Philadelphia’s culinary scene offers up everything from delicious all-American fare to mouth-watering brunch joints. These 10 great brunch venues serve up fantastic late-morning breakfasts beyond the classic cream cheese-and-bagel combo.
10 Arts Bistro & Lounge
One of the images we associate with the word ‘brunch’ is a vast expanse of unlimited buffet, with the usual suspects – pancakes, salmon, cereals, juices and eggs. Impressively, 10 Arts Bistro sets all this up for its daily breakfasts. But perhaps the most splendid thing about 10 Arts is the grand rotunda framing the imposing marble columns, and the sophisticated decor that fuses tradition with cutting-edge modern design.
Everything about a.kitchen is thoroughly thought out, planned and executed with panache and a shiny veneer; the stylized name, the white oak and patented steel decor, the menu and the plate design. The result is a brunch that is both satisfying and stylish. Highlights on the menu which pander to all needs and cravings include egg-white only omelets, a cava bar, and house-smoked salmon. Although a.kitchen only opened in 2011, it has already established itself as a popular destination for those who know exactly what a solid Philadelphia brunch should entail.
For a classic French breakfast copious enough to tide you over for two meals, Chez Colette is a great option. From croque-monsieurs, quiches and Belgian waffles to the safe bets of Philadelphian meat dishes or eggs, Chez Colette offers an array of delicious ways to start the day. This restaurant is part of the Sofitel Hotel right in the centre of Philadelphia, and is one of two on-site restaurants serving guests and passers-by at all hours. There is no need to book and there are special brunch lunches on holiday dates with exclusive menus to mark the occasion.
Originally opened in 1924 as a cafe, Kennett’s served coffee and the basics to Philadelphians for more than 60 years. The current owners rechristened the locale as Kennett Restaurant on the same site, serving what they describe as ‘locally sourced and locally farmed products’ in easily accessible dishes such as pizzas, fish dishes and simple platters. The brunch menu gives the possibility of sharing small plates of the restaurant’s favorites, such as puy lentil salad, beets and feta and Atlantic oysters, or even the chance to indulge and go for a full pizza, including the breakfast pie pizza, topped with eggs, cheese and bacon.
Husband and wife team William and Merry adore food and prepare it with love and respect for quality and design. Having a meal at William and Merry’s feels like dining among friends, as the pair take such obvious pleasure in opening up their home to customers; their slogan is, tellingly, ‘Come dine at our house’. The cozy venue is a little way from the Philadelphian metropolis, but boasts the sort of ambiance which invites you to go the distance. Their brunch dishes range from duck confit sandwich, to spiced apple and buttermilk pancakes, steak and eggs with truffle parmesan frites and saffron aioli (yes, all in one dish) and everyone’s favorite, the soupe du jour.
Honest Tom’s Taco Shopreally is honest, upfront and personal. The staff seem like they really want to be there, the T-shirts worn around the place are designed by the team, the social media following is earthy, and the tacos are decisively filing. What more to add, other than the fact that this business started as a food truck and had so much success that a seating area and a stable, permanent, fixed kitchen were the natural investment? Breakfast burritos and tacos with all the usual accompaniments, plus guacamole and spicy salsa additions are de rigueur, and will start your day with a kick.
Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse, Philadelphia | Courtesy of Lacroix
The Lacroix brunch is an affair that enjoys much fame, both for the brunch itself– which boasts one of the largest selections of breakfast and lunch items in Philly – and for its location and renown in the city. Inside, there are green velvet chairs, views of Rittenhouse Square and a sparkling kitchen and dining area. The buffet stretches as far as the eye can see, and the cultural provenance of each dish is equally far-reaching; sushi maki, a charcuterie station, Vietnamese broth, and English muffins are just some examples of the options on offer. Nestled in the classy Rittenhouse Hotel, this brunch is a special occasion in itself, and the chance to dine at one of the finest restaurants in the city.
There are two locations to choose from for your Honey’s brunch, but the queues here still seem too long to brunchers who want to get their hands on the legendary challah French toast on a lazy Sunday morning. Home-cooked, simple, oozing, steaming; the food is simply mouth-watering at this homely Jewish cooking joint. With regular specials on the board, and competitions on their social networks, Honey’s offers a rich menu of brunch classics, most of which can be adjusted according to your taste.
A steakhouse may not be the first option that springs to the brunch lover’s mind, despite such joints being a stalwart on the culinary scene in the US. However, Philadelphia’s Strip Joint has managed to create a market which we never knew existed, and offers a tempting mid-morning menu for Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. Most of the choices involve a piece of meat sandwiched between breaded bodyguards, but there is also a vegetarian option for those with no interest in hunks of beef. The simple if not exhaustive selection of drinks includes the usual suspects and the must-try Hamburger Mary, a house Bloody Mary with a Strip Joint slider.
Metropolitan Cafe & Pizza (Rittenhouse Square), Philadelphia | Courtesy of Metropolitan Bakery
A bakery that opened in 1992 and that has brought freshly baked goods to residents of Philadelphia ever since, Metropolitan Bakery now also offers a ‘sit-down-and-eat’ service, with a limited but succulent selection of freshly prepared or responsibly sourced delicacies. Quick service is a must in a busy US city, and Metropolitan’s guests can enjoy a swift order-and-leave at the restaurant’s many locations across Philly. As this venue is first and foremost a bakery, and not a restaurant, prices are reasonable and all the delicious cakes, tarts, breads and sandwiches can be taken away.