Best Brunch Cities in the U.S.
The most brunch-crazed city in the country, New York offers the meal that Sex and the City made famous in many forms. Cult favorites require hours-long waits, like Prune, where chef Gabrielle Hamilton serves eclectic dishes such as a fried monte cristo sandwich with eggs and extravagant Bloody Marys. It's not necessary to loiter all morning for a table at Danny Meyer's reservations-friendly North End Grill. Chef Eric Korsh's menu features a rich crab and spinach benedict with hollandaise and crispy potato.
Brunching in L.A. often revolves around networking. Tables at the restaurant in André Balazs's Chateau Marmont fill up with celebrity guests who appreciate the no-photography rule, from Sofia Coppola to the Olsen twins. Over in Venice Beach, vegetable-focused California cuisine informs the brunch offerings at Gjelina, which features poached eggs with white grits, water spinach, confit leek and Calabrian chili.
Atlanta restaurants have mastered the Southern brunch. At Highland Bakery, the fried chicken benedict is served on toasted biscuits with jalapeño cheddar sauce and creamy grits on the side. Atlanta's premier spot for craft cocktails and serious meat, Holeman & Finch offers a small but supremely satisfying brunch menu. Try the pork belly, egg in a nest and tomato relish dish with one of the bar's signature cocktails like the Something Fun With Vodka: vodka, peach, lemon, aperol and housemade ginger beer.
The all-you-can-eat buffet scene here is the stuff of legend—if you never craved shrimp cocktail, dumplings, tacos and tiramisu in one sitting, you may rush to consume it all at once here. Vegas takes a similarly over-the-top approach to brunch. The Sterling Brunch at Bally's features piles of luxury items like roasted crab legs, oysters and caviar plus unlimited pours of Champagne. Currently, the hottest options on the Strip are at the new Cosmopolitan where Wicked Spoon features a spread of miniaturized brunch favorites like eggs benedict, individual huevos rancheros and pastrami hash served in little saucepans. The hotel also recently launched a poolside Bubbles & Brunch with adult desserts like rum-and-coke whoopie pies and lots of Champagne.
Chicagoans have embraced brunch-focused restaurants like Toast, which dedicates the majority of its daily-changing menus to a variety of benedicts, scrambles and pancakes. Breakfast specialist Jam, led by chef Jeffrey Mauro, offers brunch dishes until 3 p.m., including a decadent malted custard French toast made by dipping thick brioche slices into a vanilla-and-malt-spiked custard, slowly cooking them sous vide so that the inside becomes supercreamy, and then caramelizing each order in a hot pan just before serving.
Catering to the biggest college student population in the U.S., hangover-curing brunches are on every corner. Apart from the standard pubs offering omelets and Bloodys, some of Boston's best restaurants serve inventive alternatives. At Island Creek Oyster Bar, fried oysters can be added to anything on the brunch menu, such as the lobster omelette with scallion and Pecorino.
A growing brunch scene has led to a few tempting gimmicks in and around DC. Virtue Feed and Grain—the massive Virginia tavern from husband-and-wife team Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong—serves a fully loaded Chesapeake Benedict with old bay seasoned blue crab cake, poached eggs, avocado, cara cara hollandaise, home fries. The bustling Market Lunch counter in Capitol Hill's Eastern Market offers hungry farmers' market shoppers one of the city's best breakfast sandwiches, The Brick, made with egg, fried potatoes, cheese and a choice of meat.
Obsessed with local products and mobile eats, Portland extends its favorite trends to brunch. The Brunch Box food cart specializes in creative breakfast sandwiches like the meaty Black & Bleu: sausage, bacon, blue cheese, grilled onions and Cajun spice. The always-busy Broder spotlights Pacific Northwest ingredients in dishes like an incredible breakfast sandwich with bacon, Swedish farmers' cheese, spinach, two soft baked eggs, grilled scallion and herbed cream.
Santa Fe, NM
In the deserts of New Mexico, Santa Fe is an oasis of fantastic Southwestern food, and brunch is no exception. Café Pasqual’s chef Katherine Kagel sources organic local food for her popular breakfast dishes, like Jack cheese-stuffed Anaheim chiles topped with eggs and a sprinkle of tangy Cotija cheese. Located in the sprawling Encantado resort, Terra mixes American and New Mexican influences. Their brunch buffet features delicious menu items from their breakfast and lunch offerings, like blue corn pancakes.
Philly's top brunch spots are famous for their dedication to making everything from scratch. The Southern-Jewish hybrid Honey's Sit 'n Eat makes their Eggs Benedict with Lancaster County double smoked ham and cayenne spiked hollandaise over grilled challah. And Sam's Morning Glory Diner in South Philly serves Italian-style dishes like a focaccia breakfast sandwich with a savory house-made ketchup.
Much like its beaches, clubs and fashion, Miami's brunches are colorful, multicultural celebrations. Edge, Steak and Bar recently launched a Sunday brunch inspired by street food, with dishes like local catch ceviche, braised short rib tacos with chipotle peppers and Cuban crispy roast suckling pig. At Ice Box Café, offbeat creations include guava-filled French toast with butterscotch sauce and "The Mess": organic scrambled eggs, ham, glazed onions, roasted potatoes and a biscuit.
The Bay Area keeps up regional brunch traditions like the Hangtown Fry, which traces its history back to the California Gold Rush in the 1850s and combines eggs, fried oysters and bacon in a single skillet. Now it's a specialty at the Tadich Grill, a San Francisco mainstay. Hog & Rocks, a self-defined ham and oyster bar, serves deviled eggs with country ham and a fried oyster.