Looking to head somewhere for brunch this weekend? Well, you could take our advice and head to one of the 12 best brunches in Philly. Or you could take some advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about, which is why we asked 10 of Philly’s top chefs where they eat brunch when they’re not making stuff for you to eat. Feast your eyes...
Erin O’Shea of Percy Street Barbecue
Her pick: Noord (address and info)
When she’s not overseeing the kitchen of Percy Street BBQ, pit mistress Erin O’Shea enjoys the brunch at Noord for the relaxing atmosphere and unique food, which she says is as “imaginative as it is flavorful.” Coming from Philly's queen of BBQ, that’s pretty high praise.
Chris Beyer of JG Domestic
His pick: The Olde Bar (address and info)
On most sundays you can find Chef Beyer roaming the cobblestone streets of Old City. When it comes time for brunch, he’ll head to the Olde Bar for its famous snapper soup and golden buck (Welsh rarebit, sunny-side egg & oxtail marmalade). And while most of us would strongly consider a nap after a meal like that, Chef Beyer heads to the football field for a pickup game with the Olde Bar’s Chef Dave Conn and fellow staff from the Garces Group restaurants.
His pick: Amis (address and info)
Washington Square West
Running the kitchens of two separate restaurants is a tough job, so when Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga can steal away some time for brunch, he does it right. He does it at Amis, where he enjoys standout items like the mortadella mousse, and bucatini with jalapeño & almond pesto. And when he wants savory instead of sweet, there’s always the Belgian waffles with salted butter semifreddo, hazelnut & almond pesto.
Brad Spence of Amis
His pick: Ocean Harbor (address and info)
If he’s not cooking Kevin Sbraga brunch, Chef Brad Spence of Amis will take the family for Sunday dim sum at Chinatown’s Ocean Harbor. As the pasta master explains, “I don’t like to eat traditional brunch, plus I like the kids to experience different foods. Chicken feet rule!” Now take that into consideration the next time you complain about some of the stuff you had to eat growing up.
Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle Bar/Bing Bing Dim Sum
His Pick: High Street on Market (address and info)
Ben Puchowitz, one of the partners along with Shawn Darragh at Cheu Noodle Bar and the newly opened Bing Bing Dim Sum, likes to get his brunch on at High Street on Market. The smoked whitefish bialy is his favorite, although you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Eli Kulp’s Old City restaurant-bakery combo.
Yehuda Sichel of Abe Fisher
His pick: Schlesinger’s (address and info)
When you head the kitchen of one of Philly’s hottest new restaurants, it’s pretty clear that you have some serious cooking chops. And while you can get some high-end Jewish diaspora-inspired food at Abe Fisher, on the weekends Chef Yehuda enjoys the more traditional deli-style brunch at Schlesinger's, especially “Tom’s salami and eggs” which he gets “omelet style with a bagel.” After all, brunch isn’t complete without bagels.
Jose Olmeda of Tinto/Village Whiskey
His pick: Sabrina’s (address and info)
For a traditional brunch without all of the bells and whistles, chef de cuisine Jose Olmeda’s favorite is Italian Market staple Sabrina’s. Everything on the menu is delicious and it “serves brunch all week, which is important for people who work weekends.” On the expansive menu, Chef Olmeda’s favorite is the huevos rancheros, which are served along with blue corn tortillas.
Matthew Cummins of Luna Cafe
His pick: Lucky’s Last Chance (address and info)
With Old City newcomer Luna Cafe only being open for breakfast and lunch, it’s a little bit tough for Chef Matthew Cummins to get away for brunch. But when he has the chance, he’ll head to Lucky’s Last Chance in Manayunk for a brunch that features dishes made with fresh local ingredients that can kick any hangover. For some hair of the dog, it also has great drink options and isn't “afraid to serve big portions.” Plus, as Chef Cummins explains, “Maple bourbon pancakes just happen to be my three favorite words.”
Benjamin Dayag of Morimoto
His pick: Talula’s Garden (address and info)
Come Sunday morning, Chef Benjamin Dayag of Morimoto will take his family down the block to Talula's Garden for the perfect combo of great food and garden atmosphere. At the moment, his favorite dishes are the baked summer squash frittata and the “sweet little ricotta donuts.”
