Brunch in Philadelphia: The Ultimate Guide

For some of us, brunch is the most important meal of the week. Here's a neighborhood-by-neighborhood list of where to find the best.

River Twice’s french toast | Photo provided

Updated: January 9th, 2020

Brunch in Philly has always been serious business.

This city has an almost Southern attitude toward that liminal, late-morning repast. It’s not just an extra service tacked onto the day or the weekend — not just some pancakes and eggs slopped out for the hungover masses with little concern for quality — but a measure of our character.

Brunch is a meal meant for lingering over. An excuse to gather with friends and family in places where we’ve been gathering for years or generations. An extra opportunity for joy in the form of waffles and bacon and egg sandwiches (and occasionally dim sum), or a mercy to those who need an excuse to drink before noon on a Sunday.

We wait in line for brunch. We plan in advance. Brunch menus in Philly can be works of art, filled with clever and creative international flavors. Or they can just be comforting soft landings after whatever it was we got up to on Saturday night. Whatever it is that you need out of a brunch, Philly has a place that’ll make it happen.

So let’s take a look at the best of them.

The Brunches You Must Try First

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Walnut Street Cafe | Facebook

K’Far Cafe, Center City
Any excuse to eat Camille Cogswell’s kubaneh toasts is good enough for me. 9 in the morning? Sure. 9 at night? Absolutely. K’Far is doing an all-day Israeli street food thing and the dinners are great, but the daylight offerings of stretched-out Jerusalem-style bagels, rugelach, babkas and borekas are amazing–as are the crowds sometimes. 110 South 19th Street

High Street on Market, Old City
High Street has toasts, egg sandwiches, and a few brunch classics. But all of it is elevated by the wonderful bread produced by the bakers in the back. 308 Market Street

Kanella Grill, Washington Square West
One of the things that people loved the most about the original Kanella was the weekend brunch. Now that it’s become Kanella Grill, the brunch is still the thing that people stand in line for. 1001 Spruce Street

River Twice, East Passyunk
If roasted oysters with uni butter or soft scrambled eggs with caviar sound like your version of a cool Sunday brunch, then this new, locally-focused spot right on the Square is perfect for you. 1601 East Passyunk Avenue

The Dutch, Pennsport
In a city so obsessed with brunch, it was only a matter of time before a restaurant opened that did nothing else — in this case, a spot by Fond’s Lee Styer with a menu fully dedicated to regional delicacies (ring bologna, Dutch babies, Lebanon bologna) that don’t get much play on other menus around town. 1527 South 4th Street

Parc, Rittenhouse Square
If there’s any place in Philly where people go to see and be seen, it’s Parc. In warmer weather, the patio seating is the prime viewing area. But no matter the weather (and no matter where you sit), it’s always been the classic French-American brunch menu that has drawn the biggest crowds. 227 South 18th Street

Walnut Street Cafe, University City
Walnut Street Cafe does one of the swankiest brunches in the city. Their baking team carries the show with amazing pastries and desserts, but the rest of the solidly American menu is almost as good. One tip though? The khachapuri sells out unless you get there early so, you know, get there early. 2929 Walnut Street

Honey’s Sit ‘N EatNorthern Liberties and Graduate Hospital
Honey’s has two locations — the original in Northern Liberties and this newer version in Center City — but both of them do the same thing: prove to everyone that brisket tacos, deep-fried cherry pie, and banana cream pie pancakes are really the final word when it comes to Jewish-Southern fusion.

Malvern Buttery, Malvern
This place has a cult following that’s kinda scary. I know people who go there every weekend, and I know others who’ve been once and just can’t stop talking about it. The food is uncomplicated. The menu is short. There are egg bowls, croissant tarts, scratch-made pastries, and a toast bar with homemade jams and butters. And while the toast bar in particular would fuel my obsession, everyone seems to find their own thing to fall in love with. 233 East King Street

The Best Brunch in Center City

breakfast sandwich philadelphia middle child

Middle Child | Photo by Michael Perisco

Dutch Eating Place
The Pennsylvania Dutch have forgotten more about brunch than most other cultures will ever know (screw you, France), and all of it is on display at this ridiculously busy, ridiculously cheap stand inside Reading Terminal Market. 51 North 12th Street

