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Philadelphia's Brunch Scene Goes Global
Philly’s Many Great Brunch Spots Offer Classic-To-International Meals
Some of the country’s best brunches take place in Philadelphia, a city that begins its culinary pioneering at the earliest of hours—and doesn’t stop until late afternoon. Philly’s traditional, weekend breakfast-meets-lunch game is strong, thanks to line-out-the-door spots such as Sam’s Morning Glory Diner, Sabrina’s and Honey’s Sit ’N Eat. But more and more, the brunch menu has gone global. Popular right now: sweet bao and kimchi Bloody Marys (Bing Bing Dim Sum), bologna eggs Benedict and baby pancakes (The Dutch), huevos rancheros and scrapple-stuffed tortas (Mission Taqueria), lobster frittatas (Fork) and vegan Monte Cristos (The Tasty). Here’s a look at some of the region’s best brunch options:
- Café Lift does brunch all day, every day. The sleek Callowhill spot specializes in European-style delicacies like a banana and chocolate hazelnut crespelle; fried egg panino with crispy pork belly, local greens, hot mayo and sharp provolone; and a sausage and Brussels sprouts frittata. 428 N. 13th Street, (215) 922-3031, cafelift.com
- Cake resides in in Robertson’s Flowers’ solarium and offers a brunch that’s unrivaled for its sunny, family-friendly atmosphere. Menu items include smoked salmon and potato pancakes, breakfast pizza and yummy baked goods. 8501 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-6887, cakeofchestnuthill.com
- Cousins Grubhouse serves hearty fare with a quirky edge. The South Philly newcomer keeps surprising customers with items like the Elvis Melt, bacon-wrapped jalapeño tater tots and baconcakes—pancakes bacon pieces in the batter, griddled in bacon fat and topped with bacon strips. 2340 S. Hemberger Street, (215) 334-3525
- The Dutch draws on Pennsylvania German and Northern European flavors for a singular approach to chow. The menu covers ring bologna eggs Benedict, Dutch baby pancakes that are both sweet and savory and a house-smoked fish platter. 1527 S. 4th Street, (215) 755-5600, thedutchphilly.com
- Green Eggs Cafe specializes in eco-conscious eats with local and sustainable ingredients. On the menu: quinoa porridge with fresh berries, crème brûlée French toast and scrambled eggs over homemade biscuits with sausage gravy. 1306 Dickinson Street, (215) 226-3447; 719 N. 2nd Street, (215) 922-3447; 212 S. 13th Street, (267) 861-0314, greeneggscafe.net\
- Honey’s Sit ’N Eat boasts two homey hipster hideaways—one in in Northern Liberties and another in Graduate Hospital. The charm here is the fusion of Southern and Jewish fare: chicken-fried steak, fresh biscuits and giant crispy latkes. 800 N. 4th Street, (215) 925-1150;
2101 South Street, (215) 732-5130, honeyssitneat.com
- Market Street Grill attracts a following for the first meal of the day. This downtown West Chester mainstay is known for Kennett Square mushroom omelets and brown sugar-cinnamon swirl French toast stuffed with cream cheese and a selection of fruits. 6 W. Market Street, West Chester, (610) 429-5328, marketstgrillwc.com
- On Point threads the needle between refined and casual in Point Breeze. The spread includes a charcuterie plate and breakfast nachos, fresh corn pancakes and fried chicken and waffles, confit potatoes and cheesesteak omelets. 1200 Point Breeze Avenue, (267) 639-3318, onpointbistro.com
- Sabrina’s Café boasts four Philly-area outposts (in Bella Vista, Fairmount, Powelton Village and Wynnewood) and redefines brunch with creative dazzlers like a blue-cheese frittata, polenta fries and thick slices of French toast stuffed with all manner of sweets. Of course, there’s the always-outrageous lineup of specials as well. 910 Christian Street, (215) 574-1599; 1804 Callowhill Street, (215) 636-9061; 227 N. 34th Street, (215) 222-1022, 50 E. Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, (484) 412-8790, sabrinascafe.com
- Sam’s Morning Glory Diner knows full well that a line out the door never lies. MoGlo is a favorite for its homemade ketchup and creative pancake specials served with a side of hot biscuits and greasy-spoon attitude. 735 S. 10th Street, (215) 413-3999, themorningglorydiner.com
- The Tasty reimagines the old-school diner as a vegan haven. The simple, hearty food emphasizes classic ingredients like “egg” sandwiches, waffles (with or without chik’n) and even ham-free Monte Cristos. 1401 S. 12th Street, (267) 457-5670, thetastyphilly.com