Mark Twersky of Barclay Prime
His pick: Parc (address and info)
After grilling steak all week at one of the city's top steakhouses, Chef Twersky will head to fellow Starr group restaurant Parc for weekend brunch. His personal favorites on the menu include the breakfast pastries, and the stuff at the “raw bar,” which when combined with the lively atmosphere and Rittenhouse Square location make it one of the more picturesque spots for brunch with his son.
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1. Noord1046 E Tasker St, Philadelphia
2. The Olde Bar125 Walnut St, Philadelphia
3. Amis412 S 13th St, Philadelphia
4. Ocean Harbor1023 Race St, Philadelphia
5. High Street on Market308 Market St, Philadelphia
6. Schlesinger's1521 Locust St, Philadelphia
7. Sabrina's Cafe1804 Callowhill St, Philadelphia
8. Lucky's Last Chance4421 Main St, Philadelphia
9. Talula's Garden210 W Washington Sq, Philadelphia
10. Parc227 S 18th St, Philadelphia
Slinging delicious Dutch eats in South Philly, Noord's got uniquely-named menu items like waterzoois (seafood platters), bitterballen (meatballs), and, uh, burgers (burgers).
Jose Garces brought some much-needed life into the old stomping grounds of the locally loved Bookbinder’s, which closed during the not-great-economically year of 2009. Garces' reincarnation of the place is a nice polish to the original, and includes an open banquet room complete with dimly lit red booths, candles, and an oyster saloon serving snapper soup and fried belly clams. In addition to the nouveaux riche aperitif menu, the seafood-centric restaurant serves classics like dungeness crab, Maine lobster, and of course, champagne cocktails to pair.
There's something about Italian trattoria's that made them ideal date spots, and it's especially the case when a James Beard Award-winning chef is in charge. Marc Vetri's Roman-inspired plates emphasize the satisfying simplicity of Roman fare in the rusticly outfitted 70-seat Amis in Washington Square West. The room tends to buzz, which covers up groans you may illicit you sample the dishes ferried from the open kitchen, from long-stemmed fried artichokes to pork & fennel pollen sausage over peperonata. Even if you're not with a date, a selection of Italian beers, whites, reds, and cocktails like negronis can be sipped solo at the zinc-topped bar.
This bustling Chinese dim sum restaurant serves at times eclectic and unusual fare from carts pushed around the restaurant floor. It's an excellent non-traditional brunch choice in Philadelphia, but expect ample crowds and lots of noise.
You’ve never had bread quite like the ancient grains, roasted potato, or anadama on grill at High Street on Market. The New American haunt in Old City centers its menu on local grains, which High Street refines and finesses at the crack of dawn each day into the stuff of sandwiches, pastries, and pastas that bedeck the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. For lunch, it is sinful to miss out on the smoky and briny pastrami on rye, dressed with cabbage slaw, Russian dressing, and Gulden’s mustard. Opt for the pastas at dinner; they’re decidedly un-Italian and, therefore, entirely unforgettable.
This traditional Jewish deli has all the classics, from matzo ball soup to huge sandwiches and a pickle bar. The no-frills eatery has ample table space and plenty of deli cases.
With locations all over Philly (Italian Market, Universal City, Wynnewood, Collingwood), Sabrina's is known most of all for their creative, comfort food brunch concoctions. You must try the overstuffed French toast, made with marshmallows, sweet cream, and cinnamon dough. Everything on the menu is made with fresh ingredients in ways you’ve never tasted before.
Lucky's brought pub-height two-tops into the former Yunkers while covering the walls with a rose-vine mosaic and sweet vintage beer posters, serving serious burgers prepped with local ingredients and a tidy roster of craft brews.
Your meal at Talula’s Garden is not a dream, and it’s important that you keep reminding yourself of that. The oasis of greenery is tucked between two commercial buildings adjacent to Philadelphia’s Washington Square Park, and a latticework of potted plants climbs the patio garden’s walls. The interior, inspired by a greenhouse, is a bucolic wonderland of rustic planters brimming with flowers, nature-themed cylindrical lamps, and pressed leaf artwork in light wooden frames. Talula’s main event is its weekend brunch. Order the Little Ricotta Doughnuts upon being seated (creative fillings and toppings change seasonally), which you’ll nibble on as you await your Fresh Farm Egg Omelet with whipped goat cheese and roasted local broccoli and Stuffed French Toast with maple cream cheese and local pears. The Creamy Corn Grits rest beneath a pool of caramel sea salt butter and might just render you irrevocably full, but at Talula’s, you won’t regret a single bite.