Harper’s Garden
From noon till 3 p.m. on weekends, you can get anything from smoked salmon tartine and spicy pork and potato hash to homemade custards, bloody Marys, and a serious French omelet (with black truffle and Saint Andres triple-creme cheese from Lacroix and Le Bec Fin alum Ben Moore. 31 South 18th Street

You know what’s rare in Center City? Indian restaurants. Know what’s even rarer? Indian brunch. But that’s exactly what Veda is offering now — a mix of chaat, kathi rolls, grilled breads, pickled vegetables. and shrimp amritsari soft tacos which sound just awesome: spiced shrimp, Indian wheat tortillas (actually phulka), kachumber (which is kinda like Indian salsa, only served like a salad), and a sweet chile aioli to top them. 1920 Chestnut Street

Double Knot
Yes, by night Double Knot is one of the best restaurants in the city. But it’s always been an all-day cafe kind of operation. Recently, they doubled-down with a weekend “Coffee Shop Brunch” with a buffet setup full of quiche, fruit, pastries, Vietnamese noodle salad, egg-and-cheese bao buns, and a long list of matcha drinks. 120 South 13th Street

Middle Child
Middle Child is new to the neighborhood, but they serve breakfast all day, every day. They’ve also got hand-rolled bagels, house-cured lox, and something called blintz toast on the menu, so we’re including them anyway. 248 South 11th Street

Winkel does a $25 Dutch-inspired prix fixe brunch on the weekends. They also have everything on the remarkable comprehensive menu available a la carte. So however you want to eat, you can get fresh, grilled bread with homemade seasonal jam, a roasted pear and brie omelet, rabbit frittata, savory pancakes with smoked sausage, apples and mustard butter or waffles topped with vinegar-braised beef and vegetables. Or, you know, just some bacon and eggs. 1119 Locust Street

Three words: Brunch tapas buffet. 1121 Walnut Street

The Best Brunch in Fairmount and Spring Arts

Cafe Lift | Facebook

Cafe Lift
Cafe Lift is a brunch specialist. It’s what they do, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., seven days a week. For more than 10 years now, they’ve been a worthy neighborhood favorite (and now there’s a second location in Narberth, too). 428 North 13th Street

Tela’s Market
Yes, Tela’s is a market where you can pick up locally-sourced supplies for cooking your own meals (or ready-made dishes for takeout). But there’s also a cafe inside, and that cafe serves buttermilk pancakes with Pennsylvania maple syrup — a fine way to jump-start any morning. 1833 Fairmount Avenue

Bar Hygge
“Hygge” is a Danish word that basically means taking pleasure in making the ordinary special. The eggs Benny with pork belly and hot sauce hollandaise and the cinnamon bun monkey bread with Nutella frosting served during their weekend brunch is basically that concept, translated into edible form. 1720 Fairmount Avenue

The Best Brunch in West Philly and University City

Aksum | Facebook

Renata’s Kitchen
Brunch all day, every day, and with a little something for everyone — whether you like Lebanese omelets, Norwegian smoked salmon, shakshuka, Cuban roast pork, or just some plain old chocolate chip pancakes. 4533 Baltimore Avenue

Clarkville is remarkable because it is both one of the best neighborhood joints in the city and one of the most family-friendly places around. That goes double during brunch hours. Just be patient, though, because when the weather gets nice, Clarkville can get very busy. 4301 Baltimore Avenue

I like that there’s one place in Philly where I can come to get both Moroccan scrambled eggs (made with spicy ground beef, tomato sauce, and paprika-spiced potatoes) and shrimp and grits made with pepper shrimp and served with a pita. Aksum has always represented one of Philly’s most interesting experiments in fusion cuisine, and the brunch menu is no exception. 4630 Baltimore Avenue

White Dog Cafe
Yes, there are other locations elsewhere, but we still like the University City outpost for chicken liver mousse for the table, oysters with champagne mignonette, thick-cut Green Meadow bacon, and a churro waffle. 3420 Sansom Street

