The 16 Best Breakfast Spots In Philly

It’s the most important meal of the day—do it right.
This is the crispy morty at Paffuto.

photo credit: GAB BONGHI

Whether you have the day off or want to catch up with friends before heading to the office, a good breakfast can set the bar for your day so high that dinner plans don’t even matter. Here are 16 places perfect for the most important meal of the day. 


photo credit: Emily Schindler



$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastCoffee & A Light BiteLunch
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Càphê Roasters is the weekday breakfast MVP. The Kensington cafe has everything from Vietnamese coffee (made from beans that they roast on-site) to breakfast sandwiches so good that you'll want to make this your official work-from-home location. Grab a frothy egg coffee, spicy potatoes, or crispy fried chicken bánh mì covered in a syrupy gochu glaze, and hang out at any of their long tables in the bright space. It’s an easygoing place to bring a big group of friends, but also works if you just want to have a solo meal and do some light reading. 

If breakfast for you means smoked fish and a bagel topped with a scoop of cream cheese the size of your fist, you should start your morning at Queen Village’s Famous 4th Street. The classic Jewish deli is typically packed, but you always have the option to take your challah french toast or pastrami special to go (all while making your deskmates jealous).



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This Afrocentric cafe and grocery is ideal for everything from a quick plantain cake for breakfast to a casual lunch of turkey hoagies on seeded housemade rolls. We prefer a mid-morning visit, when we can grab a ginger espresso and the decadent sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on a fluffy sweet potato english muffin. Other reasons to get here before noon are the soft cornmeal hot pocket packed with stewed collards, yamz bread, and other pastries that you’ll still be thinking about at bedtime. 

You’ll need both hands to hold Middle Child Clubhouse's mega-sized sandwiches, and the casual layout is perfect for getting work done or hanging out with friends while sipping on morning beet cocktails (and ignoring all responsibilities). We always get the breakfast burrito with pastrami as well as the fluffy pancakes, which are made with whole-grain flour milled by Lost Bread and then drenched in sweet citrus syrup with a pat of smiley-face-shaped butter on top.

South Philly’s Machine Shop Boulangerie is easy to find—just peep the line forming on the first floor of the Bok Building. This French-leaning bakery is only open Thursday through Sunday, but the apple and oat danishes, crispy-edged lemon tarts, and everything croissants stuffed with pistachio cream cheese are worth crossing the city on a weekend morning. Their strong suit is laminated dough, so follow the flakes when you order.

This Italian cafe in Bella Vista specializes in crispy fried panzerotti—including a very good breakfast version with scrambled egg and melty cooper sharp. And there's something about grabbing one on a day off or on a day when you told your boss your car "broke down" that makes them taste better. Grab a coffee or fresh orange juice to wash it down, as well as cream-filled maritozzi that will inspire you to make up a story for your boss the next day.

TBD The Breakfast Den, a cozy bohemian cafe at 15th and South, should really be called TVBD (The Vietnamese Breakfast Den). It’s not that the traditional American breakfast options are bad—the egg-and-cheese sammy and mini bacho cakes are pretty solid. But it’s the Vietnamese dishes that are the standouts. Sneak in during the week for crispy eggplant bánh mì and breakfast rice bowls, or take your chances amongst the masses on the weekends. The Thit Ko Hash—a mountain of tender pulled pork, jalapeño, melted cheddar, and two fried eggs—is worth the wait.

Philly didn't have much in the way of breakfast tacos. And that was sad for us. Then Taco Heart opened, serving little Austin-style marvels on puffy, homemade flour tortillas. Our favorite version is the Migas Maximus with scrambled egg, sausage, jalapeño, queso, avocado, and half-crunchy-half-soggy tortilla chips. Get a couple of those and load up on salsas. That's called a perfect Friday morning.

Café La Maude in Northern Liberties is one of the best places to spend a morning in Philly. This French-Lebanese BYOB serves everything from lemon ricotta pancakes topped with poached apples and caramel sauce to brisket huevos rancheros, and they do it seven days a week. On the weekend, you’ll likely spend at least 45 minutes waiting for a table, so come on a random Wednesday when you’re supposed to be at a “doctor's appointment” to avoid the lines.

Walking through Reading Terminal can be overwhelming, and you’ll probably find at least 20 different things sitting on display that you’ll immediately want to order for breakfast. But at Hershel’s, once you see the huge slabs of corned beef and pastrami behind the counter, there’s no way you’re walking away without a breakfast sandwich. That’s a good thing, though, because the pastrami, egg, and cheese is the best thing on the menu. The meat is tender, the eggs are gooey, and the toasty bread holds everything together nicely if you’re taking it on the go.

We get riled up just thinking about the quality of China Gourmet's steaming hot pork siu mai, crispy spring rolls, and bouncy sesame-coated buns. It’s the first place we recommend for dim sum in Philly, even if there’s a line on weekends. The massive space in the Northeast opens at 9:30am every day and could fit several family reunions at once. Bring a group on a Sunday and you’ll see kids pretending to be DJs while spinning Lazy Susans, overhear neighborhood gossip over lunch, and pop shrimp balls covered in golden strips of wontons that make each one look like a mound of hay.

Although its name sounds like bad food podcast, Northern Liberties’ Brunchaholics is pretty great. They make good sweet potato pancakes, french toast apple cobbler, and everyone sings along to Lauryn Hill between sips of lemonade. Plus, the place is open every day except for Monday. So you don't have to wait until the weekend to make the hard choice between crab, shrimp, and fried fish gumbo over grits or a cheesy short rib omelet large enough for three.

We often wake up wanting a bagel or bialy with as much puff as a small pillow. If you relate, head to Cleo Bagels. They bake classics like poppy, everything, and sesame that you can top with whitefish, house peanut butter, or scallion cream cheese. But it’s their signature sandwiches that really show off Cleo's tendency to go all mad scientist (in the best way). The Ramen Thing is our favorite of the combos. It layers marinated egg, pickled ginger, bamboo, togarashi mayo, seaweed crisps, and scallions, all on a bagel of your choice. Each bite is slightly sweet, salty, and has everything that makes a brothy bowl of ramen so great—but less messy.

Bring some friends to this Passyunk Square Mexican spot any day of the week for dulce de leche french toast, peppery chilaquiles, omelets big enough for three, and the sounds of Luis Miguel blasting through the speakers. The colorful BYOB can get packed but if you have to wait in line, the scent of sizzling peppers and cinnamon mascarpone cream will get you through. 

A trip to the Northeast’s Ritz Diner will result in some top-tier home fries and plenty of all-day breakfast options. If you can drag yourself past the cake displays, one of our favorite dishes here is the eggs benedict. The eggs are always firm with a perfectly gooey center, and come served over crispy Canadian bacon and home fries. Whether you order the fluffy pancakes or steak and eggs, once you’re tucked into a leather booth you’ll be glad you took the trip up the boulevard to eat here.

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The Best Brunch Spots In Philadelphia

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