What you’re getting: Parmesan biscuits with honey butter and jam, grits carbonara, a Monte Vista Milk Punch or Winter Coffee
Cozy and inviting, Barbaro offers a thoughtful brunch menu that nods to the classics but doesn’t get bogged down by them. The biscuits are fabulous, the grits carbonara (soft egg, bacon, green onion, and Parmesan) manages to be both light and satisfying and unlike any dish you’ll find elsewhere, and the stellar build-your-own pizzas allow the brunch-food naysayers in your party to blaze their own trail. There is no going through the motions here, an approach that extends to cocktails that are the perfect complement to the truly original food, and to the warm service that always makes you feel like you’re dining amongst friends.
What you’re getting: Hangover Hash or The “David Lee Roth” Krispy Kreme Burger
Any time of day, visitors to the Pearl are met with an abundance of top-notch dining options. But if you’re deciding where to eat for brunch, consider Boiler House’s menu description of Hangover Hash: “Braised suckling pig, chichirones, potato-peppers-onion hash, two fried eggs, charred tomatillo salsa and sriracha crème.” Like the David Lee Roth, with its salty-sweet mash-up, the Hangover Hash is substantial food for carnivores. So is most of the brunch menu. Come prepared to indulge, and to really, really enjoy doing so.
What you’re getting: Frito pie omelet or famous Southern fried chicken
If you’ve never been to Max’s -- either at the Quarry here in SA or one of the other seven locations across Texas and in Denver and Atlanta -- the image you have in your mind is likely incorrect. Max’s is at the Quarry, in Alamo Heights, where the closest thing to a “dive” is... well, nothing at all. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to kick back. Max’s accurately touts its fare as “gourmet comfort food,” including the jalapeño buttermilk-marinated chicken deep-fried in a way that gets it nice and crispy without overcooking or making it too greasy. It’s fantastic but just one worthy option on an eclectic and original brunch menu. And the service is always fast and friendly, even when the place is packed.
What you’re getting: Rico Suave licuado, fruit cup with chile and lime, Sincronizada torta
One of Chef Johnny Hernandez’s quintet of SA eateries, The Fruteria stays true to its Mexican roots in both atmosphere and food. Much of the brunch menu’s focus is on fruit, from fresh-pressed juices and licuados -- smoothie-like fruit blends -- to spiced fruit cups and salads bursting with seasonal fruit. Substantial plates, tortas, and open-faced tostadas showcase various proteins cooked with Mexican flare. The Sincronizada is a simple sandwich of scrambled eggs, ham, Oaxaca cheese, avocado, and crema served on a birote roll. Enjoyed alongside one of The Fruteria’s bright fruit offerings, it is satisfying and complex without being heavy or fussy.
What you’re getting: Buttermilk pancakes with strawberries, wurst kolaches
Sure, this Czech eatery is not exactly convenient for inside-the-Loopers, but it’s worth it to make the drive every now and again. Little Gretel is very much a part of the town in which it operates -- unpretentious, stylish but decidedly un-hip and content to be so, charming with a Hill Country feel, and always packed with locals as well as tourists. There is nothing assembly-line or phoned-in about any of Little Gretel’s food, but do yourself a favor and give the pancakes or bakery specialties a try. And if you’re a San Antonian who hasn’t yet nailed down a go-to kolache place... well, there’s just no excuse for that. Little Gretel is a great place to rectify that.
What you’re getting: Eggs in hell, blintzes
The eggs in hell -- three baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce served with grilled bread and a charred lemon polenta -- are guaranteed to wake up your lazy Sunday. But Feast also accommodates sweet-toothed diners as well as those seeking a steak or burger. In the light of day, Feast’s chic, upscale-but-friendly vibe remains. And though it is probably the hottest joint in town right now, it somehow feels like simply a really, really great neighborhood joint.
What you’re getting: Sardou or Sunday breakfast
The richness of hollandaise and Brie is countered by the spinach and artichokes in the Sardou, by our decree rendering Cappy’s particular Benedict offering downright healthy. An equally valid route is the hearty meal with the straightforward name: Sunday breakfast, a beef tenderloin with scrambled eggs, Jack cheese, and pancakes. Tucked behind neighboring shops on Broadway, Cappy’s is hard for the uninitiated to see from the street but worth the extra effort to find -- especially if the weather permits patio dining.
What you’re getting: Chicken-fried grits, chicken + waffle, or ham & butter eggs with sweet potato hash; Bloody Mary bar
When it comes to food, there aren’t many categories in which San Antonio is severely lacking. But for some reason, there is a dearth of that lively combo of uplifting music and comfort food that is the gospel brunch. Fortunately, we’ve got Tucker’s, a nearly 70-year-old Eastside bar and music venue that under its current ownership has put a lot of thought into its soul food menu. The result is short and sweet; the five main dishes are really all you need, because why would you want to order anything that isn’t chicken fried to perfection, served in some combination with grits, hash, biscuits, and/or waffles? The entertainment makes this a true experience rather than just a meal, and the unbelievably low prices make this adventure in good eating a no-brainer.
Medical Center, North Central
What you’re getting: Peach & pecan waffle or authentic Munchener Apfel Pfannekuchen, custom recipe whole hog sausage
The key to fully appreciating a visit to Magnolia, especially for Sunday brunch, is patience. The savviest of diners put their names on the list and run a couple of errands, or bring a book or, at the very least, make sure that they only show up with companions whose company they truly enjoy. There will be a wait, but the payoff is consistently superior food with a whisper of a German influence. Most of the lengthy menu is fairly traditional and centered around serious egg dishes, waffles, and pancakes, including the aforementioned Pfannekuchen. Think that goopy-sticky-sweet processed apple pancake you’ve had at chain restaurants is the real thing? This will change your mind and transform you into a willing member of the Magnolia queue.
What you're getting: Root Hash & a classic Mimosa
Stella is best known for its wood-fired pizza, but the brunch is also worth a thorough exploration. The Root Hash is a playful take on the classic roadside diner breakfast, served with chorizo, two sunny-side-up eggs, two hefty biscuits, and sautéed root vegetables. Stella has a surprisingly vast array of mimosas to choose from, but the classic is too good to pass up: It's light, refreshing, and frighteningly easy to drink.
What you're getting: Bite Burger
Let's keep it simple. The Bite Burger has four key ingredients: Kobe beef, bacon, avocado, and egg. If that's not the most tantalizing quartet of star ingredients you've ever heard of, you're either lying, or you're an octopus disguised as a human. Even if the burger doesn't excite you, and you're somehow not into the idea of eating perfectly crafted eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, there's always the lamb cigars -- they're kind of like egg rolls, except filled with lamb and superior in every way.
What you're getting: Steak and egg migas
La Fonda might not be the trendiest, cheapest, or most convenient spot to grab brunch, but it's good enough to warrant inclusion here. The place been around since 1932 for a reason -- the steak and egg migas are probably the best hangover cure known to man. Served with beef tenderloin, eggs, onion, tortilla strips, and asadero cheese, the meal will perk you right up and provide fuel for the rest of your day. And really, isn't that what brunch is supposed to do?