Sabrina’s Cafe
Sabrina’s has five locations now, each offering brunch. So whether you’re in Wynnewood, Collingswood, in the Italian Market, near the Art Museum or right here in University City, there’s a place for you. Plus, it’s easy to find Sabrina’s on any Saturday or Sunday morning. Just look for the line. 227 North 34th Street

The Best Brunch in Point Breeze and Graduate Hospital

Cafe y Chocolate | Facebook

Burg’s Hideaway Lounge
Two words: Tiki brunch. 1200 South 21st Street

Ants Pants Cafe
What’s that? You’re looking for an Australian brunch place opened in a former psychic’s shop? Cool, because that’s exactly what Ants Pants is. It has one of the strangest names of any restaurant in the city, two locations (the other’s in Queen Village), and a solid selection of brunch options. 2212 South Street

Rex 1516
Rex is where you go when you’re looking to experience brunch the Southern way — with shrimp and grits, drop biscuits in sawmill gravy, shrimp po’boys dripping with comeback sauce, and Hurricanes from the bar. 1516 South Street

Cafe y Chocolate
If huevos rancheros, burritos stuffed with eggs and chorizo, or chilaquiles sound more your speed when it comes to brunch, then this is your spot. Also, don’t miss the molletes, which is basically a Mexican open-faced grilled cheese sandwich with black beans. 1532 Snyder Avenue

Sidecar Bar & Grille
Shrimp and grits and a porchetta benedict? Yeah, thanks. Hold my table. I’ll be right there. 2201 Christian Street

The Best Brunch in Rittenhouse and Fitler Square

trattoria carina best brunch philadelphia

Trattoria Carina | Photo by Michael Persico

Trattoria Carina
You gotta trust any place that has a meatball sandwich on their brunch menu. Seriously, meatballs and arugula pesto, all on a crispy Lost Bread baguette? That’s perfect. Plus, there’s polenta with honeyed mascarpone, a potato and onion tart with bitter greens, Aperol spritzes, and session IPAs at the bar. But really, it’s the meatball sandwich that sells it. 2201 Spruce Street

El Cafe
The team behind Suraya expanded into Rittenhouse with this Mexican coffee house where breakfast tacos are on the menu, apple and tamarind conchas are in the bakery case and you can always get a horchatta latte to warm up with. 31 South 19th Street

V Street
Hey, you know what’s completely vegan? Waffles. Home fries. Pancakes. And V Street has all that stuff — along with dan dan noodles, po boy tacos and a pho-style french dip made with mushrooms. 126 South 19th Street

Lacroix is the granddaddy of Philly brunch spots: a fancy-pants (like, seriously, wear your fancy pants) destination restaurant for the weekend set, where chef Jon Cichon puts together a board that’s both deeper, more classical, and more worldly than any other menu in town. Where else are you going to find foie gras s’mores, albondigas, and khachapuri all in the same place? 210 West Rittenhouse Square

Res Ipsa
Res Ipsa is an all-day cafe — which really means that you can have brunch here every day. And sure, there’s avocado toast and a nice Italian dish with fennel sausage and cannellini beans, but the real winner here is the sandwich with egg frittata, Asiago fresco and long hot spread. 2218 Walnut Street

The Love
There may be no more lovely or comforting brunch menu anywhere in the city. Everything — from the potato skins stuffed with smoked whitefish salad to the bananas Foster waffles and ricotta ravioli with lump crab and carrot sauce — is better than you’d expect it to be and prepared with as much care as their fanciest dinner plates. 130 South 18th Street

The Best Brunch in East Passyunk and South Philly

Noord | Facebook

Chef Joncarl Lachman’s first restaurant continues to offer one of the most comforting brunches in town. I mean, he’s got an entire section of the menu just devoted to hash. Who doesn’t love that? 1046 Tasker Street

This new, Southern-inspired all-day cafe does breakfast all the time. So that means you can score some malt waffles with Nutella, a pork-roll-and-pimento-cheese benny or bourbon-glazed french toast all day long. Which is basically like being able to have brunch all the time. 1819 East Passyunk Avenue

