The Philly Weekday Breakfast Guide

This one is for the brunch naysayers, the early risers, the champions of the most important meal of the day.

An Austin-style breakfast taco at Taco Heart on East Passyunk Avenue is one of the morning foods you should be planning your week around. / Photograph provided by Taco Heart

Welcome to a list dedicated to the hard-working, weekday morning breakfasts of Philadelphia. We’re talking about the kind of places that will kickstart your day with Honduran tamales, an egg sandwich with all the fixings, or sweet tofu doused in ginger syrup.

Consider these Philly breakfast options the next time you need a stick-to-your-ribs diner plate, a quick and reliable place to host a morning meeting, or a solo meal that feels more special than what you normally do at 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.

The Breakfast Den
The Breakfast Den is the sort of lovable morning spot you’ll wish was in your neighborhood. The Vietnamese American breakfast menu ranges from chocolate-chip pancakes to chao ga made with chicken broth-enriched rice porridge to a sausage-and-egg bánh mì. 1500 South Street.

Tamalex Restaurant
Tamalex gets a lot of (deserved) fanfare for their weekend-only Mexican tamales. But even if you don’t make it in time for those bad boys — or simply want to eat a non-cereal breakfast on a Wednesday — their Honduran-style tamales are also exceptional. These come wrapped in banana leaves and they’re moist enough to sort of melt away as you chew. If you’re looking for something decidedly hearty, go for the baleadas made with a thick flour tortilla wrapped around eggs, beans and avocado. Bring cash or pay with Venmo. 1163 South 7th Street.

Dodo Bakery
If you assume you can only get fresh Hong Kong-style baked goods in Chinatown, think again. Stop by Dodo Bakery for char siu bao, perfect egg tarts and Chinese sausage buns, and keep coming back for the ever-changing specials. 2653 South 11th Street.

Cafe y Chocolate
Even the world’s elite breakfast foods can’t compete with chilaquiles. If you relate to this sentiment, escort yourself to Cafe y Chocolate in South Philly and eat a pile of semi-softened chips with crisp edges covered in homemade red or green salsas, plenty of cheese, and fried eggs. Each plate comes with a side of beans and rice and goes well with a fresh-squeezed juice or Mexican coffee. 1532 Snyder Avenue.

Alif Brew & Mini Mart
In case you’re someone who chooses dining experiences based on the coffee you can drink with your food, you’ll like Alif Brew. This cafe and market in West Philly brews Ethiopian beans into strong cups, perfect for pairing with foul medames and shredded injera soaked with spicy sauce. And it’s a great place to set up with a laptop. 4501 Baltimore Avenue.

Pho 75
This is a reminder that although Philadelphians consume a lot of lunch-and-dinner pho, the noodle soup is most commonly eaten for breakfast in Vietnam. As such, Pho 75 is perfect in the mornings: they open at 9 a.m. every day of the week and the quick service and strong coffee are both ideal at that hour. 1122 Washington Avenue.

Honeysuckle Provisions
Honeysuckle is the place for dishes you’ll crave on otherwise boring weekday mornings, like a plantain cake, breakfast hot pockets, a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich on homemade Sonoran white bread with hand-milled peanut butter, apple butter and freshly sliced apples, or a breakfast sandwich with maple sausage and Cooper sharp. There’s no seating inside the cafe, but you can take your goodies on a walk to Malcolm X park on nice days. 310 South 48th Street.

A spread of bagels and latkes at Famous Fourth Street in Queen Village. / Photograph courtesy of Famous 4th Street Deli

Famous 4th Street Delicatessen
This Jewish deli has been serving the neighborhood matzoh brei and pastrami and eggs since 1923. If you haven’t been there yet, what are you waiting for? 700 South 4th Street.

Rely on this Fishtown spot for your basic egg and pancake situations done better than the average American breakfast joint — all in a neighborhood diner environment that draws people to drive across the city just for the chance to hang in a booth. 632 East Girard Avenue.

High Street Philly
You already know about the quality of the bread at High Street. At breakfast, these very good baked goods form the base of a menu of sandwiches (get the Forager with scrambled eggs, pickled mushrooms, Swiss and kale) and toasts. Make sure to throw in some fried potatoes dusted in Old Bay for balance, of course. 101 South 9th Street.

