America’s Best Brunch Spots
Superba Food + Bread; Los Angeles
Best-ever toast with prosciutto and cultured butter. 1900 S. Lincoln Blvd.; superbafoodandbread.com.
Root & Bone; New York City
At the newly opened Root & Bone in Alphabet City, James Beard–nominated (and Top Chef 11 stars) Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are stepping up the game of traditional rural American food with this colossal sandwich. First, there’s the chicken, brined in sweet tea and coated with crispy flakes that perfectly walk the line between moist and crunch. Next, the syrup: whiskey maple. There’s greenery, if you like that sort of thing, a few healthy-ish additions like a pickled green tomato and a scattering of watercress. And finally, the whole package is stuffed between two cheddar cheese waffles. If this dish were part of Sunday service we would have no qualms praying to it. rootnbone.com
Nico Osteria; Chicago
Awesome pastries, like kouign amann and croissants. 1015 N. Rush St.; nicoosteria.com.
The Meatball Shop; NYC
Biscuits and gravy: Classic hangover food. Biscuits, gravy and meatballs? Sign us up. At this beloved Manhattan mini chain specializing in all things meatball, chef Daniel Holzman reworks the Southern brunch dish, letting guests choose from any meatball iteration—beef, spicy pork, chicken or lentil-based veggie—and serving two ’balls with black pepper biscuits, two fried eggs and a lavish pour of rich mushroom gravy. themeatballshop.com
Booty’s Street Food; New Orleans
Global dishes from Amsterdam fries to the Banh Mi Omlette. 800 Louisa St.; bootysnola.com.
Pinewood Social; Nashville
Reuben sandwich: perfect hangover cure. Eggs Benedict: ditto. What about the two together? At Pinewood Social, chef Josh Habiger starts off with a sophisticated, Reuben-inspired base: rye toast, sliced corned beef tongue, sauerkraut and house-made Thousand Island dressing. Then on goes the hollandaise and poached egg, whose runny yolk unifies this dish into one coherent, delicious pile of brunch. pinewoodsocial.com
Miss Lily’s; New York City
Jamaican-inspired dishes like jerk pork belly hash. 132 W. Houston St.; misslilys.com.
Puritan & Company; Cambridge, MA
Outstanding pastries like orange hibiscus doughnuts, on a communal table. 1166 Cambridge St.; puritancambridge.com.
Cakes & Ale; Decatur, GA
Stellar warm scones at this hometown favorite. 155 Sycamore St.; cakesandalerestaurant.com.
Pinewood Social; Nashville
Modernist-inflected favorites. 33 Peabody St.; pinewoodsocial.com.
Brennan’s; New Orleans
Reopened institution famed for dishes like bananas Foster. 417 Royal St.; brennansneworleans.com.
Maialino; New York City
Owner Danny Meyer led the Gramercy Tavern alumnus Nick Anderer on an epic five-meal-a-day tour of Rome to research dishes like malfatti al maialino (suckling pig ragù with hand-torn pasta and arugula) for the menu at this great trattoria. At Maialino’s brunch, Anderer offers classic Roman dishes like crispy fried artichokes and rich pasta fettuccine alla carbonara, as well as breakfast foods with Italian ingredients, like tender ricotta pancakes and golden raisin-pecan granola and yogurt with vincotto. maialinonyc.com
The Dutch; New York City
Chef-restaurateur Andrew Carmellini’s Americana spot draws on everything from New England seafood shacks to Southern barbecue spots for inspiration. The incredible crispy fried chicken with baked-to-order honey-butter biscuits is the Soho restaurant’s most popular dish—and on weekends, it’s available only during brunch. The pastry chef Summer Bailey creates fantastic breakfast pastries like yuzu-green tea doughnuts. thedutchnyc.com
The Breslin; New York City