Saté Kampar
This place already poured some great coffee. And on the weekends, they get to do it during daylight hours with a brunch menu that highlights some of their most versatile Malaysian dishes: nasi ulam with rice, coconut and shredded fish; vermicelli noodles topped with omelet strips, served in a banana leaf; chicken and potato korma; and more. 1837 East Passyunk Avenue

The Tasty
It looks like a classic American diner, all blue Formica and chrome. But the menu is very much of the moment — completely vegan, but done in the style of simple American comfort food. 1401 South 12th Street

Comfort & Floyd
The old Carmen’s Country Kitchen has now become a dedicated brunch joint offering eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, kielbasa omelets, and kale salads in a bright, welcoming space. 1301 South 11th Street

Vincenzo’s Deli
A meatball omelet and a hoagie roll filled with eggs, provolone, scrapple, long hots, and broccoli rabe might be two of the most Philly brunch dishes ever. Which is why, of course, both are on the menu at this neighborhood staple. 1626 South 9th Street

Yeah, Fond does brunch. They’ve got Belgian waffles, pastries, an egg sandwich — all the basics. But they’ve also got a short rib hash with maitake mushrooms, Gruyere, and Bordelaise sauce, which is exactly where you should start (and end) when deciding what to order. 1537 South 11th Street

Crème Brûlée Bistro
A Mexican-owned French bakery with a weekend brunch full of Nutella crepes, quiche, omelets, and waffles topped with dulce de leche. 1800 South 4th Street

Thirsty Soul
Thirsty Soul is a cocktail bar with a kitchen that does brunch all day and all night, every day and every night. And that’s cool because sometimes caramel pretzel french toast, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and po’boys are just better at 11 p.m. than they are at 11 a.m. 1551 West Passyunk Avenue

The Best Brunch in Old City

Khyber Pass Pub | Facebook

Khyber Pass Pub
This is nice, because you can spend the night at the Khyber pickling your liver, then come right back in the morning (if dignity allows) for beignets, boudin and eggs, and a little hair of the dog. 56 South 2nd Street

A Southern-inflected brunch specialist now open in the Bourse food hall, this joint is making a name with heat and excess. We’re talking bacon pancakes with bourbon maple syrup, hot chicken on a biscuit smothered in country gravy, Elvis-inspired pancakes (peanut butter and banana, natch, plus bacon) and Nashville-style hot chicken on a waffle with gravy and syrup. 111 South Independence Mall East 

Royal Boucherie
Nick Elmi’s neighborhood French spot recently added brunch service to its lineup. Between the raw bar, the charcuterie station, and a deep French brunch tradition, this is one to add to your list. 52 South 2nd Street

Victoria Freehouse
I know, I know. All of these brunch spots, and not a single one offering Marmite. But wait: Victoria Freehouse has what you need with their very British menu featuring bubble and squeak, bacon pancakes, garlic and Marmite wings and, of course, a “Pimped Out Rarebit” with two eggs, bacon, fried tomato, and crab. 10 South Front Street

Eggcelent Cafe
This everyday brunch specialist does all the basics — pancakes, waffles, breakfast sandwiches and burritos — but gets bonus points for the Bagelsaurus: a fried egg, bacon, tomato, avocado and cream cheese on a toasted bagel. For those of you looking for something more on the lunch-y side of brunch, The Eggsplosion burger looks pretty good, too. 113 Chestnut Street

The Best Brunch in Fishtown, Kensington and Northern Liberties

50 best restaurants

Dorade with garlic fried rice and eggs at Sarvida. Photograph by Michael Persico

One of the best dishes on the menu at this little Filipino BYO is the tortang talong, a delicious and comforting mix of scrambled eggs and eggplant puree. So it’s no surprise that chef Lou Boquila added a brunch service recently, featuring eggs with tomatoes, pancakes topped with mango and whipped coconut, or ground pork and red onions served over garlic fried rice with an egg on top. And, of course, that tortang talong is on the brunch menu, too. 300 East Girard Avenue

Kensington Quarters
Just looking for a plate of eggs and bacon? You can get that anywhere. KQ is where you come when you roll out of bed wanting scrapple French toast, pork shoulder Benedict, or fried chicken. 1310 Frankford Avenue