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House
Sweet or savory tofu (with ginger syrup or dried shrimp and fermented chile paste, respectively), fried dough with warm soy milk, egg tarts, pork buns, taro cakes. What else could you possibly want or need at 7:30 a.m. when you’re trying to find a good takeout breakfast option that’s ten minutes away from the middle of the city? 112 North 10th Street.

Miller’s Twist
Soft pretzels don’t necessarily scream “breakfast.” But this famous RTM spot makes breakfast wrap-ups that are perhaps the most classic Philly option you can dream of: a soft, buttery pretzel wrapped around your choice of fillings, from eggs and bacon to turkey sausage and cheese. 51 North 12th Street.

Middle Child
Both Middle Child locations offer their beloved fluffy-egged breakfast sandwich (with corned beef piled high, and super-crisp hash brown). If you want to have a sit-down breakfast and get some work done, Clubhouse is your spot: They have ample space, wifi, and serve a longer breakfast menu of dishes like bagels with lox, biscuits and mushroom gravy, and a yogurt bowl. But the original location feels especially cozy for a breakfast hang on a weekday with a friend. 248 South 11th Street; 1232 North Front Street.

Mighty Bread
Any place that makes a kale salad just as well as it does a twice-baked croissant —which also happens to be just as perfect as their tall, custardy quiche — is a place worth visiting again and again. The point is there’s simply no bad order at Mighty Bread. Grab a sunny table for a breakfast date or get some work done while you eat. 1211 Gerritt Street.

Guardhouse Café
Guardhouse is the place to visit when you’re tired of your classic breakfast routine. They make everything from spinach-feta cigars wrapped in crisp phyllo dough to a smoked-oyster-mushroom sandwich that plays on a BLT. The brick-lined space has plenty of room for you to hang while you munch. 2275 Bridge Street, building 101.

Taco Heart
If you haven’t been to this Austin-style breakfast taco place yet, here are two pieces of advice: order ahead, and make sure you pick up a bags of flour tortillas while you’re there. These chewy tortilla frisbees are perfect — as are the migas tacos, which come stuffed with slightly-soft, slightly-crispy chips, scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, and avocado. 1001 East Passyunk Avenue.

Tierra Colombiana / Photograph by Casey Robinson

Tierra Colombiana
Tierra Colombiana opens at 8 a.m. every day serving a huge breakfast menu that ranges from pancakes and oatmeal to Cubanos, arepas and gallo pinto. The North Philly Latin institution also happen to serve $28 carafes of mimosas every single day, just in case that’s how your morning is going. 4535 North 5th Street

M Kee
Another great option for Cantonese breakfast is M Kee. Here you can sit and fill your table with chiang fun with shrimp, pork congee with preserved egg, homemade soy milk — all starting at 8 a.m. Go once and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been going longer. 1002 Race Street.

Cafe La Maude
French-Middle Eastern breakfast in what feels like a classy cafe. Or a movie about a classy cafe. Cafe La Maude is basically a breakfast-all-day, every-day kind of operation offering well-made croques madame, foul moudamas, and pretty much anything else you can dream of at 8:30 a.m. on a Thursday. 816 North 4th Street.

The newest addition to Giuseppe and Son’s on Sansom is that the street-level floor is now dedicated to modern interpretations of Jewish deli staples. You can stop in for takeout or sit at one of the tables with a group and order omelets or challah French toast. 1523 Sansom Street.

Most people think of Eeva exclusively as a pizza spot, and that is categorically incorrect. This Kensington bread emporium also happens to be open daily at 8 a.m. with breakfast sandwiches served on homemade bagels, plus pastries like morning buns, sourdough coffee cake and scones. The sunny space is great for spending a few minutes communing with a nice, puffy little bagel. 310 Master Street.

Walnut Street Café
If you need a fancier spot for a breakfast meeting with your boss or someone you’re trying to impress, Walnut Street Café has the elevated set-up you’re looking for. You’ll be seated at a table where you can fold your napkin over your lap and daintily chow down on soft-boiled eggs or a bowl of oatmeal with dried berries. The added bonus? The food is better than what you find at most corporate breakfast spots. 2929 Walnut Street.