesome live music upstairs, a hallmark of Fishtown’s Johnny Brenda’s is its focus on fresh and seasonal fare. In fact, the menu is written on chalkboards around the restaurant since it changes so often, in tune with what’s in season. Even when they’re not hosting one of their awesome brunch events, Johnny Brenda’s is a brunch go-to.
• High Street on Market: What was once Fork:etc is now High Street on Market, an early-to-late concept from chef Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin, of fine-dining eatery Fork next door.
• Khyber Pass Pub: The South rises again during brunch hours at Khyber Pass Pub. The Southern-inspired fare entices with smoky praline bacon, gravy-bathed biscuits, boudin and eggs, and spicy Bloody Marys.
• The Victoria Freehouse: If you’ve never had a full English breakfast — complete with baked beans, fried tomatoes and rashers — The Victoria Freehouse should make your list of brunch spots to try. Hidden in plain sight on Front Street, the British pub serves a proper brunch on Sundays and pours an excellent list of imports daily.
• Amada: Jose Garces original Philadelphia restaurant, Amada, welcomes guests for a Spanish desayuno on Saturday and Sunday, spotlighting chorizo and eggs, Serrano ham and manchego cheese omelets and fluffy lemon-ricotta pancakes. Plus, the excellent sangria and many of the traditional tapas available in the evening are served at brunch as well.
• Red Owl Tavern: Adjacent to the gorgeous Hotel Monaco and overlooking Independence Mall, Red Owl Tavern offers a perfect perch for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Snag a seat on the sidewalk patio or in the airy dining room to choose from feel-good dishes like build-your-own oatmeal or cinnamon bread french toast and indulgent eats like Denver-cut steak and eggs or huevos rancheros.
• Cuba Libre: Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar’s fresh juice mimosas, pastries featuring fruity spreads and ropa vieja hash creates a tropical brunch paradise in Old City. An unlimited small plate menu is also available for those who prefer to draw out the brunch experience.
• Farmacia: With fine farm-to-table fare and farm-to-bar cocktails, Farmacia draws diners for fresh, flavorful brunches. Snag one of the few charming sidewalk tables to enjoy the lively flavors outdoors.
• National Mechanics: Bloody Mary fan? Go no further. This Old City spot has one of the most impressive Bloody Mary bars we have ever laid eyes on, a perfect quaff to match the veggie-friendly brunch offerings. There are more than 11 egg dishes, French baguette toast and both plain and blueberry pancakes on offer, all great.
Bella Vista and Queen Village
• Sabrina’s Café: At all three of its locations (in Bella Vista, Fairmount and University City), Sabrina’s redefines brunch all day, every day, with creative dazzlers like the blue cheese and bacon frittata, polenta fries and, of course, its famous thick slices of French toast stuffed with all manner of sweets.
• Ela: Refined dining extends to Sunday brunch at Ela, the stylish Queen Village restaurant from chefs Jason Cichonski and Chip Roman. Dine indoors or out on elevated morning makers like biscuits with bone marrow, short rib eggs Benedict and French toast with hot chocolate chip cookie dough. The brunch cocktail list deserves attention, too; try a kimchee Bloody Mary.
• Morning Glory Diner: The lines out the door never lie: Sam’s Morning Glory Diner is a favorite spot for its homemade ketchup and creative pancake specials served with a side of hot biscuits (really, try the biscuits) and greasy-spoon attitude. Brunch happens on weekends, but the daily breakfast menu features many of the favorites.
• Cochon: French fare typically dominates the kitchen at Cochon, a cozy BYOB spot in Queen Village, but the Sunday brunch menu is a pan-national meat-lovers’ affair with eggs Cochon (poached, over slow-roasted pork shoulder with a bacon cheddar biscuit) and deep-fried oysters served with fennel slaw, french fries and bacon mayonnaise. Do not fear; vegetarian and gluten-free options can also be made available here.
• The Twisted Tail: Just off of Headhouse Square, The Twisted Tail serves a Sunday brunch befitting its bourbon-and-juke-joint motif. Dig in to sausage in puff pastry, shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles alongside Southern wine coolers.
• Hawthornes: Brunch-goers generally overflow onto the sidewalk at Hawthornes, a Bella Vista-neighborhood standby. A beer cafe with more than 1,000 single bottles, 12 growler fills and eight rotating drafts, an excellent selection of brews often fills tables alongside brunch dishes hailing from around the world — think traditional Welsh rarebit, Mexican-style breakfast nachos and Southern fried chicken and waffles.