Cafe La Maude
Cafe La Maude is a brunch specialist — offering it all day, every day, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Even better? They serve a French-Lebanese mix of foul moudamas, croque madame, eggs Benedict, salmon fumé a cheval, and shakshuka. 816 North 4th Street

Over Easy Breakfast Club
BYO and brought to Philly by a French Laundry veteran, this place is ONLY open for brunch. No, really. Just Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. But during those hours (if you can get a seat), you can get caramel-slathered monkey bread, pancakes with walnut honey butter, a beet salad, or a poached egg, inside an avocado, wrapped in bacon. Or, you know, eggs. 2302 East Norris Street

Philly Style Bagels
The name is pretty self-explanatory, don’t you think? 1451 East Columbus Avenue

Sulimay’s Restaurant
If some classic diner food is what you’re after, then Sulimay’s is perfect. Omelets, egg sandwiches, pancakes, waffles covered in fruit — they’ve got all the basics and serve them every day from 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on the weekends) to 2 p.m. 632 East Girard Avenue

The Best Brunch in Queen Village and Bella Vista

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Hungry Pigeon | Facebook

Hungry Pigeon
Okay, so there are a lot of breakfast sandwiches being thrown around in Philly right now. Some of them are good, some of them are dull. But none of them come even close to the exceptional one served at Hungry Pigeon. The most remarkable thing about it is that it’s so simple — just a house-made English muffin, local cheese, and an egg. But sometimes simple ingredients, perfectly handled is all it takes to make something extraordinary.  743 South 4th Street

Sam’s Morning Glory Diner
Sam’s Morning Glory has been up and running in Bella Vista since 1997. That’s a lot of time to practice making frittata and get in good with their regulars, and it shows. 735 South 10th Street

Famous 4th Street Delicatessen
This corner deli has been in operation for almost 100 years. Seriously, it’s been knocking out corned beef and pastrami since 1923. It’s as much of an institution in Philly as almost any other place you can name and offers a true deli brunch experience. 700 South 4th Street

The Best Brunch in the Philly Suburbs

Stove & Tap | Facebook

Stove & Tap
A beautiful space, outdoor tables, a full bar, and a big menu of American brunch classics like banana pancakes, biscuits and gravy, deviled eggs, and a fried chicken sandwich. What more do you need? 329 West Main Street, Lansdale

White Dog Cafe
Yeah, we already mentioned the University City location. But for those of you living outside the city, we figured we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that you’ve got two White Dogs of your own. 200 West Lancaster Avenue, Wayne379 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford

The Bercy
This luxe Parisian-style newcomer to Ardmore’s downtown strip is all about old-school glitz and glamour. That outsized attitude extends to its Best of Philly-winning brunch buffet, a $35 all-you-can-eat extravaganza of customized omelets, a prime rib carving station, pastries, and selections from the raw bar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday. 7 Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore

It’s the Bryn Mawr version of the Philly original, and for brunch they stick to the same Mediterranean style menu, with bacon-wrapped dates, falafel, hummus, and veal and ricotta meatballs. But then they add some brioche French toast, ricotta pancakes, and an omelet to make it feel more, you know, brunch-y. 915 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr

Hymie’s Deli
No matter where you live, the four sweetest words any deli (but especially a Jewish one) can ever say is “Breakfast served all day.” The menu here is enormous, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that no matter what you’re looking for, Hymie’s will have it. 342 Montgomery Avenue, Merion Station

Tired Hands Fermentaria
Look, we were already surprised at how good the cafe menu was here at this brewpub in Ardmore. But you know what else they do? Brunch every Sunday from noon until 3 p.m. So if you’re seeking excellent beer fresh from the taps and creamed chipped beef on toast, look no further. 35 Cricket Terrace, Ardmore

Cheese, charcuterie, oysters, and a sandwich of prosciutto, triple creme, tomato confit and olive oil on a crusty baguette? I’m not sure what your idea of a perfect brunch is, but that’s pretty damn close to mine. 1 West Avenue, Wayne

Last updated: 1/10/19