An International Affair:
- Alla Spina showcases chef Marc Vetri’s genius in brunch form: There are apple-pie pancakes with cider syrup; an Italian breakfast with sausage, pork belly and egg; and fried chicken and waffles. Diners wash down the delightful fare with seasonal Bellinis and the house Bloody Marys. 1410 Mt. Vernon Street, (215) 600-0017, allaspinaphilly.com
- Ants Pants Café pours Australian-style coffees to accompany “brekkie platters” of eggs, Brie-stuffed apricot French toast and vegetarian sweet potato hash at the South Street favorite. 2212 South Street, (215) 875-8002, antspantscafe.com
- ApricotStone transforms the flavors of the Middle East and Mediterranean into a fresh and delicious start to the day. The $20 prix-fixe menu encompasses five courses that include mamounia (semolina pudding), breads, falafel salad and pastry. 1040 N. 2nd Street, (267) 606-6596, apricotstonephilly.com
- Bing Bing Dim Sum has become synonymous with good times, and the South Philly eatery now serves brunch. In addition to the regular à la carte menu of whimsically reimagined noodles, dumplings and buns, the kitchen offers specials like fried sweet bao, turnip matzo cake and kimchi Bloody Marys. 1648 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 279-7702, bingbingdimsum.com
- Café Ynez serves modern Mexican brunches of breakfast nachos, pollo enchiladas with fried egg and a daily brioche French toast with seasonal toppings. 2025 Washington Avenue, (215) 278-7579, cafeynez.com
- Chaat and Chai’s Indian menu invites guests to tuck into dishes of bhel puri, Kerala beef short ribs and butternut squash lentil curry during morning hours. The addition of hot chai and Backyard Beans coffee makes the South Philly eatery truly brunch worthy. 1532 Snyder Avenue, (215) 271-1253, chaatandchai.com
- Ida Mae’s Bruncherie is known for its sunny rooms and one of the city’s only traditional Irish breakfasts with rashers, beans, pudding and potato bread. 2302 E. Norris Street, (267) 259-6493
- Kanella brings the flavors of Cyprus to Queen Village. The brunch menu features delicious goodies like crepes stuffed with manouri cheese and drizzled with carob syrup, eggs stewed in tomato and pepper with grilled bread, and baked duck egg over flatbread with labneh and hazelnuts. 757 S. Front Street, (215) 644-8949
- Mission Taqueria keeps brunch breezy and casual. The contemporary Mexican offerings—a torta with scrapple, eggs and chipotle mayo; huevos rancheros; and plantain empanadas—can be paired with green-juice margaritas, hibiscus agua fresca or horchata. 1516 Sansom Street, (215) 383-1200, missiontaqueria.com
- Mixto turns Sunday into a celebration. The Cuban/Columbian hotspot on Pine Street’s Antique Row does breakfasts of Argentinean steak and eggs, frittata Colombiana and tostadas rancheras. 1141 Pine Street, (215) 592-0363, mixtorestaurante.com
- Neuf opens its cozy dining room early on Sundays. The French-North African specialties de maison might include ratatouille omelets, tajine, candied cherry-rosewater French toast or one of the five different shakshuka variants. 943 S. 9th Street, (215) 309-5847, neufphilly.com
- Noord’s bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) brunch might be the city’s only place to find smorrebrod (buttered dark rye with a variety of toppings). Omelets come stuffed with spiced crabmeat and dill sour cream; the French toast is deep fried and topped with strawberries; and the Bloody Marys can be flavored with pickled herring. 1048 Tasker Street, (267) 909-9704, noordphilly.com
- Porto, South Philly’s diminutive brunch spot, executes big flavors loosely drawn from Portuguese cuisine. Patrons choose from bacalhau cakes over linguiça and black olive hash and a braised onion egg scramble with farmer’s cheese, among many other options. 1301 S. 11th Street, (267) 928-3956
- Rex 1516 is a down-home brunch affair, thanks to generous plates of creamed chipped brisket over sourdough, shrimp and grits with crispy pork belly, and chicken and waffles Benedict that celebrate the spirit of the South. 1516 South Street, (267) 319-1366, rex1516.com
- Sate Kampar shares a Malaysian approach to morning eating. Expect nasi lamak bungkus (coconut rice packet with eggs, peanuts and anchovy); vermicelli with omelet strips and a tempting variety of milk teas and coffees. 1837 Passyunk Avenue, (267) 324-3860, facebook.com/satekampar
