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.
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.
You’ll generally wait at least 30 minutes in line just to order on the weekend at K’far. Unless you can grab a seat at the counter, where you’ll get immediate service. But even if you do have to wait in line and take a number to get your order, you should know you’re about to have some of the best breakfast food in the city. With thick, buttery kubaneh toasts topped with whipped brown sugar ricotta, egg sandwiches on crispy Jerusalem bagels, and a whole lot of delicious pastries, there’s not much here we wouldn’t recommend.
When you’re craving a breakfast that’ll last you until 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 you want to have brunch somewhere with big tables and bottomless pitchers of mimosas, don’t come to Middle Child. However, if you’re looking for the best breakfast sandwich in the city, then you’re in the right place. Middle Child is a small, counter-service deli in Washington Square West, and on the weekends there’s usually about a 30-minute wait. But the Herschel Waker sandwich, with fluffy eggs, American cheese, and short-rib corned beef, is worth the line.
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 when it’s nice out. 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.
Sometimes you wake up on a Sunday morning ready to fill the last day of your weekend with activities. Other times, you want Jerry’s. This Northern Liberties spot is where you come when you’ve got a hangover, or when you want to distract yourself from the Eagles game with a sticky bun and a short rib omelette. They do all the classic breakfast drinks and have a ton of beers on tap as well, just in case you want to keep the party going.
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 omelettes and French toast. 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.
Renata’s Kitchen is our favorite West Philly brunch spot. The Mediterranean BYOB serves brunch all day, every day with a menu that ranges from a croissant and crumb cake filled pastry basket to omelettes to salads and falafel wraps. No matter who you’re here with or how much you drank the night before, it’s the kind of place that has something for anyone.
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.
When it’s nice outside, there’s no better place to eat breakfast than on Front Street Cafe’s back patio. And even when it’s not nice out, there still aren’t many better places to have brunch in the city. From 11am to 3pm on weekends, they serve everything from chicken and waffle bites to white chocolate cream-stuffed French toast. If you’re looking for something kind of healthy, they also do solid acai bowls and quinoa oat porridge topped with apple compote.
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.
Ants Pants, an all-day Australian cafe that has locations in Graduate Hospital and Queen Village, is one of the few places in the city where you can actually order vegemite. If that’s not a selling point, they also have a full breakfast and lunch menu seven days a week, with things like brie-stuffed French toast and Italian sausage-potato hash. If you want to get brunch on a random Tuesday morning, this is one of your best bets.
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.
During the week, Dutch spot Winkel serves its entire breakfast menu a la carte - with things like shakshuka, fried French toast, and a rabbit frittata. On the weekend, though, they do a $25 pre-fixe brunch where you can bring your own champagne (they’ll supply the OJ). You’ll get grilled bread and jam, as much coffee or tea as you’d like, and your choice of entree from their weekday menu.
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 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 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 - our favorites are the biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and shrimp and grits. 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.