• The Mildred: House-made and local are the mantras at this Bella Vista neighborhood spot. On Saturdays and Sundays, The Mildred dishes an accessible-yet-sophisticated brunch, serving plates like baked egg paired with fried bread and ricotta pancakes.
• Kennett: This cozy Queen Village restaurant and bar specializes in locally sourced fare and offers an awesome brunch on weekends. Try the Italian Breakfast, with to-die-for house-made gnocchi and a variety of local veggies, or the butter beans, braised with tomato and ale and served on brioche toast. There are also plenty of local brews and a cocktail menu featuring drinks like an all-organic Bloody Mary. And don’t sleep on the wood-fired pizzas; especially the porchetta.
• Supper: Never mind the name. Supper serves a superb brunch with chilaquiles navidad replete with homemade chorizo; red velvet waffles with cream cheese mousse (oh, those red velvet waffles); a cereal bar; and six-ounce dry-aged custom La Frieda Blend burger on a house baked Pullman loaf served with duck-fat fries (an egg can be added for extra brunch effect).
• Bainbridge Street Barrel House: This Queen Village pub maintains its bar-appropriate menu through Saturday and Sunday brunch with heavy-hitters like chicken and waffles and a French toast burger with bacon cream cheese whiskey maple syrup. Lighter fare features prominently too, though, with a quinoa salad and nice selection of omelets.
• Magpie: Former Philly ad exec Holly Ricciardi slices up sweet and savory pies created with seasonal ingredients at her 20-seat vintage-modern bistro, Magpie. Now, brunch is on the menu, too, with a selection of savory quiche, a sausage bread pudding pie and a sweet crumb cake pie, too.
• Honey’s Sit ‘n’ Eat on South: The long-awaited second location of Honey’s opened on South Street, and the Graduate Hospital neighborhood rejoiced. Believe the hype and go for weekend brunch, which might include challah French toast, enfrijoladas or biscuits with gravy. Plus, now there’s outdoor seating to score, too.
• Pub & Kitchen: If you find yourself in Graduate Hospital on the weekend, head directly to Pub & Kitchen for brunch, where there is great outdoor seating along 20th Street. P&K’s brunch menu offers a lot of awesome-sounding sweet and savory choices. Also be sure to try one of their award-winning Bloody Marys.
•Rex 1516: This Southern-inspired eatery on South Street offers weekend brunch to complement its Southern-style dinner and drink offerings. Highlights include shrimp and grits and — get ready for this — a duck confit and chaurice omelet. They bake the bread onsite daily, but they also offer a gluten-free menu. Beverages are plentiful as well, with a menu of Southern-inspired cocktails like the Deep South and the Mint Julep.
• Ants Pants Café: Australian-style coffees (flat white or long black, anyone?) accompany “brekkie platters” of eggs, bacon-stacked sandwiches and French toast with sour cream sauce every day at this South Street favorite in Graduate Hospital.
• Miles Table: With just a handful of tables, this intimate Graduate Hospital eatery keeps things simple and fresh. Serving breakfast all day, everyday, folks can stay or take-away eggs sandwiches, bagels and whitefish and omelets with a side of Miles Sriracha turkey sausage.
• SoWe: In Graduate Hospital, hungry brunch-goers already know newcomer SoWe will satisfy with hearty fare and casual digs. Served up both Saturday and Sunday, menu standouts include piled plates ranging from sweet (carrot-cake waffles, bacon beignets) to savory (Kentucky hot brown, house-cured lox). Vegetarians will do well here, too, with veg-friendly dishes like the vegan BLT and vegetable hash.
• The Cambridge: With all the furnishings and fittings of a traditional pub, The Cambridge invites diners to kick back and settle in either indoors or on the backyard patio for its weekend brunch. Start with a house-made Bloody Mary before digging in to pork-belly sliders with a quail egg or a Taylor pork roll and chorizo egg sandwich.
• Sidecar Bar & Grille: Graduate Hospital’s popular Sidecar Bar & Grille serves a priced-right Saturday and Sunday brunch with a great range of options for any appetite, whether you’re craving Bloodies or bellinis, burritos or Benedicts.
• Resurrection Ale House: On both Saturday and Sunday, this craft beer bar and restaurant just across from Naval Square serves up a just-right brunch menu. At Resurrection Ale House, morning-making staples get lovely little upgrades — think creme fraiche and fruit preserves on a homemade scone and chorizo and manchego cheese tucked in an omelet.