- Southgate’s mashup of Korean and American traditions nets excellent results on Sundays. Plates small (kimchi deviled eggs; grilled Spam with hollandaise) and large (Korean fried chicken and waffles; panko-breaded burger with gochujang aioli) pair with soju, pear and prosecco cocktails. 1801 Lombard Street, (215) 560-8443, southgatephilly.com
- Spring Mill Café specializes in classic French cuisine, served in a rustic-chic setting. Delicate yet filling, the menu includes smoked trout Lyonnaise salad, brioche with jam and locally sourced farm-egg omelets. 164 Barren Hill Road, Conshohocken, (610) 828-2550, springmill.com
- SuGa demonstrates chef/owner Susanna Foo’s inimitable approach to Chinese cookery. The Sunday menu starts with lobster spring rolls and wild mushroom dumplings with truffle emulsion and ends with bacon fried rice and house-cured ginger salmon on scallion pancake. 1720 Sansom Street, (215) 717-8968, sugabyfoo.com
- The Victoria Freehouse looks to the British Isles for culinary inspiration. At brunch time that means curried eggs with jasmine rice, bubble and squeak or a full English breakfast. Add a Pimm’s Cup to round out the meal. 10 S. Front Street, (215) 543-6089, victoriafreehouse.com
Fresh & Local Brunch:
- Bank & Bourbon, nestled in the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, brings its own spin to the farm-to-table trend by combining surprising flavors. The seasonal brunch menu could include a ham tasting with goat butter and bread; corned beef hash and eggs with long hots; and blueberry sour cream pancakes. 1200 Market Street, (215) 231-7300, bankandbourbon.com
- High Street on Market, no longer merely Fork’s next-door sibling, has become Old City’s go-to spot for seasonal and inspired quick-service meals. Early eaters are treated to egg, kale and mushroom sandwiches; apple cider fritters; and beet-cured salmon on an artisan bagel. 308 Market Street, (215) 625-0988, highstreetonmarket.com
- Russet serves brunch on both Saturday and Sunday to please its locavore diners. The ever-changing menu might include roasted beet salad with cranberry vinaigrette; mushroom and ricotta omelet and cherry hazelnut granola. 1521 Spruce Street, (215) 546-1521, russetphilly.com
- Talula’s Daily stocks its pantry shelves with the makings of a quickly served but carefully
crafted morning meal: fresh-baked breads, pastries and granola, expertly pulled espresso shots, organic juices and more. That means there’s time for a little shopping in the market too. 208 W. Washington Square, (215) 592-6555, talulasdaily.com
- Tela’s Market and Kitchen is open daily for breakfast and makes a fine place for a casual meal. On the menu are Irish oatmeal with dried fruit, buttermilk pancakes and a breakfast burrito with potato chorizo hash and salsa roja. 1833 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 235-0170, telasmarket.com
- Urban Farmer keeps the focus on sustainable yet satisfying victuals during brunch hours. Among the choices: blue crab omelet with béarnaise, shaved ham Benedict, duck hash with sunnyside up duck egg and the farm burger with white cheddar. 1850 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 963-2788, urbanfarmerphiladelphia.com
- Ela, helmed by chef Jason Cichonski, never delivers anything less than inventive cookery, and its brunch is one of the most creative around. Breakfast gnocchi with coodled egg and crispy potato skins, Belgian waffle with brown butter ice cream and smoked rye Bloody Marys are some of the menu highlights here. 627 S. 3rd Street, (267) 687-8512, elaphilly.com
- Fork’s seasonal New American cooking features roasted mushrooms and kale over polenta, house-baked pastries and breads, house-smoked fish and bagels, seafood selections and a lobster frittata for two. 306 Market Street, (215) 625-9425, forkrestaurant.com
- Lacroix, in the tony Rittenhouse hotel, serves a filling Sunday brunch prix-fixe menu ($75 per person) featuring hors d’oeuvres (sunchoke custard, pork bao slider, bagel chips with butternut cream cheese), raw-bar specialties, signature entrees (carrot bread French toast with roasted pineapple), salads, charcuterie, a carving station and wine pairings. A decadent dessert table rounds out the offerings. 210 Rittenhouse Square, (215) 546-9000, lacroixrestaurant.com
