The Hottest New Brunches in 15 American Cities

The best in Benedicts, griddles and mimosas
February 28, 2018
by Zagat Staff

Brunch, the one meal that rewards weekend laziness. Roll out of bed at 1 PM and rest assured you can still get fancy eggs at just about any spot in town. Here are the hottest new brunches in 15 American cities this spring. 

Atlanta: Food 101

Ron Eyester built his Atlanta reputation on being outspoken (he's tamed his social media handle @theangrychef in recent years, but old habits die hard) and competing briefly on Top Chef, but before all that there was his way with brunch. Eyester took a bit of a break following the collapse of his own restaurant group two years ago, but he’s back leading the kitchen of the Sandy Springs stalwart that he helmed from 2001–2008. His indulgent daytime dishes touch on Southern classics but carry the same inventive flair he showed on his well-regarded Rosebud and Family Dog brunch menus.

Must-order: The Fatboy Brunch: buttermilk fried chicken, scrambled eggs, potatoes, a biscuit and sausage gravy

4969 Roswell Rd.; 404-497-9700

Austin: Central Standard

Since taking the reigns as executive chef, Casey Wilcox has revamped Central Standard’s brunch menu, which is available both Saturday and Sunday. Start with pastry chef Amanda Rockman’s sweets (chocolate espresso monkey bread, anyone?) and a Party Dip for the table, made with Mornay sauce, Brie and ham and served with pumpernickel bread, before moving onto dishes like the prime rib hash (44 Farms prime rib, Yukon gold potatoes, poached eggs, sour cream) or the Ora King salmon crudo (with cucumber, crème fraîche and fennel seed).

1603 S. Congress Ave.; 512-942-0823

Boston: Waypoint

At chef Michael Scelfo's newest Cambridge venture (at least, until his highly anticipated Longfellow arrives later this year), "coastal-inspired cuisine" is the name of the game. And that approach carries over to the new Sunday brunch (10 AM–2:30 PM), launched last month, which includes chicken fried oysters and waffles and a torched avocado croissant toast with smoked shrimp salad. But landlubbers will find plenty of tasty treats too, including brown butter pancakes with whipped vanilla mascarpone and baskets of donuts (pictured at page top) in rotating inventive flavors. 

1030 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-864-2300

Chicago: Regards to Edith

From the olive oil pancakes to the lamb crepinette, Regards to Edith is the most exciting thing to happen to Chicago’s brunch scene in a while. After debuting with dinner service last year, the Fulton Market restaurant recently added an impressive brunch menu offering fresh takes on Americana staples. This includes fried chicken biscuits with hot pickles and chicken gravy (pictured), lamb crepinette over potato pancakes and a pepper and egg sandwich that stuffs a bell pepper omelet inside an Italian roll with fennel sausage. 

Must-order: Fried chicken biscuit and olive oil pancakes

326 N. Morgan St.; 312-763-6564

Dallas: Up On Knox

You'd never recognize the space as a former Chili's thanks to a chic renovation that transformed it into an American brasserie with a distinctive European vibe. Brunch draws a festive crowd — both inside and out on the quaint side patio — for creative brunch cocktails, egg dishes and some of the raw bar's greatest hits.

Must-order: The housemade pastries are astonishingly good, whether your cravings lead you to the sticky bun, a plate of donuts or what could be the best almond croissant in the city.

3230 Knox St. Suite 140; 469-250-4007

Denver: The Bindery

The brunchtime feast at Linda Hampsten Fox’s convivial neighborhood gem in LoHi starts with the eyes: As you pass the deli case and bakery counter on your way to a table, you’ll be treated to a parade of goodies that includes rustic sandwiches, brioches feuilletées, quiche, Big Night–style timpano and more. But before you demand one of everything, you’d better get a gander at the sit-down menu, highlighting elegantly composed dishes that range from airy, delicate anise beignets with maple syrup and berries in cream to such savory stuff as open-faced croque madames on sourdough or creamy, roe-topped soft scrambled eggs on rye with a side of pastrami-cured salmon, pictured. (Of course those breads are baked in-house.) While it all calls out for celebratory flutes of bubbly, the stout-laced Irish coffee packs an equally festive punch.

1817 Central St.; 303-993-2364

Houston: Night Heron

The first Montrose concept from Agricole Hospitality (Coltivare, Eight Row Flint), this breezy Caribbean-inspired locale has a tight brunch filled with takes on classic mid-morning fare. Seek out the sweet and savory Monte Cristo wherein brioche comes stuffed with ham and bruder basil cheese all dipped in Lone Star beer batter and fried until toasty or roasted pepper taquitos rancheros with fried eggs, queso fresco and tomatillo salsa.

