It’s time to brunch the subject: this super-sociable, late-morning trend is way more than just a meal. It’s a time when new ideas are incubated, confessions are shared, and when it’s actually acceptable to order champagne, pancakes and French fries in one fell swoop. It’s akin to breakfast, if folks at breakfast wore invisible party hats. Ambiance, service and location matter, but let’s not kid ourselves: the meal is the pièce de résistance. These places rise to the top of Philly’s brunch scene.
Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat: Center City and Northern Liberties
Get down with some old-school diner vibes at Honey’s, where the menu is a constellation of Southern and Jewish classics and a mashup of sweet and savory, with fan favorites being the latkes or and open-faced biscuit sandwich with veggie sausage. Tip to the wise: Honey’s is cash-only, accepts no reservations, and is BYOB. Which is all part of its charm.
Parc: Rittenhouse Square
Paris (Philly-style) is always a good idea. At this Stephen Starr all-day bistro, order the classics (fruits de mer, steak frites and escargots) and don’t miss the baked goods (butter croissant and Pain au Chocolat). Come spring, Parc’s sidewalk seating is the place for prime people-watching.
Café La Maude: Northern Liberties
Another beloved Francophone spot mingles with the flavors of Lebanon – think green shakshuka, petit steak and eggs and pastries you’ll want to fill your pockets with. Take note: La Maude is BYOB and they don’t take reservations.
Sabrina’s Cafe: University City, Italian Market, and Art Museum
Named after the owners’ daughter, Sabrina’s Cafe is a mom and pop hangout known for hearty portions and stick-to-your-ribs dishes like Chicken and Waffles and Huevos Rancheros. The Art Museum location is near the… you-guessed-it… and the Schuylkill River Trail, for your post-brunch leisurely stroll.
Middle Child: Washington Square West
This counter-service joint takes a “no carb left behind” approach, serving bagels and some of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city. Frequent praise goes to Middle Child‘s Herschel Waker: short rib corned beef topped with Cooper sharp American cheese and eggs on seeded rye.
Café Lift: Callowhill
If you’ve ever fantasized about a cannoli/French toast fusion, Café Lift is your ticket. Since 2003, the historic factory-turned-eatery has been serving Italian-style crepes, mushroom toast and more, along with home-brewed kombucha and all manner of espresso drinks made with locally-roasted Forever Coffee beans. You can also BYOB.
K’Far Café: Rittenhouse Square
Photogenically painted in tones of salmon and rosé, (coincidentally, two things that are also on the menu), K’Far is a modern spin on Israeli cafes. Here, spicy Yemenite lattes are sipped along with salted roast beet kubaneh toast and the boreka filled with Bulgarian feta is perfectly complemented with a low-proof spritz.
Where to Stay
Another key ingredient to a successful brunch is a top-notch bed to return to when it’s over. Palomar Philadelphia is all that and much more than meets the mattress. With a primo location in Center City, a block from Rittenhouse Square, this boutique hotel is a 1929 Art Deco building reborn, with stylish rooms, skyline views and impeccable Kimpton service.