April Bloomfield’s Ace Hotel gastropub is known as much for its incredible brunch as it is for the meaty, tender chargrilled lamb burger at lunch and dinner. Bloomfield tops pancakes with lush seasonal toppings like apple butter and candied walnuts and, as a Brit, comes through with a full English breakfast (fried eggs, house-made sausage patty, blood sausage, bacon, oven-roasted tomato and sautéed mushrooms). Coffee comes from Sightglass Coffee, an independent, sibling-owned coffee company in San Francisco. thebreslin.com
Roberta’s; Brooklyn, NY
From May to September, Sunday brunch at Brooklyn’s obsessed-over hipster pizzeria becomes a day party with a DJ, a mini pool and umbrellas. This all takes place in a backyard that already holds an antique Mercedes-Benz and converted shipping containers used as greenhouses. Impressively, the food is still as much of a draw as the quirky industrial setting and outdoor seating. Pizzas are a must-order, like the Cheesus Christ with mozzarella, taleggio, parmigiano, black pepper and cream. robertaspizza.com
Huckleberry; Los Angeles
Weekend brunch at this superb bakery and café by pastry chef Zoe Nathan, includes amazing pastries like flaky, buttery, fruit-topped kouign amann and house-made breads like a rich brioche she uses to give her French toast a lovely, custard-like texture. Savory dishes include the playful Green Eggs & Ham, a house-made English muffin topped with La Quercia prosciutto, pesto, a runny sunny-side up egg and peppery arugula. huckleberrycafe.com
A.O.C.; Los Angeles
Brunch is the easiest time to get a seat at chef Suzanne Goin’s super-popular small plates–focused wine bar. One dish people don’t like to split is her big, buttery, open-face sandwich of brioche covered with melted Gruyère, lemony frisée and prosciutto; a sunny-side up egg is draped on top. “This is the dish everyone hoards,” says Goin. “We serve it with a big steak knife, but it gets sloppy to share. Or that’s what people say, anyway, so it can be all theirs.” aocwinebar.com
Holeman & Finch Public House; Atlanta
F&W Best New Chef 2009 Linton Hopkins offers his grass-fed beef double cheeseburgers at very limited times: at 10 p.m., when two bullhorns signal that the burgers are up for grabs, and during brunch. For those who don’t want a burger at 10 a.m., Hopkin’s egg dishes are also delicious, like his Johnny Cake with foie gras, bacon, poached egg and whipped sorghum. holeman-finch.com
One Eared Stag; Atlanta
A local favorite of the superstar chef Hugh Acheson, this tiny restaurant serves a high-end take on a Southern-style brunch with dishes like a fried shrimp head po’ boy with ramp aioli. The Chef’s Breakfast is a rotating sampler of four brunch dishes served on a silver platter, with a can of Schlitz beer. “It’s what a chef would eat for breakfast,” says chef-owner Robert Phalen. “A chef opens the refrigerator, looks at what’s leftover—maybe some caviar, truffles or foie gras—and sees what can be made for breakfast.” oneearedstag.com
The most popular dish at chef Jeffrey Mauro’s ultra-popular comfort food spot is the malted custard French toast with macerated cherries, lime leaf cream and pink peppercorns. The decadent dish is made by dipping thick brioche slices into a vanilla- and malt-spiked custard, cooking them sous vide so that the inside becomes super-creamy, and then caramelizing each order in a hot pan just before serving. jamrestaurant.com
Chefs and brothers, Mike and Pat Sheerin serve experimental pub food at this new Bucktown restaurant. Their playful but beautifully executed brunch dishes have unexpected flavor combinations like toasted sauerkraut-flavored bagel with mustard–cream cheese, pickled shallot and smoked salmon. trenchermen.com
Myers + Chang; Boston
For groups, star chef Barbara Lynch of Boston’s No. 9 Park loves to go to chef-owner Joanne Chang’s hip Chinese diner. Chang makes fantastic dishes like crispy pork belly buns and spicy peanutty dan dan noodles, and on weekends, she hosts a popular dim sum brunch. myersandchang.com
