Whether it’s an opportunity to extend Saturday night’s party by slamming rounds of Bloody Marys, or to finally catch up with people you actually like after a long workweek, brunch is a better mashup than anything DJ Earworm could have come up with. Provided you’re getting it at the right places - the kind of places actually worth leaving your bed at 11am on a Saturday for. These are those places. (And if you’re the kind of person who hates waiting an hour for eggs you could make at home in five minutes, we’ve noted the spots that take reservations.)
You’re in the Pacific Northwest, so the chances of lying out underneath a palm tree in the sand with a brunch cocktail and a bowl of granola are pretty slim. Stateside is probably as close as you’re going to get. The menu has some tropical things, like a coconut yogurt parfait with mango pudding and exotic fruits, as well as Vietnamese fusion dishes - from weekend-only braised beef pho potstickers to eggs benedict on a steamed and fried bao bun stuffed with Canadian bacon. It’s all stuff you never knew you how much you wanted, and the wait for brunch here isn’t nearly as excruciating as the wait for weekend dinner. The only thing missing is sand, and we’re OK with that.
You have to book your $60 Sunday brunch “experience” here online in advance, like a concert ticket, and you can even spring for a bouquet of flowers to hit the table before you arrive. Inside, it looks like a posh Arizonian desert spa, and the chef will cook your five-course paella brunch over a wood fire in the dining room. Consider yourself lucky if you get the “paella of the mountains,” which has slow-cooked duck, mushrooms, fava beans, and a touch of Catalan sorcery. If this wasn’t clear already, Tarsan i Jane is a pretty perfect spot for a morning date.
By night, Heyday is a neighborhood joint serving burgers, fries, and shakes. But by day (on the weekend, at least), it serves one of the best brunches in the city. There’s standard brunch stuff like pancakes and eggs, but the slightly more inventive options are our favorites - try the cornmeal johnnycakes with cheddar and scallions, or the pork belly barley bowl that sounds like a yawn waiting to happen but is tasty enough to get out of bed for.
Saint Helens is a laid-back French spot serving yogurt and granola, frittatas, benedicts made with housemade English muffins, and French standards like onion soup and croque madames. Keep it in mind for a casual date - and bonus points if you pregame your breakfast with a bike ride on the Burke-Gilman trail, which runs right behind the restaurant.
Dough Zone, an Eastside dumpling spot we love, is finally in Seattle - no more schlepping across the bridge for their delicious pork jian buns. This new location has cool artwork and large communal tables, and it’s great for a group dim sum brunch. Get potstickers, buns, and wontons, and wash it all down with Chinese tea.
If we had to choose between brunch at Porkchop & Co. and chartering a plane to fly us anywhere in the world, we would definitely take the plane, cruise above 10,000 feet, maybe have a ginger ale, and just turn around and go get brunch. In a sea of bougie Ballard brunches, Porkchop & Co. is not the place to go if you wanted to Instagram your granola with seasonal fruit. Porkchop & Co. is the place to corral five people you enjoy, smile at them across the table, and then not share your porchetta benedict or shakshouka or giant biscuit covered in cream. Get the poached eggs that are slow-cooked for an hour (something you clearly could not do at home in your underwear).
No matter your situation, be it a boozy bachelorette party on the patio, brother-in-law visiting with his family of five, or a quick refueling session with a friend, Bing’s is proof that planet-sized pancakes and bottomless mimosas will always do you right. Order the Cuban Benedict (ham, pork, caramelized fennel, peperoncini, poached eggs, english muffin, rosemary hollandaise, and love) chased with a few mimosas, and the world will seem like a better place - and it won’t just be the champagne talking. But it might be the pancakes and champagne talking.
If there ever was a brunch worth getting really painful sunburn on your shoulders for, it’s this one. Terra Plata’s rooftop garden and Spanish breakfast makes us slather on the aloe vera and do it all over again. It also makes eating potato chips (with white truffle salt and pecorino-chive creme fraiche) before 11am not only acceptable, but entirely necessary.