- The Moshulu lets landlubbers hop aboard the for a buffet Sunday brunch on the water for $39 per person. The three-course menu includes dishes like smoked salmon carpaccio, buttermilk fried chicken over malted waffle and shrimp and blue crab enchiladas, plus a heaping buffet of desserts. 401 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 923-2500, moshulu.com
- Nineteen (XIX)’s morning buffet atop the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue begins with continental pastries, fruit and smoked meats and fish, continues with egg and waffle entrees and concludes with an array of miniature desserts. The whole meal costs $38 per person. Broad & Walnut Streets, (215) 790-1919, hyatt.com/gallery/nineteen
- The Olde Bar, Jose Garces’ ode to seafood houses of yore, brings retro glamour to Philly’s brunch scene. The Society Hill eatery serves up chicken salad with fried oysters, shrimp omelets with newberg sauce and a voluptuous bounty of shellfish, along with Caesar Bloody Marys with clam juice. 125 Walnut Street, (215) 253-3777, theoldebar.com
- Wm. Mulherin’s Sons redefines Italian cooking on a daily basis, including Sundays. The doughnut egg sandwich with ham and fontina, eggs on volcano (spicy tomato sauce and polenta) and mushroom truffle pizza with Burrata befit the beautifully appointed midcentury modern decor and expertly crafted cocktails. 1355 N. Front Street, (215) 291-1355, wmmulherinssons.com
- Bud & Marilyn’s recognizes the need for old-fashioned American indulgence with items like almond-coconut-chocolate French toast, shareable cinnamon rolls and hot chicken biscuit sandwiches. The cocktails (grapefruit mimosa with St. Germain; smoked Bloody Marys) hold up their end of the deal too. 13th & Locust Streets, (215) 546-2220, budandmarilyns.com
- The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar and its sibling The Continental Mid-town help nighttime revelers keep the party going with huevos rancheros or a turkey club with caramelized apple mayo—all of which can be accompanied by a bacon Bloody Mary or an espresso martini. 138 Market Street, (215) 923-6069, continentalmartinibar.com; 1801 Chestnut Street, (215) 567-1800; continentalmidtown.com
- Hungry Pigeon welcomes eaters any time of day with comforting food and a relaxing atmosphere. The Saturday and Sunday early service, with broccoli rabe and potato frittata, breakfast salad with hash browns and poached egg, and cider-rum-rooibos hot toddies makes a convivial start or end to a weekend jaunt. 743 S. 4th Street, (215) 278-2736, hungrypigeon.com
- Jerry’s Bar saves the morning after with a round of buffalo Bloody Marys and live jazz music in Northern Liberties. The convivial corner spot tempts with homemade scrapple and sausage, warm cream cheese sticky buns and fried chicken Benedict. 129 W. Laurel Street, (267) 273-1632, jerrysbarphilly.com
- The Little Lion adds southern-inspired comfort food to the Old City brunch scene. Think fried green tomatoes, stone-ground grits, fried chicken and cornbread hoecakes—guests can sip on yummy cocktails, all priced under $9. Options include raspberry sangria and the Peddler Buzz, made with cold-brew coffee, Irish whiskey, milk and vanilla syrup. 243 Chestnut Street, (267) 273-0688, thelittlelionphilly.com
- Sancho Pistolas not only accommodates mid-day eaters with a fantastic beer selection, but the Fishtown hang also offers a bracing hair of the dog solution. Entrées like chilaquiles verdes and smoked salmon Reuben can be washed down with margaritas, mimosas and Bloody Marys. 19 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 324-3530, sanchopistolas.com
- Silk City may look like a typical diner on the outside, but it serves up anything but standard brunch items in its dining room. And what better to go with smothered chicken and waffles, cider-braised pork belly hash or mac-and-cheese-stuffed corn muffins than one of their specialty brunch cocktails or a beer from the 35+ bottle and can list? 435 Spring Garden Street, (215) 592-8838, silkcityphilly.com
- Pub & Kitchen serves what is easily a contender for one of the city’s best Bloody Mary variants, but the spicy Wrangler is only one reason to visit. The menu of modern brunch fare (shakshuka, Dutch baby pancakes with mushroom conserve and ham- and fennel-spiked biscuits and gravy) is tempting enough on its own. 1946 Lombard Street, (215) 545-0350, thepubandkitchen.com
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On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
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