Fairmount and Logan Square
• Swann Lounge: One of the city’s most elegant places to have Sunday brunch is the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia’s Swann Lounge. The sumptuous $73 buffet — stacked with seafood, smoked meat and endless desserts — includes plated entrees. In all, a relative bargain for an unforgettable experience.
• Water Works Restaurant: You can’t ask for a better view for Sunday brunch than the gorgeous waterfront vistas visible from Water Works Restaurant on the Schuylkill River. The Sunday brunch buffet is worth getting dressed up for, and perfect for special occasions. It’s $40/person, kids 12 and under $17.50.
• London Grill: A neighborhood staple since 1991, London Grill is one part pub, with local microbrews on tap and a classic cocktail menu, and one part white tablecloth restaurant. On Saturday and Sunday, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar gets brunch off to a super start. Follow up the beverages with steak and eggs, eggs Benedict or shakshouka, a spicy tomato stew.
• Lemon Hill: Lemon Hill is a neighborhood favorite, located right by the Philadelphia Museum of Art offering a delicious brunch with serious cocktails. Dishes like brown sugar soaked French toast with vanilla whipped cream cheese, can be chased with creative cocktails from The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. folks, like the Blues Explosion, with whiskey, fresh grapefruit, maple and angostura.
• Milk and Honey Cafe: Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in verdant Sister Cities Park, an outpost of West Philly-staple Milk and Honey keeps families and museum-goers well fed. On Saturdays and Sundays, indulge in a tasty brunch full of coffee or tea, paninis and made-to-order eggs. Snag an alfresco table for an exceedingly pleasant experience.
• Alla Spina: Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina on North Broad Street has an Italian Sunday brunch that’s a must-try. The pig’s head hash poutine is a winner, especially washed down with one of the excellent brunch cocktails. When the weather is fine outdoor tables fill quickly and floor-to-ceiling garage doors open widely.
• Route 6: Stephen Starr’s most recent culinary contribution to the city incorporates seafood favorites from its dinner menu into a versatile brunch menu. Go the breakfast route and try the salmon, crab or traditional eggs Benedict, or if you’re more in the mood for lunch, try the irresistible chicken fried lobster tails. Hint — a basket of the cinnamon sugar donuts with raspberry dipping sauce is a crowd pleaser.
• Prohibition Tap Room: The kitchen at Prohibition Tap Room on North 13th Street turns out a really solid brunch with standards like biscuits and gravy, egg sandwiches, steak and eggs. Plus, diners can order up a side of pork roll with anything.
• Café Lift: The Callowhill neighborhood’s sleek Café Lift specializes in European-style delicacies like a banana and chocolate hazelnut crespelle and a pesto and tomato frittata with thick home fries. Look to the chalkboards in the well-loved brunch spot for ever-tasty seasonal specials.
East Passyunk Avenue and South Philly
• Cantina Los Caballitos: This East Passyunk staple offers an extensive fiesta of a brunch every weekend. Cantina’s comprehensive Mexican menu offers all manner of empanadas, tostadas and tacos, plus a full suite of brunch beverages like tequila-laden Mexican favorites and Bloody Marys infused with garlic and basil.
• Pub On Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.): This cavern-like tavern is a hipster haven, thanks to the long draft list, inclusive bar menu and rockin’ juke box. The menu ranges from a soild breakfast burrito to the P.O.P.E.’s namesake burger (topped with a juicy fried tomato) to vegetarian and vegan specialties like the vegan French toast and tofu scramble.
• Green Eggs Café: Specializing in eco-conscious fare with local and sustainable ingredients, Green Eggs (in South Philly, Northern Liberties and Midtown Village) makes socially responsible breakfast super tasty (and BYOB) every day with French toast with blackberry coulis; scrambled eggs over homemade biscuits with sausage gravy; and quinoa porridge with fresh berries.
• South Philly Taproom: Weekend brunch at SPTR in South Philly is a great deal. You can get in and out for a cool 12 bucks, and if you want to start your day off with a cold one (no judgement), you’re at the right place. Also, it’s worth noting that the vegan options are delicious even for meat-lovers.
• Chhaya: Open for breakfast daily and a weekend brunch, Chhaya is an East Passyunk Avenue go-to for fair-trade coffee, homemade pastries (including vegan cupcakes) and a lengthy menu of decadent waffles, which can be laced with sweet or savory toppings from classic macerated berries and maple syrup to veggie chili and cheddar cheese.