Biscuit Bitch is not the place to go for a brunch date, unless you’re okay with him or her seeing sausage gravy and biscuit crumbs and egg bits and euphoria all over your face. (They’d just never be able to give you that same kind of pleasure.) What it is the place for is getting all of the calories you need for the day in one excellent meal. Don’t miss the Bitchwich (a biscuit sandwich with fried egg, sausage or bacon, cheddar, and a spicy sauce) and by all means, do fork up the extra dollars to get that bitch smothered in gravy. If you feel the need to eat this on your couch, know that they run an excellent to-go operation.
If Frasier Crane lived in Seattle and were a real person, Lola is definitely where he would eat brunch with Niles and commit some kind of social faux pas. While it’s casual enough for a meal with your friends, it would also be the perfect place to bring your parents to meet your new significant other over some Mediterranean breakfast. Need to break the ice? Order the cinnamon doughnuts with vanilla bean mascarpone and fruit compote, and shove a whole one directly into your mouth.
There is no better brunch than a Southern food brunch. Eating at Witness feels like going to Southern brunch church, but you better show up at 9am if you want to avoid waiting for a table while hangrily muttering rude things. Everything on the menu is excellent, but the fried chicken and waffle with bourbon maple syrup is one of the best in the city, so if you don’t order it, you are a fool. Do not be a fool.
Varsity Inn is where you go to brunch with your crew when the mutual hangover strikes and dining in sweatpants and sunglasses and crocs is non-negotiable. When you need black coffee, two eggs over-easy with bacon, shredded hash browns, sourdough toast, and no attitude in order to survive the next hour of your life, that’s exactly what you get at Varsity Inn, and it’s perfect.
Skillet is the diner of 2017 - a place where mimosas come by the pitcher, cinnamon rolls are larger than your head, and you can get iced lattes in mason jars and upgraded versions of breakfast classics. No matter what you order, you’ll end up sticking your fork into your friend’s biscuits with sage gravy. So you probably just want to order them for yourself. Make a reservation for your people and you’ve already won Saturday morning.
Sometimes, you’re looking for a place where you can Instagram your lemon-ricotta pancake and prosciutto eggs benedict. If that’s your Saturday morning goal, there’s no better way to achieve it than at Tallulah’s. This place looks like a Pinterest fever dream, and more importantly - the food tastes even better than it looks.
If you have the stamina to put your name on the waitlist and hover at the host stand until a table’s ready at Oddfellows, you will be rewarded with charming bistro vibes and some ridiculously good soft-scrambled eggs with cheese and herbs. Also, most of the brunch dishes here come with a small salad, which automatically cancels any guilt about eating a planet-sized biscuit.
The Fat Hen is not the brunch spot to bring your whole crew, unless you enjoy waiting for an hour to sit down while staring at other people as they dive into their benedicts and home fries. There are only a few tables, so it’s the place to have a French press carafe and a homemade scone with a friend, or split a couple of baked egg skillets with a date. Despite being a small spot, the light and bright space never feels too claustrophobic.
If you’ve ever been to a New York diner and have been looking for the same greasy-spoon happiness in Seattle, Glo’s is your spirit brunch animal. It’s crowded on the weekends and the decor couldn’t be farther from white marble and hanging pendant lamps, but you’re in for a damn good breakfast. Show up when they open (or endure the eternal line), get some giant pancakes or a loaded omelette, and no matter what, order a side of the perfect crispy-crunchy hash browns. Oh, and you’re going to want a square of the homemade sour cream coffeecake, even if you have to take it to-go.
It’s a utility move, but if you’re organizing a brunch with nine of your friends who all have different dietary needs and preferences (and plot twist: someone’s bringing their kid) and you need to literally please everyone, Portage Bay will do you right. They source their ingredients locally, their menu is almost as extensive as The Cheesecake Factory’s, and with any order of pancakes or french toast comes a trip to the breakfast bar, which is the holy grail of sweet brunch toppings. You can also order this buffet by itself in case you just wanted a pile of whipped cream for breakfast--in which case, we salute you.