Best Brunches in Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Photo Ethan Hoover | Unsplash

Best Brunches in Philadelphia

Philly native Kiki Aranita chooses her best brunches in Philadelphia. Take a look.
26 August, 2021

Philadelphia’s wealth of immigrants shines through in many of the city’s favourite brunch dishes. What is brunch without a banh mi on the menu? How does one wake up on a Sunday morning and not want to get into a crisp tlayuda, a steaming bowl of rice porridge or a flaky bureka? We’re also really good at executing American brunch classics like biscuits, hash browns and eggs, but expect ours to be served with our beloved Pennsylvanian Dutch specialty, Scrapple. Here's a round-up of Philly's best brunches.

Cake and Joe

Brunch

Brunch at Cake and Joe is a new addition to their regular service as a ca-fé whipping up unique frothy tea and coffee beverages and spectacular, individually portioned mousse cakes, pastry chef Trista Tang’s speciality. The extensive array of mousse cakes, from blood orange to Oreo mousse fashioned into a cocoa-dusted ring, is available during their weekend brunch. The brunch menu features dishes with little nods to Tang and co-owner Sarah Qi’s Chinese background, like the Kennett Square mushroom dumpling soup, a savoury broth filled with delicate, cream cheese-filled wontons, oyster mushrooms and scallions and a smoked turkey sandwich with 5-spice bacon served on Lost Bread Co.’s milk bread. Not to be missed is the lava toast, the seeming result of a happy union between French toast and a Dutch baby, wherein a thick slice of eggy brioche is served, sizzling in a cast-iron pan and laden with vanilla ice cream and raspberry cream. The result is decadent without being the least bit cloying.

Open Saturday and Sunday.

La Llorona

brunch

I would eat La Llorona’s tlayuda for every meal if I lived next to this South Philly cantina. Less gargantuan than a tlayuda one might find in one of Oaxaca’s markets, but La Llorona’s is on par with its utter deliciousness – crunchy, spread generously with refried beans and topped with Oaxaca cheese and avocado. The rest of La Llorona’s Sunday brunch menu is just as appealing, with stick-to-your-ribs dishes like chimichangas, huevos con jamon and birria and enchiladas. Go back to La Llorona for din-ner for some of Philadelphia’s best tacos and tostadas.

Available on Sundays.
 

K'Far Café

Brunch

I confess I have never been much of a bagel person, but I am all about Jerusalem bagels. K’Far is where to get them in Philly, ideally in sandwich form. Light and yeasted, sesame-seed crusty and warm, enjoy one in this bright, millennial pink and rose gold café, stuffed with lox, cucumber and dill. Get a creamy, floral and cinnamon spicy sachlav cappuccino to go alongside with it. Not dining indoors quite yet? K’Far sells rugelach, Jerusalem bagels and tahini cookies by the dozen and half dozen, and an array of to-go cocktails and mocktails. Keep your eye out for creative spins on Israeli favourites like a shakshuka boreka.

Available on Saturdays and Sundays.
 

The Breakfast Den

Brunch

For me, brunch ideally includes congee. Also, this is Philly, with our enormous Vietnamese community, so you’ll find a banh mi on many a brunch menu. Owner Huyen Thai Dinh injects a burst of morning activity onto this corner of South Street with a sunny menu that includes both banh mis and chao ga, Vietnamese chicken congee with soft boiled eggs and crispy chicken skin. Banh mis come filled with your choice of pulled pork, crispy chicken, herb roasted chicken, crispy eggplant or tofu.

Sulimay’s

Brunch

Sulimay’s is a diner, and it is likely one of the very best diners you will ever have the good fortune to eat at. Theirs are the golden, shredded hash browns that will haunt your dreams. There is no greater introduction to the foods of Philadelphia than through the consumption of scrapple and Sulimay’s serves it best, without fuss. Find pancakes and preserves made with local fruits and berries scattered across the menu, alongside cheeky references to their surrounding environs of Fishtown: instead of an eggs Benedict, have an ‘Eggs Bensington' (a nod to the Kensington neigh-bourhood, which abuts Fishtown), with the aforementioned scrapple, Cooper Sharp and dippy eggs.

 

Sidecar

Brunch

This neighbourhood spot in Graduate Hospital has been around for over a decade, but for the last couple years, its kitchen has been headed by chef/owner Michael Metzger and more recently, sous chef Brendan Fox. Brendan, like many fine-dining chefs in town, races to snag coveted tomatoes and strawberries from Green Meadow Farms, though he’s putting them on a casual, pub menu. The Sidecar brunch hits all the right notes. Its menu reads like a greatest hits list of American brunch, with a porchetta Benedict served over a Philly muffin, brisket and egg cheesesteak, cauliflower bahn mi with yuzu vinaigrette and executes everything beau-tifully. Don’t miss the exceptional cocktails by Jillian Encarnacion, Luis Fernando Rodriguez and Taylor Alessandrine (they take their cocktail program very seriously) which includes drinks like Love is Religion (Bah-nez mezcal, ancho reyes, strawberry, ginger) and of course, the aptly named Sidecar on 22nd.

Available on Saturdays and Sundays.
 

Bloomsday Café

Brunch

A perfect Sunday in Philadelphia involves a stroll through Sunday’s Headhouse Farmers’ Market to pick up the best produce Pennsylvania farmland has to offer and ending with brunch at Bloomsday, a photogenic café-restaurant that sits adjacent to the Headhouse Shambles. Bloomsday’s core brunch menu is excellent, with pastries from pastry chef Sofiane Bellal (Cinnamon brioche, pop tarts, Xuixo – a Catalan speciality that is deep-fried and stuffed with an orange cardamom cream), but Bloomsday stands out as a host restaurant for bakers and chefs with singularly interesting and delicious projects. Pay attention to Caribbean food pop-ups from Davina Soondrum and Tall Poppy Projects at Bloomsday. Tall Poppy Projects’ owner/operator Sarah Thompson uses Bloomsday as a home base, serving stunning buttermilk biscuit sandwiches laden with foraged herb spreads and with constantly rotating fillings.

Available on Saturdays and Sundays.
 

Herman’s Coffee

Brunch

One of the most exciting places for brunch in Philadelphia is this coffee shop with an extensive array of curious pantry items from around the world, and a stationary food cart that plays host to a rotating cast of vendors. Tabachoy, Chance Anies’ Filipino food cart, is one of the regular weekend brunch vendors at Herman’s Coffee and it is one of the only places in town you can get essential Filipino dishes like his version of sisig: crispy pork belly, served with atchara and a fried egg, curry mayo and fried shallots. Enjoy a beverage made with beans roasted right next to the food cart and bring home a tin of tiny Spanish eels from Herman’s eclectic and extensive array of conservas.

Available on Saturdays and Sundays.