Whether you plan your entire weekend around where you’re going for brunch, or shake your head every time a friend suggests you wait an hour for some amalgam of bread, cheese, and eggs at the new place in Rittenhouse, brunch in Philadelphia is inescapable. So, if you’re ready to dedicate an afternoon to mimosas and more hollandaise than is ever necessary, or want to make this breakfast-lunch hybrid as quick and painless as possible, these are the best spots to go to.
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Head to Cafe Lift on a Saturday morning and you’ll encounter a lot of people still feeling the effects of Friday night, waiting anxiously for a plate of cannoli French toast. But if your office is closed for the day, or you’ve decided to call in “sick”, there’s nowhere better to take advantage of the rare weekday brunch. They serve breakfast food every day until 3pm - especially important to note since they’re also BYO.
When you’re craving a breakfast that’ll last you to dinner, and don’t want to be the only one at brunch in scrubs, head to Honey’s for latkes and their signature “Honey Cristo,” made with challah French toast and ham. This place is cash-only and doesn’t take reservations, so expect to wait on the weekends. But they are BYOB, so if you’re worried, you can always bring an extra bottle of something.
If your only experience with a brunch buffet is that time your grandma took you to Atlantic City, starting a morning at Harp & Crown will be a lot. For $28 a person, you get access to a mini-donut wall (with DIY toppings), infinite smoked salmon, and a prime rib carving station, along with everything else you’d want. For $15 more, you can add on drinks, too.
Cafe La Maude kind of looks like a French bistro and has a few tables outside for the days when you won’t be sweating or shivering while eating amongst the elements. The menu leans Lebanese and Mediterranean with everything from green shakshuka to a petit steak and eggs. It’s BYOB and they don’t take reservations, but there’s a plant shop next door that you can explore while you wait.
With one of the few truly bottomless brunches in the city, Veda’s Masala egg roast and kathi rolls are a nice change of pace from the omelettes and French toast you alternate between each week. Plus, the goat cheese naan really helps balance out the not-so-strong mimosas you’ll be drinking all morning. They take reservations, so get some friends together and use Veda as your starting point for a day out in Rittenhouse.
No matter the weekend or the weather, Day by Day always seems to have a line. They’re only open from 9:30am to 2:30pm, so the window for brunch is a little tighter than some other spots in the city. They also don’t take reservations, but they do have very friendly service, a rotating assortment of stuffed French toasts, and potato pancakes with smoked salmon. Stick with the more classic American brunch dishes and skip the huevos rancheros for once.
There are mornings you feel invincible. You know, meditation at sunrise, early morning yoga, post-class juice. And then there are mornings where the only thing you want is a plate of cheesy eggs and potatoes, served with a side of more fried things. On mornings like this, Sam’s is here for you. This Bella Vista institution has been around for more than two decades, and though it’s nothing fancy on the outside, the service and food are consistently great. Just don’t schedule any plans for afterwards, unless those plans include a nap.
The Dutch is the little neighborhood breakfast spot that everyone wishes they had around the corner from where they live. They serve brunch Tuesday through Sunday until 3pm with everything from a Dutch baby and omelettes to a very solid Reuben. Come by during the week to avoid a long wait, or stop by Grindcore House down the street to get a coffee in the meantime.
Scrolling through your stories the morning after a night out, you might have a few regrets. But as someone probably once said, “There’s no better cure for a pounding headache than pho from a strip mall.” Ok, maybe we’re the ones who said that, but it’s only because each of us has walked into Nam Phuong a mess and walked out a fully functioning human being an hour later. The Vietnamese coffee is strong and everything on the menu seems to have a restorative effect, but especially the pho.
Suraya is a good choice basically any day or time, but there’s something especially nice about coming here in the morning. It could be the smell of chai and cardamom kouign-amann, or the backyard courtyard, but either way, this is one of our favorite brunch places in Fishtown. Order the shish taouk kebab plate - complete with hummus, spiced french fries, tabbouleh, and pita. And in case you’re a planner, they do take reservations.
If you live or work in Fishtown, you’ve probably noticed that there are at least 10 coffee shops, but only one or two spots to grab an actual breakfast. Over Easy Breakfast Club is here to fix that - at least Friday through Sunday when they’re open. This bright and airy spot has a long bar and plenty of tables where you can sit, drink coffee, and be glad you’re not at home trying to figure out how to make a frittata. If you’re looking for something savory, the lox and breakfast sandwich are solid bets, but make sure to get some of the pancakes with walnut honey butter for the table.
When you’re training for your first marathon, your hunger sometimes feels like those last 6.2 miles - never ending. But when you’re looking for fuel after a long run, Little Spoon is so much better than Gatorade and peanut butter toast. Their menu, very intentionally split into sweet and savory plates, is ideal for sharing. The chilaquiles are practically breakfast nachos, the reuben hash is unmissable, and you’ll be sorry if you don’t get at least one buttermilk pancake for the table.
After your parents spend the whole morning taking dozens of photos of you in front of the Liberty Bell, you’re probably going to be hungry. High Street on Market is part restaurant and part bakery, and they serve coffee from Rival Brothers. Come for the breakfast sandwiches and pastries, as well as the Old Bay potatoes that put standard hash browns to shame. The service is attentive, if not terribly fast, but you could probably use a break before the guided tour of the Betsy Ross House.
When you’re looking to bring a date to a trendy neighborhood spot that makes you look cooler than you are, head to Hungry Pigeon in Queen Village. The menu will be a little different anytime you come here, but dishes like their seasonal Dutch baby and the house-made chicken sausage are two of the best things you can eat for brunch in Philly. And if you’re on the fence about the bread basket, trust us and order it - life’s short and the sticky bun is good.
When you’re not a mimosa or Bloody Mary fan, sometimes brunch can be a bit lonely. Find your people at Hawthornes, a beer cafe with a laid-back weekend brunch that’s hearty and fast. The portions are big, and so is the beer menu. If you’d rather have brunch at home, you can get most of the brunch dishes and a six-pack of beer to-go.
Heritage has live bluegrass every Sunday from 12-3pm, and the menu is full of Southern classics to stick to the theme. Biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and shrimp & grits are some of our favorite dishes here, and they take reservations, so you can introduce your friends to their affordable Bloody Marys and their new favorite Sunday tradition all at once.
For you, it’s not brunch without a side of smoked fish and a bagel topped with a dollop of cream cheese the size of your fist. For the closest thing to New York without any bridges or tunnels required, Queen Village’s Famous 4th Street Deli is your best bet. They don’t take reservations, but there’s no one else in town stacking corned beef higher or smearing cream cheese thicker.
Leave it to a West Philly beer bar to serve up some of the best vegetarian and vegan brunch options in the city. Local 44 has always been one of our favorite places to seek out rare craft brews, but when we realized their mushroom scrapple tasted better than the pork version, we never looked back. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, the brunch BLT with sriracha mayo and the full English breakfast are two good choices.
Yes, Saint Benjamin is a brewery, but they also do one of the best bottomless brunches around. For $25, you get to choose an entree and unlimited mimosas or Bloody Marys, which includes options like Old Bay vodka, a bacon garnish, or spicy kimchi, and mimosas can be made with an assortment of juices.