1601 W. Main St.; 713-527-8010

Los Angeles: 189 by Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel, creator of the famed Cronut and Cookie Shots, is doing a family-style brunch in the full-service restaurant he opened above the bakery at The Grove. The views of the fountain are delightful, there are cocktails and you can always get a pastry afterwards. Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM–3 PM.

Must-order: Each table has a serving platter in the center, and other dishes are shuffled around the room dim sum style. Main dishes include DIY lobster rolls — build your own with tender tail and claw meat, lemon confit aïoli and homemade split-top potato buns — and crunchy fried chicken.

189 The Grove Dr.; 323-602-0096

Miami: Lobster Bar Sea Grille

Those looking for an upscale Sunday brunch experience that won’t break the bank will be pleased with Lobster Bar Sea Grille’s $49 three-course menu. Located in South of Fifth, the restaurant lures guests in with seafood brunch classics like whole chili lobster toast and jumbo lump crab cake Benedict, punctuated by housemade European desserts like tropical fruit cremeux and profiteroles stuffed with ice cream. An endless bounty of mimosas, Bellinis and Bloody Marys, plus a breezy outdoor patio, sweeten the deal. 

Must-order: Chile lobster toast

404 Washington Ave.; 305.377.2675

NYC: The Osprey

East River views and an eco-chic setting flooded with natural light — thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows — set the sophisticated scene at this locavore American restaurant at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Regular menu items and brunch exclusives (like the fried chicken and Parmesan waffle, pictured above) are served alongside house cocktails named after birds including the Robin (Bloody Mary) and Finch (grapefruit spritz).

Must-order: Bread pudding French toast (lemon curd, whipped ricotta, mixed berries, basil), blue corn johnnycakes (sassafras butter, Hudson Valley maple syrup), baby beets with smoked salmon, whipped feta and candied hazelnuts

60 Furman Street, Brooklyn; 347-696-2505

Philadelphia: Fond

For the first time since opening in 2009, chef Lee Styer began offering Sunday brunch last month, featuring freshly baked scones and cinnamon buns from his wife and restaurant co-owner Jessie Prawlucki. Menu highlights include a raw bar; a burger with caramelized onions, blue cheese, pork belly and optional foie gras; and an endless supply of Bloody Marys at the bar.

1537 S. 11th St., 215-551-5000

San Diego: The Rail

After an extensive remodel, this iconic Hillcrest spot has updated its brunch menu, available weekends, 10 AM–3 PM. Nosh on Southern-inspired dishes such as Cajun shrimp Benedict served with cornbread waffles and a fun take on flatbread, topped with fig, prosciutto and Brie.

Must-order: The restaurant’s coffee and donuts turn the classic pairing on its head with coffee-cured, hand-rolled bacon served with cinnamon sugar donut holes and a vanilla latte dipping sauce.

3795 5th Ave.; 619-298-2233

San Francisco: August 1 Five

Head to one of the city’s leading contemporary Indian restaurants and cocktail destinations in Civic Center for brunch and experience the same finesse and vivid flavors found at dinner. The waffles in the fried chicken and waffles, for example, are made of dosa batter, sandwiching fried chicken coated with Indian spices and paired with a ramekin of chile jaggery butter. Diners can also look forward to a Dungeness crab omelet perfumed with curry leaf and French toast that soars with cardamom and saffron. A couple of nighttime appetizer favorites, like gol guppa fritters and crispy spinach and chickpea palak chaat join the brunch menu.

Must-order: Goat cheese naan dusted with pomegranate; scrambled eggs with tomato and cilantro “akori” on brioche; French toast; chicken and waffles

524 Van Ness Ave.; 415-771-5900

Seattle: Lark

Chef John Sundstrom introduced brunch in March of 2016 to rave reviews. The menu balances sweet and savory offerings — from lemon cream cheese-stuffed French toast to pork belly with kimchi fried rice and scrambled eggs — and the bar boasts a rotating Bloody Mary menu. 

Must-order: Start with the caramel pecan monkey bread and finish with the Dungeness crab eggs Benedict. 

952 E. Seneca St.; 206-323-5275

Washington, DC: Succotash

Could there be a better hangover cure than a carb-heavy Southern meal? Chef Edward Lee makes a compelling case by adding a Hangover Special — a plate of fried eggs, pulled pork, biscuits, warm potato salad and red-eye gravy — to his brunch menu, offered Saturdays from 11 AM–3 PM and Sundays 10 AM–3 PM. The Top Chef alum also has fun with dishes like a play on ambrosia and a sweet potato and Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Do not leave without trying the bourbon milkshake, and be sure to plan for an afternoon nap.

Must-order: A gochujang Bloody Mary, fried chicken and waffles and that bourbon milkshake for dessert

915 F St. NW; 202-849-6933