At Barbara Lynch’s market-driven trattoria, brunch dishes include satisfying pastas like pillowy gnocchi in cream sauce with peas and porcini, and elegant breakfast dishes like house-baked brioche French toast topped with creamy ricotta and toasted walnuts. The restaurant’s in-house bakery also turns out perfectly flaky croissants. sportelloboston.com
Birch & Barley; Washington, DC
The $30 Boozy Brunch at husband-and-wife team Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac’s beer-focused bistro may be the city’s best brunch deal. The meal starts with MacIsaac’s incredible doughnut holes in flavors like toffee-bacon, glazed lemon-poppy and bittersweet chocolate. Among the main course options are fried chicken and Belgian waffles with maple-chicken jus and house-brined corned beef hash with fried duck eggs. The Boozy Brunch also includes two cocktails and bottomless MadCap coffee. birchandbarley.com
Simpatica; Portland, OR
David Kreifels, Jason Owens and Benjamin Dyer expertly tapped into the Portland dining zeitgeist with this weekend-only, reservation-only restaurant. Their Sunday brunch has a cult following—and one of the longest waits in Portland—for creative comfort dishes like chicken-fried bison and curry-seasoned fried chicken with cakey waffles. simpaticapdx.com
Tasty N Sons; Portland, OR
Although known for the stellar tapas at Toro Bravo, chef John Gorham also runs this brunch-focused restaurant in a long warehouse space in north Portland. The egg-heavy menu (even at dinner) jumps around the globe with dishes like a bold-flavored Burmese pork stew and Moroccan chicken hash with harissa cream—both topped with an over-easy egg. tastyntasty.com/sons/
Alla Spina; Philadelphia
This newest addition to Best New Chef 1999 Marc Vetri’s Philly empire of fantastic Italian restaurants serves gastropub-style food. During Sunday brunch, his showstopping brunch dish is testina hash poutine: french fries topped with silky meat from a pig’s head, creamy mozzarella curds and runny fried eggs. allaspinaphilly.com
Talula’s Garden; Philadelphia
Chef Aimee Olexy oversees a brunch menu with smart comfort food like crepes with roasted local apples and creamy spiced ricotta, candied walnuts, fresh apples and apple butter. Olexy’s market next door, called Talula’s Daily, houses a coffee shop, cheese store, market and café. talulasgarden.com
Cecconi’s; Miami Beach
Soho Beach House is a members-only club, but the restaurant is open to the public. The Italian-born executive chef Sergio Sigala offers a stellar buffet brunch that includes made-to-order omelets, soft ricotta pancakes, and a raw bar. Mixologists make Bloody Marys tableside from a roving cart. cecconisrestaurant.com
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink; Miami
Every weekend, the star chef Michael Schwartz tweets new additions to his brunch menu, like spicy kimchi Benedict prepared with crispy, luscious pork belly, kimchi hollandaise and perfectly poached local farm eggs. michaelsgenuine.com
Bar Tartine; San Francisco
During brunch at this Tartine Bakery offshoot, chef Nicolaus Balla wisely showcases the incredible breads made by the proprietor and baking master Chad Robertson. Among the fantastic dishes are a creamy brioche bread pudding with tart-sweet rhubarb and a hearty lamb meatball sandwich covered in tangy yogurt on a crusty, chewy baguette. bartartine.com
Outerlands; San Francisco
This café near Golden Gate Park has a beautiful design that includes walls made of wood salvaged from old fences around the Bay Area. The brunch menu’s highlights include a delicate Dutch pancake topped with house-made ricotta, and Eggs in Jail: a bacon-fat griddled slice of homemade bread with a fried egg center. outerlandssf.com
Brasserie by Niche; St. Louis
The St. Louis empire builder Gerard Craft serves perfectly executed French dishes here like creamy eggs en cocotte with spinach as well as chef-y brunch updates such as a hazelnut waffle topped with homemade strawberry confiture and crème fraîche. brasseriebyniche.com