• Birra: At East Passyunk’s Italian kitchen Birra, brunch has an appealing Italian-American accent. Dig in to the brunch calzone filled with house-cured pancetta, scrambled eggs and mozzarella, or go the dessert-for-brunch route with sweet waffles. Go ahead, add a side of locally sourced and house-cured meat — especially the Fiorella’s sausage made in the nearby Italian Market.
• The Industry: On Saturdays and Sundays, this Pennsport bar from the folks behind Good Dog aimed at restaurant industry members dishes up brunch to the masses. There is a whole section of the menu devoted just to Hangover Cures, and bottomless coffee for three bucks.
• Devil’s Den: In South Philly on 11th Street, Devil’s Den pours a deep draft list daily. But come Saturday and Sunday, make room on the table for crowd-pleasing brunch dishes like a breakfast quesadilla, steak and eggs, avocado eggs Benedict and brioche French toast.
• Dock Street Brewery: As of September, Dock Street Brewery does brunch on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Expect wood-fired breakfast pizzas and calzones, frittatas and more. In addition to pizzas designed to get your day started, Dock Street’s new menu also offers salads, beer-based breakfast cocktails like the Firehouse Maria and Brewdriver.
• The Gold Standard Cafe: A West Philly institution, The Gold Standard Cafe keeps its faithful crowd full and happy with a menu of hearty homemade fare during its busy weekend brunch. Go for one of the three preparations of eggs Benedict, all served on homemade English muffin, and for those who want to BYOB, pitchers of Bloody Mary mix are standing by. When the weather is fine, outside tables pop up.
• Distrito: Iron Chef Jose Garces does an expert Mexican brunch at his University City restaurant Distrito. You have two options: for $10, get “Kegs & Eggs” with your choice of one of four beers and one of three egg dishes; or for $21, get the prix-fixe brunch, which includes a selection of two courses (with tons of options for each) along with Garces Trading Company coffee.
• Aksum: On Baltimore Avenue in West Philly, Aksum brings bright Mediterranean flavors to the brunch table. The extensive menu includes such reliable Medi standards as a fattush salad and a chicken pita wrap, but also goes beyond basics with Moroccan-style eggs with spicy ground beef, sweet corn griddlecakes topped with blueberry compote and caramelized fig crepes with red onion and cinnamon cream cheese.
• Local 44: West Philly beer bar Local 44 serves brunch on weekends that includes a fried-egg-topped burger. No matter what you order, you can wash it down with any of the 500+ bottles in the Local 44 beer bottle shop.
• Green Line Cafe: Owned by an artist and her brother-in-law, all the Green Line locations serve only organic, free trade-certified coffee and locally sourced sodas and food. Plus, the artwork on the walls changes frequently and is always for sale. For brunching, the cafe
• Kaffa Crossing: Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Habtamu Kassa took over this African coffee shop in part to promote fair trade and awareness about Ethiopia’s blessings and challenges. As such, he prepares light East African fare to go along with his Ethiopian roasts.
• The Food Trust Farmers’ Markets: As purveyors of farm-fresh food, The Food Trust Farmers’ Markets are excellent destinations for weekend grazing, with locations across the region. Open year-round every Saturday, the Clark Park market in Spruce Hill delivers grab-and-go foodstuffs from vendors and food trucks.
Beyond Center City
• Trolley Car Diner: In lovely Mt. Airy, the uber-charming Trolley Car Diner sits right on Germantown Avenue and beckons with daily served-all-day breakfast offerings. It’s a gimme to head here for weekend meals, too, which could include malted Belgian waffles, homemade corned beef hash or cornmeal-dusted catfish with cheesy grits. A trip to the Trolley Car wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the adjacent converted 1948 trolley car for ice cream or water ice.
• Avenida: Housed in a charming Mt. Airy home that was built in the 1700s, Avenida offers a fabulous Sunday brunch. Mexican specialties rule the menu here, so go for chilaquiles or the huevos rancheros tostadas.
• Terrain Garden Cafe: In Glen Mills, Pa., home-and-garden mecca Terrain houses an enchanting farm-to-table cafe. Dine on fluffy goat cheese omelets or blueberry buttermilk pancakes in the plant-adorned greenhouse or the airy lodge dining room.
• Cake: Set in the Robertson’s Flowers’ beautiful solarium, Cake offers a Sunday brunch that’s unrivaled for its sunny, family-friendly atmosphere, smoked salmon and gold dill potato latke plates, brunch pizza and to-die-for baked goods.